They are striking works of art by any standard: but what purpose did they serve? Some of the theories put forward suggest that the lines were ancient running tracks, runways for aliens and even a giant astronomical calculator. But after decades of misunderstanding, modern archaeology may finally have an answer to the puzzle of the Nasca lines. An international team, including National Geographic-funded scientists, has taken an array of high-tech tools to the desert in an unprecedented effort to build a comprehensive digital model of the lines. At the same time, excavations are uncovering new clues about the Nasca, their rituals and beliefs, and the extremes they went to in order to survive. The mystery of the Nasca Lines is bound up in an unforgiving climate, droughts, clan warfare and mysterious caches of severed human heads.
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