Archaeologists discover new geoglyphs near Nazca Lines in Peru

PALPA, Peru, May 28 (Reuters) - Archaeologists using drones have discovered more than 25 geoglyphs etched into a swath of coastal desert in southern Peru near the Nazca Lines, a culture ministry official said Monday.

Most of the newly found geoglyphs, which include figures of a killer whale and a woman dancing, appear to have been made by the Paracas culture more than 2,000 years ago, hundreds of years before the Nazca people created similar giant drawings nearby, said Johny Isla, an archaeologist who heads the culture ministry's conservation efforts in the region.

An additional 25 geoglyphs that had previously been spotted by local residents have also been mapped with drones, Isla said.

Drones "have allowed us to broaden our documentation and discover new groups of figures," Isla said on a tour of the geoglyphs in the province of Palpa.

RELATED: Best archaeological discoveries 

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5 of the best archaeological discoveries in recent history
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5 of the best archaeological discoveries in recent history

1. Dead Sea scrolls

Beginning in 1947, one of the most important discoveries of the 20th Century occurred along the steep cliffs and desert caverns, which are located near the Dead Sea.

(Photo: Getty)

1. Dead Sea scrolls

During the spring, Bedouin goat shepherds stumbled upon several ancient jars that contained seven unique manuscripts while searching a cave for a lost goat.

(Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

1. Dead Sea scrolls

A worker of the Israeli Antiquity Authority sews fragments of the Dead Sea scrolls which includes biblical verses in a preservation laboratory of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

(Photo courtesy: Getty)

2. Mummies of Pompeii

A restorer works on a petrified victim of the eruption of Vesuvius volcano in 79 BC, as part of the restoration work and the study of 86 casts in the laboratory of Pompeii Archaeological Site, on May 20, 2015 in Pompeii.

(MARIO LAPORTA/AFP/Getty Images)

2. Mummies of Pompeii

Frozen in time and entombed in a shell of volcanic ash, the victims of Pompeii have been preserved by the same tragedy that ended their lives nearly 2,000 years ago.

(edella via Getty Images)

2. Mummies of Pompeii

The once-thriving Roman city of Pompeii was destroyed by the powerful, volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D., a disaster that has allowed pieces of the ancient Roman way of life to survive throughout the ages.

(Flory via Getty Images)

2. Mummies of Pompeii

The cracked skull of a victim of the eruption of the Vesuvius volcano, near Pompeii, Italy, which erupted in AD 79. Pompeii was buried in ash and other volcanic products known as a pyroclastic flow, which preserved much of what is visible today. Bodies covered in ash decomposed, leaving a void which was later filled with plaster to produce a cast of the body shape and features preserved by the ash.

(Mark Williamson via Getty Images)

2. Mummies of Pompeii

Following the eruption, a massive landslide sent a deluge of mud and debris down the mountainside at immense speeds, burying the city and its doomed inhabitants. It was eventually lost to time and forgotten.

(edella via Getty Images)

3. Oetzi the Iceman

The mummy of an iceman named Otzi, discovered on 1991 in the Italian Schnal Valley glacier, is on display at the Archaeological Museum of Bolzano on February 28, 2011 during an official presentation of the reconstrution. Visitors will get to see Iceman Oetzi under a new light starting on March 1 at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, which celebrates the 20th anniversary of the mummy's discovery. Based on three-dimensional images of the mummy's skeleton as well as the latest forensic technology, a new model of the living Oetzi has been created by Dutch experts Alfons and Adrie Kennis.

(Andrea Solero/AFP/Getty Images)

3. Oetzi the Iceman

Oetzi the Iceman is one of the oldest natural mummies in the world, with estimates putting his time of death nearly 5,300 years ago. In addition, Oetzi is one of the oldest homicide victims ever discovered.

(GERHARD HINTERLEITNER/AFP/Getty Images)

3. Oetzi the Iceman

By examining the well preserved body, which had been encased in the glacial ice of the mountainous region, scientists discovered Oezti was felled by an arrow after an X-ray of his corpse.

(Andrea Solero/AFP/Getty Images)

3. Oetzi the Iceman

Due to the violent nature of his death and a series of tragedies over the years involving many of the Iceman's researchers, Oetzi, like some Egyptian mummies, comes with theories of his own legendary curse.

(Andrea Solero/AFP/Getty Images)

4. Frozen woolly mammoths

Unearthed from her icy tomb off the northern coast of Siberia in 2010, the best preserved woolly mammoth ever discovered has become the focus of exciting new possibilities in paleontology and genetic science.

(Photo by: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images)

4. Frozen woolly mammoths

The carcass of a well-preserved baby mammoth, named Lyuba, is seen during a media preview in Hong Kong April 10, 2012. Lyuba, whose carcass is 40,000 years old, was found by a reindeer herder in Yamal Peninsula in Russia in 2007. She will be exhibited at IFC Mall in Hong Kong on April 12.

