Scientists have just solved an ancient Peruvian mystery from space

Archaeologists have used high-resolution satellite snapshots to finally piece together a mystery surrounding the ancient people of Peru’s famous Nasca region.

The mystery centres around a series of carefully built, spiralling holes called puquios, burrowed into the ground in the Nasca Desert of southern Peru. These peculiar formations could not be dated using traditional carbon dating techniques, and the Nasca people didn’t leave behind any evidence of when they were first established, so archaeologists have spent centuries trying to figure out their purpose in vain.

Now, Rosa Lasaponarac from the Institute of Methodologies for Environmental Analysis in Italy describes how she studied imagery shot from space to plot the distribution of the puquios and how they were related to nearby settlements – settlements that happened to be easier to date.

As BBC Future reports, this provides insight into how this network of tunnels and caves was created in Nasca. It’s now believed that the primary aim of the puquios were to enable communities to survive in an area continually hit by drought: they were essentially a cutting edge hydraulic system used to retrieve water from aquifers underground. Source: Scientists have just solved an ancient Peruvian mystery from space

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