Category Archives: PERU

Gigantic 2,000-Year-Old Geoglyph of an Orca Is One of the Earliest in Peru

Gigantic 2,000-Year-Old Geoglyph of an Orca Is One of the Earliest in Peru

A giant geoglyph of the killer whale, carved to a desert hillside in the remote Palpa region of southern Peru after being lost to science for over 50 years, has now been rediscovered by archeologists.

The rediscovered orca geoglyph lies on a desert hillside in the remote Palpa region of southern Peru.

According to the researchers, the 230-foot-long (70 meters) orca figure – considered a powerful, semimythical creature in ancient Peruvian lore — may be more than 2,000 years old, according to the researchers.

It is said to be one of the oldest geoglyphs in the Palpa region, older than those in the Nazca region known for its vast collection of ancient ground markings– the Nazca lines – which include animal figures, straight lines, and geometric shapes.

Archaeologist Johny Isla, the head of Peru’s Ministry of Culture in Ica province, which includes the Palpa and Nazca valleys, explained that he saw a single photograph of the orca pattern for the first time about four years ago. He’d seen it while researching studies of geoglyphs at the German Archaeological Institute in Bonn.

The photograph appeared in an archaeological catalog of geoglyphs printed in the 1970s, which was based on research carried out in Palpa and Nazca by German archaeologists in the 1960s, Isla said.

But the location and size of the orca geoglyph were not well-described in the catalog, Isla told Ancient Origins in an email.

As a result, he said, the glyph’s whereabouts in the desert hills of the Palpa Valley, about 250 miles (400 kilometers) south of Lima, were by then unknown to local people or to scientists.

After returning to Peru, Isla looked for the orca geoglyph on Google Earth and then on foot. “It was not easy to find it, because the [location and description] data were not correct, and I almost lost hope,” he said. “However, I expanded the search area and finally found it a few months later,”

Orca art

After documenting the rediscovery, Isla led a team of six specialists from Peru’s Ministry of Culture in an effort to clean and restore the orca geoglyph in March and April this year.

Before the restoration, the geoglyph was disappearing due to erosion and the passage of time. “Being drawn on a slope, it is easier [for it] to suffer damage than [for] those figures that are in flat areas, such as those of the Nazca Pampa,” he said.

Until the restoration this year, time and erosion had almost obliterated the ancient orca geoglyph to untrained eyes.

The creators of the orca drew it on the hillside in negative relief by removing a thin layer of stones to form the outline of the figure. This is similar to the technique used by the people of the Nazca culture to create geoglyphs from about 100 B.C. to A.D. 800.

But some contrasting parts of the rediscovered pattern, such as the eyes, were created out of piles of stones, the researchers said. This technique was used by people of the older Paracas culture, who occupied the region from around 800 B.C. to 200 B.C.

Soil tests have indicated that the orca geoglyph dates from around 200 B.C. The style of the pattern and its location on a hillside, rather than on a plain, suggest that it may be one of the oldest geoglyphs in the region, said one of Isla’s colleagues, Markus Reindel of the German Archaeological Institute, in an interview in a German newspaper.

Isla said that before the restoration earlier this year, it would have been hard for a layperson to see the orca. “With the eyes of an archaeologist, and after having seen the photo in the catalog and later in Google Earth, it was not very difficult,” he said. “However, [for] the eyes of a person without these advantages, it was a bit difficult.” 

Mysterious Giant Stone Sculpture of Aramu muru north of Chucuito Peru

Mysterious Giant Stone Sculpture of Aramu muru north of Chucuito Peru

Many people here only see an unfinished work by ancient masons. Nevertheless, other local legends tell something else — Aramu Muru is called a gateway to a realm of spirit.

It is unclear when and who made Aramu Muru – but presumably before the Incas. No archaeological research has been done here.

This massive stone gateway is located in the uncommon location of Hayu Marca Stone Forest (‘the city of the Goods’), on the banks of Lake Titicaca. Giant crests of red granite rise from the dry soil of Altiplano here. Erosion processes have formed natural bridges, weird grottoes, and natural sculptures. Often it is hard to tell whether some weird shapes have been formed by nature or by humans.

