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Solved: The Mystery of the Spiraling Holes in the Nasca Region of Peru

Solved: The Mystery of the Spiraling Holes in the Nasca Region of Peru

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Spiraling holes, known as puquios, are located in the Nasca (Nazca) region of Peru. This is the same place where gigantic geometric images are located carved into the landscape. After years of scientific discussion about the strange spirals, the mystery of these formations seems to be solved.

Nasca inhabitants dominated the region from c. 1000 BC to 750 AD. They are believed to have created the puquios, which are said to be an old system of subterranean aqueducts. The origins of the formations was unsolved for decades, but according to the article published by Rosa Lasaponara of the Institute of Methodologies for Environmental Analysis, the mystery had been unraveled by her team.

The BBC reports that the use of satellite imaging allowed the team to finally discover the puquios as a complicated hydraulic system, which was constructed to retrieve water from underground aquifers. Rosa Lasaponara believes that the discovery she made explains how the native Nasca people were able to live in a region which lacks water. Moreover, they not only survived, but they were also able to develop agriculture.

Nasca irrigation canals.

Nasca irrigation canals. (CC BY 2.0)

According to the Rosa Lasaponara:

“What is clearly evident today is that the puquios system must have been much more developed than it appears today. Exploiting an inexhaustible water supply throughout the year the puquios system contributed to an intensive agriculture of the valleys in one of the most arid places in the world.”

The researcher is convinced that the corkscrewing funnels were used to force wind down to a series of underground canals, which then forced water through the system to areas it was needed. She believes that the puquios were the most sophisticated hydraulic project in the Nasca area. It made water available for the whole year across the area dominated by the Nasca people. The water was useful not only for agriculture, but also for basic domestic needs.

A Nasca double-spout, bridge-handle vessel.

A Nasca double-spout, bridge-handle vessel. (Brooklyn Museum)

The results of the research by Lasaponara proves the Nasca natives had a vast understanding of the region’s geology and annual variations in the water supply. To build the puquios, the Nasca people must have used specialized technology.

“What is really impressive is the great efforts, organization and co-operation required for their construction and regular maintenance. Maintenance was likely based on a collaborative and socially organized system, similar to that adopted for the construction of the famous ‘Nasca lines’ which in some cases are clearly related to the presence of water.” - Lasaponara said.

Looking down a Nasca puquios.

Looking down a Nasca puquios. (CC BY 2.0)

The researcher informed the media that more details will be published in Ancient Nasca World: New Insights from Science and Archaeology later this year.

The territory of the Nasca region has been studied for many decades, but it still contains many secrets. A few years ago, a former teacher, videographer, and independent scholar from Poughkeepsie, New York, David Jonson posited his own theory about the Nasca geoglyphs. He believes that the designs act as maps and pointers to subterranean flows of water feeding the puquios system.

Since the early 1990s, he has researched the famous Nasca lines blanket, which covers around 280 sq. miles (725.2 sq. km). Jonson spent many weeks in the coastal plain region of Peru studying the lines, which are regarded as one of the greatest enigmas of the world. The Nasca lines are also believed by many to have had ritual astronomical functions.

The Nasca lines figure known as the dog.

The Nasca lines figure known as the dog. (CC BY SA 2.5)

In August 2015, William James Veal wrote for Ancient Origins about his research connected with 7000 mysterious holes located in the Pisco Valley of Peru. Previously, “no serious attention was paid by scientists to resolve the mystery of the nearly 7000 'pits' that snake their way for almost one mile across the rugged Cajamarquilla Plain bordering the Pisco Valley of Peru.”

He wrote that: “Around 7000 have been excavated into a band some 20 meters wide (65 feet), each hole averaging half a meter in diameter (25 inches). Some pits are set in near perfect straight lines, some in curved rows. Each row averages between nine and 12 cavities.”

According to the researcher, the "Mysterious Holes of Peru" are undoubtedly destined to become a prime example of an ancient peoples’ technical and artistic expertise imported into South America from the Mediterranean Region. He believes that “sometime after arrival, the emigrants had, perhaps of necessity, created a simplistic, economical, non-labor intensive, water collection and filtration system”.

Featured Image: Entrance to Nazca aqueduct called Puquios. Source: Public Domain

By Natalia Klimczak



Another case of "We know it is just a spiral ramp to Seep Water". But hey...We can get at least two or three years of Grant "Party Funds" to invent a ridiculous theory that "Doesn't hold water" and not have to give it back even though it is Bunk.

The subject matter is great...the Theory is Grant Fraud. When are those of us who truly care about History going to Chastise those that squander Tax funds or Donations away from truly realistic and legitimate projects?

Occam's Razor... I would be very curious how many feet it is from the beginning of the Ramp to the bottom. To dig a Straight ramp this long down to the seep would take much more Resources and Material removed or even a tunnel to reach the depth needed to actually reach the water in a loose Sand Environment like this. They walled it and "Handled it" Quite well for working in loose sand.

I have done this personally...You take out one bucket full of Sand and two fall into it's place.

Desert "Seep Wells" like this take awhile to refill. So while one is refilling it's self by seepage over a few hours you pull from another one. Native Americans would dig numerous holes down to an Underground water course in a ravine to do the same.

Seem to be a good enough way to go fetch the water :).

But why so manu hole so close to each others ? the wells had few water each ?

Yours is the most plausible explanation so far.



Natalia Klimczak is an historian, journalist and writer and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at the Faculty of Languages, University of Gdansk. Natalia does research in Narratology, Historiography, History of Galicia (Spain) and Ancient History of Egypt, Rome and Celts. She... Read More

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