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Ten Amazing And Mysterious Geoglyphs From The Ancient World

The most well-known geoglyphs in the world are undoubtedly the Nazca Lines of coastal Peru. Yet, scattered across the globe are thousands of other geoglyphs that are equally as impressive.  The earth carvings remain one of archaeology’s greatest mysteries. Despite a plethora of research on these amazing creations, the purpose of geoglyphs continues to elude researchers and remains a matter of conjecture. Some scientists believe they are linked to the heavens, representing constellations in the night sky. Other experts believe that the lines played a role in pilgrimage, with one walking across them to reach a sacred place. Yet another idea is that the lines are connected with water, something vital to life yet hard to get in the desert. Here we examine ten alluring geoglyphs from across the planet.

The enigmatic Nazca lines of Peru

The enigmatic Nazca lines of Peru

Located in the arid Peruvian coastal plain, some 400 km south of Lima, the geoglyphs of Nazca cover an incredible 450 km2. They are among archaeology’s greatest enigmas because of their quantity, nature, size and continuity. The geoglyphs depict living creatures, stylized plants and imaginary beings, as well as geometric figures several kilometres long.  The startling feature of the Nazca geoglyphs is that they can only really be appreciated from the air, raising questions about how and why they were created. The Nazca lines number in their thousands and the vast majority of them date from 200 BC to 500 AD, to a time when a people referred to as the Nazca inhabited the region. The earliest lines, created with piled up stones, date as far back as 500 BC.  Although the lines can in fact be seen from the ground, there is nothing remotely exciting about seeing them from this perspective. However, from the air, their true beauty and the wonders of their creation can be realised. Despite a plethora of research on these amazing creations, the purpose of the lines continues to elude researchers and remains a matter of conjecture. Some scientists believe they are linked to the heavens with some representing constellations in the night sky. However, research has found that there are just as many lines not related to constellations as those that are, meaning that this theory cannot provide a complete explanation. Other experts believe that the lines played a role in pilgrimage, with one walking across them to reach a sacred place such as Cahuachi and its adobe pyramids. Yet another idea is that the lines are connected with water, something vital to life yet hard to get in the desert, and may have played a part in water-based rituals. However, the fact the lines have remained enigmatic have promoted alternative theorists to float ideas about extraterrestrial communication or ‘messages to the gods’.

The puzzling case of the Atacama Giant

The puzzling case of the Atacama Giant

The geoglyphs of the Atacama Desert in South America are less familiar than the world-renowned Nazca lines, yet they are far more numerous in number, more varied in style, and cover a much larger area. One of the most intriguing and controversial of the Atacama desert geoglyphs is the so-called Atacama Giant, which continues to stir debate regarding its true meaning and interpretation.  The Atacama Giant is an anthropomorphic geoglyph measuring 119 metres in height, making it the largest known geoglyph in the world. It is characterized by a square head and highly stylized long legs. Four lines can be seen coming out from the top of the giant’s head, as well as on each side of its head. There has been no shortage of explanations and theories to account for the strange features of this enormous geoglyph. According to one interpretation, it was a sort of astronomical calendar that indicated the movement of the moon. With this knowledge, it is said that the day, the crop cycle, and the seasons could be calculated. Another interpretation maintains that the Atacama Giant represents a deity worshipped by the local population. Other theories suggest extra-terrestrial visitations, marking of a pilgrimage route, or that it reflects an ancient type of language.  Although the function of the geoglyphs of the Atacama Desert still remain a mystery, it is undeniable that they held great importance to the people who lived in the region. It is hoped that the geoglyphs will be preserved for future generations, and that further research may one day uncover their secrets.

Over 50 ancient geoglyphs, including swastika, discovered in Kazakhstan

Over 50 ancient geoglyphs, including swastika, discovered in Kazakhstan

Archaeologists are calling them the Nazca lines of Kazakhstan – more than 50 giant geoglyphs formed with earthen mounds and timber found stretched across the landscape in northern Kazakhstan. They are designed in a variety of geometric shapes, including crosses, squares, rings, and even a swastika, an ancient symbol that has been in use for at least 12,000 years. The geoglyphs, which are very difficult to see on the ground, were first spotted on Google Earth. Since then, a team of archaeologists from Kazakhstan and Lithuania, have investigated the giant structures using aerial photography and ground-penetrating radar. Their results revealed a wide variety of shapes ranging from 90 to 400 metres in diameter, mostly made of earthen mounds, but one – the swastika – was made using timber.  Researchers have not yet dated the structures but their characteristics suggest they are around 2,000 years old. “As of today, we can say only one thing — the geoglyphs were built by ancient people. By whom and for what purpose, remains a mystery,” said archaeologists Irina Shevnina and Andrew Logvin, of Kostanay University, in an email to Live Science.

