Among the many enigmas that remain to be solved about the pre-Columbian cultures highlights an artistic manifestation as surprising as it is mysterious. We are talking about geoglyphs, a type of giant-scale representation made on the natural terrain itself and using natural materials, basically rocks.
Surely, within South America, the most famous geoglyphs are those of the Nazca Culture, with examples as splendid as the famous figure of the hummingbird But there is more. For example, those found in the Archaeological Site of Pintados, included within the Pampa del Tamarugal Nature Reserve north of Chile.
There is a set of geoglyphs located more than 1,000 meters high and along a route of about 4 kilometers. In this extension you can see up to 450 figures of the most varied: zoomorphic, geometric, abstract and also anthropomorphic, such as the famous Atacama Giant.
The interpretations regarding this ensemble, as occurs with the legacy of the Nazca Culture in Perú, are extremely varied. One of the most common explanations is to think that they are a kind of signals for the large caravans that moved through this arid plateau.
Not all researchers agree with this and speak of perhaps also being used to accompany traditional rituals, mark possessions or indicate water flows. Without forgetting that there are also those who believe that they are the work of aliens or at least messages for them. Although, in this case they are easily visible from the ground, and it is not necessary to have an overhead perspective to see their shapes.
What historians do agree on is that this entire set of geoglyphs was made over time, approximately between the year 700 and 1,500. In other words, it would be a pre-Hispanic artistic and cultural manifestation very long in time. Which is very interesting, since in some way it would be a point that many people would see, being located on the caravan routes that linked the desert, the mountains and the coast.
Something very valuable considering how laborious it is to make, not to mention its difficult location and access in many cases. And it is that practically all the geoglyphs were created by removing stones and scraping the surface. This work causes the tone of the ground to change, between the silhouette of the figure and its background.
Although there are a few that used a completely different technique, since they added darker stones to shape it. However, of this type there is only 5% of the total. If more were made, it is presumed that they have been lost over time, since there are slopes in the area that exceed 40%.