Nazca Lines - Location
The Nazca Lines are located in the Nazca Desert, a high arid plateau that stretches between the towns of Nazca and Palpa on the pampa (a large flat area of southern Peru). The desolate plain of the Peruvian coast which comprises the Pampas of San Jose (Jumana), Socos, El Ingenio and others in the province of Nasca, is 400 Km. South of Lima, covers an area of approximately 450 km2, of sandy desert as well as the slopes of the contours of the Andes. They cover nearly 400 square miles of desert. Etched in the surface of the desert pampa sand about 300 hundred figures made of straight lines, geometric shapes most clearly visible from the air.
Archaeologists, ethnologists, and anthropologists have studied the ancient Nazca culture to try to determine the purpose of the lines and figures. One hypothesis is that the Nazca people created them to be seen by their gods in the sky. Kosok and Reiche advanced a purpose related to astronomy and cosmology: the lines were intended to act as a kind of observatory, to point to the places on the distant horizon where the sun and other celestial bodies rose or set in the solstices. Many prehistoric indigenous cultures in the Americas and elsewhere constructed earthworks that combined such astronomical sighting with their religious cosmology.
Some Nazca Lines Coordinates
Google Earth coordinates: 14º44'42.79" S - 75º04'47.08"O
Google Earth coordinates: 14º41'39.63" S - 75º07'21.72"O
Google Earth coordinates: 14º41'23.60" S - 75º06'29.41"O
Google Earth coordinates: 14º41'32.18" S - 75º08'57.05"O
Google Earth coordinates: 14º42'26.66" S - 75º08'20.38"O
Cahuachi, in Peru, was a major ceremonial center of the Nazca culture and overlooked some of the Nazca lines from 1 CE to about 500 CE. Italian archaeologist Giuseppe Orefici has been excavating the site for the past few decades, bringing a team down every year. The site contains over 40 mounds topped with adobe structures. It is a huge architectural complex covering 0.6 sq. miles (1.5 sq. km). It has also been studied by Helaine Silverman, who has written a book on Cahuachi.
The permanent population was quite small, but it was apparently a pilgrimage center that grew greatly in population for major ceremonial events. These events probably involved the Nazca lines and the giant sand dune of Nazca. Support for the pilgrimage theory comes from archaeological evidence of sparse population at Cahuachi and from the Nazca lines themselves which show creatures such as orca and monkeys which were not present in the Nazca region. Of course, trade or travel may explain the images. Due to the dry climate the finds are quite rich and include even such ephemeral material as clothing. Looting is the greatest problem facing the site today. Most of the burial sites surrounding Cahuachi were not known until recently and so present a very tempting target. It was once thought to be the mighty capital of the Nazca state. New research has suggested that 40 of the mounds were actually natural hills modified to appear as artificial constructions.