The dun sands of southern Peru, etched centuries ago with geoglyphs of a hummingbird, a monkey, an orca – and a figure some would love to believe is an astronaut – have now revealed the shape of a huge cat lying on a desert hill.
The feline line of Nazca, dated between 200 BC and 100 BC, it emerged during work to improve access to one of the hills which provides a natural viewpoint from which many of the designs can be seen.
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“The figure was barely visible and was about to disappear because it is located on a rather steep slope that is subject to the effects of natural erosion,” Peru’s Ministry of Culture said in a statement this week.
“In the past week, the geoglyph has been cleaned and preserved and shows a cat figure in profile, with its head facing forward.” The cat was said to be 37 meters long, with well-defined lines that varied in width between 30cm and 40cm.
“It is quite surprising that we are still finding new figures, but we also know that there are more to be found,” said the Spanish news agency Efe Johny Isla, Peru’s chief archaeologist for the lines.
“In recent years, the use of drones has allowed us to take pictures of slopes.”
Isla said that between 80 and 100 new figures have emerged in the Nazca and Palpa valleys in recent years, all predating the Nazca culture (2-700 AD). “These are smaller in size, drawn on the slopes and clearly belong to an earlier tradition.”
The archaeologist said the cat had been knocked out during the late Paracas era, which ranged from 500 BC. to 200 AD “We know this from the comparison of the iconographies,” Isla said. “Paracas fabrics, for example, show birds, cats and people that are easily comparable to these geoglyphs.”