The strange circles in Peru that are known as geoglyphs, with some ranging over half a football field in size, were most likely made by ancient travelers who were resting and taking breaks. These circles, which were made over a substantially long period of time and can be dated to roughly around 200 to 1400 AD, have been found mainly along old transportation routes.
As Live Science has reported, the new study’s co-author Justin Jennings, from the New World archaeology at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, explained that travelers would have created these geoglyphs while making pit stops along the road.
“People are doing these geoglyphs ‘on the road’ in both senses of the term. They’re in the midst of travel, and they’re doing this work, and of course, when you’re in the midst of travel, you’re doing it at a pit stop.”
Interestingly, these circles would not have taken very long to create and were made by pushing rocks and dirt around on the ground, thereby exposing the red ground beneath. Occasionally researchers have spotted broken fragments of pottery in these Peruvian geoglyphs along with dazzlingly painted rocks, which almost resemble offerings of some kind.
It has been noted that the geoglyphs in Peru look somewhat similar to Nazca Lines, yet in reality geoglyphs are much less complex in design, with Nazca Lines featuring enormous animals like monkeys and jaguars that stretch as far as 1,200 feet, which would have taken much longer to have made.
— Live Science (@LiveScience) October 26, 2018
While geoglyphs with just one ring were most frequently found, there were ones which contained more than one circle, and these were also surprisingly the ones that were most likely to hold ancient artifacts. The circles were also almost always discovered at inflection points which is where the road would have changed. In fact, oftentimes these areas were close to 2,000 feet above valleys, and Jennings believes this is because weary travelers would have used these spots to take rests and constructed their geoglyphs then.
“You’re climbing for probably about an hour or so of a fairly steep climb, and you finally get up there. Now, it’s fairly flat. You can see all these great snowcapped peaks. It’s a very different vista. It’s a moment of change, a moment of rest.”
Due to agriculture and irrigation, many of these ancient paths are quickly vanishing, and it is the hope of Jennings and other researchers that drones and satellites will help to find more of these circles before they eventually disappear completely.
The new study on the discovery that geoglyphs in Peru were made by resting travelers has been published in Antiquity.