Mysterious giant stone sculpture of Aramu Muru, north of Chucuito, Peru

Aramu Muru is cut in the side of one such granite crest. This portal is 7 m high and 7 m wide, with a “T” shaped alcove in the bottom middle. The surface of the portal is polished. Alcove is some 2 m high – one man can fit into it. In the center of the alcove is a smaller depression.

On the other side of the cliff in earlier times was located a tunnel, which is blocked now with stones to prevent mishaps with children. Some believe that this tunnel was going to Tiahuanaco.

Similar Monuments

It seems – there are no similar landmarks in the Americas. Often there is noted that Aramu Muru is similar to the Sun Gate in the nearby Tiwanaku – but Wondermondo does not see many similarities.

Gate of the Sun

Aramu Muru has some principal similarities to the unfinished rock-cut architecture in India. Son Bhandar Caves (Bihar) have an unfinished portal inside the rock-cut cave. Local legends there tell about incredible riches inside.

Son Bhandar Caves, India.

Local tourist guide Jose Luis Delgado Mamani had unusual dreams in the 1990s. He saw a weird, red mountain with a gate cut in it. The door of this portal was open and blue, shimmering light was shining out of it.

Mamani was surprised to find mountains similar to the ones in his dream. He asked the local old men whether there are some gates cut in these cliffs – and, yes, they confirmed – there is a gate. Some tried to dissuade Mamani from going there – “this is the true gate to the hell”.

When Mamani reached the gate, he almost passed out from excitement – this was the site that he saw in his dreams. This story made into local newspapers and somewhat later – into the international press. The old, exotic story about Aramu Muru became popular again.

Legend about Aramu Maru

According to a local legend (maybe – a bit embellished by some contemporary mystics), this gate leads to the spirit world or even – to the world of gods.

Portal for the Immortals

The portal was made in the distant past. In those times the great heroes could pass the portal and join the pantheon of gods. Sometimes though these gods return to the land through these gates “to inspect all the lands in the kingdom”.

Golden Discs 

Legends tell that the gate was open for a while in the 16th century. Back then Spanish Conquistadors were looting the immense treasures in Cusco city and slaughtering local people.

In the most important Inca temple – in Coricancha temple (now the Church of Santo Domingo stands there) – were located especially valuable relics – the golden discs.

According to the legend, these discs were given by gods to Inca. Discs had powerful healing abilities. Two of these discs were seized by Spaniards, but the third one – the largest – disappeared without a trace.

Escape from Cusco to… The Otherworld

A priest of Coricancha temple – Aramu Muru – managed to escape from the deadly havoc in Cusco. He took the large golden disc with him.

Aramu Muru reached the Hayu Marca hills and hid there for a while. He stumbled on Inca priests – guardians of the portal and when the guardians saw the golden disc, there was arranged a special ritual at the gate.

This secret ritual opened the giant portal and blue light was shining from it. Aramu Muru entered the portal and has never been seen again. The gate got his name.

An archeologist and his team of nine students have been arrested in Peru

A Team of Archeologists Has Been Arrested in Peru for Violating Lockdown to Excavate Pre-Columbian Tombs

In Peru, an archeologist and his team of nine students were arrested for excavating on a pre-Colombian cemetery, following the national lock-up of that nation.

The group led by archeologist Pieter van Dalen was caught exploring during a state of emergency on Sunday 4 April at the Macatón Cemetery in the town of Huaral.

The team from the Regional Mayor of San Marcos University was taken into custody for breaking Peru’s extreme lock-down laws, despite claiming that they merely protected the national heritage left exposed to them in compliance with the Ministry of Culture.

Ruins in Hural in the Peruvian Andes.

The Peruvian minister of culture, Sonia Guillén, who is herself an archeologist, told local news outlet Canal N that she “deplores” the group’s actions in a time of national emergency. “It is regrettable and shameful,” Guillén said.