Ancient rock lines created by enigmatic Paracas culture predate Nazca geoglyphs

Ancient rock lines created by enigmatic Paracas culture predate Nazca geoglyphs

A recent study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, revealed the discovery of a complex set of geoglyphs constructed by the mysterious Paracas people of Peru.  The archaeological features, which date back 2,300 years, were found to be aligned to the sunset during the winter solstice, and are believed to have been created to mark ceremonial mounds and residential sites.  Charles Stanish, the director of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at the University of California, and his team, found 71 geoglyph lines or segments, 353 rock cairns, rocks forming circles or rectangles, two U-shaped mounds, and one point at which a series of lines converged in a circle of rays. Many of the archaeological features were found to have astronomical alignments, others point to special places in the landscape, like some of the ancient pyramids in the region.  The research team hypothesised that the lines served diverse purposes – some appear to have marked time, others may have attracted participants to attend important events, and yet others could have pointed the way to sacred structures.

The ‘Works of Old Men’: Geoglyphs of the Middle East

The ‘Works of Old Men’: Geoglyphs of the Middle East

Stretching from Syria to Saudi Arabia, thousands of ancient geoglyphs built from stone stretch across the desert plains. Known as the “works of old men”, some display a kite-like structure while others have wheel-like designs.  Similar to the Nazca Lines of Peru, they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, with much diversity between structures. The geoglyphs are virtually invisible to those on the ground, but can be easily discerned by those flying overhead. The local Bedouins refer to them as the “works of old men” but have been unable to provide further insights into their creators.

Some of the circular structures contain two spokes that form a bar pointing in the same direction in which the sun rises and sets, while others contain spokes that do not appear to have any astrological meaning. It is believed that one type of structure, referred to as a “kite”, was actually used as part of a system for hunting. The long stone walls form a wide open area, which then funnels into a smaller, enclosed area. Wild animals would funnel from the larger area through the neck into the narrow area which was called the “killing floor.” This would make it easier to hunt wild animals, as their movement would be constricted once they reached the killing floor. There are an estimated 2000 kite structures across the deserts of Syria, Jordan, Southern Israel and Saudi Arabia illustrating that this hunting method must have been widely used.

Wari geoglyph similar to Nazca lines found in Peru

Wari geoglyph similar to Nazca lines found in Peru

Archaeologists recently carrying out excavations in Arequipa in southern Peru were surprised to find a large geoglyph which resembles the famous Nazca lines.  The massive geoglyph is the first of its kind discovered in the region. It has been linked to the pre-Inca Wari culture (1200-1300 AD), although it is not clear how the researchers reached this conclusion. The geoglyph, which measures 60 metres by 40 metres, consists of a large rectangular image with geometric shapes and lines within it. If indeed the newly-discovered geoglyph was created by the Wari people, the finding may serve to shed new light on their cultural practices, which could have been influenced by the Nazca people. The Wari (Spanish: Huari) civilization flourished from about 600 AD in the Andean highlands and forged a complex society widely regarded today as ancient Peru’s first empire.  Their Andean capital, Huari, became one of the world’s great cities of the time. Relatively little is known about the Wari because no written record remains, although thousands of archaeological sites reveal much about their lives.

Children helped build mysterious 6,000-year-old moose geoglyph in Russia

Children helped build mysterious 6,000-year-old moose geoglyph in Russia

Recent research revealed that an enormous geoglyph of a moose in the Ural Mountains, Russia, is among the oldest examples of land art in the world, dating back some 6,000 years.  The moose measures approximately 275 meters (900 feet) in length (at its longest point), and was formed by ditches 30 centimeters (12 inches) deep and between 4.5 meters (15 feet) and 10 meters (32 feet) wide. The ditches were dug out and then filled with stones, with larger stones usually placed along the edges and smaller stones used to fill in the middle. The hooves of the moose were filled in with a mixture of clay and crushed stones. An analysis of stone tools found at the site revealed a style of lithic reduction that corresponds to the period between 3,000 and 4,000 BC. Perhaps one of the most interesting discoveries to emerge from recent excavation work at the site, is that an examination of more than 150 tools found around the geoglyph suggests that children were involved in its construction, as well as adults.  “But it was not a kind of slave labour of children,” said Stanislav Grigoryev, a senior researcher from the Chelyabinsk History and Archaeology Institute. “They were involved to share common values, to join something important to all the people.”

