Researchers Discover Over 100 New Ancient Designs in Peru’s Nazca Lines

More than a hundred new designs discovered in and around Peru’s ancient Nazca plain and surrounding areas could bring new information to light about the mysterious pre-Columbian artworks that have intrigued scientists and visitors for decades.

Following two years of field surveys with aerial photos and drones, Peruvian and Japanese researches from Yamagata University earlier this month reported the discovery of 168 new designs at the UNESCO World Heritage site on Peru’s southern Pacific coast.

The geoglyphs, huge figures carved into the South American desert, date back more than 2,000 years and represent humans, cats, snakes, killer whales, birds and native camalids — animals such as llamas, guanacos and alpacas.


The team has been searching for geoglyphs in this area for nearly a decade now. The newfound earthen artwork brings their discoveries to 358 geoglyphs in total, they said in the statement. 

The team is helping develop artificial intelligence that can detect geoglyphs by analyzing aerial images. While AI was not used to find the 168 new geoglyphs, the team hopes to use the new geoglyphs to “teach” the system to find more as they comb the countryside for more of these ancient depictions, said Sakai. “We are using these detected geoglyphs for the AI research we are currently conducting,” Sakai noted. 

It appears that some of the 168 new geoglyphs were made, in part, by piling stones on top of each other, Jennings said. This is interesting as many of the other Nazca lines were created by removing soil and exposing the white surface underneath. 


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