The pre-Inca Nazca culture in Southern Peru flourished between 200 BC and 600 AD. Its most famous legacy, now World Heritage: the giant geoglyphs etched into the Pampa de Nazca, an arid desert plateau between the towns of Nazca and Palpa Ð geometric designs, lines, spirals, triangles, trapezoids and animal figures Ð and the geoglyphs on slopes mostly around Palpa, some of them anthropomorphic. The geoglyphs on the Pampa, to be fully appreciated only from the air, were created by removing the dark pebbles of the surface, baring the light subsoil, while the figures on the hillside, visible also from the ground level, stand out in high relief after removal of the stones from their contours. The enigma of Nazca has spawned outlandish speculations, but the purpose of the drawings Ð beyond the general assumption of a cultic meaning Ð has so far equally defied sober scientific attempts at explanation. Serious archaeological work by Italian and German archaeologists started late. A photogrammetric survey with 3D computer modeling undertaken by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ZŸrich (Professor Armin GrŸn) should yield new insights. German mathematician Maria Reiche, who had put Nazca on the map, pioneered its conservation. She paid from her own pocket for a viewing tower at the Panamericana Highway.
A viewing tower next to the Panamericana Highway buiilt by German mathematician, Maria Reiche (1903-1998), who devoted half her lifetime to researching and publicising Nazca geoglyphs. This is one of many geometric ground drawings comprising of lines and spirals created by the pre-Inca Nazca culture in Southern Peru between 200 BCE and