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Cat Geoglyph at Nazca

Archaeologists with the Nazca-Palpa Management Plan of Peru’s Ministry of Culture have discovered a 2,100-year-old figure of a relaxing feline in the Nazca Desert, southern Peru.

This image shows the figure of a feline on a hillside in the Nazca Desert, southern Peru. Image credit: La Oficina de Comunicación e Imagen, Ministerio De Cultura, Gobierno del Perú.

This image shows the figure of a feline on a hillside in the Nazca Desert, southern Peru. Image credit: La Oficina de Comunicación e Imagen, Ministerio De Cultura, Gobierno del Perú.

The geoglyphs of Nazca are a series of drawings located in the desert plains of the Rio Grande de Nazca river basin about 400 km (250 miles) south of Lima, the capital and the largest city of Peru.

The monuments were created between 500 BCE and 500 CE by ancient people making depressions or shallow incisions in the desert floor, removing pebbles and leaving differently colored dirt exposed.

They depict living creatures, stylized plants and imaginary beings, as well as geometric figures several km long.

They became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994, and are among archaeology’s greatest enigmas because of their quantity, nature, size and continuity.

The newly-discovered cat geoglyph measures about 37 m (121.4 feet) in length.

“The figure was barely visible and was about to disappear due to its location on a fairly steep slope and the effects of natural erosion,” the archaeologists said.

The new geoglyph dates from between 200 BCE and 100 BCE (Late Paracas period).

“Representations of felines of this type are frequent in the iconography of ceramics and textiles of the Paracas society,” the researchers said.

“With this discovery, once again, the rich and varied cultural legacy that the area harbors, which is also within the area inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, is revealed.”

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