09:26 | Lima, Dec. 28 (ANDINA).
Ancient geoglyphs located in the high desert of southern Peru have long puzzled scientists and anthropologists. They want to know who drew the Nazca Lines, and why.
The Yamagata University Faculty of Literature and Social Sciences has built a research center nearby to explore the mystery, Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun reported on Thursday.
Masato Sakai, a professor of cultural anthropology and Andes archaeology, has assembled a team at the Nazca research institute to study the series of geoglyphs.
In October, the institute's director and dean of the faculty, Tadaaki Kitagawa, and the mayor of the city of Nazca attended the official opening ceremony.
The Nazca Lines were discovered in the 1920s. Located on the Nazca Plateau that stretches 20 kilometers east to west and 15 kilometers north to south, the numerous gigantic drawings depict straight lines and geometric shapes, as well as a hummingbird, a monkey and other plants and animals.
A U.S. research team investigated the site in the 1980s, but did not complete its work and was unable to obtain a thorough understanding of the Nazca Lines' distribution or number.
In 2004, Sakai and his team used satellite imagery to get a more accurate view of the geoglyphs. By 2006, the team had discovered more than 100 new Nazca Line drawings.
The newly finished research institute is a two-story structure with about 500 square meters of floor space. It is equipped with a study room, laboratory, storeroom and other facilities. The 10 or so Peruvian staff members and Yamagata University researchers study there from summer to winter.
The institute's workers are investigating clay and stone implements used by indigenous people from around the time the Nazca Lines were drawn, about 1,500 years ago.
"We are also collecting and analyzing basic data about the Nazca Lines and nearby ruins, such as their distribution and age," Sakai said. "We want to conduct empirical research on why and how these drawings were made."