The Nazca Lines –By Lydian Shipp
Peru South America

The Nazca Lines –By Lydian Shipp

The Nazca Lines are a collection of about 300 geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert in Southern Peru. Most of the lines were made between 200 BC and 500 AD, although some date as far back as 500 BC. The Nazca Lines depict various animals, both fantastical and real, as well as plants and geographic patterns.

The Nazca Lines depict animal figures, plants, and geometric patterns. The most popular animal pictures include the condor, the spider, the monkey, and the lizard. The lizard was originally one of the largest figures, but the Pan American Highway now runs through it. The animal drawings are the fewest in number, but many people say they are also the most astonishing. The most well-known of the plants is the flower, and of the geometric patterns, many people have heard of the trapezoid pattern and and the spiral pattern.

The Nazca Lines were discovered in 1927 by Peruvian archaeologist Toribio Mejia Xesspe. He was also the first to study the lines in detail. As the area became a place that planes flew over quite often, more and more tourists began noticing the lines and started flocking to the destination.

Many speculations have been made as to exactly what the Nazca Lines were. The most common belief is that they were drawn to worship the elements of nature that they picture, securing rain and crops for the Nazca people. It rains less than one inch a year in the Nazca Desert. Another theory is that the Nazca Lines were made to communicate with the ‘Eye of God’. During the time of the Nazca people, there were a wealth of solar eclipses, which can sometimes take on the appearance of an eye.

The theory most propagated today is that the Nazca Lines were alien-made. The evidence backing this belief is that the lines are so big and complicated that humans couldn’t have possibly made them, especially not without super advanced machines. The Nazca Lines have also been supposed by some people to be runways for alien aircraft. This theory has been mostly proven as false due to a number of things that would make it improbable that the Nazca Lines are runways. For instance, the surface that the aircraft would land on is gypsum, which would not be particularly conducive with being a runway for aircraft because it’s a very soft rock. Another issue is that the lines cross in many places, which is not a good design for an airport. The Nazca Lines are also a relatively smooth surface.

Another famous theory is that the Nazca Lines were some sort of giant astronomical calendar. This idea was created by German mathematician Maria Reiche. She noted that the animal figures were in alignment with constellations: the spider was aligned with Orion, and the monkey was aligned with the Big Dipper. Some lines also point to the sun during the solstices. Many write this off as simply coincidental because of the number of lines going in various directions.

There are a couple of lesser known theories about the lines. It has been suggested that the lines may have been used for running footraces, and that these races were depicted on Nazca pottery. Some have speculated that the lines were used for determining the placement of the many aqueducts that lie below the Nazca Desert.

Many people worry about the preservation of the Nazca Lines due to a recent increase in pollution and erosion brought on by deforestation close to the Nazca Lines. The lines are 10-30 cm deep, so it wouldn’t take a lot of water to wash them away. This is why in 2007 when there were some floods and landslides in the area, many people worried about the safety of the Nazca Lines.

Contrary to popular belief, the lines can be seen from the hills in the desert. There are planes, but I’d suppose they’re probably quite expensive, just a tad dangerous, and not necessarily all they’re made up to be.

(NOTE: This post was written when I was 13. I edited it in 2017 for grammatical errors and other technical stuff, but maintained the content to preserve my 13-year-old perspective)

Related Posts:

The Nazca House Bed and Breakfast: Photo Gallery

Nazca, Peru: Photo Gallery

Nazca Cahuachi Ruins: Photo Gallery

Nazca Chauchilla Cemetery: Photo Gallery

The Nazca Lines in Nazca, Peru: Photo Gallery

Our Tour of Nazca with Raul from Nazca Trips—By Jennifer Shipp

Scaring the Bejeezus out of Your Teen Through Travel: An Experiment in Progress – By Jennifer Shipp

Christmas in Peru – By Lydian Shipp


Wikipedia (2013) Nazca Lines. Retrieved 12/16/2013 from:

Jarus, Owen (2012) Nazca Lines. Mysterious Geoglyphs in Peru. Retrieved 12/16/2013 from:

N.A. (2008) Who Made the Nazca Lines. Retrieved 12/16/2013 from:

Adair, Aaron (2012) Ancient Aliens? The Nazca Lines. Retrieved 12/16/2013 from:

Baar, Rachel (n.d) The Mystery of the Nazca Lines. Retrieved 12/18/2013 from:

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