Giant stone circles in the Middle East puzzle archaeologists

Giant stone circles in the Middle East puzzle archaeologists

Huge stone circles in the Middle East have been imaged from the air, but researchers remain puzzled as to why they exist, and who made them. Eleven big circles dot the landscape across Jordan and Syria. They date back at least 2,000 years, but may even be pre-historic, created in a time before the invention of writing.  The geoglyphs are very large, some of them approximately 1,300 feet in diameter, and are composed of short, stone walls built from local rocks. Researchers say the circles would have required some planning, as many of the circles are very precise. It was likely there was some sort of “architect” to head up each project.  Researchers question whether the circles were used to maintain animal herds, or may have been areas of burial, but so far no contemporary remains – or any obvious practical uses – have been recovered or gleaned from the sites. Thousands of other ancient structures have been found across the Middle East, such as wheels, walls, pendants (lines to and from burial cairns) and kites (stone walls used to drive animals into kill areas). Much like the enigmatic Nasca lines of Peru – giant geoglyphs half a world away from Jordan – the intentions of the builders, and the purpose of the designs remain, for now, a very baffling mystery.

The unknown origins of the incredible Sajama Lines of Bolivia

The unknown origins of the incredible Sajama Lines of Bolivia

In Western Bolivia, thousands and thousands of perfectly straight paths are etched into the ground, creating an amazing sight. These lines were carved into the ground over a period of 3,000 years by indigenous people living near the volcano Sajama. It is unknown exactly when or why they were constructed, and it is hard to imagine how the construction of something of such magnitude could pre-date modern technology. The Sajama lines cover an area of approximately 22,525 square kilometers, or 8,700 square miles. They are perfectly straight lines, formed into a web or network. Each individual line is 1-3 meters, or 3-10 feet wide. The longest lines measure 20 kilometers, or 12 miles in length.  The creation of these lines without the aid of modern technology is a marvel. They were etched into the ground by scraping vegetation to the side, and scouring away dark surface material consisting of soil and oxidized rock, to reveal a light subsurface. The precision of the Sajama lines is remarkable. While many of these sacred lines extend as far as ten or twenty kilometers (and perhaps further), they all seem to maintain a remarkable straightness despite rugged topography and natural obstacles. Some believe that the indigenous people used the lines as a navigational tool during sacred pilgrimages. Wak’as (shrines), chullpas (burial towers) and hamlets are interspersed among the lines, creating a cultural landscape.

The mysterious prehistoric geoglyph of the Paracas Candelabra

The mysterious prehistoric geoglyph of the Paracas Candelabra

The Paracas Candelabra is a prehistoric geoglyph found in the Paracas Peninsula at Pisco Bay, Peru. With a large, branchlike appearance, the purpose and meaning of the Candelabra remains unknown. The Paracas Candelabra is estimated to be approximately 595 – 800 feet tall and can be seen from as far as 12 miles out at sea. The geoglyph was created by cutting two feet deep into the hardened soil, with rocks placed around the figure.  The shape of the geoglyph is mysterious and somewhat difficult to describe. Some have likened it to a cactus plant, while others believe it looks more like a three-branched candlestick, hence the name “candelabra.” The meaning and purpose of the Paracas Candelabra are unknown to this day.  The Conquistadors supposedly believed the geoglyph represents the Holy Trinity, and took it as a good omen and a sign that they should proceed with their quest to conquer and Christianize the locals, although no clear historical records authenticate this assertion. Some believe the Paracas Candelabra is a representation of a hallucinogenic plant called Jimson weed, while others have suggested that the geoglyph represents a lightning rod of the god Viracocha, who was the great creator god in the pre-Inca and Inca mythology in the Andes region of South America. The true meaning and purpose of the Paracas Candelabra remain elusive to this day, and may be forever lost to history. Nevertheless, the enormous geoglyph continues to attract people from all over the world who marvel at its sheer size and wonder about its origin and creation.

By April Holloway

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Ancient

The old ships of Atlantis

Flight technology could not be an exclusive invention of current humans, there are indications that ancient civilizations like Atlantis, would have mastered this thousands of years ago.

The Wright brothers might not have been the first to fly one in a rudimentary ship, Zeppelin would not have been the first to launch an airship to the heavens.

Ancient civilizations, today lost, have left some traces that would show that they also flew using technology created in those remote years.

