Nazca features heavily as a tourist attraction in Southern Peru due to the famous Nazca Lines. However, the recent restoration of the giant orca, which was rediscovered in 1960, has put Nazca back in the news.
After careful investigation and consideration the orca has been found to be the oldest Nazca-era geoglyph in the Nazca desert. The orca is over 60 meters in length and built on a slope in the Palpa region making it more prone to weathering and erosion. It was lost for over 50 years, from 1960 until 2015, when it was rediscovered. For two years, Johny Isla from Peru’s Ministry of Culture and six specialists carried out an extensive restoration project and study. The archeologists have confirmed that they have dated the soil surrounding the geoglyph back to 200 B.C. and returned the geoglyph to its former glory.
The orca is in the style of other older Nazca geoglyphs in the region but also shows considerable evidence that it was imprinted with the assistance of the Paracas, an older culture that predates the Nazca people (800 BC to 100 BC).
But, why a killer whale? An interesting question given that it was etched in the middle of a desert. Some believe that it was revered as a mythical creature and considered a deity. Interestingly enough, the orca symbol is often found in ancient Peruvian pottery and ceramics found in the area.
This latest discovery will certainly encourage more travellers to head to the Nazca desert to see the geoglyph in question. Will you be one of them?