(REUTERS/Tyrone Siu)

4. Frozen woolly mammoths

 A detail view of the eye of Lyuba, the world's most complete mammoth, is seen before going on public display at Natural History Museum on May 19, 2014 in London, England. The baby mammoth, measuring 85 centimetres tall and 130 centimetres long, was discovered in Siberia, Russia in May 2007 by reindeer herder Yuri Khudi and his sons whilst searching for wood along the Yuribei River some 42,000 years after the one month old mammoth died. Lyuba, named after Yuri's wife and meaning love in Russia, is on public display at the Natural History Museum from 23 May until 7 September 2014.

(Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

4. Frozen woolly mammoths

A child points to the carcass of the world's most well-preserved baby mammoth named Lyuba being displayed in a shopping mall in Hong Kong on May 4, 2012. Discovered in the permafrost of Russia's Yamal Peninsula in 2007 by a reindeer herder, the female baby mammoth named Lyuba remained almost fully intact with organs and eyelashes preserved.

(LAURENT FIEVET/AFP/GettyImages)

5. Ancient plants resurrected from icy graves

Even without the use of genetic research, another ancient biological lifeform was discovered after being freed from a 400-year-old ice tomb, due to the retreating Teardrop Glacier on the Canadian Ellesmere Island.

(Photo: Getty)

5. Ancient plants resurrected from icy graves

Further research indicated that mosses, dated to be between 400 and 600 years old, had resumed growing after being freed after centuries of being buried under the ice.

(Aaron McCoy via Getty Images)

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But unlike the Nazca lines, most of which can only be seen by flying above them, many of the so-called Palpa Lines were carved into hillsides and can be seen from below, Peru's culture ministry said in a statement.

The geoglyphs created by the Nazca and Paracas cultures are striking reminders of Peru's rich pre-Columbian history and are considered archeological enigmas, as no one knows for sure why they were drawn, or so large and for so long.

"In total we're talking about 1,200 years in which geoglyphs were produced" in the region, said Isla.

Declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994, the Nazca Lines have faced damage by squatters looking for land to settle on and motorists veering off a nearby highway.

In 2014, environmental group Greenpeace apologized to Peru for staging a picture to protest dirty fuels at the Nazca geoglyph of a hummingbird, which government officials said was damaged as a result.

Isla said the Greenpeace incident prompted the culture ministry to ramp up efforts to protect archaeological sites in the region, helping lead to the new discoveries.

"We still haven't walked among them, we've only taken pictures. This is the first stage of research," Isla said. 

