2,000-Year-Old Cat Etching Found at Nazca Lines Site in Peru


The picture, stretching for 40 yards on a hillside in Peru, reveals a creature with pointy ears, orb-like eyes and an extended striped tail. It seems to be a cat lounging, as cats usually do.

Archaeologists stumbled throughout the pale etching whereas transforming a piece of a UNESCO heritage web site referred to as the Nazca Lines, Peru’s Ministry of Culture introduced final week.

The catlike geoglyph — which consultants say dates to 200 B.C. to 100 B.C. — is the most recent discovery among the many carvings of larger-than-life animals and vegetation beforehand discovered between the cities of Nazca and Palpa, in a desert plain about 250 miles southeast of the capital, Lima.

“The discovery shows, once again, the rich and varied cultural legacy of this site,” the ministry mentioned in a press release.

Research and conservation work had continued at the site even during the coronavirus pandemic, when most tourist sites have been closed. Archaeologists and employees were working on the Mirador Natural, a lookout point in the protected site, when they began unearthing something intriguing. When they cleaned the mound, clear lines showing the sinuous body of a cat emerged.

“The figure was barely visible and was about to disappear because it is situated on quite a steep slope that’s prone to the effects of natural erosion,” the culture ministry said in a statement.

The authorities said that even a stray footprint could mar the fragile grounds, and have imposed strict rules against trespassing at the site. Before the pandemic shut down tours, visitors were permitted to view the lines and figures only from planes and lookout points.

But disturbances at the Nazca lines have occurred, drawing widespread condemnation.

In 2014, Greenpeace activists left shoe marks near a large hummingbird design when they placed a sign that promoted renewable energy, Peruvian officials said.

“You walk there and the footprint is going to last hundreds or thousands of years,” Luis Jaime Castillo, a Peruvian official and archaeologist, told The Guardian at the time. “And the line that they have destroyed is the most visible and most recognized of all.”

In 2018, a truck driver was arrested after intentionally driving his tractor-trailer across three lines of geoglyphs.

Even as Peru works to preserve its ancient sites, officials reopened Machu Picchu this month for one lucky tourist after he became stranded during the pandemic and waited seven months to see the 16th-century Inca citadel.



Source link Nytimes.com

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