(Reuters) – More than a hundred new geoglyphs have recently been discovered on the ancient Peruvian plain Boy The surrounding areas could shed new light on the mysterious pre-Columbian artifacts that have intrigued scholars and visitors for decades.
After two years of field studies using aerial photography and drones, Peruvian and Japanese researchers from Yamagata University reported earlier this month the discovery of 168 new designs at a UNESCO World Heritage site on Peru’s southern Pacific coast.
Geoglyphs, huge figures carved in the deserts of South America, date back more than 2,000 years and represent humans, cats, snakes, orcas, native birds, camels, and animals such as llamas, guanacos, and alpacas.
Jorge Olano, chief archaeologist for the Nazca Lines Research Programme, explained that the new figures had an average length of between two and six metres. Why the Nazca Lines, which can only be seen from the air, were created remains a mystery.
Masato Sakai, a Yamagata University professor who led the study, told Reuters the carvings uncovered this month are smaller and can be seen from the ground.
An iconic remnant of Peru’s rich history, the numbers are located about a three-hour drive from the capital, Lima.
Researchers have already discovered 190 figures in the area since 2004. But the vastness of the land they cover has complicated efforts to study and preserve the heritage.
Yamagata University says the research will be used in studies that rely on artificial intelligence to help preserve the lines.
The university’s studies, in collaboration with the Peruvian government, have helped identify and protect an area facing threats from urban and economic development.
“Some geoglyphs are at risk of being destroyed due to the recent expansion of mining-related workshops in the archaeological park,” Sakai said.
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