Alternative researchers have argued that today’s humanity would have only rediscovered the principles and technology to fly, which other civilizations thousands of years ago, already used.

Hot air balloons on the plains of Nasca

This is a possibility that has been raised by researchers: old Nasca designed and built hot air balloons that allowed them to fly over the plains, and incidentally achieve the great feat of the ancient world: Nasca Lines.

Ancestral technology: the ancient ships of Atlantis
The “astronaut” in Nasca. Credit: Diego Delso / Wikimedia commons / alaudun.blogspot.com.

According to the researcher Jim Woodman, this would be possible using the materials that the people of Nazca had available at that time. Woodman consulted Julian Nott, pioneer of the modern balloon movement.

Nott, initially skeptical, decided to test Woodman’s suggestion. A baloon was built, with the same materials from that region.

Nott said in a statement:

When Jim Woodman approached me with the idea that the people who created the Nasca lines could have seen him from the hot air balloons, I was intrigued but remained skeptical. Even successfully we flew in a balloon that could have been built by the people of Nasca a thousand years ago. And while I don’t see any evidence that the Nasca civilization has flown, it is beyond doubt that they could have flown. ”

Ancestral technology: the ancient ships of Atlantis
Nasca’s hot air balloon. Courtesy: nott.com

Nott adds that, «if the Nasca people flew, why not other civilizations could have done it?

Vimanas: flying ships in ancient India

According to the Vedas, ancient texts of India, the Vimanas were related to religious mysticism; However, over the years, researchers found factors (in the manuscripts) that could reveal advanced technology in ancient times.

The writings present in museums in India and universities, have detailed descriptions of airplanes built in the remote past. The texts describe the use of advanced technology, characteristics of the construction of ships and their flight.

Ancestral technology: the ancient ships of Atlantis
Vimanas Representation

In addition, the Vedas mention air wars and a atomic war originated between an ancient city of what is now northern India and another unknown location somewhere in the gobi desert.

Indeed, a region of the Gobi desert stands out for the presence of green glass nodule and radioactivity. It should be noted that vitrification occurs when the soil is exposed to very high temperatures.

Ancestral technology: the ancient ships of Atlantis
Possible vimana in an old Indian text

Another ancient text, El Ramayana, describe the vimanas as follows:

The Vimanas were shaped like a sphere and sailed through the heavens raising a strong wind. Men aboard the Vimanas could thus cover great distances in a surprisingly short period of time, since the man who was driving did so at will by flying from the bottom up, from the top down, forward or backward. ”

Airships of Atlantis

The Atlantis, the mythical city that was buried by the waters after a terrible catastrophe, remains part of the mystery to this day.

Ancestral technology: the ancient ships of Atlantis
Representation of an airship of Atlantis

References from this ancient and possible place date back to Plato, who described it as “a great island beyond the columns of Hercules.”

Over the years, other researchers have pinpointed its location near the Bimini Islands in the Caribbean.

Far apart from the enigma of its own existence, it is mentioned that Atlantis possessed advanced technology, created by a sophisticated civilization which would have used artifacts, ships, and other devices that would even surpass those existing today.

It is described that the “lost continent” (as some people call it) possessed technology such as underwater ships, motorized ships, a crystal of enormous power that provided energy to the city. But there is something, which has been mentioned very little: airships that could cross the sky of Atlantis, and they would have even explored the rest of the world.

An author who first discussed the possibility of flight technology in ancient times is William Scott-Elliot in his book «The Story of Atlantis and the Lost Lemuria»(«The History of Atlantis and Lost Lemuria»), published in 1909.

Ancestral technology: the ancient ships of Atlantis
Sumerian art representation. An old vimana?

Scott-Elliot mentions advanced technology: airplanes that crossed the skies in silence being driven by an energy lost in the past and unknown today (the ether?)

However, the Scott-Elliot version is not based on direct evidence, it is based on sessions of «Remote Vision» in which he manifested to visualize the ancient machines of Atlantis.

According to Scott-Elliot, the ships of Atlantis were not constructed of metal or wood, but of a material not known at present, of great hardness, strength and low weight. Some metals were also used, but in a strange alloy, mainly red and white.

Ancestral technology: the ancient ships of Atlantis
Representation of possible water vehicle in the remote past

He also mentions that the ships had a boat shape and glowed in the dark as if they were coated with a special paint.

Some scholars believe that Atlantis might exist at the same time as lost civilizations of ancient India, so they could establish business relations; This was 15,000 to 20,000 years ago.

And if both civilizations existed at the same time, it would explain the presence of flight technology in both possible ancient cultures. We may not have been the first to fly, and that action was just a memory we lost in time.

