Back in the 1970s, Jim Woodman was adamant to prove that his theory on Nazca Lines was accurate. He claimed that the lines were built by an ancient form of hot air balloon. But was he correct? How was he able to prove his theory?
Jim Woodman believed that the Nazca Lines were built using an ancient form of flying contraption. To prove his claim, he constructed a hot air balloon using the resources only accessible to the ancient Nazca people.
What is The Nazca Lines?
The Nazca Lines are a series of ancient geoglyphs that can be found in Peru. They were etched on the ground by removing the reddish pebbles and uncovering the whitish or grayish soil beneath them. Some of the patterns of the geoglyph were simple and others were more complex. Some showed images of birds, fish, trees, or flowers with the largest being over 200 meters in size.
The meanings behind these designs are not clear but are most likely to have some religious significance to them. They can be seen most clearly from a bird’s point of view, although some of them can also be appreciated atop foothills.
Paul Kosok, an American professor of history demonstrated the culture’s sophisticated management of water to support their settlements. Observing the Nazca Lines, he recognized that some patterns represented living creatures and some lines related to astronomical events.
More recent research suggested that the Nazca Lines’ purpose was related to water, a valuable commodity in the arid lands of the Peruvian coastal plain. The geoglyphs were not used as an irrigation system or a guide to find water, but rather as part of a ritual to the gods, in an effort to bring much-needed rain during dry times. (Source: World History)
The Mystery Behind the Nazca Lines
The geoglyphs were first discovered and studied in the early 1920s, but with the advent of air travel in the 1930s, the true wonder of the lines was uncovered. Maria Reiche, nicknamed The Lady of the Lines, spent much of her life protecting and theorizing about the significance of these magnificent sand drawings.
Reiche suspected that the lines were of astrological significance, following on from an early observation that some of the longer lines corresponded with the setting sun on solstice days.
Furthermore, many of the animal geoglyphs correspond with star constellations and mirror the night sky on specific nights of the year. Reiche and her archaeological followers were convinced that the Nazca lines were used as a calendar and a way to keep time in an age before clocks and conventional time-keeping techniques. (Source: World History)
How Did Jim Woodman Recreate the Nazca Balloon?
Woodman truly believed that early Nazca people really possessed the advanced ability to build a flying and functional hot air balloon back then just to create the perfect Nazca lines.
According to him, these balloons would have been used both to aid the construction of the Nazca Lines and for so-called ceremonial flights over the geoglyphs themselves. He even approached renowned British ballooning expert Julian Nott with his idea. They both theorized and concluded that the world’s first hot air balloon was built in the Nazca desert.
Using only materials that would have been available to the Nazcan people such as totora reeds, cloth, and rope, the giant tetrahedron balloon they called, Condor I, was completed. (Source: World History)