The incredible Sajama Lines of Bolivia

The unknown origins of the incredible Sajama Lines of Bolivia


In Western Bolivia, thousands and thousands of perfectly straight paths are etched into the ground, creating an amazing sight. These lines, otherwise known as geoglyphs, were etched into the ground over a period of 3,000 years by indigenous people living near the volcano Sajama. It is unknown exactly when or why they were constructed, but they remain a mystery, as it is hard to imagine how the construction of something of such magnitude could pre-date modern technology.

The Sajama lines cover an area of approximately 22,525 square kilometers, or 8,700 square miles. They are perfectly straight lines, formed into a web or network. Each individual line is 1-3 meters, or 3-10 feet wide. The longest lines measure 20 kilometers, or 12 miles in length.  The creation of these lines without the aid of modern technology is a marvel. They were etched into the ground by scraping vegetation to the side, and scouring away dark surface material consisting of soil and oxidized rock, to reveal a light subsurface. The precision of the Sajama lines is remarkable. According to scholars at the University of Pennsylvania:

While many of these sacred lines extend as far as ten or twenty kilometers (and perhaps further), they all seem to maintain a remarkable straightness despite rugged topography and natural obstacles. The sheer number and length of these lines is often difficult to perceive from ground level, but from the air or hilltop vantage points, they are stunning.

The Sajama Lines were created by scraping away surface material

Like the Nazca Lines of Peru, the Sajama Lines were created by scraping away surface material. ( Source)

Some believe that the indigenous people used the lines as a navigational tool during sacred pilgrimages. Wak'as (shrines), chullpas (burial towers) and hamlets are interspersed among the lines, creating a cultural landscape.

The striking radial arrangement of the Sajama Lines

The striking radial arrangement of the Sajama Lines ( Source)

The Sajama lines were first accounted for in 1932 by traveler Aimé Felix Tschiffely. A few years later, anthropologist Alfred Metraux published ethnographic fieldwork about the Aymara and Chipaya people of the Carangas region, bringing the lines and cultural landscape to the attention of scholars. More recently, the Landmarks Foundation has worked to protect the lines from threats of erosion, unchecked development and tourism in the area, and other dangers that come from the absence of a management plan. They have studied the lines and created a database to help protect them. Working closely with the University of Pennsylvania, the Landmarks Foundation has created the “Tierra Sajama Project,” utilizing analytic digital media tools such as geographic information systems (GIS) to map, describe, and analyze the lines. The Tierra Sajama Project achieved the objectives of:

  • Creating a computer-database of maps and pertinent information about the lines, local vegetation, and relevant topography
  • Analyzing and interpreting the patterns and meanings of various land features such as mountaintop shrines and religious structures to determine possible alignments to the sacred lines
  • Developing proposals that provided for long-term protection of the lines and enhanced appreciation of the sacred landscape

Unfortunately, the analytical mapping of the size, shape, and location of the Sajama lines doesn’t answer the many questions which remain, such as who created them, what was their purpose, and what tools did they use? Answering these questions may help us to understand another piece of human history. For now, we will have to continue to marvel at the vast area covered by the lines, and the amount of effort it must have taken to create them, without fully understanding their purpose or function.

Featured image: The Sajama Lines, Bolivia ( Source )


Sajama Lines – Wikipedia

Nevado Sajama – Desert Mountaineer

Geoglyphs of the Andes – Basement Geographer

Sajama Lines, Sajama, Bolivia –

By M R Reese



Just saw your comment above. There IS evidence of intelligence as long as the establishment don't suppress it. In 1800s a skeleton was found buried with beautiful complicated grave goods/placement before floods/ice age. Though they aren't looking too deep, as in Stonehenge, said for years it's a certain age, did one tiny dig in a hole onsite and found it is much older.

The egyptian boats from ancient times, found on UK soil with proof of wood from that region/insects bored into wood. Can't find the boat, but a tiny insect in Natural History museum tells the story.

They are HIDING Our history for some reason.

As you say, "The ancient people were just like us, intelligent," Which means that they were up to a lot of things and did what they could do with the means at their disposal.
Modern man (Homo Sapiens Sapiens) is estimated to be 200 000 years old. Why is there no proof of that intelligence before 15 000 to 10 000 BP? Why did modern man do nothing in terms of civilization for a 185 000 years, only to push from stone tool technology to space travel technology in 10 000 years or so? And why did that amazing evolutionary process happen simultaneously on the Euro Asian continent and the American continent, if there was no contact and exchange between the two? The logical answer to this is that we know very little about our ancestors.

Sheer intellect by ancients is proven to us by all their constructive evidence, left behind. They did many things we cannot duplicate today. They did not have the distractions we do with all the expansions our own tech has done. These lines were made so they could travel in their deemed wasteland without deviation, quickly. Romans had roads.for overall better infrastructure, similarily.

I don't think it is "jumping to a conclusion" to state that the ancients were as intelligent as us. This is a mistake of arrogance that us "moderns" make.

You don't know that the "ancient people" were "just like us." Or not. Jumping to a conclusion with no evidence isn't what is meant by investigating.

Of course, you might be correct in that assumption. But you just as easily might be incorrect. Given that their digital files were erased I'd think it's more likely the latter.


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