Incan Geoglyphs of Chile

Thursday, 8th February 2007 by

Here in Chile’s Atacama Desert, there are many examples of ancient Incan geoglyphs, similar to the Nazca Lines in neighbouring Peru, but spread over a much wider area.

In the northern desert the Chiza geoglyphs were made by carefully arranging the dark stones on the light sand to create figures of humans, birds and animals. In contrast to the Nazca lines, of of these geoglyphs are on hillsides, and can therefore be seen from ground level – in fact a car has stopped by the road here to admire these ones.

atacamageoglyphs.jpg

Further south, we find the geoglyphs at Tiliviche – which is a huge drawing of a whole herd of Llamas being rounded up by a fat guy and a skinny guy (Llamas were used by the Incas as a system of transportation).

Moving further south again, we find the Pintados geoglyphs. Although these figures of men, beasts, birds and geometric shapes are comparitively small, there are around 400 individual geoglyphs here! Interestingly it seems that these were all made by clearing the dark rocks to create the image.

Finally, the most impressive geoglyph in Chile has got to be the totally brilliant Atacama Giant, which at 80 metres, claims to be the world’s largest prehistorical anthropomorphic figure (of course, if you’re a regular reader you’ll know to consider these “world’s largest” claims carefully…)

atacamagiant.jpg

There’s other shapes and figures here too, but personally I think this “gigantic cat-looking-thing” is one of the best geoglyphs anywhere :D

Here’s some more info on the Atacama Giant, the Inca Empire, and um, Llamas.

Thanks to Mauricio Aguilar, Yannick Lemieux, Patrick and Juan Arancibia.