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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

A giant pyramid was discovered in the Ural mountains

Ural tourists from the club of expeditions “Wild North” found a huge pyramid in the Subpolar Urals, which is several times larger than the Egyptian pyramid of Cheops. An unusual mountain was discovered when they were preparing for the helicopter casting of one of the groups and studied satellite images of the Polar Urals.

The height of the pyramid is almost 800 meters, the length of the faces is about a kilometer. In this case, the faces are located exactly on the cardinal points. The pyramid is located on the territory of the Peoples-Itinsky Ridge in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug – Ugra. – We were preparing a route and came across a pyramid. She stands on an arc from a meteorite impact crater. According to satellite data, the mountain with its forms exactly repeats the famous Pyramid of Cheops in Egypt.

Only its size is twice as large, ”says Evgeny Svitov, head of the Wild North Expedition Club. – The height of the pyramid is 774 meters, the length of each of its faces is almost a kilometer. The edges are located clearly on the cardinal points, as if on a level.

“These are God-forgotten places, the fishermen bypass them, they say there are not very many fish,” said Yevgeny Svitov from the Wild North expedition club. – It is amazing that the pyramid faces clearly on the cardinal points. The sacred shaman river flows there. According to Eugene Svitov, nature could not do this – to create such a clear relief with angles of 90 degrees. “My version: this is a construction of ancient civilizations,” the traveler believes. – Most likely, it consists of granite, quartzite, there is no vegetation there, it starts a little lower.

“People did not live there, these territories were used precisely as ritual places,” said Vladimir Anishchenko, a scientist and member of the Russian Geographical Society. Archaeologists note that the Ural ridge was sacred, people came to perform rituals there, it was a territory of the forces of nature.

The pyramid is located almost on the ridge, the territory is very peculiar, it has its own anomalies. We were there with expeditions. Unexplained anomalies are encountered there. For example, there is a platform at the confluence of rivers where there are no mosquitoes, although there should be clouds. 

You can get to the pyramid either by walking 400 kilometers along the ridge on foot, or by helicopter. The object has already attracted interest from the Russian Geographical Society. In the summer, an expedition will be sent to study the pyramid.

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Helicopter, tank, submarine: what is actually depicted on the walls of the temple in Abydos

The study of the temple complex in the ancient Egyptian city of Abydos began in the 19th century. There were a lot of hieroglyphs, they were on columns and on beams, guessed under a layer of dirt and soot. But then it was just hieroglyphs. The twentieth century had to come, so that scientists could see that the ancient Egyptians on the walls of the temple depicted a tank, a helicopter and a submarine.

The ancient Egyptian Abydos is located near Luxor – it has a long and extremely interesting history. The temple complex was built on the left bank of the Nile and is dedicated to Osiris, the god who taught mankind gardening and agriculture. Egyptian myths tell how the god Seth killed Osiris, his brother, and since then, he, depicted as a mummy, rules the underworld, the world of the dead. True, archaeologists are sure that the cult of Osiris came to a long-living city and, probably, one of the most populated by this time. It is also believed that before the appearance of the cult of Osiris, Abdos was the religious center of civilization.

Memorial Temple of Seti I in Abydos

Around the XIII century. BC, the construction of the temple complex dedicated to Osiris begins – it was the reign of Set I. It was a pharaoh, famous for many victories and conquests. It is not surprising that the temples of Abydos began to praise the pharaoh, commander, reformer, and warrior.

Mummy of Seti I

After the death of Seti I in 1279 BC power in the country passes to Ramses II. It was in many ways a unique ruler – he builds a lot, develops the country, fights. And he lived for more than 80 years, having ruled at least 60, which was a lot for those times. When it was built a lot, and it was during it that the temple complex of Abydos grew. Now there were palaces, temples of the necropolis.

Ramses II

The 19th century for the exploration of Egypt was incredibly fruitful. In Abydos in 1818 inscriptions were found that were extremely important for the country\’s chronology: the table of Abydos and the list of kings – these were relief columns of hieroglyphs with a list of the country\’s pharaohs who lived before Ramses II. On the walls of the temple were also found numerous \”technological\” drawings, but then they were simply fixed.

Abydos list and table of Abydos

And until the end of the twentieth century, these drawings did not interest anyone. Until 1997, when the photos of ufologist Ruth McKinley-Hover appeared on the Internet. She claimed that on a beam in the Osiris temple … images of a helicopter, a submarine and an airplane were found. She argued that this was undoubted evidence of paleocontact meetings of ancient Egyptian and alien civilization. And then again they remembered not only about this beam with its strange icons, but also about other \”technological\” drawings that were previously interpreted only as fantasies of artists.


