Gigantic 2,000-Year-Old Killer Whale Geoglyph Found in Peru Desert

Gigantic 2,000-Year-Old Killer Whale Geoglyph Found in Peru Desert

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Gigantic 2,000-Year-Old Killer Whale Geoglyph Found in Peru Desert

Researchers recently confirmed that a geoglyph found in a desert in Peru is that of a killer whale.

In the legendary Nazca Lines, an archaeological site renowned for its collection of large ancient geoglyphs, the orca ‘s image was carved into the hillside.

The head of the Peruvian Ministry of Culture in the province of Ica, archaeologist Johny Isla, recalled seeing the picture in an archaeological catalogue of geoglyphs printed in the 1970s based on German studies carried out in the 1960s.

At the time, he was studying at the German Archaeological Institute in Bonn, but was unable to trace the site’s location.

The rediscovered orca geoglyph lies on a desert hillside in the remote Palpa region of southern Peru.

He told Live Science, “It was not easy to find it, because the [location and description] data were not accurate, and I almost lost hope.” “I expanded the search area, however, and eventually found it a few months later,” added Isla in January 2015.

It was surmised to be a depiction of a large sea animal and after years of restoration and study, researchers from the Commission for Archaeology of Non-European Cultures (KAAK) of the German Archaeological Institute along with their partners from the Instituto Andino de Estudios Arqueológicos (INDEA) were able to confirm that the etching was that of an orca.

According to Peruvian lore, the large marine animal is considered a powerful, semi-mythical creature.

Researchers have reason to believe the geoglyph may be more than 2,000 years old. “Perhaps it is the oldest geoglyph of the Nasca era,” Markus Reindel, archaeologist from KAAK and head of the Nasca Palpa project, told the German newspaper Welt.

The Nazca Lines is made up of roughly 1,500 geoglyphs, most of them dating from 200 BC to 600 AD.

In the case of the orca, portions of the image were created in negative relief, by removing a layer of the hillside to create the lines.

Until the restoration this year, time and erosion had almost obliterated the ancient orca geoglyph to untrained eyes.

The same technique was used in creating some of the older geoglyphs in the region.

Scientists are yet to determine why the image of a large marine mammal was featured on a hill in the Nazca Dessert.

The ancient art work features various symbols and a “trophy head”, which could indicate a religious purpose to the image.

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P. Natasha Covers Classical Archaeology news and has been with Histecho since 2017. She has a Master's degree in MA Archaeology from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting program. A California native, she also holds a Bachelor of science in molecular biology and a Master of Science in biology from the University of California, San Diego.

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