The archeological team had been given a permit to excavate at the archeological site about 50 miles north of the capital city of Lima, but the ministry of culture says in a statement that the permit had been “suspended” as a result of the current confinement period to protect public health, calling the subsequent breach an “irresponsible and unjustified action.”

“We call on the general population to respect all government provisions and especially to show commitment and solidarity with others,” the ministry says. 

Since the lockdown was imposed on March 16, more than 51,000 people have been arrested for flouting the rules, the Peruvian president Martin Vizcarra said on Monday.

The country has so far recorded nearly 3,000 cases of the virus and more than 100 deaths since it first broke out there in March.

Image courtesy the Ministerio de Cultura del Perú on Facebook

Van Dalen defended himself to the archeology magazine Lima Gris, explaining that when the state of emergency was declared, many tombs remained open, leaving valuable funerary items exposed to the elements or thefts.

In the interview, Van Dalen also claimed that the ministry of culture was aware that the team was continuing to work on the site in order to protect national heritage.

The archeologist says that he was left “between a rock and a hard place” because he signed a letter taking responsibility for any damage to the site between February and October 2020.

“If any of the people who travel through the archeological zone every day take any of these materials or destroy them, the ministry of culture will denounce me for the destruction of cultural heritage,” he said, adding that “the ministry of culture has not developed any protocol to safeguard these materials.” 

The Huaca Pucllana: A Massive Ancient Pyramid You Probably Never Knew Existed

The Huaca Pucllana: A Massive Ancient Pyramid You Probably Never Knew Existed

Lima, Peru is home to many wonders of the world including the Huaca Pucllana pyramid. Huaca Pucllana served as an administrative and ceremonial center in the pre-Inca Lima culture to elite clergymen. Today, Huaca Pucllana now offers its visitors a glimpse into the history of the ancient culture.

About Huaca Pucllana

The Huaca Pucllana is an adobe and clay pyramid located in the Miraflores district in centralized Lima, Peru. The pyramid has seven staggered levels.

The inhabitants of the area who built the pyramid lived 200 AD to 700 AD. Huaca Pucllana itself, however, was built around 500 AD. The process of uncovering Huaca Pucllana began in 1981 and in 1991 it became a historical and cultural park.

The pyramid once served as an important ceremonial and administrative center for the Lima Culture in the region. There is a plaza that surrounds the structure and a large wall dividing it into separate sections. A section of the plaza has benches and deep pits. Inside of this section is where they would perform ceremonies as well as make their sacrifices and offerings.

Another area of the plaza had an administrative section. Various small clay and adobe huts were once located inside the enclosure. You can find the intact remains of the “Señor de los Unkus” (The Lord of the Unkus). His remains were uncovered and are located in one of the tombs on the site.

The ancient civilization responsible for building the massive pyramid was notable for its architectural style, engineering skill as well as their mastery of irrigation which eventually led them to spread across a considerable amount of territory.

Surrounded by a vast desert, the ancient culture created intricate irrigation networks that allowed them to transport water from springs and rivers to their settlements.

The Pyramid, just as the Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna, was built using adobe bricks. Millions of Adobe bricks.

In 1991, the Peruvian Cultural Institute and the Municipality of Miraflores signed an agreement in 1991 that allowed the Huaca Pucllana pyramid to become a historical and cultural park in the city.

It is believed that the site where the pyramid is located was home to a number of smaller pyramids and plazas. The smaller structures are thought to have grown over time, as each new generation added to them.

The administrative center of Huaca Pucllana was composed of several patios, platforms and storage facilities. Scholars argue that the pyramid was mostly used as an administrative site for the irrigation zone of the city.

The entire pyramid complex is divided by a large wall that was built running from north to south. The site was also home to spaces that were most likely used by the ancients as meeting spots, storage rooms, and other production-related activities.

The western part was the religious center and is home to the pyramid which rises a towering 22 meters into the air. The Pyramid which is more than 400 meters wide was built with adobe bricks stacked horizontally on top of each other.

