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Past Watch Site
LINES AND GEOGLYPHS OF NASCA
Nasca, Ica Region, Peru
In the arid coastal plain south of Lima, Peru, figures etched in the earth thousands of years ago, and visible only from high above, capture the curiosity of the world. The geoglyphs of Nasca and the pampas of Jumana, known informally as the Nasca Lines, date from 500 B.C. to 500 A.D. Covering an area of more than 450 square kilometers along low foothills and desert, these pre-Columbian archaeological wonders were created by the removal of the dark sand and iron oxide-coated gravel surface to reveal the pale ground underneath. The vast figural representations—including creatures, plants, and geometric designs—are attributed to three distinct phases of development that correspond to the Chavín, Paracas, and Nasca cultures of the region. They are believed to have had ritual astronomical functions.
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, the lines and geoglyphs of Nasca have since become an important tourist destination in Peru. Conservation challenges, including tourism management and the potential for flooding from El Niño, have necessitated the development of a master plan to ensure long-term preservation and stewardship. Implementation of the plan, through institutional collaboration and community engagement, will be a next critical step to ensure that these enigmas of the past continue to fascinate generations to come.
In December 2014, Greenpeace activists laid out a message near the figure of the hummingbird, one of Nasca’s most recognizable figures, spurring controversy. The country’s Ministry of Culture charged Greenpeace for damages to the site, prompting Greenpeace to recognize the harm to the lines and publicly apologize. In August 2015, the Minister of Culture and the U.S. Ambassador in Peru announced the allocation of $150,000 to the site through the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation. The funds will be used in the survey, preservation, and delimitation of the site. July 2015
IN THE MEDIA
- Susana Baca anuncia cooperación internacional para preservar Líneas de Nasca
Andina, October 16, 2011
- Famous Nasca Lines of Peru at Risk, Say Conservationists
Popular Archaeology, November 14, 2011
- Nazca Lines threatened by tourism
The Daily Telegraph, December 1, 2011
WORLD MONUMENTS WATCH DAY
Nasca and Palpa celebrated Watch Day with traditional dance performances, drawing contests, photo exhibits, and public conferences. Schoolchildren from each town participated in the drawing contest, interpreting the majestic landscape of the lines and geoglyphs of Nasca and Palpa.