Team finds more Peru geoglyphs

YAMAGATA (Kyodo) A Japanese research team has discovered two geoglyphs on Peru’s Nazca Plateau, which is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its gigantic lines and geoglyphs.

The team, led by Masato Sakai, professor at Yamagata University’s faculty of literature and social sciences, said Tuesday that the newly discovered geoglyphs appear to represent a human head and an animal.

In 2006, the same team announced the discovery of about 100 geoglyphs on the Nazca Plateau, many in the form of straight lines and triangles.

Faculty chief Yoichi Watanabe told reporters the geoglyphs were found about 10 km from northern Nazca, where gigantic geoglyphs of animals, fish and insects are located. A temple is situated near the site of the new finds.

“It is unusual to find geoglyphs of living things in this part of the plateau,” Watanabe said.

He said the geoglyph of what appears to be a human head measures around 4.2 meters long and 3.1 meters wide and that the researchers confirmed parts that look like two eyes, a mouth and the right ear.

An analysis of earthenware discovered near the site indicates the geoglyph of the human head was created in the early Nazca civilization period or earlier. The Nazca civilization flourished between around 200 B.C. and 600.

The other geoglyph of what appears to be an animal measures about 2.7 meters long and 6.9 meters wide.

The date of its creation has not been determined.

The Japanese team began studies at the site on the Nazca Plateau in August with the permission of Peru’s Culture Ministry.

The two newly found geoglyphs were probably not identified in aerial surveys because they are small, Watanabe said.

He also said the team has filed a report on the discoveries with Peru’s Culture Ministry and it would look into the relations between the newly found geoglyphs and the nearby temple.

Nazca is located on the southern coast of Peru, about 400 km south of Lima.

The lines and geoglyphs of Nazca and the Pampas of Jumana were added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 1994.

The lines, which were etched between 500 B.C. and 500, are among archaeology’s greatest mysteries because of their number, form and size. The lines and geoglyphs cover about 450 sq. km.