Does Socos Pampa Geoglyph Reveal Nasca Lines Were Made Centuries Before Nasca Culture?
Ancient Origins Guest Writer, William James Veall, completes his Opinion Piece trilogy by cementing together two earlier articles concerning "The Mysterious Holes of Peru" and "Seafarers from the Levant" with his latest contribution concerning another equally mysterious geoglyph located on the Socos Pampa which lies within Peru's borders of the Atacama Desert.
Evidence taken from iconography and inscriptive material leads William to hypothesize that the three independent features may have been created by the same Trans-Oceanic Peoples from the Continent of West Africa and the Mediterranean Region.
As an Archaeoastronomer my primary research interest has always been associated with the famous Nasca Lines. Apart from research to determine if the Nasca Lines were astronomically orientated, I studied the unique surface variation of shales and gravels 'sand painted' within and around the gigantic geoglyphs; an art form that goes back many centuries—even to Ancient Egyptian times.
The Hummingbird Geoglyph of the Nasca Lines, Peru. Martin St-Amant - Wikipedia – (CC-BY-SA-3.0)
Nasca's massive cleared areas called geoglyphs were long believed by many, including myself, to have been elaborated for the sole purpose of ritual or ceremonial displays. However, back in the late 70's I obtained a copy of an excellent book by author Tony Morrison, entitled "Pathways to the Gods"; this book became my bible for some considerable time.
Later, other authors climbed aboard the Nasca Lines phenomenon, many peddling their mindless speculation which completely confused the real purpose behind what has become one of Peru’s National treasures.
- Sea-Farers from the Levant the first to set foot in the Americas: proto-Sinaitic inscriptions found along the coast of Uruguay
- Sea-Farers from the Levant: Do Ancient Inscriptions Rewrite History of the Americas? - Part 2
One particular photograph in "Pathways" immediately caught my eye (page 39). A huge 475-meter-long (1560 feet) trapezoid described as having ‘long rows of stone piles’; ‘the small heaps of stones were arranged in two main rows, one each side of the center’ (After Morrison ).
This geoglyph located on the Socos Pampa, just north of the Nasca Valley, was thought to be a cleared area in the course of elaboration, or perhaps, the stone heaps were the remains of a tally system accounting stores of goods and crops, or labor. But the seemingly illogical pattern of the stone heaps did not convey, to me anyway, this impression.
Socos Pampa trapezoid
Unconvinced, I purchased a copy of the original aerial photograph from South American Pictures to minutely examine the entire length of the feature through an optical viewer I had designed especially for the purpose of photo-recording tonal variations created by the artistic manipulation of small rocks, shale and gravels within and between Nasca geoglyphic structures.
The incredible, Nasca lines of Peru - seen from SPOT Satellite. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Almost immediately I was rewarded. Small heaps of stones were piled up on the surface, i.e. ‘additively’ constructed, to form pictographs interspersed by sets of strange symbols; this was a never-before-seen or even known phenomenon occurring, of all places, within the Nasca Lines. (View on Google Earth: Latitude 14 49 18S, Longitude 75 00 20W, Ocungalla, Nasca River Valley)
Agreed, the famous creature-like biomorphs; the hummingbird, the whale, the spider etc. making up the Nasca Lines are world famous, but a trapezoid embellished with pictorials and inscriptive material is unbelievable because no known form of ‘written’ communication had ever been discovered relative to pre-Columbian Peru. To preserve and protect this extremely unique discovery I photo-recorded where possible each set of regalia and inscriptions along the length of the trapezoid in question. (Original aerial photograph by South American Pictures. [email protected]).
Figure 1. The original aerial photograph of the Socos Pampa trapezoid with its rows of stone heaps located within the Nasca Lines. (Photo Copyright South American Pictures 1978 )
Figure 2. Diagram of the Socos Pampa Mosaic trapezoid indicating the location of the imagery and inscriptive material tabulated in Figures 3 and 4. (Copyright: William James Veall 1999)
Calculated using Google Earth, the trapezoid measures 473 meters long (1550 feet), with a base width of 28 meters (92 feet); this gives an effective cleared area of some 6600 square meters (71,042 square feet). The feature has an orientation of 36.33º E of N. But until a date can be computed for the feature I cannot check if the geoglyph has a deliberate astronomical relationship.
The aerial photograph (Figure 1) clearly indicates that stone rows from the southern end are divided into two registers, upper and lower. Beyond SPM 40, (see Figure 2) things becomes a little more confusing, not only due to the angle of the ‘Overfly’ but the apparent number of ‘pathways’ which meander between the stone rows.
From this purely visual analysis, what did I learn from the Socos Pampa Mosaic?
Taking the characters firstly: they are almost certainly intrusive because pre-Columbian Andean Cultures, e.g. the Inca, Moche and Chimu, had no form of ‘writing’. Secondly, the pictorials among the characters could be ideographic—or just simply encyclopedic. And thirdly, collectively the mosaic appears to contain three different scripts, begging the question, is the 'Mosaic' a triscript much after the fashion of the famous 'Rosetta Stone' deciphered by Champollion?
