- Summary: The so-called “Nazca astronaut” figure is best explained as a depiction of a fisherman, refuting yet another ancient astronaut claim.
- Note: Some images in this post are large and may be slow to load.
Last week Frank Johnson over at the Ancient Aliens Debunked blog provided an intriguing explanation for the alleged “astronaut” figure etched into the hill near the Nazca plain. Ancient astronaut writers have long claimed that this geoglyph was a depiction of a goggle-eyed extraterrestrial visitor waving to passersby. Johnson discusses the work of two Czech engineers who investigated the site, and I’d like to amplify his comments with additional material.
Erich von Däniken has suggested that [this figure represents] the beings who landed their craft thousands of years ago on the plains. He maintains that the whole area … has been carefully designed as a marker to guide the extraterrestrials back to Earth safely.
Against this, Frank Johnson has provided a Google machine translation of a 2002 Radio Praga article about a more convincing explanation for the geoglyph. Unfortunately, this machine translation is somewhat inaccurate and misleading. Since the original article was in Spanish, which I can read reasonably well, I have made a corrected translation:
The alleged astronaut raises his right hand, which holds a net ... a fishing net, Czech scientists say. At the foot of the figure is seen a fish, or perhaps two, one above the other. The alleged astronaut is a fisherman, say the engineers Frantisek Klokocník and Jaroslav Vitek. And indeed, archaeological investigations have revealed an intense exchange of goods between the coast and the mountains, and fish was one of the most important items of exchange.
The Czech experts point out that some of the local archaeologists have accepted this hypothesis. Everything about it fits perfectly: the figure of the fisherman served for orientation; the fish symbolizes prosperity.
Near the spot where the fisherman is inscribed, two parallel lines that probably guided travelers from the coast can be seen on the ground. Engineers Jaroslav Vítek and Frantisek Klokocník also formulated the hypothesis that the figure of the fisherman was a kind of billboard.
Johnson provided only a small “artist’s impression” of how the geoglyph would have looked, which makes it difficult to visualize exactly what we’re looking at. Below, I have taken a photograph of the geoglyph and have outlined in white the two parallel lines, the fisherman, his net, and the fish. I have used a photograph from “Paradise in the World,” a travel website that favorably presents the ancient astronaut hypothesis.
Thus, according to the Czech hypothesis, the mountain-dwelling peoples of the Nazca plateau would have etched the fisherman and the parallel lines into the hill to direct coastal fisherman to the plateau to market their fish. So, in that sense the ancient astronaut writers got one thing right: The figure was a signal, but not to aliens. It was a billboard screaming “Fish Bought Here!”