Drawn in the soil, Nazca Lines speak to the power of lasting symbols.
The Nazca geoglyphs are a collection of several hundred zoomorphic, anthropomorphic, and plant shapes, as well as lines and curves traced out in the ground. Ranging from several dozen meters to one kilometer, their size makes them at times visible only from the sky. They were mostly created between the second century BCE and sixth century CE on the Peruvian coastal plain, approximately 400km south of Lima.
In order to achieve such precise geometric shapes, the Nazca used a grid system. They squared off the land using stakes and cords to produce the figures, whereas the circular shapes were made by twisting ropes around poles. They then removed the top layer of soil, darkened by the elements, to expose the lighter earth below.
To this day, the true significance of these lines is still unknown. Archaeologists tend to think they formed either some sort of astronomical calendar connected to farming and religious activities, or ritual sites devoted to deities and the dead.