While historians are still baffled by the etching process of the Nazca lines, they have shed some light on the purpose of these gargantuan geoglyphs. Situated in the very dry Nazca Desert in southern Peru, the ancient specimens of art were most probably created after 2nd century BC (with the more stylized images being probably made in the later centuries). As for their intent, researchers at the Yamagata University in Japan, have deduced two different states of purpose that the Nazca lines might have served. To that end, the preliminary patterns may have been specifically created to complement a processional route that led to a pre-Incan temple complex. However, a later faction (at a latter date) scattered bits of ceramic pot on the intersecting patterns to observe some kind of a religious ritual.
In fact, the researchers are also quite certain that the Nazca lines themselves were created by two separate group of peoples who lived in different parts of the arid region. As for their basis of study, the archaeologists from the Yamagata University have been able to uncover more than 100 geoglyphs along with other objects like shards of broken ceramic pots. Closely analyzing their locations, intrinsic patterns and even methods of creation, the experts were able to decipher sets of variant Nazca lines arrayed along the different pathways that led to the aforementioned temple complex. These patterns were probably made by a faction from the Ingenio Valley – since many of etchings started out from that particular area. On the other hand, the researchers also discovered a separate set of Nazca lines (mostly alluding to supernatural beings) that are concentrated in the Nazca Valley. These geoglyphs were probably made by a different faction who lived in the proximate Nazca region.
Coming to the temple complex in question, this pre-Inca site known as Cahuachi, has archaeologically yielded a range of evidences, including pyramids, religious structures and grim objects like human heads. Reverting to the earlier discussion, the primary purpose of the Nazca lines was associated with the pilgrimage routes that led to this expansive compound. In essence, the ornamented patterns were etched on ground to denote the routes to the religious complex. But as time went on (after 3rd century AD), the purpose had seemingly changed, with people then focusing more on the lines rather than the complex. In that regard, folks (from post 200 AD) might have placed intentionally broken ceramic pieces along the intersections so as to perform some localized rituals.
And lastly, in spite of the changing religious practices and rituals, it is pretty interesting to note that the Nazca people continued to draw and inscribe larger patterns on the desert site till at least 600 AD. As Masato Sakai of Yamagata University, made it clear –
Even after the collapse of the Cahuachi temple, trapezoids and straight lines continued to be made and used.
Via: Live Science