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Wari geoglyph - Peru

Wari geoglyph similar to Nazca lines found in Peru


Archaeologists carrying out excavations in Arequipa in southern Peru were stunned to find a large geoglyph which resembles the famous Nazca lines, according to a report in Peru21.  The massive geoglyph is the first of its kind discovered in the region. It has been linked to the pre-Inca Wari culture (1200-1300 AD), although it is not clear how the researchers reached this conclusion.

The geoglyph, which measures 60 metres by 40 metres, was discovered during archaeological investigations being carried out ahead of an irrigation project in the province of Caylloma.  It consists of a large rectangular image with geometric shapes and lines within it and is similar to many of the geoglyphs found in Nazca.

The Nazca geoglyphs cover an incredible 450 km2 and are among archaeology's greatest enigmas because of their quantity, nature, size and continuity. The geoglyphs depict living creatures, stylized plants and imaginary beings, as well as geometric figures several kilometres long.  The startling feature of the Nazca geoglyphs is that they can only really be appreciated from the air, raising questions about how and why they were created.

The lines were made by scraping away the reddish, iron oxide covered stones that cover the desert surface to reveal the white sand beneath. In most places wind, rain and erosion would quickly remove all traces of this within a few years. At Nazca, though, the lines have been preserved because it is such a windless, dry and isolated location.

Nazca geoglyphs

Nazca geoglyphs

While the Nazca geoglyphs date back to between 200 BC to 500 AD, to a time when a people referred to as the Nazca inhabited the region, archaeologists have dated the latest discovery in Arequipa to the later part of Wari culture (1200 – 1300 AD). However, no explanation has yet been given about why the geoglyph has been associated with the Wari and how it was dated.

The Wari (Spanish: Huari) civilization flourished from about 600 AD in the Andean highlands and forged a complex society widely regarded today as ancient Peru’s first empire.  Their Andean capital, Huari, became one of the world's great cities of the time. Relatively little is known about the Wari because no written record remains, although thousands of archaeological sites reveal much about their lives.  If indeed the newly-discovered geoglyph was created by the Wari, the finding serves to shed new light on Wari cultural practices, which could have been influenced by the Nazca people.

Much to the annoyance of Consorcio Angostura-Siguas, the agroindustrial company executing the irrigation project, the finding now jeopardizes the continuity of the plan.

Featured image: The newly-discovered geoglyph in Arequipa. Credit: Peru21

By April Holloway



angieblackmon's picture

i am always in awe of these designs and pictures. seriously not trying to be stupid here, but i grew up in a marching band family and trying to get people to work together to make large pictures (like at a half time show or a band competition) takes a lot of work, planning and someone on a scaffold making sure the picture looks like the drawing! :)

love, light and blessings


interesting how similar things arer found all thoughout the world 

aprilholloway's picture


April Holloway is a Co-Owner, Editor and Writer of Ancient Origins. For privacy reasons, she has previously written on Ancient Origins under the pen name April Holloway, but is now choosing to use her real name, Joanna Gillan.

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