The Odyssey

 
 
Basecamp
Trek Connect
Time Machine

 
 
Home  
Monica Dispatch

Is it a Bird? Is it a Monkey?

Click image for larger view
Monica sets off for an aerial view of the Nazca animal designs!
caption

Imagine that you are walking across the desert. It is almost dawn and the air is cool and dry. You look down and see bright yellow lines like a yellow brick road. You climb up the hill for a bird's eye view of the lines, and you realize that from above, the lines look like a giant bird, 450 ft. long! (Thatís longer than a city block!) And there's a huge design of a monkey! And over there it looks like an enormous spider! Who made these lines? Why were they used? No one really knows all the answers, but there are many guesses.

Click image
for larger view
Some of the designs you'll find at Nazca
caption
It is believed that people who lived in the Nazca area between 900BC and 600AD made the lines. Maybe the lines were an astronomical calendar - the designs could point to certain stars in the sky. Some people believe that the lines were used as an agricultural reminder so that the people would know when the rain would arrive and when it would be time for planting. Another guess is that the lines are walkways that people used to go between ceremonial sites. The wildest guess is that since the designs are best seen from high above, that aliens from outer space made them, and that they were trails left as runways for spaceships. What is your guess?

Click image for larger view
A hummingbird, one of the many animal line designs at Nazca
caption
Click image for larger view
At the Museo Nacional in Lima, Nazca pottery of a monkey with four fingers on one hand and five on the other, just like the one on the pampa
caption

map
In a 1988 experiment with Peruvian schoolchildren, it was found that it takes about 21,000 person-hours to create a simple line. Thatís about 2 and a half years! If you had 20,999 friends helping you, maybe you could design a figure in an hour. If you have some interesting ideas and an eye for clues, perhaps YOU can come and help find the solution to this age-old puzzle. In the meantime, the lines and figures of Nazca sprawl beneath the desert sky as grand, silent reminders of one culture's imagination, creativity, and expression.

Monica

Kevin - Hungry? How about some Cuy?
 
Meet Monica
 
Meet Monica
  Basecamp | Trek Connect | Time Machine
Home