Nazca Lines (næzkə) are a series of ancient geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert in southern Peru.
Located in the arid Peruvian coastal plain, some 400 km south of Lima, the geoglyphs of Nasca and the pampas of Jumana cover about 450 km2.
Although some local geoglyphs resemble Paracas motifs, scholars believe the Nazca Lines were created by the Nazca culture between 400 and 650 AD.
Hundreds are simple lines or geometric shapes; more than seventy are zoomorphic designs of animals such as birds, fish, llamas, jaguar, monkey, lizard or human figures. Other designs include phytomorphic shapes such as trees and flowers.
The lines are shallow designs made in the ground by removing the reddish pebbles and uncovering the whitish/grayish ground beneath. The largest figures are over 200 metres (660 ft) across. Scholars differ in interpreting the purpose of the designs, but in general they ascribe religious significance to them.
ntensive study of the geoglyphs and comparison with other manifestations of contemporary art forms suggests that they can be divided into three chronological phases. The first dates from the Chavín period (500-300 BC) and is characterized by the technique of forming figures by piling stones. This was an important time of cultural developments in the Andean region, with strong influence exerted in the Inca region from the north by the Formative Middle Late Culture. The local development known as Paracas represents the second phase (400-200 BC), again strongly influenced from the north. The town of Paracas adapted its culture skilfully to its severe location and achieved a high level of artistic development.
The third phase, which represents the great majority of the geoglyphs, is the Nazca phase proper (200 BC-AD 500). The Nazca culture derived directly from that of Paracas. The Andean towns developed a powerful religious system which produced, along with Moche on the northern coast of Peru, an outstanding culture represented by its handicrafts (notably pottery) and textiles. Most of the geoglyphs of this period are located close to villages of this culture, such as La Quebrada del Frayle, Cahuachi, Palpa and Ingenio, concentrated in Pampa de Jumana.
Two techniques were used to define the geoglyphs. In the earlier Chavín period they were defined in outline, the gravel being removed and piled inwards, so as to leave the figures in slight relief. For the most part, however, the technique used was the removal of the gravel from the figure, providing a solid figure that contrasts with its surroundings.
Few believe that the Nazca lines of Peru seem to be landing signal for the air chariots of pre-Colombian times.
Some ancient hindu scripts also lead to conclusion that area of Nazca desert could be Ancient Airport of King Bali.
The area was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.