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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.
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
In 1927 a
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
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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
please take a look at our Ancient Mysteries Bookshoppe for a wide selection of books
that challenge orthodox views of prehistory on every continent