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4922Ancient Earth Drawings Found in Peru

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  • John-Brian Paprock
    Mar 2, 2005
      Ancient Earth Drawings Found in Peru

      Mon Feb 28, 7:25 AM ET

      LIMA, Peru - Archaeologists have discovered a group of giant figures scraped
      into the hills of Peru's southern coastal desert that are believed to
      predate the country's famed Nazca lines.

      About 50 figures were etched into the earth over an area roughly 90 square
      miles near the city of Palpa, 220 miles southeast of Lima, El Comercio
      newspaper reported.

      The drawings — which include human figures as well as animals such as birds,
      monkeys, and felines — are believed to be created by members of the Paracas
      culture sometime between 600 and 100 B.C., Johny Islas, the director of the
      Andean Institute of Archaeological Studies, told the newspaper.

      One prominent figure appears to represent a deity commonly depicted on
      textiles and ceramics from the period, Islas said.

      The recently discovered designs predate the country's famous Nazca lines,
      which have mystified scientists and were added to the United Nation's
      Cultural Heritage list in 1994.

      The Nazca lines — which also include pictographs of various animals — cover
      a 35-mile stretch of desert some 250 miles south of Lima and are one of
      Peru's top tourist attractions. The Nazca culture flourished between 50 B.C.
      and 600 A.D., Islas said.

      The lines, thousands of them in all, were made by clearing darker rocks on
      the desert surface to expose lighter soil underneath.