Mile long band of mysterious and unexplained holes in Pisco Valley – Peru. (CC BY 3.0). Inset:  An artistic impression defining 11 pictographs and 22 characters composing just a 200 meters length of the "Band of Holes'.

The Mysterious Holes of Peru: A Pre-Columbian Domestic Water Source for Trans-Oceanic Travelers? Part II

(Read the article on one page)

Read Part I

In Part I Ancient Origins Guest Writer, William James Veall discussed why he believes his research has uncovered a viable solution to the long term "Mystery of the Peruvian Holes" - a band of some 7000 pits carved into a 20-meters-wide chain of porous limestone stretching north-south for almost a mile across the Cajamarquilla Plain above the small township of Humay, Peru, South America.

William Veall maintains that the band of holes served as a pre-Columbian rainwater collection and filtration system capable of supplying a stock of year-round, fresh, clean water, not only for domestic and horticultural use by the local community but, as his research seems to suggest, by Trans-Oceanic Traders in transit from the Mediterranean Region.  Equally fascinated by the unique artistic embellishment carved along the 'Band of Holes', William decided to investigate.

Part II: Firstly, let me take you back to a comment I placed on the Viewzone website " The Mysterious Holes of Peru", a few years ago, and I quote:

These long lengths of ‘holes’ are the product of a 'Linear Inscriptive Art Form' whereby characters are formed by a series of  linked holes 'pecked' into the surface of natural rock (subtractive) or by the converse- additive- whereby small rocks / stones are piled into small heaps on a level surface, of course, to create and represent characters or pictorials. (Veall 2002. Nasca Lines)
In my opinion and from research I carried out in 2004 on an aerial photograph of another Peruvian site; these very lengthy pictorial inscriptions may document historical facts; dates, voyages, conquests, dedications, provenance etc. Anticipate a date circa 800 - 600B.C. We must await the hand of the Epigrapher.

But, it was while surfing the "Band of Holes" using the Google Earth remote satellite that I made a completely 'mind blowing' discovery. Along one particular section of the honeycomb of cells  (Stage 1 photo) I noticed quite distinctly that the very obvious geometric pattern of the holes had somehow diffused to form what could be hieroglyphs interspersed with some inscriptive characters; this, to say the least, was a massive surprise and totally unexpected.

The three stages that led to revealing the secret of the "Mysterious Holes of Peru"

The original remote satellite photograph captured by Google Earth

Stage 1  The original remote satellite photograph captured by Google Earth, 8/10/2006 at an Eye Altitude of 266metres (800 feet). Latitude 13º 42’ 23.18”S   Longitude 75º 52’ 28.44”W.

Patiently overprinting the  satellite photograph, archaeologist William J. Veall was able to make the historic breakthrough which he claims helped to solve the mystery of Peru's infamous "Band of Holes'".

Stage 2  Patiently overprinting the  satellite photograph, archaeologist William J. Veall was able to make the historic breakthrough which he claims helped to solve the mystery of Peru's infamous "Band of Holes'". Copyright William J Veall 7/2010

An artistic impression of Stage 2 clearly defining the 11 pictographs and 22 characters composing just a 200 meters length of the "Band of Holes'.     

Stage 3  An artistic impression of Stage 2 clearly defining the 11 pictographs and 22 characters composing just a 200 meters length of the "Band of Holes'.  Copyright William J. Veall. 7/2010

Taking the Stage 3 illustrations and beginning from the right;  there is a very obvious 'flower' form followed by a gap of, as yet, unidentified imagery; this is followed by another almost identical 'flower' bordering the head of an feline, perhaps a lioness —similar to the 'Greek' image I discovered within the Nasca Lines. The last image is an arch-like construction. Immediately below this section is a feline image (perhaps a wild-cat?) next to another 'flower'. Ancient characters also appear at intervals along this section.

The left section, right hand side, commences with a rather indistinct human head marked with an 'A' character. Separated by a row of three 'holes' is an absolutely incredible image. The semi-profile of, what I interpret to be, the head of a black African with his feathered tribal insignia. Next, set within a cartouche of 15 'holes' is the head of a creature (deer or eagle) set upon a row of three 'holes'; this so reminds me of an Aztec date sign.

Finally, separated by a row of four 'holes', is a human head inscribed on the neck with a character 'A'. Immediately below, that is, not on the band of Holes itself, are two faint impressions, a Gorgon and a bird-like image much like a Harpy Eagle. Ancient script characters also appear along this section.

It appears that the sculptors had actually used a subtle technique of light and shadow to convert a petroglyphic image into a pictograph when observed at the correct angle and orientation.  Although I was able to achieve a somewhat similar effect by manipulating the Google Earth navigation tool, it will be necessary to carry out a quite complex series of observations to determine if the ancient artisans utilized solar or lunar shadow casting, or both. And, was the time of year and the corresponding shadow movement along the chain important?

Comments

I would certainly support any notion about these hole that is water related. These holes would make perfect recharge pits to allow perculation downhill and preserving water. In fact the whole ridge adjacent is covered with these shallow pits. A further 465m east there are larger pits on the ridge and 365m on the whole mountain is covered with terraces with some larger rectangular basins. These terraces required an order og magnitude more work than the holes, and yet it is not noted anywhere. It is only recently that modern man realized the significance of water harvesting. Very clever of these early dwellers. What is more is that just south of the band of hole and terraces the desert turns green. Best viewed in 4/2010 Google imagery. Coordinates of terraces: 13 42 43.44S, 75 52 9.77W.

We do not know what the climate was like in those days but judging by the topography, there were significant river flows in the region. Those early dwellers might have noticed a climate change and understood what it spells so in desperation these water capturing devices were created to extend habitibility of the area.

I saw some pictures of robber holes blanketing a large area of desert in Egypt recently and one of the comments referred to the interesting similarity to the group of holes in the above article. (I totally agreed!)

I read this article completely about the comparison of
newest and previous technologies, it's amazing article.

I am not a specialist, but I have questions about the hypotheses of (1) the mysterious hole in a filter system or (2) art works. If the hypothesis (1) is case, why ancient people did not dig the bigger holes. For hypothesis (2), I am not sure in the time ancient people lived, the valley might be covered by forests or not. If it was covered by forests, it was a very difficult task for designing the symbols.

In addition, if soil (rock) in the holes contain minerals, whether they dug follow seams to make holes in different sizes. Also, is it possible that ancient people quarried stones in the valley and transported to another place?.

William James Veall's picture

Some ‘holes’ were intentionally larger than others; these were the primary collector/filters.

The smaller, shallow ‘indents’ would,of course, equally collect water but were ‘artistically’ sized and arranged to create the individual regalia and inscriptive material.

Scientific evidence now confirms that by the end of the 3rd Millenium BC desertification had recommenced across the Atacama region. Any aerial photograph will show that the entire region around the “Band of Holes” is devoid of vegetation, therefore, the region was most unlikely to have been forested when the feature was constructed.

A scientic investigation confirms there was no artifactual evidence in ANY kind of the 7000 or so cavities; this rules out mineral ores.

Sorry, I have no knowledge whether stone quarrying took place in the Pisco Valley.  

Thank you for your interesting questions.

 

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