The pyramid, much smaller in size compared to the Great Pyramid of Giza was nonetheless a tremendous engineering feat of ancient times. The pyramid was most likely visible from several miles away when it was complete, some 1,500 years ago.

Today, it stands as evidence of the ingenuity and architectural complexity of pre-Columbian civilizations and developed cultures inhabiting the American continent long before the Europeans set foot on the New Continent.

The entire site shows the rich history of the region, spanning back to a time long before the Inca rule of the region.

Looking back at its size, complexity, and history, one cannot help but stand awestruck by the Pyramid’s irradiating beauty which in many images looks almost as if it was built by Minecraft builders in the real world.

2,000-Year-Old Monolith Engravings Recorded in Peru

2,000-Year-Old Monolith Engravings Recorded in Peru

A 2000-year-old jungle monolith decorated with circles, spirals and feline fangs has been 3D scanned in its remote Peruvian location.

Peru is a land of history, myths, and home of some of the most amazing ancient civilizations to ever live on Earth. Inhabited by various ancient cultures such as the Inca or the Tiwanaku and Nazca people, Peru is also home to some of the oldest pyramids ever erected in South America.

The ancient city-state of Caral, for example, was home to people who created some of the most impressive pyramids ever constructed in this part of the world.

But Peru hides many other secrets.

One such secret is a massive one-ton monolith believed to be around 2,000 years old. Not many people know about it, and only a few explorers have seen and documented its existence. Decorated with spirals, circular patterns, and fangs of a deity, the massive rock lies hidden in the north of the Peruvian jungle.

Despite the fact that locals knew of its existence, never has the massive monolith actually been submitted to analysis. Now researchers decided to investigate the massive rock, to see what they could learn. Scientists performed a three-dimensional scan that revealed several engravings adorning its surface.

The images and patterns are so abstract and ornate that they are difficult to describe in words. However, the researchers say that two fangs carved into the rock represent a deity known in archeology as “winged feline figure.”

A 3D scan of the monolith revealed striking symbols.

Reaching the location of the monolith is no easy task. To get there, the researchers began the trip from the town of Leymebaba. Their journey took them on a massive adventure: “we hiked, ran, rode horses through jungles from 6,000 feet [1,800 meters] up to 13,000 feet [4,000 m] to this really remote village where literally nobody goes,” explained Jason Kleinhenz, an application engineer at Exact Metrology, who scanned the monolith in an interview to Live Science.

The goal of the mission was to thoroughly document the monolith and its symbols, using an Artec 3D scanner, especially because the engravings on its surface are in danger of being lost forever due to wind and rain erosion.

Since the stone had remained unstudied and exposed to torrential rains, researchers feared that once they reached the monoliths location, the symbols had disappeared.

However, this was not the case.

Thankfully, when researchers finally arrived at the location where the massive monolith remained hidden, they found a plethora of symbols on its surface. sing their 3-D scanner, the researchers were able to find and document symbols that remained invisible to the naked eye, like the fangs of a winged feline figure. It is precisely this feline figure that helped experts date the massive rock and its symbols.

According to experts, the winged feline engraving indicates that the symbols that carved on the surface of the monolith were created during what archaeologists call the “formative period,” which occurred between 200 BC. and 200 A.D. Researchers note that despite the fact that there were no writings in Peru at that time, studies of other related archeological sites showed that this figure was popular in the area.

Fernandez-Davila stressed that the monolith was likely of great importance and may have been associated with other similar structures. “It’s iconic … only people of that period can carve it the way that it is,” Fernandez-Davila explained. The researchers further explained that the jungle valley where the monolith was placed was most likely “a very important and sacred place.”

What is extremely interesting is the fact that the monolith–which weighs around one ton, and is three meters long, 76 centimeters high and 1.5 meters wide–is made of sedimentary rock that is not found locally, which means that whoever carved it most likely hauled it into the jungle valley from somewhere else.

Dragging the monolith to its present location, though the dense jungle would have been an extremely difficult task, and likely required many people.

