After two years of field surveys using aerial photography and drones, Peruvian and Japanese researchers from Yamagata University earlier this month reported the discovery of 168 new designs at the site. A UNESCO World Heritage Site on the south Pacific coast of Peru.
The geoglyphs, giant figures carved in the deserts of South America, date back more than 2,000 years and represent humans, cats, snakes, killer whales, birds and native camels – animals such as llamas, guanacos and alpacas.
The researchers added white lines to the aerial photographs to illustrate the newly discovered images. Credit: Yamagata University/Reuters
Jorge Olano, the archaeologist who leads the Nazca Lines research program, said the new figures averaged 2 to 6 meters (6.56 to 19.7 feet) in length. The purpose of the Nazca lines, which can only be seen from the air, remains a mystery.
However, this month’s findings are smaller and can be seen from the ground, Masato Sakai, a professor from Yamagata University who led the study, told Reuters.
Characters, iconic vestiges of Peru’s rich history, about a three-hour drive from the capital, Lima.
Researchers have discovered 190 drawings in the area since 2004. But the vast terrain they cover has hampered research and conservation efforts.
The geoglyphs, mapped on photographs, depict human shapes and various animals. Credit: Yamagata University/Reuters
Yamagata University says the research will be used in artificial intelligence-based surveys to help provide information on the conservation of the lines.
Research from the university in collaboration with the Peruvian government has helped to localize and protect the region facing threats from economic and urban development.
“Some geoglyphs are at risk of being destroyed due to the recent expansion of mining-related workshops in the archaeological park,” Sakai said.
Top image: Newly discovered geoglyphs mapped onto a photograph by researchers.