The same symbols

Of course, the first reaction was to accuse the scientist of falsification. But numerous photos of the indicated place confirmed – yes, these hieroglyphs have probably existed since the time of Seti I or Ramses II and indeed represent a record, probably encrypted.

“Technological” drawings in the temples of Abydos

Explanations of the appearance of hieroglyphs of this form were varied. Official science immediately indicated that there is an imposition of hieroglyphs made earlier and later, for example, at the time of the Network first, and then, at the time of Ramses. Part of the plaster on which the reliefs are made, collapsed and in this way it turned out that we can see today.

Black marks are the icons that were supposedly stuffed into the relief during the time of Ramses II

Of course, such an explanation did not suit everyone. The times of Ancient Egypt, of course, are studied well, but far from as well as they should. And the basis for the study, in general, does not suit everyone – after all, the decoding of the hieroglyphs, the beginning of which was laid by Jean-Francois Champollion, is not satisfactory for all scientists. And if we recall that there were accusations that Champollion was knocking down texts that “did not fit” into his scheme, then it was completely doubtful. In addition, in other churches of the same Abydos there are many reliefs that confound scientists.

Necropolis of Abydos

In addition to the mysterious inscription, Abydos does not tire of discovering more and more mysteries. One of them is located in the same temple of Seti I. This is a certain room, which is now called “room K”. Access here is possible only from above, from the roof of the temple, through the hole. The “room” itself is two-story, has neither doors nor windows and, which is especially surprising for Egyptian architecture, is deprived of any images and inscriptions at all.

Location of Camera K

Osirion is also causing no less questions – a construction much more ancient, built of megaliths. It was built Abydos. And it itself, probably, was built long before the advent of ancient Egyptian civilization, and possibly refers to the culture on the remains of which Ancient Egypt flourished.

Near Osirion were discovered the remains of an extremely ancient city – it existed much earlier than the Egyptian pharaohs, and, especially, the cult of Osiris. And in it was everything that was needed for a real crowded center – buildings, tombs, workshops. Ancient utensils and tools were found.

Osirion

Be that as it may, the reliefs, inscriptions and temples found to date require a more thorough and, importantly, objective study. Perhaps the look of amateur historians will help scientists unravel ancient secrets. After all, Champollion was an amateur …

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Ancient Egyptian pyramids discovered in Alaska

Photo: Ken Hill / National Park Service

Archaeologists and climatologists who jointly explored a rocky tundra plateau in the west of the Brooks Range in Alaska, discovered hundreds of remains of houses and stone pyramids, which are about 11 thousand years old.

A study report appeared in Anchorage Daily News. Its author is Ned Rosell, a research fellow at the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. A large-scale study began in 2011, when the National Park Service built a meteorological station on Howard Pass. Such facilities are designed to operate autonomously in remote places throughout Alaska. The station is powered by solar panels, and sends the received data via space satellites.

This information helped archaeologists to choose the most suitable time for the expedition and explore the vast space between the Colville and Noack rivers. They visited there and found out that even in the most extreme weather conditions in Alaska in ancient times there were large settlements.

At Howard Pass, hundreds of remnants of dwellings were discovered, including circular “foundations” on which igloo domed houses were installed, as well as pits for storing food, raw materials and waste from the production of stone tools. In addition, pyramidal piles of stones were found. These structures are far from being as monumental as the pyramids of Egypt, but they are approximately twice as old as the African ones. Scientists believe that the ancient pyramids in Alaska served as traps into which people drove caribou – reindeer.

“Locals took advantage of caribou, fish, berries, waterfowl and, probably, bison in the earliest period,” said archaeologist Jeff Rasich of the National Park Service. “Howard Pass is a tundra gate several kilometers wide through which herds of caribou still migrate seasonally from the Western Arctic.”

Despite the extremely difficult climatic conditions, this area, according to scientists, has always been rich in food. The natives called Howard Pass the word “Akutuq” (Akutuq). This was the name of their favorite treat, which they prepared from whipped animal fats, sugar and berries. The snow patterns drawn by the wind on Howard Pass reminded them of this delicacy.

As for the weather, the climatic anti-record was recorded in these places on February 21, 2013. On that day, the air temperature dropped to around minus 43 degrees Celsius, and the wind blew at a speed of about 87 km / h.

And this was not an isolated event. Conditions close to those described were recorded in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. In the wind, the temperature was even lower. Scientists believe that the Eskimos waited in their homes for severe frosts, and then went to the pass in search of icy carcasses that fell from the cold caribou.

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