Paracus Mounds, Geoglyphs and Arrogant Nonsense

I doubt many people of my generation escaped  Erich Von Daniken’s Chariots of the Gods. Published in 1968, Daniken popularized ancient astronaut theory, replacing Area 51 conspiracy hub bub with  fantastic examples of actual ancient archeological mysteries.The Nazca Lines stood out as most perplexing – why indeed would ancient people create massive geoglyphs discernible only from above? I wasn’t ready to concede ancient alien intervention, yet Daniken  fueled endless ponders of civilization lost.

The Paracus people pre-dated Nazca in the highlands of Peru. UCLA researcher Charles Stanish studied a 30 square kilometer area once inhabited by the Paracus – specifically using GPS to plot geoglyphs and ceremonial mounds. What he found was a direct correlation between geoglyph lines and mounds, each set of lines leading to a mound illuminated by the rising sun on the winter solstice. His research published at suggests the lines served as markers for people to follow across the desert for notable celestial gatherings.

Parascus geoglyphs may be crude next to Nazca artistry  similar in that they look like nothing standing next to them – bound together by  the motivation of ancient cultures. Azraq Oasis in Jordan – a another little known example of geoglyphs, discovered only when aerial and satellite imaging revealed ancient desert “wheels”, further fans ancient geoglyph speculation.

Azraq Oasis wheels number in the thousands – wheel shaped patterns, complete with spokes dot middle eastern deserts – standing next to one you wouldn’t be able to pick it out from the surrounding landscape.

Image courtesy crystlinks. com – Azraq wheels in Jordan

Notions of intricate, purposeful and astronomically aligned geoglyphs standing guard for centuries in barren deserts around the globe is no small ponder. Learning of a scientific study verifying Paracus geoglyphs appear to align with ceremonial mounds where people gathered for solstice celebrations, fuels my suspicion ancient cultures kicked ass. Sorry Von Daniken, I’m not caving to your ancient astronaut theories. Instead my heart soars over a sneaky gut feeling that lost civilizations deserve some respect.

Inability to fathom ancient wisdom doesn’t immediately translate into other worldly intervention. Vast bodies of knowledge have been eradicated – lost to time, geology or religious destruction. The Maya calculated the length of a year within 3 decimal points, kept precise records of leap years going back centuries and aligned temples to mark celestial events.

Give credit where it is due – just because we’re lazy self absorbed nincompoops doesn’t mean ancient civilizations had alien help to figure it all out. Personally, I’m pondering possibilities had lost civilizations been left to their own devices. “Ancient astronaut” jibber-jabber strikes me as demeaning – a slap in the face to accomplishments blowing modern minds dysfunctional without micro chip assistance.

Would it kill us to admit that ancient people put us to shame. That awareness, observation and ingenuity defined our world long before modern smarty pants thought they were the bee’s knees? Ancient geoglyphs in a miniscule section of Peru seem to serve as public service billboards along the road to building stronger communities. Get over the alien nonsense or smugly dismissive apathy.

Ancient civilization could run circles around modern stupidity.

Time To Dust Off Chariots of the Gods

In 1968 Erich Von Daniken published a book titled Chariots of the Gods. For those of my generation it was a “must read”. I can’t think of anyone who didn’t read it or talk about it. The space program was in full throttle, Hollywood pumped out campy science fiction movies  and L. Ron Hubbard was busy dreaming up Scientology. We all gazed at the sky, tin foil hats ready.

Daniken suggested for the first time that Earth had been visited by extraterrestrials, and it was with their help or technology that ancient structures were constructed. He suggested that angels and Gods were nothing more than primitive cultures interpretation of alien visitors.  Far fetched? Fair enough.

The interesting thing about his book were the irrefutable facts. For the first time the world learned of the Nasca lines. Draw any conclusion you like, but it doesn’t change the fact that on the top of a mountain plateau in South America lay ancient “lines” etched into the ground, of mammoth proportions, and only discernible from above. We pondered until our heads hurt. Stonehenge, Easter Island, the Great Pyramids, he opened our eyes to wonder. We didn’t have to buy into his alien theories, we did however grasp possibilities of civilizations lost.

Time to dust off Chariots of the Gods for a new generation of dreamers.

Spider Nazca Line

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