The chart clearly shows inscriptive material that translates into characters and letters of the Phoenician genre to confirm a Phoenician literary involvement in the Socos Pampa Mosaic geoglyph. (Copyright: William James Veall 2015)
I have not included in this opinion piece a detailed explanation of the inscriptive material and illustrations in Figures 3 and 4 because the charts are basically self-explanatory, however, there are a couple of interesting facts I would like to discuss.
Phanerogams like SPM 1 are plants that reproduce by means of seeds or bulbs, in other words, produce flowers. In the case of the Socos Pampa which is part of the Chilean Atacama Desert, and also many of the world’s great desert regions, phanerogams certainly include the Lily species (e.g. Hesperocallis undulata). Not only was this plant eaten by local natives but provided grazing for wild and domesticated cameloids.
Hesperocallis undulata — Desert Lily. (Public Domain)
Phanerogams of the ‘rosette’ form, (e.g. image SPM 10) are a quite common motif and can be found adorning seventh century BC Phoenician amphora (Karageorghis) and even jewelry suspected of belonging to King Hamud of Iraq (2200 BC?) To date I have located at least six ‘rosettes' on the Socos Pampa. My belief is the Socos Pampa 'rosettes' could well depict the abundant Atacama, Chilean Bell, flower, (Nolana Solanaceae). Also used as an icon by peoples living in the Near and Middle Eastern desert regions.
SPM 4 is a pictograph of three shoreline / river fish. Top is what I believe to be a Spondylus, possibly the Thorny or Spiny Oyster; the central fish I cannot identify but the lower image is typical of a Mud Flounder, or Flat Fish. I wonder if there is a connection with the adjacent trident symbol (SPM 5) which is the Phoenician letter 'm' meaning 'water'?
SPM 8 depicts a ‘rope twist’ symbol called a ‘guilloche’ found, for example, on eighth century BC West Asian cylinder seals which incidentally were also marked with inscriptions inscribed in Phoenician. Exactly similar phanerogam and ‘guilloche’ decoration is also painted on a seventh century BC Phoenician amphora. (after Karageorghis)
The meaning of the ‘Parrot head’ pictographs (SPM 9 and 12), is unknown, as is the ‘snake worm’, SPM 30. The feline symbol SPM 2 is rather an anomaly because at first glance it is very similar to a ‘Cat-Demon’ —an element woven into the tapestry work of the 800 BC Paracas Culture. My personal preference, the symbol depicts a Lion head mask. How each fit into the composition of the 'Mosaic' makes a fascinating riddle for an Epigrapher.
Here, I must qualify that I took the transliteration of symbols into their respective alphabetical letters from readily available historical data and simply used a pattern recognition and common occurrence technique to try and put the 'Mosaic' into some form of chronological context. One can see there is a strong bias towards the Phoenician genre. It is unwise to use this ‘similarity’ technique to produce serious transliteration for very obvious reasons.
Figure 4: Artistic reproduction of the 'additive' pictographs constructed along the Socos Pampa Mosaic geoglyph.
Artistic illustration of a section of the "Mysterious Holes of Peru". Compare this imagery and inscriptive material with that of the Socos Pampa Mosaic - especially the floral icons. (Copyright William James Veall 2010)
Comparing the inscribed material from the two separate locations, I could see there were many identical 'Phoenician' symbols and characters. I noted especially that each geoglyph displayed ‘off-piste’ a large flower motif. Such similarities suggest the two features may have been made by the same Peoples. So, here is the conundrum: is there a common connection between the Socos Pampa Mosaic, the Mysterious Holes of Peru… and the Nasca Lines?
Reading Between the Lines
No earliest construction date has yet been determined for the Nasca geoglyphs, but in the context of solving the topic subject; a cleared area to house the ‘Mosaic’ had to be elaborated beforehand. This raises another intriguing question; why cram the regalia and inscriptive material into a triangular trapezoid when the ideal would be a rectangular enclosure—or was it also a deliberately orientated ‘pointer’?
I noticed from the original aerial photograph, the southern end (base) of the trapezoid clearly shows the ‘Mosaic’ built over an earlier geoglyph, then overlapped at its northern apex by two parallel geoglyphs; this construction sequence clearly indicates the Socos Pampa Mosaic was a later deliberate entity, was intended as a triangular shaped geoglyph, and intended to carry an array of imagery and inscriptive material on this pre-selected spot.
Thus it is evident the ‘Mosaic’ was built between earlier and later geoglyphic elaboration phases. In fact, many Nascan geoglyphs overlap, making them time-phase sensitive, and so difficult to determine their true date of origin.
