Atacama Desert, Chile
Petroglyphs Images Carved into Rock Face
Pictographs or Pictograms Images Painted on Rock Face
Petroforms Human-made Boulder Forms
Geoglyphs are drawings or a large motif created on the ground, either by arranging clasts (stones, stone fragments, gravel or earth) to create a positive geoglyph (stone arrangement/alignment, petroform, earth mound) or by removing patinated clasts to expose unpatinated ground (negative geoglyph).
Some of the most famous geoglyphs are the thousands of Nazca Lines in Peru. Other areas with geoglyphs include Western Australia's Hill figures, turf maze,s and the stone-lined labyrinths of Scandinavia, Iceland, Lappland and the former Soviet Union. The largest geoglyph is the Marree Man in South Australia.
Marree Man in South Australia
Nazca Lines of Peru
The Atacama Giant is an anthropomorphic geoglyph on the Cerro Unitas area of the Atacama Desert, Chile. At about 119 meters (390 feet), is the largest prehistoric anthropomorphic geoglyph. It has been suggested that the petroglyph represents a shaman, spiritual figure or deity, but there is little evidence to corroborate these claims.
The figure was an early astronomical calendar for knowing where the moon would set; by knowing this the day, crop cycle, and season could be determined. The points on the top and side of the head would say what season it would be depending on their alignment with the moon, which was important in determining when the rainy season would come in the barren Atacama.
The Atacama Giant is one out of nearly 5,000 geoglyphs - ancient artwork that is drawn into the landscape - that have been discovered in the Atacama region in the last three decades. It is believed that they are the work of several successive cultures that dwelt in this region of South America, including the Tiwanaku and Inca.
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