- sometimes as Nazca
small town in a fertile valley 400 kms south of Lima the capital. Outside Peru
the name is often given as Nazca. About 1500 years ago the valley was the home
to a people who may have known themselves as Nasca and who possessed a flourishing,
distinctive culture. The pottery and hand weaving of the time is especially beautiful.
place is best known for the countless markings covering the surrounding desert.
The markings were made by moving the redish surface stones and exposing the yellow
underlying clay. Hundreds of straight lines or paths some many kilometres long
cross the landscape. They are mixed with more elaborate clearings some rectangular
others trapezoidal. Designs of birds, mammals, spiders, spirals and others are
spread about across an area of roughly 250 sq kms and can be appreciated only
from the air.
in the 1940's decoding the markings and their history was an obession for Maria
Reiche a German teacher and recluse. Maria published several pamphlets and small
books before she died in 1995. Tony Morrison Mark Howell and Allan Reditt met
her on the desert in 1963 and made the
first television film to show her extraordinary dedication usually alone in the
desert to find an answer to the puzzle. The film was a Nonesuch Expeditions production
for the BBC. Over the next 31 years Tony wrote two books and made more television
films including the last interview with Maria - filmed in Nasca in 1994 with Dutch
producer Roel Oostra.
Marion Morrison, 1969
Reiche outside the storehouse she used as a base for almost 30 years . It is now
the Maria Reiche Museum. Photo: Tony Morrison 1976|
many of the years spent studying the Nasca markings / geoglyphs Maria Reiche made
her base at an old storehouse beside the road in the valley of the Ingenio river.
The storehouse belonged to the Hacienda San Pablo then owned by three Englishmen
- more of the story is in The Mystery of the Nasca Lines, by Tony Morrison
and published 1988 in English, French and German editions. Tony's earlier book
Pathways to the Gods containing the widely acclaimed archaeological and
historical solution to the mystery was first published in 1978. The book incorporated
the astronomical work of the late Gerald S.Hawkins who studied the line and geometric
markings in 1968.The book was published in many editions in the United Kingdom,
USA and Peru.
pictures of Maria Reiche and the desert markings are on the South American Pictures
website - the links are on the left.