geoglyphs around the world

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is the name given to landscape drawings. Throughout the ages many societies

in various parts of the world have produced geoglyphs varying in size

from a few feet to whole schemes of drawings covering hundreds of square

miles in area. Most geoglyphs await discovery, though, as they are often

too large to be appreciated from the ground, and in temperate latitudes

tend to be hidden amongst the mosaic tapestry of field boundaries and

modern roads. The Morien Institute

is always looking for new reports of geoglyph discoveries around the world,

and our archive contains many more examples than shown on these pages.

Some have

been carved into hillsides by removing the turf and topsoil to reveal

the chalk beneath – as in the various White Horses and other animal depictions

that are found in many parts of England. Others have been carved into

the landscape, and are prominent by using raised shapes made from the

excavated material, such as the Ohio

‘serpent mound’.

In 1927 a

woman named

Katherine Maltwood discovered shapes in the landscape around

the town of Glastonbury in Somerset. They were apparent only on maps of

the area, and she believed that the various shapes resembled figures symbolic

of the signs of the zodiac. They were made up of the ancient roads, lanes,

pathways and the courses of rivers and streams. She felt that this so-called

zodiac temple was in fact the real ’round

table’ of King Arthur, and attempted to link the placenemaes

in the area to the

“High History of the Holy Grail”. In 1947 a local Carmarthenshire

historian, Lewis Edwards, proposed a similar zodiac

temple in West Wales, which is also an area rich in arthurian

myth and legend, and probably more suited to being a physical location

for King Arthur as there are many links with Merlyn locally.

an image of   Machu Picchu There

are many geoglyphs in many areas all over North and South America.

But the main concentration is in Peru, though they can also be found

in Bolivia, Chile, and Patagonia – the area of the Welsh colony in



ones on the Nazca plain in Peru are not all that near to the magnificent

ancient city of Machu Picchu. The drawings and lines at Nazca being

on much lower ground in the desert area near to the Pacific Ocean.

The view

of the ancient city above shows the mountains that are in the very far

distance when looking from the main geoglyph areas on the Nazca plain

in Peru. How the city was built is still a mystery to most arch?ologists.

It remains, though, a remarkable achievement.

Probably the best

known examples of geoglyphs are the magnificent drawings carved into the desert

on the Nazca Plain in Peru – only able to be seen from the air. These were discovered

in 1939 by Dr. Paul Kosok of Long Island University, who in 1946 handed over

over all his information about these amazing geoglyphs to Maria Reiche, a mathematician

and graduate of Hamburg University.


Reiche then spent the next fifty years living close to the area

of the drawings, painstakingly mapping each one, and trying to protect

them from the encroaches of modern civilisation. As you will see from

some of the aerial photographs, car tracks, horses hoof prints, and even

the Pan-American highway have all contributed to the destruction of a

number of the drawings, and this has been caused simply by the sheer size

of the geoglyphs which can only be appreciated properly from the air.

In response

to the ever increasing volume of email enquiries about the Nazca Plain

geoglyphs the Morien Institute has

decided to dedicate a number of pages specifically as a tribute to the

work of Maria Reiche. In the past we have simply referred enquirers to

her 1968 book “Mystery on the Desert”,

but in every case those who have got back to us have reported no success

in aquiring copies of this now long out-of-print book.

As a result

of this, from October 1999 we stated to provide quotations directly from

Maria Reiche’s book as part of our tribute to her, so that her work can

begin to reach the wider audience she spent half a lifetime attempting

to interest in what can only be described as one of the most magnificent

achievements of any ancient peoples.

But Nazca

is not the only place in the world where geoglyphs can be seen. Many are

very ancient, and others appear to be of more recent construction. For

example, there are many geoglyphs in Prydein,

and we intend to provide more details of these as we develop our webpages

dealing with geoglyphs. We are also in the process of building an index

of any other websites providing information about the Nazca lines and

drawings. There seem to be as many different interpretations of these

geoglyphs as there are geoglyphs themselves, and we hope to provide visitors

to these pages with as comprehensive a listing as possible.


our Tribute to the work of Maria Reiche

mystery on the desert |

landscape geometry |

lines over mountains

animals in the landscape |

figures on the plain |

the human scale |

birds on the pampa

the spider of Orion


please take a look at our Ancient Mysteries Bookshoppe for a wide selection of books

that challenge orthodox views of prehistory on every continent





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