Russian Nazca Lines, giant lines on the earth that can only be seen fully from far above, are a mystery that researchers think could date back thousands of years.
The huge Russian Nazca Lines appear to be in the shape of an elk, and researchers believe they are thousands of years older than the famous Nazca Lines found in Peru, Livescience reported. Found near a lake in the Ural Mountains north of Kazakhstan, the lines come together in a shape that looks like a long muzzle, four legs, and antlers.
The true dimensions are gigantic, Livescience noted:
Excluding the possible tail, the animal stretches for about 900 feet (275 meters) at its farthest points (northwest to southeast), the researchers estimate, equivalent to two American football fields. The figure faces north and would have been visible from a nearby ridge.
When they were initially created, the Russian Nazca lines had a much more stark appearance than they do today, noted Stanislav Grigoriev, of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of History Archaeology, and Nikolai Menshenin, of the State Centre for Monument Protection, in an article detailing the discovery
“The figure would initially have looked white and slightly shiny against the green grass background,” they wrote.
The research suggested that the Russian Nazca Lines are the product of “a megalithic culture,” which created other similar works in the Ural Mountains.
The Russian Nazca lines were first discovered by Alexander Shestakov, who saw them on satellite images and alerted researchers. They have since been the subject of an on-the-ground excavation that uncovered an elaborate architecture. Researchers even found passageways on parts of the elk glyph.
“The hoof is made of small crushed stones and clay. It seems to me there were very low walls and narrow passages among them. The same situation in the area of a muzzle: crushed stones and clay, four small broad walls and three passages,” Grigoriev wrote in an email to LiveScience.
He noted that his team could not travel to the bottom of the walls of the Russian Nazca Lines as they did not want to damage the structure.
The Russian Nazca lines and similar ones in Peru are not the only structures of that type to be discovered, the Daily Mail noted. In 2011 a series of Nazca Lines were discovered in the Middle East.