‘Deep Scars’ as Trucker Drives Across Peru’s 2,000-Year-Old Nazca Lines

In this week’s episode, the truck driver diverted off the highway, past signs indicating the preserved status of the site, and left “deep scars” in an area of more than 100 feet by 300 feet.

The truck damaged three straight-line geoglyphs on the site, according to a statement from Peru’s culture minister. Experts are assessing the damage.


Damage, center foreground, that was caused this week by the tractor-trailer.

Genry Bautista/Agencia Andina European Pressphoto Agency

Aerial photos show tire tracks veering off the highway and onto the plain.

It is not the first time a vehicle has crossed into the protected site, or the first time the site has been notably damaged. Visible in the image above are several other tire tracks as well as a small security booth set up to monitor the area. The booth is staffed only during the day time, according to Andina, and drivers often cut through the plain.

In 2014, the Nazca Lines were damaged in another high-profile episode that ignited international outrage. Greenpeace activists damaged the site with their footprints when they trekked onto the plain to unveil a sign ahead of United Nations climate talks in Lima.


Greenpeace faced criticism when activists unveiled a message near the hummingbird geoglyph.

Rodrigo Abd/Associated Press

The authorities vowed to increase patrols after this week’s incident.

“While the Culture Ministry monitors areas with the largest concentration of geoglyphs every day, it may not be fully protected,” Johnny Isla, an archaeologist with the Culture Ministry, told Andina. “Entry and transit are possible through valleys and streams where the archaeological area spreads out.”

Mr. Isla said that the most recent damage to the site was “reparable.”

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