Learn About the Nazca Lines for Kids
There are lines in the South American nation of Peru that look like pictures or geometric shapes when seen from the air. They make pictures of things like animals and plants. Some are hundreds of feet long. From the ground, they look like lines in the desert sand. You would have to see them from a plane or helicopter to see what they really are.
Yet these pictures on the ground were made more than a thousand years ago. The people who made them didn't have any airplanes or helicopters. We don't know who made these images in the sand and we don't know why.
Why Did Ancient People Make the Nazca Lines?
The Nazca Lines are a fascinating part of South American history. The lines are in the Nazca region of southern Peru. They are about 200 miles southeast of Peru's capital city Lima. The lines are called geoglyphs. Geoglyphs are images or drawings made on the ground. They can be made by either scratching the ground or using arrangements of rocks.
The Nazca Lines were made by removing darker colored rocks to reveal lighter colored sand underneath. Because there isn't much rain or wind in the area, the designs are still clearly visible even though they were made between 500 and 2000 years ago.
When people first saw the Nazca Lines from planes some suggested that aliens must have made them. But they were actually made by ancient people who lived in what is now Peru. Pottery has been found in the area with pictures that are similar to those on the ground. Some early researchers thought the lines were used for astronomy or as some kind of calendar.
Reasearchers think now that the lines were most likely made for religious reasons. These ancient people believed in what are called sky gods. The pictures were probably made to be seen by them. Very little rain falls in this area. The lines may have been part of a ritual asking the gods to send rain.
While these geoglyphs are amazing to see, some archaeologists think they wouldn't have been very difficult to make. But it definitely took a huge amount of time and effort to create these vast drawings in the desert sand.