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Ancient

A mummy “speaks again” 3,000 years after her death

The mummy of Nesyamun, belongs to a priest who lived during the reign of Pharaoh Ramses XI about 3,000 years ago, and was found in the Karnak temple, near Luxor.

Nesyamun dedicated his life to reciting prayers and singing to the god Amun. Today, three millennia after his death, Nesyamun has spoken again.

A team of scientists at Leeds Hospital, has put the monkey in an X-ray scanner, studied his vocal tract and rebuilt it with a 3D printer.

The result is a brief sound, similar to the vowel e, which according to the researchers would be the voice of Nesyamun that rumbled in the Karnak temple.

“We are seeing if we could create some words or a song of Nesyamun by means of a computer simulation,” anticipates electronic engineer David Howard, project leader with archaeologist John Schofield.

Howard is the inventor of an amazing “vocal tract organ,” a musical instrument that plays vocals through a keyboard connected to electronic laryngs and 3D-printed tracts from real-person scanners.

In 2016, in a Victorian hall of his university, the engineer used his peculiar organ to perform alongside a soprano the O mio babbino caro, an aria from an opera by Puccini.

Scientists have only obtained a vowel from Nesyamun because they have limited themselves to trying to recreate the sound that the tract would emit in the configuration in which it was mummified.

“His tongue shrank, probably from dehydration. If we were to reproduce his speech we would have to create a language with a form that seems reasonable to his mouth,” underlines Howard, from the University of London.

The 3D printing of the vocal tract of Nesyamun is based on a technique proposed by the Belgian engineer and bass-baritone Bertrand Delvaux.

In his opinion, the investigation with the mummy of Nesyamun “opens a new world of possibilities: the recreation of voices of the past to study how the characteristics of the voice evolve over time.”

For Delvaux, the disintegration of some mummy tissues, such as their soft palate, does not prevent obtaining an outline of their original voices.

Howard’s team underscores the potential of his research to “thrill and inspire” the public, helping to spread the history of mankind.

The authors also point to another possible application for the future: to help recover the voice of people who have run out of larynx after a tumor.

And Howard recognizes a third possibility: to use the vocal tract of the Egyptian priest Nesyamun for his musical concerts.

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Ancient

They will scan the Great Pyramid of Giza with cosmic rays to identify a mysterious hidden chamber

A team of Japanese archaeologists plans to ‘bomb’ with cosmic rays, the Great Pyramid of Giza, to confirm the existence of a mysterious inner chamber that was detected in a previous investigation.

The huge building has three chambers: the underground chamber, the chamber of the Ruler and the chamber of the Pharaoh himself. All three have a common corridor, and the largest of them is the Great Gallery. Its height is almost 9 meters, length – 46, and width – 2 meters. Two chambers – the Ruler and the Pharaoh, have two, so-called, air mines. They were discovered by robots working indoors from 1990 to 2010.

In 2016, researchers from Nagoya University and the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization announced that they had discovered an unknown cavity 30 meters long right in the center of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Credit: Asahi Shimbun

It was located on the Great Gallery, a passage that connects the burial chamber of the Pharaoh Jufu with a tunnel that leads to the outside. The chamber is now known as «the great void».

To find it, they used a technology known as ‘cosmic ray images‘, using an imaging technique that uses subatomic particles called muons in the same way that X-ray images are used. Muons are created when cosmic rays hit our atmosphere. These subatomic particles are incredibly effective to penetrate thick layers of solid material and can cross up to a kilometer of solid mother rock.

The discovery of this unknown chamber in the Great Pyramid was taken with skepticism by some parts of the archeological community, and the Egyptian government recently asked a team of archaeologists to confirm the findings.

Resuming the investigation

Now, researchers from the University of Kyushu (Japan) expressed interest in “verifying previous findings” using the same technique used in the first study, a process that involves placing special plates in and around the pyramid, which collect particles of cosmic rays (the aforementioned muons) that rain through the atmosphere and are then absorbed or deflected by hard surfaces.

The researchers will install a muon detector in the Chamber and they will let it work for a month. Muon radiography findings will be used in combination with drone studies to determine if there really is a hidden secret chamber in the pyramid.

Sakuji Yoshimura, who directs the project and his team, is confident that this new study sheds some light on the unknown parts of the interior of this famous Egyptian structure, located on the outskirts of Cairo (Egypt) and built around the year 2,500 BC, and hope to publish their findings on this investigation.

References: The Archeology News Network

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