“That itself was a tremendous effort, a communal effort definitely,” Fernandez-Davila explained. Evidence that the area where the monolith was located was of great importance is the fact that during the Inca built two baths in close proximity of the monolith, around the 15th century AD.

To understand more about the area, the culture that may have carved the monolith, and the rock itself, researchers plan future expeditions that will hopefully reveal more clues and solve yet another ancient mystery.

Oddly the symbols engraved on top of the Peruvian monolith bear a certain resemblance to another monolith located in Brazil. The Pedra do Inga is a 6,000-Year-Old ancient monolith located in the interior of the Brazilian state of Paraíba. Most of the symbols etched on its surface are thought to depict animals, fruits, humans, constellations, but also a plethora of yet unrecognizable symbols and images. Its most striking symbols are believed to depict stars, the Milky Way as well as the constellation of Orion.

The Pedra do Inga in Brazil, is covered in strange symbols that experts believe are depictions of stars, galaxies, and even constellations.

The Pedra do Inga is much more massive than its Peruvian counterpart: it covers an area of approximately 250 square meters. Although it is difficult to ascertain the age of the rock, experts have proposed that rock formation and its mysterious symbol could be up to six thousand years old.

To date, experts have identified more than 400 engravings on the stone’s surface. Some of the spirals and circles depicted on the Peruvian Monolith bear a strange resemblance to the symbols etched on the Pedra do Inga in Brazil. Is it possible that both monoliths have astronomical importance? If the symbols etched on the Pedra do Inga depict constellations and galaxies, could the symbols on the Peruvian monolith convey the same meaning?

Are these two stones meant to convey the same message left behind by our ancestors? Did the same civilization create them? Does the Peruvian monolith also depict constellations and stars? Further studies will tell.

How ‘secret Inca city’ was found hiding below Amazon jungle rising ‘lost treasure’ hopes

How ‘secret Inca city’ was found hiding below Amazon jungle rising ‘lost treasure’ hopes

Some scholars consider the Incas to be the most powerful in the Americas, occupying the Peruvian mountains until 1572, when the Spaniards captured the last fortress.

Proof of this advanced civilization is still visible today, with Machu Picchu, the most famous tourist destination, becoming the most popular. The least known settlement of Choquequirao is hidden, however, in the shadows of this fortification of the 15th century, which is located 2430 meters above sea level.

Reachable only from a two-day hike from Cusco, this city was one of the last bastions of resistance and spans more than 18,000 square meters into the deep undergrowth of the Amazon jungle. 

Only around 30 percent of Choquequirao has been excavated and Amazon Prime’s “Mysterious World of the Inca” revealed why this location was key. 

The narrator said in 2009: “All across the former empire of the Incas we find numerous strange and mysterious places called Huaca, these were a kind of idol, which according to the Indians, had supernatural powers. 

“In addition to artificially created shrines, a Huaca could be practically anything, such as strangely shaped stones, mountains or lakes. 

How ‘secret Inca city’ was found hiding below Amazon jungle rising ‘lost treasure’ hopes
The lost city of the Inca
The place was chosen as a strategic location

“Many remained hidden from the Spanish like Choquequirao, another gem of Inca architecture escaped destruction at the hands of the conquerors. “This is thanks to its inaccessibility, as it hides in the shadows of the famous Machu Picchu. 

“It is likely that its significance was more practical than spiritual, on nearby slopes they grew cocoa, an ideal plant for the local climate.”  The series went on to reveal how this settlement was first uncovered.  The narrator added: “After the death of the last Inca, at the end of the 16th century, Choquequirao fell into oblivion.

The city hides many secrets

“The first Europeans arrived in this place only in the mid 19th century and the city, which means Cradle of Gold, was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham. 

“The character of the buildings, with typical trapezoidal windows and embrasure spaces, where residents placed their daily articles, is important, including the ingenious system of canals and precise orientation of the elegant buildings. 

“It was not noticed and thanks to the luxurious vegetation and nearly impassable terrain of the East Andes, the last ruler – Tupac Amaru – was able to rule over the last Inca territory not conquered by the Spanish.” 

