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Cat cut into the climb: Peruvian archaeologists unearth feline-like geoglyph at Nazca Lines

Tue 20 Oct 2020    
| 2 min read

Peruvian archaeologists have come across a massive cat-like carving into the side of a hill dating back to over 2,000 years ago, according to the country’s Ministry of Culture.

Stamped on a lookout point at the UNESCO heritage site known as Nazca Lines, the dusty caricature was unearthed during the team’s remodelling work. A cat geoglyph, by all means, it stretched across a steep incline in a naturally eroded ‘sketch’ that made it hard to see at first.

Post-cleaning and uncovering the rest of the lines — varying anywhere between 12 to 16 inches in width — the archaeologists ultimately beheld the 121 foot long image.

“With this discovery, once again, the rich and varied cultural legacy that the area harbours, which is also within the area inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, is revealed,” the ministry said in a statement last week.

The geoglyph appears to be older than the other lines, creatures, plants and geometric figures scratched into the ground nearby, as is viewed from above. The ministry said the style of the artwork indicates it may have been created between 200 B.C. to 100 B.C., in the late Paracas period.

Feline depictions have been known to frequently appear on ceramics and textiles produced by the Paracas society. Other visuals like that of a monkey, hummingbird, and an orca have also been unearthed at The Nazca Lines site.

An arachnid-like geoglyph cut into the World Heritage site [Image: Britannica]

Pre-Hispanic societies scraped away at the ground, peeling away the gravel layers to reveal the lighter-hued bedrock — a practice they engaged in to create thousands of the massive designs. The images, which unravel across 174 square miles of land, are believed to have had ritual astronomical functions, but the site remains one of “archaeology’s greatest enigmas,” according to the UNESCO.

Discovered in 1927, the Nazca Lines was bestowed the gravitas of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. 

In 2019, a team of researchers from Japan used satellite photography and 3D imaging to identify more than 140 new geoglyphs in the region.

[Sourced from Agencies]