Priests may have designed
Nazca lines, expert says
September 24, 2006. Source
NAZCA, Peru — High priests
at an ancient religious compound in southern Peru may
have designed the mysterious Nazca lines, a set of huge
geometric patterns, animal figures and long lines etched
in the desert, the area's top archaeologist said.
Researchers say the Cahuachi compound, built in 400
B.C., is just across the Nazca Valley from the lines,
one of Peru's most popular tourist attractions and a
U.N. World Heritage site.
"It is logical to think that
the Nazca people's religious beliefs originated in this
ceremonial site and got expressed on the wide-open
plain," Italian archaeologist Giuseppe Orefici, who
leads research at Cahuachi, said last week.
Geographical proximity is
not the only evidence of links between the two ancient
sites — the same religious icons appear at the lines and
on ceramics and crafts excavated at the Cahuachi
"Felines and whales are
found in all Nazcan art, and this is what we've found in
the geoglyphs," Orefici said, referring to ground
drawings surrounding the Nazca lines and the Cahuachi
The Nazca lines, best viewed
from the air, were made by clearing away surface shale
or piling it up onto other stones. Among its most
emblematic figures is a giant monkey with a spiral tail.