However, the series went on to reveal how evidence of the last civilization may still remain below the undergrowth. 

The discovery was made in the rainforest
The discovery was made in the rainforest
Many secrets of the Inca are still surfacing

It continued: “Defended by several wild valleys and his trusted followers, he went to the very edge of the Amazon forest, forming the last secret city of the Incas. 

“After wading through the river, the Spanish force finally reached it thanks to information from a betrayer. 

“But perhaps the ruins of the palaces of the last Inca hide unknown secrets and they main contain part of the still undiscovered treasure of the Incas. 

“Somewhere the jungle is covering the last sanctuary of the great Inca sun god, but it will be many years before more is revealed.” 

Machu Picchu is both a cultural and natural UNESCO World Heritage Site, and since its discovery, a growing number of tourists have visited the site.  Now it is one of Peru’s most visited tourist attraction and major revenue generator, it is continually exposed to economic and commercial forces. 

In the late Nineties, the Peruvian government granted concessions to allow the construction of a cable car and a luxury hotel, including a tourist complex with boutiques and restaurants and a bridge to the site.  Many people protested the plans, saying that more visitors would pose a physical burden on the ruins. 

Archaeologists Discover 3,000-Year-Old Megalithic Temple Used by a ‘Water Cult’

Archaeologists Discover 3,000-Year-Old Megalithic Temple Used by a ‘Water Cult’ in Peru

The ruins of an ancient mega temple in Peru, believed to have been built some 3,000 years ago, are uncovered in an archeological excavation.

It is believed that the temple was dedicated to water worship. It was concluded by experts on the basis of the location of altars, their shape, and their position.

In the archeological complex Huaca El Toro, in Oyotún district of Peru’s Lambayeque, old megalithic remains were discovered.

Walter Alva, director of the Sipan Museum Royal Tombs, stated that the Temple is situated near the junction of two ancient rivers, the Nanchoc River and the Udima River Sacred Place.

It is precisely there where an ancient culture chose to construct a massive temple.

Although temples are not a rarity in Peru, this is the only megalithic structure that has been discovered so far in Peru’s Lambayeque region.

To the surprise of archaeologists, excavations revealed that the ancient temple had been constructed entirely of supermassive stones. The facade, as well as the side wall s of the temple, were all built using massive granite blocks.

Some of the megalithic stones bear messages on their surfaces. The symbols suggest that the massive granite blocks were hauled from sacred places.

The temple was used as a center for the worship of water. In front of the megalithic construction are altars representing the cult of water. Water is thought to have been considered divine at the time.

The temple was surrounded by tiny wells or “pocitos” that the ancient people used to predict rainy seasons.

Based on archeological evidence the researchers concluded that from around 1,500 BC to around 292 AD, as many as three construction phases took place.

The oldest of the three construction phases saw the use of smaller conical adobes where its builder used stones of smaller dimensions. The second construction phase was an evolution in construction techniques where larger stones were used.

It was in the third construction phase that its builders opted for the use of megalithic stones.

The temple features a circular column where archeologists discovered evidence of sedimentation of rains and rituals.

The temple faces the mountain and experts argue the structure was used strictly for ceremonial practices. They discovered signs of burning rock at the site. The ancients may as well have used the site to perform rituals linked to fertility.

The discovery also features a tomb from the Final Formative period during which the temple is thought to have lost importance. The archaeologists also uncovered around 20 tombs that belonged to the Chimu-Inca culture, indicating the tombs were probably reused in later times.

All of the tombs feature pottery fragments as well as metal objects that were placed as offerings next to the tombs.

Archeologists explained that the site is regarded as the central water cult temple for the entire Zaña Valley.

Around 300 BC when the Chavin culture lost power, the temple lost its importance which coincides with the appearance of smaller theocratic societies, farmers and warriors.

To build this site, ancient people had to move stones from mountains around 1.86 miles (3 kilometers) away.

