National / Science & Health

Yamagata University team finds 143 ancient geoglyphs in Peru's Nazca grasslands

JIJI

Yamagata University has announced the discovery of 143 geoglyphs on the Nazca Pampa and surrounding areas in Peru, including one found in a study using artificial intelligence technology.

The university’s team, led by professor Masato Sakai, found 142 geoglyphs, including representations of humans, snakes and birds, through analysis of high-resolution images of the areas and fieldwork there between 2016 and 2018. The geoglyphs found are believed to have been created between 100 B.C. and 300 A.D.

The research was based on a hypothesis that many geoglyphs were created along small paths in the western region of the Nazca Pampa, according to the university’s announcement Friday.

The team conducted the AI-based study with cooperation from IBM Japan Ltd. between 2018 and 2019. The world’s first such study analyzed aerial photographs using deep-learning techniques to look for what were considered likely to be geoglyphs.

Based on the analysis results, the team started fieldwork and discovered a geoglyph depicting a human carrying a cane.

The university, located in Yamagata Prefecture, had found many other geoglyphs during past research conducted until 2015.