Nazca Culture

The Nazca Culture reached its zenith roughly between 100 and 750 AD. Based in Peru, its people were both artistic and spiritual, and they left behind all kinds of interesting relics. Among these relics are the famous Nazca Lines. These geoglyphs on the desert ground might just be more confusing than they are helpful in terms of understanding the Nazca way of life. At any rate, they are awe-inspiring and attract numerous tourists to southern Peru. Among the things that the geoglyphs depict are fish, spiders, llamas and other creatures. There are plenty of Nazca Lines tours for those who wish to take advantage.

Nazca People

Nazca People
Nazca People

The Nazca people started to rise to prominence as the Paracas Culture was beginning its decline. The Paracas people largely influenced the Nazca, especially in the areas of water manipulation and art. The Nazca actually went on to build a system of aqueducts that still function to this day, and evidence of the Paracas influence is noted in Nazca ceramics and textiles. As for the society that the Nazca people created, agriculture was a major industry, and there were important administrative and religious centers. Agriculture was very important in the Nazca religion, as was fertility. Since the Nazca had no writing system, it is believed that their iconography and use of symbols was a possible means of communicating.

Nazca Pottery

Nazca Pottery
Nazca Pottery

If it wasn’t for the Nazca Lines, the Nazca Culture would most likely be best known for its pottery, or ceramics. The Nazca were known to use at least fifteen distinct colors in their ceramics, and they created vases, bottles, cups, curious creatures and any other number of things. Many of the pieces that have been unearthed by archaeologists are hard to decipher, as Nazca pottery can be very abstract and disjointed. The ruins of Cahuachi have yielded some of the most spectacular Nazca ceramics to ever be recovered. Cahuachi is a large adobe complex that once served as Nazca people’s main administrative and ceremonial center. The Museo Antonini in the modern day city of Nazca revolves around Nazca culture and features some fine ceramics, and there are museums in Lima that are known for their impressive collections.

Nazca Drawings

Nazca Drawings
Nazca Drawings

Nazca drawings often depict insects, animals and geometric patterns. Various drawings show the culture’s link to nature, and isn’t irrational to theorize that some were intended for religious purposes. Especially when it comes to the drawings in the Nazca Desert, or the Nazca Lines, as they are better known, there is also the theory that Nazca drawings could be used to communicate with extra terrestrials. The largest drawings on the desert floor are more than 600 feet across, and since it is really only possible to appreciate them from above in an airplane, there might just be some substance to the extra terrestrial theory. Either way, these desert drawings are both amazing and confounding.

Nazca Map

Nazca Map
Nazca Map

The Nazca called southwestern Peru home. Much of their territory ran along the Pacific Ocean coast, and it also extended into the river valleys that help to make up the Rio Grande de Nazca drainage region. The Ica Valley, which is a modern day region, is also mentioned with frequency when describing the layout of the ancient Nazca realms. The Pan-American Highway runs through the region, actually dissecting the desert area where some of the most renowned Nazca drawings are found. This desert area is aptly known as the Nazca Desert.

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