Of course, the perfect solution would be an in-depth study of the Socos Pampa Mosaic material and as much as possible of the inscriptive material along the “Band of Holes” at Humay (Monte Sierpe) which might provide valuable provenance: names, dates, voyaging details, or dedications to a particular God or Goddess worshipped by the Trans-Oceanic emigre's... Astarte perhaps?
Does the Socos Pampa geoglyph reveal whom may have originally implemented the Nasca Lines?
Emphatically yes, in my opinion. However, just as with claims Christopher Columbus ‘discovered’ America are on the verge of being consigned to the dustbins of history, so the Nasca Lines of Peru will come under similar pressure to review the long held ‘authoritative’ opinion that the world famous geoglyphs were actually and only constructed by the Nasca Culture between 200 BC and AD 100.
Another positive confirmation of Phoenician involvement within the Nasca Lines is the presence of the huge third to fourth century BC inscription I exposed and published on my website in 1999 and which was actually translated! Explanatory color photographs and the inscription translation are all included in my book "Portraits of the Gods".
There is absolutely no doubt, as a result of my own, and others’ scientific research over the past couple of decades, the evidence uncovered and exposed for public examination is proving very persuasive that considerable interaction took place between peoples of the African and South America Continents many centuries before the rise of the Nasca Culture in 200 BC.
Whilst I have tremendous respect for the artistic and cultural accomplishments of the Nasca in their own right, I now honestly believe they inherited the Nasca Lines palimpsest from a much earlier race of Priest-Astronomers.
- The Mysterious Holes of Peru: A Pre-Columbian Domestic Water Source for Trans-Oceanic Travelers? Part I
- The Mysterious Holes of Peru: A Pre-Columbian Domestic Water Source for Trans-Oceanic Travelers? Part II
Hypothetically speaking, it is quite clear that these Old World emigres were able to ‘communicate’ in an elementary mixture of Ideographs (hieroglyphs) supported by a system of writing very close to that invented by the Phoenicians; this would give a time frame for the Socos Pampa Mosaic between the end of the third millennium BC and mid-second millennium BC.
Collectively, the evidence gathered from my research of the Uruguayan coastline inscriptions, the “Band of Holes”, the Socos Pampa geoglyph and the inscription within the Nasca Lines, also confirms this hypothesis.
We now accept generally that Trans-Oceanic voyages were being made well into the third millennium BC, and such overwhelming evidence can no longer be denied or covered up for ‘political’ reasons. Gradually the evidence and truth about diffusion ‘en masse’ is emerging.
Authors Notes: The term, 'Socos Pampa Mosaic’ was coined by the author simply to identify this archaeological feature within the Nasca Lines network.
Readers wishing to view the Socos Pampa Mosaic via Google Earth may not achieve the same imagery definition as the original SAP photograph which was shot from a light aircraft at an oblique angle at low altitude.
The ‘Mosaic’ symbols (or characters) seem generally identical to variants of the Phoenician alphabet and their letter equivalent, in accord with published historical data. However, true alphabetical values can only be confirmed when the language in which they are written is known.
Similarly, we need to understand the context of the pictorials; are they observations of local flora and fauna, encyclopedic, ideographs / hieroglyphs, or do they represent clan signatures, for example?
The visual interpretation of the ‘stone heaps’ along the Socos Pampa trapezoid into pictographs and inscriptive material, as described and depicted in this article, are my sole opinion based upon many years of research into geoglyphic and rock cut impressions.
Finally, I have located a number of human heads, flora and fauna images ‘off-piste’ of the ‘Mosaic’ trapezoid; these I will process and publish later in the year.
Featured image: Aerial Photograph (Photo Copyright South American Pictures 1978) and Illustration “Mysterious Holes of Peru” (Copyright William James Veall 2010)
Morrison, Tony. Pathways to the Gods. M. Russell Publishing, Salisbury, UK 1978. South American Pictures. [email protected]
Veall, W.J. Portraits of the Gods, Nascodex Publications, Girona, Spain. 2012
Nascodex Publications. 2013. [Online] Available at: http://www.nascodexpublications.com/EN/Welcome.html
Uruguay collection. 2014. [Online] Available at: http://www.nascodex.org/NX/Uruguay.html
Mysterious Holes of Peru. [Online] Available at: http:/www.ancient-origins.net/opinion/mysterious-holes-peru-pre-columbian-domestic-water-source-trans-oceanic-020507
SeaFarers from the Levant the first to set foot in the Americas? [Online] Available at: http:/www.ancient-origins.net/.../sea-farers-levant-first-set-foot-americas-proto-sinaitis-inscriptions-020178
Tara MacIsaac, 2015. Inscriptions on Uruguay Coast Suggest West Africans Beat Columbus to Americas. [Online] Available at: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/1362038-inscriptions-on-uruguay-coast-suggest-west-africans-beat-colombus-to-americas/
Fell, Barry. A merica B.C. Pocket Books (Simon & Schuster Inc.) USA 1989