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Constructing the Geoglyphs

The Nasca lines are located in a region of Peru just over 200 miles southeast of Lima, clustered around the modern city of Nasca. In total, there are over 800 straight lines, 300 geometric figures, and 70 animal and plant designs, also called biomorphs. Some of the straight lines run up to 30 miles long, while the biomorphs range in length from 50 to 1,200 feet, or as long as the Empire State Building is tall.

While the arid land on which the Nasca settled may not have been extremely fertile soil for agriculture, it was the best canvas for their geoglyphs, and these markings have lasted for centuries in the dry climate of these southern valleys. The Nasca would create lines in the sand by stripping away some of the stones layered over lighter sand. Archaeologists believe both the construction and the maintenance of the lines were communal activities.

Click below to learn more about how the Nasca constructed these linear and spiral geoglyphs.

Text Source: Hall, Stephen. (2010, March). "Peru's Nasca Lines." National Geographic, 217(3), 66.
Photo Credit:
  • Fernando G. Baptista / National Geographic Creative