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Archaeologists discover 52 new Nasca geoglyphs

Archaeologists have discovered over 50 new massive drawings – known as geoglyphs – in Peru's Nasca region using drones to map the area, potentially casting new light on their meaning.

Archaeologists discover 52 new Nasca geoglyphs
This newly discovered Nasca line feature, captured by a drone, consists of several straight lines with
no discernible pattern which were likely made at different times and for different purposes
[Credit: Luis Jaime Castillo, Palpa Nasca Project]
The discovery was announced Thursday by National Geographic in a report with exclusive images of the giant geoglyphs, which were carved more than a millennium ago.

Archaeologists believe many of the newly found figures were etched not by the Nasca culture which dominated the area between 200 and 700 AD, but by earlier Paracas and Topara cultures extant between 500 BC and 200 AD.

Archaeologists discover 52 new Nasca geoglyphs
Ancient Peruvians created geoglyphs like the Nasca lines by moving stones to define edges of the lines,
and then scraping the top layer of earth between the edges to reveal lighter soil beneath
[Credit: Fernando G. Baptista/NGM Staff] 
Peruvian Ministry of Culture Archaeologist Johny Isla said the discovery "means that it is a tradition of over 1,000 years that precedes the famous geoglyphs of the Nasca culture, which opens the door to new hypotheses about its function and meaning."

Unlike Nasca lines, which are only visible from above, many of the newly discovered images were drawn on hillsides, making them visible to villages. Furthermore, the new lines often depict human figures and warriors, National Geographic reports.

Mapping was partly financed by National Geographic explorer Sarah Parcak as part of a project to identify cases of looting.

At first, the team led by Peruvian archaeologists Isla and Luis Castillo only found signs of decades-old looting linked to illegal gold mining, but closer examination of the high-resolution images captured by drone successfully identified the ancient geoglyphs.

The team believes the discovery will contribute to efforts to fight land trafficking and illegal settlements that threaten Peru's cultural heritage. 

Source: Telesur [April 07, 2018]


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