Huge 2,000-Year-Old Cat Discovered In Peru Desert
A massive 2,000-year-old cat etched onto a desert hillside has been discovered in Peru.
The huge feline figure was found in the South American country’s Nazca Lines, home to hundreds of mysterious geoglyphs, including monkeys, whales, pelicans and hummingbirds, around 250 miles south of the capital, Lima.
The cat was discovered earlier this month, measuring out at 37m (120ft) long with strong lines 30-40cm wide. Despite the historical significance of the plateau, this particular drawing somehow went unnoticed until it was recently spotted by maintenance workers.
Following its discovery, the geoglyph has since been cleaned and properly conserved. In a statement earlier this week, Peru’s culture ministry told BBC News: ‘The figure was scarcely visible and was about to disappear, because it’s situated on quite a steep slope that’s prone to the effects of natural erosion.’
Following plans for a new path to an observation platform to be made, the figure was found, after which archaeologists were called in to maintain and investigate the incredible discovery.
As for which point in history the geoglyph is from, the ministry explained that it was likely from the late Paracas period, somewhere between 500BC and 200AD. ‘Representations of this type of feline are frequently found in the iconography of ceramics and textiles in the Paracas society,’ the statement added.
The area’s various drawings cover around 174 square miles, created by removing rocks and other gravel to reveal lighter-coloured earth underneath. In 1994, it became a UNESCO World Heritage site, with the organisation describing it as one of ‘archaeology’s greatest enigmas’.
UNESCO’s description reads:
They are the most outstanding group of geoglyphs anywhere in the world and are unmatched in its extent, magnitude, quantity, size, diversity and ancient tradition to any similar work in the world.
The concentration and juxtaposition of the lines, as well as their cultural continuity, demonstrate that this was an important and long-lasting activity, lasting approximately one thousand years.
Johny Isla, Peru’s chief archaeologist for the Nazca Lines, told Spanish news agency Efe, via The Guardian: ‘It’s quite striking that we’re still finding new figures, but we also know that there are more to be found.’
He added, ‘Over the past few years, the use of drones has allowed us to take images of hillsides. These are smaller in size, drawn on to hillsides, and clearly belong to an earlier tradition.’ In recent years, around 80-100 new geoglyphs have been found, all predating Nazca culture between 200-700AD.
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