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Archaeologists combing the south of Peru for clues about the Nazca Lines’ origins encountered dozens of new glyphs in drone fly-bys this week.
A Peru Culture Ministry official confirmed the archaeologists stumbled upon glyphs of a killer whale and dancing women, among others.
The mysterious Nazca Lines have baffled scientists for decades and no one is still certain about their exact purpose and origin.
Many speculate the intricately carved geoglyphs in the desolate soils of the Nazca Desert served as tribute to the gods, or more bizarrely, as landing pads for alien UFOs.
In total, there are more than 800 carved straight lines, some 300 geometric shapes and 70 animal and plant designs in the desert.
The most famous animal glyphs feature a giant hummingbird, condor, monkey, spider and a pelican.
But the newly discovered glyphs could be of particular interest to archaeologists because they date back hundreds of years before the Nazca Lines were created.
According to Johny Isla, an archaeologist heading the conservation efforts in the area, the newly found glyphs were left behind the Paracas culture more than 2,000 years ago.
Although most of the notorious lines were created by the Nazca people between 200 AD and 700 AD, experts speculate the ancient Paracas and Topará cultures left their mark as well.
Mr Isla said: “In total we’re talking about 1,200 years in which geoglyphs were produced.”
Unlike the Nazca Lines, which are only visible from a bird’s eye view, the Paracas left their glyphs on the sides of hillsides which made them easier to spot.
Mr Isla now said employing a fleet of drones for overhead scans has helped the archaeologists map the findings.
The Nazca Lines were declared a world heritage sight in 1994 by UNESCO after the incredibly delicate site faced damage from pollution and human activity.
Environmental group Greenpeace triggered world-wide condemnation in December 2014 after a team of activist irreparably damaged the protected site by setting up a protest banner among the lines.
The ancient Nazca Lines were first studied in 1926 by Peruvian archaeologist Toribio Mejia Xesspe.
The lines have since become a topic of intense speculation and research.
The Nazca culture flourished in southern Peru between 1 AD and 700 AD.