Nazca Line Discoveries in Peru Suggest the Mysterious Geoglyphs Are Pervasive

Nazca Line Discoveries in Peru Suggest the Mysterious Geoglyphs Are Pervasive

In Peru, the Nazca Lines are the most mysterious archeological geoglyphs. For nearly a century, these humanoid, geometric forms and animal glyphs have confused experts.

Scientists from Japan now claim that up to 143 new images have been found near the UNESCO World Heritage site. One was discovered using new artificial intelligence and it is believed that this technology could now reveal a flood of more glyphs.

The Nazca Lines have been studied since 2004 by a group from Yamagata University in Japan headed by Prof. Masato Sakais, a specialist in Andean archeology.

They suspected that there were new geoglyphs still to be discovered. This was “based on an on-site investigation begun in 2010 as well as aerial pictures” reports Asahi.com. The Nazca Lines are on a plateau on the pampa and are some 250 miles (80 kilometers) south of Lima the capital of Peru.

A press release from IBM Research describes the manmade phenomena as “shapes of varying complexity – from simple geometric shapes and plants to zoomorphic designs of animals — some several hundreds of meters in length, etched into the terrain”.

The lines date from anywhere between 500 BC to 500 AD and they were created by pre-Incan people. They were possibly used as solar calendars or more likely for ceremonial purposes and many can be considered to be ritual art.

Asahi.com reports that “until now, it was thought that 80 or so geoglyphs exist”. However, the team from Yamagata University used drones and 3D data to identify up to 143 new geoglyphs. According to a press release by Yamagata University, ‘these geoglyphs depicted people and many different animals (including birds, monkeys, fish, snakes, foxes, felines, and camelids). One of the new images “shows a two-headed snake that appears to be devouring two people”.

Two-headed snake geoglyph, approximately 98 feet (30 meters) long.

The geoglyphs are of two types, depending on how they were made. The first category comes from the Early Nazca Period and consists of images made by removing black topsoil to reveal white sand.

The second type which was created somewhat later was made by placing earth and stones on the surface. It seems that some of the first types were used for ceremonial purposes and the second type was “produced beside paths or on sloping inclines and are thought to have been used as way posts when traveling” according to Yamagata University.

However, the Japanese team was faced with a number of challenges. They could not manage all the data that they retrieved. So the team and their faculty entered into an academic partnership with IBM Japan Ltd to exploit the tech company’s “extensive initiatives to analyze and leverage large, complex data sets, such as remote sensing and geographical data, with AI” reports Yamagata University.

Strange humanoid image found in the Nazca Pampa.

Yamagata archaeologists collaborated closely with IBM researchers, after a feasibility study that demonstrated the company’s Watson Machine Learning Community Edition, could help in identifying glyphs.

They utilized IBM PAIRS Geoscope, when they surveyed the Nazca Pampa, recently. This is a cloud-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that can analyze data from multiple datasets and is especially useful when it comes to geospatial evaluations.

The team used LiDAR, that uses lasers to make a 3D representation of the lines in the desert. They also used images from satellites and drones.

Data from on-the-ground geographical surveys were all collected. All this diverse data was inputted into PAIRS and its AI was able to integrate and evaluate the data in a matter of minutes where previously such an analysis would have taken months.

The researchers found a 15 foot (5 meters) long geoglyph of a humanoid figure. This figure appears to be “brandishing some form of the club” reports Fox News. Furthermore, “AI analysis of aerial footage indicated there are more than 500 other candidate sites” reports Ashai.com. One of these was subsequently proven to be a site of ritual art.

These finds are important in themselves but also demonstrated how AI could be used to speed up the process of identifying new Nazca Lines.

The new technology will be used along with fieldwork to further study the images that have been found. This will result in a map of the new geoglyphs and will help in the development of a comprehensive map for the entire location.

Not only can they help to locate new Nazca Lines, but IBMs technology can also help to preserve the UNESCO World Heritage site. “Professor Sakai and others have carried out activities to preserve this heritage site” in recent years report Yamagata University.

The mysterious glyphs are being threatened by the growth of nearby urban areas. It is hoped that AI technology can also play a part in determining the distribution of the lines so that they can be better protected.