Saturday, March 17, 2018


Orca geoglyph, Palpa, Peru.
public domain. 

A wonderful geoglyph of what what has been identified as an orca has been found and restored in the Palpa region of southern Peru, near the famous Nazca Lines.
"Archaeologists rediscovered a giant geoglyph of a killer whale, etched into a desert hillside in the remote Palpa region of southern Peru, after it had been lost to science for more than 50 years. The 230-foot-long (70 meters) figure of an orca - considered a powerful, semi-mythical creature in ancient Peruvian lore - may be more than 2,000 years old, according to the researchers. They said it may be one of the oldest geoglyphs in the Palpa region, and older than those in the nearby Nazca region, which is famous for its vast collection of ancient ground markings - the Nazca Lines - that include animal figures, straight lines and geometrical shapes." (Metcalfe 2017)

However, in a strange and ironic twist, its discoverer first located it in Bonn, Germany, and then later relocated it on the ground in Peru. "Archaeologist Johny Isla, the head of Peru's Ministry of Culture in Ica province, which includes the Palpa and Nazca valleys, explained that he saw a single photograph of the orca pattern for the first time about four years ago. He'd seen it while researching studies of geoglyphs at the German Archaeological Institute in Bonn." (Metcalfe 2017)

Nazca pottery orca stirrup
- public domain.

"The photograph appeared in an archaeological catalog of geoglyphs printed in the 1970s, which was based on research carried out in Palpa and Nazca by German archaeologists in the 1960s, Isla said. But the location and size of the orca geoglyph were not well-described in the catalog, Isla told Live Science in an email. As a result, he said, the glyph's whereabouts in the desert hills of the Palpa Valley, about 250 miles (400 kilometers) south of Lima, were by then unknown to local people or scientists." (Metcalfe 2017)

"After returning to Peru, Isla looked for the orca geoglyph on Google Earth and then on foot. "It was not easy to find it, because the [location and description] data were not correct, and I almost lost hope," he said. "However, I expanded the search area and finally found it a few months later," in January 2015." (Metcalfe 2017)

Nazca pottery orca stirrup
jar, Larco Museum, Lima,
Peru - public domain.

This orca is therianthropic, with a human arm under the lower jaw on the left side. This is a symbol that is common on Nazca pottery. It turns out that many Nazca representations of killer whales possess these humanoid arms, often clutching trophy heads. The number of its fins is also a discrepancy. An actual killer whale has one dorsal and two ventral fins, as well as a tail that ends in a horizontal triangular shape. The geoglyph has five fins showing, three dorsal and two ventral (and there should be a matching pair of ventral fins on the opposite side). Additionally, its tail is notched as if somewhat divided. What these differences might have represented mythologically to the people of that time we probably cannot know.

NOTE: Images in this posting were retrieved from the internet with a search for public domain photographs. If any of these images are not intended to be public domain, I apologize, and will happily provide the picture credits if the owner will contact me with them. For further information on these reports you should read the originals at the sites listed below.


Larco Museum, Lima, Peru.

Metcalfe, Tom
2017   2,000 Year Old Killer Whale Geoglyph Found in Peru Desert, November 28, 2017,

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