Beyond the Pampa: the geoglyphs in the Valleys of Nazca

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Archaeological survey undertaken in 1988-1989 in the Ingenio and middle Grande Valleys on the south coast of Peru was designed to generate new data about the social, political, and economic organization of the famous but poorly understood ancient Nasca culture (ca. 200 BC to AD 600). The survey area borders the geoglyph-marked Pampa de San Jose. In the course of reconnaissance, 69 new ground markings were identified on the hillsides of the valleys. Data indicate that the vast majority of geoglyphs - on and off the pampa - were elaborated by Nasca peoples during the Early Intermediate Period rather than hundreds of years later as other scholars have argued. Archaeological associations and ethnographic analogy suggest that the geoglyphs were intimately involved in Nasca social, religious, and political life. Support for the popular theory that the lines were astronomical in function is minimal. -Author

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-456
Number of pages22
JournalNational Geographic Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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