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Desert labyrinth: lines, landscape and meaning at Nazca, Peru

  • Clive Ruggles (a1) and Nicholas J. Saunders (a2)

The shapes drawn out by the famous Nazca lines in the Peruvian desert are at their most evident from the air—giving rise to some famously fantastic theories about their origin. The new understanding offered here is the result of a piece of straightforward brilliance on the part of our authors: get down on the ground, where the original users were, and see where your feet lead you. Using stratigraphic and taphonomic reasoning to decide which lines were contemporary, they discover an itinerary so complex they can justify calling it a labyrinth, and see it as serving ceremonial progressions.

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T. Ingold 2004. Culture on the ground: the world perceived through the feet. Journal of Material Culture 9(3): 315-40.

D.W. Johnson , D.A. Proulx & S.B. Mabee . 2002. The correlation between geoglyphs and subterranean water resources in the Rio Grande de Nazca drainage, in H. Silverman & W.H. Isbell (ed.) Andean archaeology II: art, landscape, and society: 307-32. New York: Kluwer Academic.

M. Reindel & G.A. Wagner (ed.). 2009. New technologies for archaeology: multidisciplinary investigations in Palpa and Nasca, Peru. Berlin: Springer.

H. Silverman & D.A. Proulx . 2002. The Nasca. Malden (MA) & Oxford: Blackwell.

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  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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