Sunday, April 7, 2013
Nazca Lines Damaged
Peruvian news daily, El Comercio, has reported damage to a group of lines on the Nazaca plateau.
According to the daily, heavy machinery owned by a firm removing limestone from the area is responsible for the damage. The company claims that the plant is on private property and that the owners have a right to carry out their operations.
Eduardo Herran Gomez de la Torre, director of research at Ojos de Condor says the damage in the area is extensive: "We have witnessed the irreparable destruction to a set of lines and trapezoids that existed in the area."
Commenting on the company's claims of land rights, Herran was quoted as saying: "The limestone firm responsible has not been sanctioned or supervised by the authorities of the Regional Directorate of Culture of Ica, despite being in this great archeological reserve."
The lines are located on an arid, coastal plain south of Lima, Peru. The plateau stretches more than fifty miles between the towns of Nazca and Palpa. Much controversy surrounds the origins and purpose of the Nazca lines. Some scientist believe the lines are related to water rituals, or perhaps, as directional lines to indicate water sources. Other theories propose that the lines are a form of Archeoastronomy used to track astronomical movements in ancient times.
Nazca was made famous in the field of Ancient Astronaut studies by researcher Erich Von Daniken, author of Chariots of the Gods. Von Daniken suggested that the lines were a result of technology beyond the scope of the native peoples of the region. He postulated that the lines were actually some type of "ancient runway", visible from space and created as a guide for extraterrestrial visitors.
The Nazca lines were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. They have been under threat for some time and face major conservation challenges. In 2012, they were added to the World Monuments Fund's watch list of cultural heritage sites at risk. The lines face danger from looters, mining operations, unregulated tourism and even changing weather patterns. They are considered an important site to the world as well as a significant tourist destination. The government of Peru has had a difficult time keeping the site safe and it is clear that new steps must be taken to preserve this valuable, historical location.