Nazca Marie Reiche
Was there a plan, a purpose to the enormous sweep of swirls and spirals and geometric shapes that make up the Nazca plain? The enigma of the Nazca lines has been called one of the most baffling in all archaeology, shrouded in myth and mystery. Explore the mystery as we reveal the ancient magic of the Nazca lines and the enigmatic, ancient Carved Stones of Ica, record of a vanished civilization with space-faring capability.
Is there meaning in the maze?
The Ancients of the Nazca Plains breathed life into the parched Peruvian wasteland with incredible indelible artworks created across hundreds of square miles of the desert surface. Their canvas called the Pampa Colorada meaning Red Plain for the reddish-brown stones that characterize its surface, is a plateau 37 miles long and l5 miles wide – a huge chalkboard. On it is etched works of monumental proportion, a montage of geometric formations called “geoglyphs” with whimsical portrayals of animals, birds, and human forms in astronomical alignments, star-maps, and labyrinths! Neither carved nor painted these images represent artistry of another medium – by clearing away the dark, rust-colored surface stones and exposing the light-colored sub-soil beneath, marvelous patterns were created in the contrasting soil.
Runways, and thousands of criss-crossing, zig-zagging, radiating, oscillating, and parallel lines ranging in widths from six inches to over six feet in every direction! Some extend as far as six miles continuing ever-straight and unbroken over valleys and hills! Figures of fanciful birds – l8 different kinds creating a veritable aviary in the mixed menagerie that prowls the pampa. The giant curly tailed monkey would fill a football stadium. The long lizard is twice the monkeys length. And the spider, small by comparison, covers 150’ of the desert floor and is believed by some to represent an alignment to the constellation of Orion!
Agriculture was the center of Nazca life and everything seemed to flow from it. The Lines themselves may have been built for that purpose, intended for rituals, to insure crop fertility, predict the seasons, and align with the stars. Although the Nazca civilization flourished between 200 B.C. and 600 A.D. no one really knows the origins of the ancient designers of the Nazca Lines. These markings on the vast plateau are enduring monuments to the creative ingenuity of the ancients.
The Nazca “Star & Cross” Geoglyph
THE LADY OF THE LINES
In the year 1939 an American professor of history, Dr. Paul Kosok, of Long Island University, came to Nazca, his specialty was ancient irrigation systems, which he had studied in the north of Peru that year. Interested in investigating the newly discovered area, that some had speculated were ancient irrigation canals, Kosok ventured to the Nazca Pampa. Upon close examination he concluded that the ground surface was much too superficial to have carried water, but during his research something else soon became apparent, the first Nazca “figures” including a bird, were revealed.
Kosak went on to locate an area where straight lines created a star-like array, then quite by accident something more dazzling was revealed, the first solstice alignment which he photographed by chance on the 21st of June, the winter Solstice in the southern hemisphere.
As his tenure in Peru had expired and unable to follow up on the discovery, he asked a young research assistant, Maria Reiche, who’d, been living in Peru for eight years at the time, to continue the research. This she agreed to do. “
In 1946 Maria Reiche would discover many more solstice markers and begin her life’s work, mapping the celestial matrix of the Nazca Pampa. Four decades later she was asked what events in her life had prepared her for this lifelong passion, and she replied, “It was a kind of destiny. When I first came to Peru by sea the ship went passing through the center of four consecutive rainbows, four arcs, one inside the other! It was a marvelous spectacle. It must have been some kind of prediction or something. Imagine a boat, a boat driving through the open sea, passing through arching rainbows that touched the waves. Everything had prepared me for this life. The isolation into which I found myself, my parents putting me aside after my brother was born, my shortsightedness not being detected, all made me an introvert. It made me aloof because I was never the popular type. Now the tourists have made me popular. I was never popular! I sometimes wanted to be, but I could never be. What compelled me on this quest was my curiosity. I wanted to know!”
Maria Reiche Nazca Theory
in her own words . . .
I began my research in 1940, but then the war came and Peru joined the allies. We Germans were not allowed to leave Lima. In ’46 I could see that the solstice lines existed in different places especially from centers, of which almost every one of them has one, or two, solstice lines. There are also solstice triangles! In general, one can say that not only straight lines, but also the edges of triangles and quadrangles, have specific directions which are repeated everywhere. More than sun directions there are moon directions, which is in agreement with the knowledge that the moon was observed before the sun.
For instance, the big quadrangle beside the figure of the spider is a moon direction and the other one beside the figure of the Heron with the winding neck, is one side in the single direction and the other side in the solstice direction! Such a quadrangle could have served to predict eclipses, which were a powerful means of subjecting the people. Even Columbus used an eclipse to frighten the people as he knew the correct time to do so.
During this work of measuring lines I saw that there were many figures.
I could recognize them because I had seen one! Others couldn’t.
That is why the Pan American highway cut the figure of the lizard in half. Before the highways construction in 1938 people drove randomly over the lines and figures without seeing anything! From the air the figures were not visible either due to the nature of the soil at the time. You see the figures are of a whitish color on a brown surface, this brown surface is a thin covering of dark stone about 10 cm, which suffers the process of oxidation giving the entire region its particular brownish effect. Underneath the soil is still whitish, not brown, comprised of a mixture of rock that had been split into small fragments due to extreme temperatures, and clay, which ultimately was blown away by strong winds coming down from the Andes. The huge basin was filled with this mixture creating this flat surface we call the Pampa. This is why we only have these small pebbles on the surface.
There are extremely strong winds here, even sandstorms, but the sand never deposits over the drawings. On the contrary, the wind has a cleansing effect taking away all the loose material. This way the drawings were preserved for thousands of years. It is also one of the driest places on earth, drier then the Sahara. It rains only half an hour every two years! Now all this has changed due to air pollution. Huge masses of dust and sand blow in from a large iron mine southwest of Nasca and fill the entire region with contamination, this produces precipitation, not enough for agriculture, but enough to endanger the figures.
The figures, the drawings, are very superficial furrows never more then 30 cm in depth, and very shallow. For this reason the wind has obscured them by filling them with small dark pebbles from the surrounding surface like grain, making them difficult to detect from the air. To make them more accessible for viewing I cleaned them with a broom, one broom after another throughout the years. I went through so many brooms rumors circulated that I might be a witch!
I presented the Peruvian Air force with charts of the figures of the Pampa, and this began a wonderful cooperation between us resulting in many photographic flights. Read More . . .
Maria Reiche 1903 – 1998