While learning about Peru, I have become fascinated with one of their ancient mysteries - Nazca Lines.
Peruvian researchers in the 1920s, and pilots and air travelers in the 1930s began to note linear figure "drawings," geometric shapes, and lines stretching a plain between the Inca and Nazca Valleys, primarily visible from the air. The largest of these designs stretches about 600 feet across, and there are a variety of figures - hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys, sharks, llamas, lizards, and even a humanoid figure.
The designs were made by removing reddish pebbles to uncover whitish ground beneath, and it is generally accepted that the ancient Nazca people made these somewhere between 200 BCE and 650 CE. Altogether there are close to 800 simple lines and geometric shapes, known as geoglyphs, and over 70 figurative designs, known as biomorphs.
Many people have speculated as to the significance and purpose of the Nazca lines. The general consensus is that the lines had some sort of religious meaning, and were related to fertility rites or had astronomical significance related to gods from the sky. Many believe that these gods were the intended audience and as the images made from the lines are intended to be seen from above.
One figure, nicknamed "The Astronaut" is a humanoid form with a pleasant demeanor, and is located on a hillside, and as such, would be visible from an earthbound standpoint. Some have raised the idea that the Nazca lines could relate to alien visitors, with the geoglyphs acting as a landing strip for alien vessels, and the aliens being deified by the ancient Nazca people. This has been dismissed by most scholars, with one counterargument being that the soil in the area is very soft and had a top layer of loose rocks that would not be conducive to landing an aircraft....but I think the aliens could have figured out a way to make it work....I'm all for alien conspiracy theories:)
There has been a great deal of study related to how the Nazca lines were created. One scientist, Jim Woodmann, theorized that the ancient Nazcas fashioned a primitive hot air balloon to give them a bird's eye view to aid in the creation of the lines. To test his hypothesis, Woodman created a hot air balloon using materials and techniques that were available to the Nazcas at the time. The balloon hovered for about two minutes, and Woodmann's theory was dismissed by most researchers.
Other researchers have attempted to recreate the Nazca lines using simple tools with significant success. The video below demonstrates one such attempt and also provides some stunning footage of the Nazca lines.