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"The geometric ones could indicate the flow of water or be connected to rituals to summon water. The spiders, birds, and plants could be fertility symbols. Other possible explanations include: irrigation schemes or giant astronomical calendars." - Cynthia Stokes Brown

In 1927, Today, millions of people fly, and everyone who does views the ground thousands of feet below. But in 1927, air traffic was a relatively new phenomenon, especially in the wilds of southern Peru, and when the first planes passed over the sprawling expanse of the Nazca Desert, passengers looking out their windows saw an incredible sight that they could hardly believe. On the baked desert floor, someone had carved broad, perfectly straight lines that ran for miles. Even more amazingly, some of the lines twisted together to form the shapes of animals, birds, and insects. But when the lines were investigated further, it was discovered that they were mostly undetectable from ground level. As researcher Viktoria Nikitzki put it, "The lines themselves are superficial, they are only 10 to 30 cm deep." Since their discovery, these "geoglyphs" (the name for any large carving viewable from the air) have attracted attention from the around the world, and their popularity is matched only by the mystery surrounding them. Why were they created? Who drew the lines? What technology did they use to fashion them? Their beauty and mystery have, at times, led to farfetched theories that have credited extraterrestrials.

©2012 Charles River Editors (P)2015 Charles River Editors

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