Originally posted by dave_54
How about the builders drew the designs in the sand, and using a grid copying system just magnified them. The ancient Chinese, Romans, and Egyptians
used the same method. Why do people assume South American natives were not able to figure out the technique? Racism? Ethnocentrism?
Honestly, I think that it is not so much racism or ethnocentrism as it is the assumption that ancient cultures were somehow more spiritual then we
today are and were capable of a myriad of spiritual practices. This phenomenon is hardly new - the concept of the 'noble savage' in tune with
untapped realms of spirituality can be seen throughout the history of European exploration and colonisation
As for the Nazca lines themselves, I wholeheartedly agree with dave_54 that they were almost certainly envisioned and planned before their actual
construction and then were actually created through the use of a grid system. For an example of how such a system might work, and to learn how to make
your own geoglyph or biomorph, check out this article at The Unnatural Museum
Although no advanced technology or spiritual connection would have been necessary to construct the lines at Nazca, their construction was no small
feat. Constructed by (surprise, surprise) the Nazca peoples, who lived in the region between 200BCE and 600BCE
(Reference 1 (Skeptic's Dictionary)
; Reference 2
), the lines include not only literal straight lines:
A satellite view of the Nazca region showing the straightness of some of the lines.
but also depictions of geometric shapes, humans and animals, including a hummingbird, spider, lizard and monkey, to name but a few:
This monkey from the Nazca region is deformed - it has four fingers on its right hand and five on its left.
The actual process by which the shapes were made was incredibly simple - the Nazca people simply removed the iron-rich rocks, stones and dirt to
reveal the lighter coloured subsoil. A lack of serious rain in the region has allowed the shapes to stay virtually intact to the present day:
This photograph, taken at ground level, demonstrates the process used to construct the Nazca lines.
The one aspect of the Nazca lines which I personally find much more interesting then how they were built is why they were built - what purpose did
they serve? Setting aside the implausible notions of an airport for visiting alien craft, we are left with a number of intriguing possibilities.
Theories in the past have included: the lines were used for running footraces. This seems highly improbable, given that the construction of the lines
was a monumental undertaking that would have taken hundreds of years (Reference (Skeptic's Dictionary)
Another theory is that the shapes represented an enormous calendar by which the Nazca people could keep track of the seasons and, subsequently,
important agricultural dates. Whilst this seems more plausible, it is difficult to prove given the fact that, with so many lines and shapes and
formations, it would be almost impossible not to observe some form of astronomical alignment purely by chance. Lacking a written explanation by the
builders themselves, we simply do not know. Indeed, in 1968, an American astronomer, attempted to calculate how many of the lines coincided in
alignment with significant astronomical events. He found that the number that was significant was only equal to the number that would have been
significant through chance alone (Reference 1 (The Unnatural Museum)
Reference 2 (Global Water Partners)
). A more recent theory argues that the shapes and lines were
built to mark the presence of faults which may control groundwater. You can read more about this theory at the
Global Water Partners Nazca Lines
page. Their site states their hypothesis in the following
Due to insufficient surface water in the river system, the ancient inhabitants of the drainage settled in locations adjacent to geological
faults because the springs and water resources associated with these features provide a more reliable source of fresh water during the dry season than
the rivers. Thus, the ancients marked their water supply distribution system with geoglyphs just as a modern city delineates its underground utilities
Personally, I am interested in the actual depiction of the animal figures. It occurs to me that, given the care and time and manpower that went into
constructing them, why do some of the figures look the way they do? The monkey, for example, is deformed. This may have been accidental, but surely if
everything was mapped out before construction began it is not unreasonable to assume that the deformity was deliberate. It just seems to me, on a
purely aesthetic level, that the figures seem deliberatley surreal or even terrifying. Take this picture of a whale, for example:
It just occurs to me that some of the figures are depicted in ways that the builders may have found discomforting or even frightening. If the lines
were a message or a request to the gods, I wonder what their purpose was?
[edit on 7/9/05 by Jeremiah25]