Related: Incredible Israeli discovery 

15 PHOTOS
Archaeologists unearth 1,800-year-old mosaic in Israel
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Archaeologists unearth 1,800-year-old mosaic in Israel
An Israel Antiquities Authority worker cleans a mosaic floor decorated with a figure, which archaeologists say is 1,800 years old and was unearthed during an excavation in Caesarea, Israel February 8, 2018. REUTERS/Nir Elias
An Israel Antiquities Authority worker stands next to a mosaic floor which archaeologists say is 1,800 years old and was unearthed during an excavation in Caesarea, Israel February 8, 2018. REUTERS/Nir Elias
A decoration of a figure is seen on a mosaic floor which archaeologists say is 1,800 years old and was unearthed during an Israel Antiquities Authority excavation in Caesarea, Israel February 8, 2018. REUTERS/Nir Elias
Israel Antiquities Authority workers clean a mosaic floor decorated with figures, which archaeologists say is 1,800 years old and was unearthed during an excavation in Caesarea, Israel February 8, 2018. REUTERS/Nir Elias
An Israel Antiquities Authority worker holds a bucket while cleaning a mosaic floor decorated with figures, which archaeologists say is 1,800 years old and was unearthed during an excavation in Caesarea, Israel February 8, 2018. REUTERS/Nir Elias
Workers from the Israeli Antiquity Authority (IAA) clean a rare Roman mosaic from the 2nd3rd centuries at the Israeli Caesarea National Park on February 8, 2018. The mosaic was uncovered during an archaeological excavation that is part of the largest conservation and reconstruction project ever undertaken in Israel with an investment of over 28 million US dollars contributed by the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation and the Caesarea Development Corporation. According to Dr. Peter Gendelman and Dr. Uzi Ad, directors of the excavation for the IAA: This colourful mosaic, measuring more than 3.5 x 8 meters, is of a rare high quality. It features three figures, multicoloured geometric patterns and a long inscription in Greek'. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
An Israel Antiquities Authority worker looks at a mosaic floor decorated with figures, which archaeologists say is 1,800 years old and was unearthed during an excavation in Caesarea, Israel February 8, 2018. REUTERS/Nir Elias
Israeli archaeology Professor Uzi Ad from the Israeli Antiquity Authority explains to journalists the discovery of a rare Roman mosaic from the 2nd3rd centuries at the Israeli Caesarea National Park on February 8, 2018. The mosaic was uncovered during an archaeological excavation that is part of the largest conservation and reconstruction project ever undertaken in Israel with an investment of over 28 million US dollars contributed by the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation and the Caesarea Development Corporation. According to Dr. Peter Gendelman and Dr. Uzi Ad, directors of the excavation for the IAA: This colourful mosaic, measuring more than 3.5 x 8 meters, is of a rare high quality. It features three figures, multicoloured geometric patterns and a long inscription in Greek'. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Workers from the Israeli Antiquity Authority (IAA) clean a rare Roman mosaic from the 2nd3rd centuries at the Israeli Caesarea National Park on February 8, 2018. The mosaic was uncovered during an archaeological excavation that is part of the largest conservation and reconstruction project ever undertaken in Israel with an investment of over 28 million US dollars contributed by the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation and the Caesarea Development Corporation. According to Dr. Peter Gendelman and Dr. Uzi Ad, directors of the excavation for the IAA: This colourful mosaic, measuring more than 3.5 x 8 meters, is of a rare high quality. It features three figures, multicoloured geometric patterns and a long inscription in Greek'. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Workers from the Israeli Antiquity Authority (IAA) clean a rare Roman mosaic from the 2nd3rd centuries at the Israeli Caesarea National Park on February 8, 2018. The mosaic was uncovered during an archaeological excavation that is part of the largest conservation and reconstruction project ever undertaken in Israel with an investment of over 28 million US dollars contributed by the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation and the Caesarea Development Corporation. According to Dr. Peter Gendelman and Dr. Uzi Ad, directors of the excavation for the IAA: This colourful mosaic, measuring more than 3.5 x 8 meters, is of a rare high quality. It features three figures, multicoloured geometric patterns and a long inscription in Greek'. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Workers from the Israeli Antiquity Authority (IAA) clean a rare Roman mosaic from the 2nd3rd centuries at the Israeli Caesarea National Park on February 8, 2018. The mosaic was uncovered during an archaeological excavation that is part of the largest conservation and reconstruction project ever undertaken in Israel with an investment of over 28 million US dollars contributed by the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation and the Caesarea Development Corporation. According to Dr. Peter Gendelman and Dr. Uzi Ad, directors of the excavation for the IAA: This colourful mosaic, measuring more than 3.5 x 8 meters, is of a rare high quality. It features three figures, multicoloured geometric patterns and a long inscription in Greek'. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Workers from the Israeli Antiquity Authority (IAA) clean a rare Roman mosaic from the 2nd3rd centuries at the Israeli Caesarea National Park on February 8, 2018. The mosaic was uncovered during an archaeological excavation that is part of the largest conservation and reconstruction project ever undertaken in Israel with an investment of over 28 million US dollars contributed by the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation and the Caesarea Development Corporation. According to Dr. Peter Gendelman and Dr. Uzi Ad, directors of the excavation for the IAA: This colourful mosaic, measuring more than 3.5 x 8 meters, is of a rare high quality. It features three figures, multicoloured geometric patterns and a long inscription in Greek'. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
A worker from the Israeli Antiquity Authority (IAA) cleans a rare Roman mosaic from the 2nd3rd centuries at the Israeli Caesarea National Park on February 8, 2018. According to Dr. Peter Gendelman and Dr. Uzi Ad, directors of the excavation for the IAA: This colourful mosaic, measuring more than 3.5 x 8 meters, is of a rare high quality. It features three figures, multicoloured geometric patterns and a long inscription in Greek. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Workers from the Israeli Antiquity Authority (IAA) clean a rare Roman mosaic from the 2nd3rd centuries at the Israeli Caesarea National Park on February 8, 2018. According to Dr. Peter Gendelman and Dr. Uzi Ad, directors of the excavation for the IAA: This colourful mosaic, measuring more than 3.5 x 8 meters, is of a rare high quality. It features three figures, multicoloured geometric patterns and a long inscription in Greek. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Workers from the Israeli Antiquity Authority (IAA) clean a rare Roman mosaic from the 2nd3rd centuries at the Israeli Caesarea National Park on February 8, 2018. According to Dr. Peter Gendelman and Dr. Uzi Ad, directors of the excavation for the IAA: This colourful mosaic, measuring more than 3.5 x 8 meters, is of a rare high quality. It features three figures, multicoloured geometric patterns and a long inscription in Greek. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
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