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Wrong turn destroys 2000-year-old wonder

Damage inflicted by a truck that ploughed through ancient geoglyphs of the Nazca Lines, a World Heritage Site, in Peru. Picture: AFP/Peruvian Ministry of Culture
Damage inflicted by a truck that ploughed through ancient geoglyphs of the Nazca Lines, a World Heritage Site, in Peru. Picture: AFP/Peruvian Ministry of Culture

AUTHORITIES in Peru have detained a truck driver accused of damaging part of the world-renowned Nazca lines.

The nation's Ministry of Culture said Jainer Flores Vigo drove into an unauthorised section of the UN World Heritage site over the weekend, leaving tracks and damaging part of three lines.

The Nazca lines are huge etchings depicting imaginary figures, creatures and plants that were scratched on the surface of a coastal desert between 1500 and 2000 years ago.

The Nazca Lines are huge geoglyphs which have been preserved for thousands of years due to the dry conditions of the Atacama Desert in Peru. Picture: Supplied
The Nazca Lines are huge geoglyphs which have been preserved for thousands of years due to the dry conditions of the Atacama Desert in Peru. Picture: Supplied

They are believed to have had ritual astronomical purposes.

Flores Vigo was arrested after he allegedly ignored warning signage and drove over UNESCO World Heritage site, the ministry said.

 

 

Authorities found deep tire marks across an area of 50 metres by 100 metres in the site's grounds and damage to three geoglyphs.

He was released after a magistrate said there was not enough evidence to prove that he had acted with intent, according to Peru's Attorney-General Office.

Social media users lashed out at the man, with one saying, "are you kidding me?" and others calling him "stupid" and an "idiot".

An aerial view of the condor geoglyph in the Nazca desert, in southern Peru. Picture: AP/Rodrigo Abd
An aerial view of the condor geoglyph in the Nazca desert, in southern Peru. Picture: AP/Rodrigo Abd

The site's geoglyphs and lines date back to 500BC through AD 500 and represent animals, plant life and other extraordinary figures. Some stretch several kilometres long and form shapes.

Authorities said they are planning to boost surveillance at the archaeological site to avoid other incidents despite the logistic challenges, state-run Andina news agency reported.

 

 

 

 

 

"While the Culture Ministry monitors areas with the largest concentration of geoglyphs every day, it [the site] may not be fully protected. Entry and transit are possible through valleys and streams where the archaeological area spreads out," Johnny Isla, a spokesman of the Ica branch of Peru's Ministry of Culture told Andina.

07/2004. An aerial photo of the famed spiral-tailed monkey is seen like it is losing its tail in Nazca, Peru. Picture: AP/Peruvian Air Force
07/2004. An aerial photo of the famed spiral-tailed monkey is seen like it is losing its tail in Nazca, Peru. Picture: AP/Peruvian Air Force

It's not the first time that the UNESCO World Heritage site is damaged. Greenpeace activists damaged the lines by leaving footprints in the adjacent desert during an event in 2014.

A plane flies over the lines of a geoglyph made by Indians centuries ago on the Nazca Plain, southeast of Lima. Picture: Trevor Seymour
A plane flies over the lines of a geoglyph made by Indians centuries ago on the Nazca Plain, southeast of Lima. Picture: Trevor Seymour

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