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New Nazca Lines Discovered

Archaeologists in Peru announced the discovery of more than 160 new large-scale drawings, or geoglyphs, likely created by ancient Indigenous cultures more than two thousand years ago. Known as Nazca Lines, the designs were primarily made by scraping away desert topsoil to reveal white sand beneath and are only a foot or two deep. They were discovered within a roughly 170 square mile area previously designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Researchers used high-resolution aerial photography and drones to find the images, which measure between 6 to 20 feet in length and include outlines of humans, camelids, birds, orcas, felines, and snakes. The purpose of the designs is still unknown, but a few theories include that they depict deities, were a form of irrigation, and were a calendar with astrological alignments. See background on the lines here.

The new artwork brings the total found to 358 geoglyphs. Archaeologists hope to use the research in artificial intelligence-based surveys to help with discovery and aid preservation efforts.

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