domingo, 8 de abril de 2018

New lines come to light in the Nazca desert

These days Peru is celebrating one of the most important archaeological discoveries of recent years: the appearance of a new series of up to 50 geoglyphs in the Palpa desert, in the southern province of Ica.

These new lines are located very close to the famous Nazca Lines (elaborated between the beginning of our era and 650 A.D. in an area of 750 km2), which were declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994.

The figures of the Palpa desert have been recorded between December 2017 and February this year by a multidisciplinary group of archaeologists, who used drones to record these geoglyphs from 20 to 30 meters high.

In statements to the local newspaper El Comercio, the leader of the group of specialists, Jhony Isla Cuadrado, reported that some 25 geoglyphs had not been documented to date, while the rest were mostly known by the locals.

Palpa Lines, Palpa Lines Discovery, Nazca Lines and Palpa Lines
A group of people with headdresses called the "royal family" in San Ignacio de Palpa
Photo: Diego Ochoa (El Comercio)
One of the main differences that exist between the Nazca Lines and these new geoglyphs its while the first ones were traced in the earthy soil of the Ica desert, the Palpa Lines are created on the slopes of the hills surrounding their valleys.

Another noteworthy detail is that the figures of Palpa were earlier than those of the Nazca (possibly between 500 BC and the early years of our time), belonging to the Paracas and Topará cultures.

The specialists were funded by the National Geographic Society to carry out this research.

Isla said in statements to the same media that although several groups of these figures had already been previously recorded by the Nasca-Palpa Archaeological Project, directed by Markus Reindel and himself, the work with drones allowed a "more detailed and systematic record of the areas".

Palpa Lines, Palpa Lines Discovery, Nazca Lines and Palpa Lines
Geoglyphs known as "The Monkey and the Dancer", which is located on a hill
Photo: Luis Jaime Castillo (El Comercio)
Meaning of Palpa Lines

The meaning of these geoglyphs - like those of Nazca - is still a question mark. According to the archaeologist and co-discoverer of these new glyphs, Luis Jaime Castillo, "most of these figures are warriors" who "could be seen from a certain distance".

As for the Nazca Lines, the theory most accepted by researchers is that they served as a "guide" for pilgrims traveling to the sacred city of Cahuachi. Of those of Palpa we still speak of hypotheses, perhaps a demonstration of the power of the Paracas culture or a tribute to the gods.

As for Isla, he says: "We know who made them, but one of things we need to find out is what it meant, whether they were in the same cosmological system as the Nazca or had another meaning. This is brand new," he said.

Finally, the also official of the Ministry of Culture, said that the geoglyphs of Palpa must be protected, delimited and made projects to enhance their value. There is no doubt that the State will take action to give greater relevance to this great discovery.

Palpa Lines, Palpa Lines Discovery, Nazca Lines and Palpa Lines
Human Figures. Photo: Karla Patroni (El Comercio)
Tourist potential of the Palpa Lines

Last year, about 92,000 people flew over the Nazca Lines, most of them over the pampas, which are home to the well-known figures of the monkey, hummingbird and spider.

The discovery of these new figures therefore has great tourist potential to further promote the destination of Nazca and Ica province among the favorites of tourists from around the world.

From the Ministry of Culture visitors are asked to respect the rules of entry to the pampas area (which is mostly intangible). The Palpa Lines also have the advantage of being visible from the ground, without having to hire an airplane at an extra cost.

Esteban García, Peru Travels Blog
April 2018

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