It is estimated that the giant figures in the desert sand for which Nazca is known were begun around 400 BC and continued to be made for perhaps another thousand years. Their creators vanished without a trace, replaced by a civilisation equally advanced, which excelled in pottery, carving and metalworking. The Nazca civilisation, which peaked around 850AD, left a legacy of painted ceramics, woodcarvings, gold jewellery and wondrously painted fabrics.
The Nazca Lines are a large number of geoglyphs, including several species of birds, a monkey, a spider, a fish and stylised plants, set within an enormous labyrinth of straight lines, trapezoids, triangles and spirals. These are etched into the ground as shallow, 20 centimetre-deep, channels. To compound the enigma of the site, the entire region is quite flat and desert-like, without a single point from which these ancient people could have designed the figures or admired their work. Numerous attempts have been made to explain the site, but even today the unknown outweighs the known.