Nazca lines: water cult or early astronomical worship?
The geoglyphs on the Pampa de Nazca in Peru are as stunning as they are mysterious. Many, many theories surround the lines such as aliens, slaves, or tribute to the dead. The lines could have been created as an extension of the Inca Ceque lines in Cusco for part of the water cult and the worship of the water and mountain deities, or perhaps they were created to please a ‘sky god’ seen during the unusual amount of solar eclipses during the time of construction or even as a depiction of constellations and zodiac knowledge.
Many ancient cultures, with the ancient Nazcas included, believed the sun and moon to be deities or eyes of an ...view middle of the document...
Of course, the solar eclipses and other astronomical relations are not the only theories on the construction of the Nazca Lines. It is also believed that the Nazca people built the lines as part of a water cult similar to the Ceque lines in Cusco (No author, no date). Both sets of lines are said to be linked to a worship of water and mountain gods and the lines are said to be for ceremonial dances or to represent where subterranean water could be found in the dry climate (Johnson, D. no date). In such a harsh, arid climate water would have been very important to the Nazca tribes living on the Pampa Colorado. Worship of water and mountain deities together was common throughout ancient Peru with evidence of the Sicán tribes and later the Inca tribes performing water-cult rituals such as human sacrifice to these gods (Markovitz, V. 2012). There is no evidence of human sacrifice near the Nazca lines yet although research is still being carried out in the area. Johan Reinhard has provided evidence from studied lines that they were most likely built for a religious reason as most lead to shrines, water sources and mountains (Alford, A. F. 1998). All of the places the lines lead to hold religious significance to many ancient Peruvian tribes. The birds depicted on the pampa are birds that many ancient cultures from the area believed the sky gods took the form of and the geoglyphs may have been made for these gods to see as they flew over the Pampa de Nazca (Alford, A. F. 1998).
One of the most famous theories presented to explain the Nazca lines is Erich von Däniken’s idea of ancient extra-terrestrial beings visiting the Nazca plain and creating the enormous lines as a landing field for their space craft. This is one of the only theories that can be proved to be false as there is such a large number of problems with the reasoning. Even if aliens had created the lines, there would not be space to land any of their ships as the thickness of the lines is sometimes barely a metre across and the lines often turn or curve in ways that would obstruct landing. The artworks are also not disturbed in any way that would give evidence for alien landings and it would have been a busy landing field with landing strips almost 60 kilometres long (no author, 2012). Despite overwhelming evidence against this theory it still has a large number of supports, most of whom are too uncomfortable with the idea of ‘primitive’ Indians being able to accomplish such large and amazing artworks that cannot seem to be explained (no author, 2012).
Many ideas of the meaning behind the geoglyphs discovered on the Pampa de...