Students recreate Nazca geoglyph at Western

Nicholas Ebelhack, editor-in-chief

Students from Professor of Sociology and Anthropology Patricia Anderson’s ANTH 215 clas, Fantastic Archaeology, completed a large scale replica of a Nazca hummingbird geoglyph this past weekend between Currens and Thompson halls.

The geoglyph, which measures 83 meters in length, is only 10 meters shorter than it’s Peruvian counterpart, which measures 93 meters from the tip of it’s beak to the end of it’s tail feathers.

Students began work at 7 a.m. and finished in the early afternoon. According to a press release from university relations, in order to construct the massive image, a baseline was made that ran the length of the bird, followed by using perpendicular lines to lay out the remainder of the geoglyph. Anderston stated that the project was a testament ot the difficulties the Nazca people may have face.

“This hands-on activity was chosen to allow students to envision some of the challenges facing the Nazca people in creating the enormous geoglyphs that cover parts of the Nazca Plain in the Palpa region of Peru, South America,” Anderson said. “Also, it addressed the question of whether or not the Nazca people needed help from extraterrestrials.”

Lime marker machines were ran across the strings in order to embed the bird into the grass. The markers and cords were then removed after to reveal the image.

Senior English major Molly Cameron said that the project helped her understand the content from the class and with her classmates.

“It was great to have the opportunity to work together to create something we learned about in class, and seeing the finished product from the drone was really satisfying,” Cameron said. “It was definitely a process of learning, and you can see in the geoglyph that we got better at it as we went along. Overall, I’m glad we had the opportunity for some practical application of the concepts from class, especially in such a fun way.”

In rememberance of Earth Day, which was April 22, the lime outline of the hummingbird was designed to fade after the next rain and fertilize the grass.

The project was the capstone to a semester’s work, which included readings and lectures about the Nazca line animals in addition to poetry and textiles. The most logical conclusion drawn from the line’s existence is that the symbols were designed to relate to agricultural and fertility rather than extraterrestrials.

ANTH 215, Fantastic Archaelogy: Ancient Astronauts, Shape Shifters and Bigfoot, is offered each spring at Western Illinois University for a general education credit at the Macomb campus.