Reading aloud You do not even have a real name - even scientists only talk about Nasca people. But everyone knows the Nazca lines. The knowledge about humans is as low as the soil engravings are gigantic. Markus Reindel has now begun to solve the mystery of the soil drawings (geoglyphs) in the South Peruvian Pampa. Above all, the archaeologist of the Commission for General and Comparative Archeology (KAVA) wants to know: Who were the creators of the lines? He has, it seems, after an initial excavation campaign, an end of the Ariadne thread in his hand. Some disputed textbook wisdom he can already correct: The lines were actually created in the Nasca period (200 BC to 600 AD). The Nasca people did not immigrate, but were based on a local predecessor culture. And: There were older role models for the gigantomaniac paintings.

So far, all explorers, adventurers and spinners have focused on the soil engravings in the Nasca Plateau. The are spectacular, a regional economic factor of the first order and have been elevated to the rank of a World Heritage Site. Reindel chose a different starting point: "If we want to decode the soil drawings, we have to find the people who created them." He sought therefore with German archaeologist thoroughness and financial support of the Swiss-Liechtenstein Foundation for Archaeological Research Abroad (SLSA) of the Andes coming river valley of the Rio Grande.

On its slopes, he found in a surface survey (Survey) near the town of Palpa, about 40 kilometers from Nasca away, find: Just 30 centimeters below the surface, he laid free masonry crowns - a city of Nasca people. And in the immediate vicinity of floor pictures.

After his first excavation campaign, Reindel can draw a detailed picture: About 1900 years ago, settlers in the floodplain of Rio Grande, Rio Palpa and Rio Viscas had pinned today's "Los Molinos" - a center, 400 meters long and 100 meters wide, with a meter thick brick walls and twelve-meter halls of solidity, power and wealth embodied. The basis of the community was a flourishing agriculture backed by systematic irrigation. display

The agrarian surplus made possible a socially staggered society, in which a number of "members were exempted from the purchase of food, " Reindel describes such a nobility-like layer. All that had so far been scanty as well as superficial investigations, the Nasca people did not want to admit. The sophisticated irrigation sewage system already required forward-looking planning and division of labor. However, an overriding will - whether chief, prince or king - was indispensable when planting and executing the floor drawings. In Reindel's Palpa, the lines, triangles and spirals cover the mountain flanks and plains in dozens, reaching into the settlements.

In the still untouched valley of the Rio Grande Markus Reindel also located the origins of the soil drawings. Thousands of animals and human beings inhabit the rocks of the Andes foothills there. These carved petroglyphs date from the fourth century BC. Later, the petroglyphs were enlarged many times over to the mountain slopes. At 10 to 20 meters, they were visible and recognizable. "From there the boom of the ground pictures must have developed", Reindel speculates. "Then they became bigger and more abstract and were moved to the plateaus." Only then does the riddle begin: Why these giant drawings in places where they could not be recognized?

Here is the latest attempt at interpretation: On behalf of the North American National Geographic Society (NGS), the American David Johnson approached the miracle. His conclusion after several years exploring the river valleys: "The Nasca lines are a text engraved in the landscape to indicate to the inhabitants of the region where water is available."

His next hope puts Reindel in the excavation campaign this year: He wants to tackle some individual buildings that are located off the settlements directly to the lines.

In the Siedllungen is also dug up. Because Reindel has a near goal: "I want to find the temple there." The next point: the creators of the lines. The final goal: the solution of the riddle.

Michael Zick

© science.de

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