The Nazca Lines: The giant geoglyphs etched into the Peruvian desert
The lines drawn in perfect geometric patterns across the Peruvian desert have inspired theories over the years from rituals for the gods to alien landing strips.
Around 250 miles south of Lima, Peru, close to the shores of the Pacific Ocean there lies a great coastal plain which holds one of the world's oldest and most intriguing mysteries
Spanning across more than 170 square miles of flat land, the hard red soil is broken only by an array of strange trenches. Not overly deep, usually around six to twelve inches carved into the ground.
Even though they aren't particularly wide they are extremely long, some of the furrows go on for 30 miles, slicing fantastic parallel lines across the desert floor. Others turn impressively in on themselves, creating spirals like a huge fingerprint.
The first people who discovered there were travellers who happened to stumble across them in the 1500s and believed they remnants of a vast, complicated road system from a bygone civilisation.
It wasn't until 1927 that the realisation of what these stupendous trenches actually were. An archaeologist from Peru by the name of Toribio Mejia Xesspe was hiking up some nearby hills when he glanced down at the valley below and say the trenches. Xesspe quickly realised that these grooves in the desert weren't remnants of old ancient roads, they were a set of huge symbols and images that had been carved into the earth, on such a large scale that from ground level they were unrecognisable.
This was the start of what turned into almost a century of investigation by archaeologists, with the aim of trying to make sense of the great mystery of the Nazca Lines.
Did Aliens create the Nazca Lines?
When you start to realise the astonishing complexity of the designs and the huge size of the Nazca Lines in Peru, it is easy to see why outside forces and supernatural explanations are the first thought for many people.
Theories claim that the Nazca, the indigenous people who we believe created the Nazca Lines some two thousand years ago, couldn't possibly have been able to create these huge designs into the earth without being able to fly, as its almost impossible to make them out without being directly above them.
Many researches say that they believe the evidence points towards the Nazca Lines being created by aliens themselves, who had aerial technology. Other theories say the Nazca people created the lines by following extra-terrestrial instructions, often pointing towards the thought that they could have been landing strips and runways for alien spacecrafts, or as a way to attempt to contact aliens in the hope that the carvings would be large enough to be visible from space.
Believes in the alien theory have pointed towards some of the more unusual Nazca etchings, many of them depict nature, insects, birds, fish, trees, and flowers. A popular example often discussed between believers that aliens had an undertaking in the creation of the Nazca Lines is the one that has been called "the astronaut" it depicts a human figure that has a bulbous head, almost looking like a man in a space suit.
A Swiss author by the name of Erich von Daniken believed that some of the etches depicted aliens themselves, an idea that he promoted in his book Chariots of the Gods, which was published in 1968.
When the book was released it brought Peru's Nazca Lines to prominence in the world of alien and ufo investigators, when they discovered Nazca bodies the legend grew even stronger.
The Nazca, who inhabited the valleys of the Rio Grande de Nasca river basin from approximately 100 BCE to 800 CE, practiced mummification. Resulting from this archaeologists uncovered a number of well-persevered bodies, some in extremely unusual conditions.
Some of the skulls of the Nazca remains showed an unnatural elongation of the skull, fuelling the idea that the Nazca were certainly involved in some way with extra-terrestrials.
There is no denying that the elongated skulls from Nazca remains are real, many historians however have said that this is caused by the world of human hands. The Nazca performed what is known as artificial cranial deformation, this process involves binding the skulls of infants to create an altered skull shape that will last into their later years.
This is a practice that has been found amongst other ancient tribes and civilisations from around the world, it is thought this was used to differentiate a tribesperson from outsiders or possibly even used as a status symbol within a particular tribe.
It is almost impossible to answer the question as to why the Nazca Lines are there or indeed why they were ever created, a question we will probably never know the complete answer to.
Researches claim that they are hopeful that with new technology they may eventually get to the bottom of the reason behind the Nazca Lines, however, is any answer going to be the definitive one? or just another persons perspective? Let us know in the comments if you have any thoughts on the Nazca Lines and don't forget to follow us on Facebook for similar stories.