Nazca Lines: As Many Hypotheses As Lines
In 1985, the archaeologist Johan Reinhard published archaeological, ethnographic, and historical data demonstrating that worship of mountains and other water sources played a dominant role in Nazca religion and economy from ancient to recent times. He presented the hypothesis that the lines and figures can be explained as part of religious practices involving the worship of deities associated with the availability of water and thus the fertility of crops. In his hypothesis that the lines were interpreted as being primarily used as sacred paths leading to places where these deities could be worshiped and the figures as symbolically representing animals and objects meant to invoke their aid. However, the precise meanings of many of the individual geoglyphs remain unsolved.
Another, less scientific hypothesis involves the work of David Johnson. Johnson has researched the Nazca Lines and their apparent connection with underground waterways. Johnson allegedly used dowsing to track these water tunnels, claiming that the lines indicate whether the ground contains water or not. The areas with the most geoglyphs are purportedly centered around areas with high amounts of underground water and are usually close to wells and other on-land water sources. A suggestion Johnson makes is the fact that the inhabitants living in such a dry land would spend a significant portion of their time searching for water sources. By creating a giant, full-scale map they would know exactly where to find their water no matter what area of the desert they were in. The geoglyphs would then be religious figures for the gods or names given for each water source. That being said, this information should be taken with a lot of care since Johnson used the very unscientific method of dowsing to locate the purported watering holes.
Notwithstanding Gerald Hawkins' and Anthony Aveni's dismissal of an astronomical explanation of the Nazca Lines and geoglyphs, eclipsologist Robin Edgar has hypothesized that the Nazca Lines, particularly the biomorph & zoomorph geoglyphs that depict animals, human figures, birds and "flowers" that may be an ancient response to the so-called "Eye of God" that is manifested in the sky during a total solar eclipse. An unusual series of total solar eclipses over southern Peru potentially coincided with one estimated time period during which the Nazca Lines and geoglyphs were created. The totally eclipsed sun distinctly resembles the pupil and iris of a gigantic eye looking down from the sky thus providing an hypothesis as to why the Nazca Indians created gigantic geoglyph artworks that are best viewed by an "Eye in the Sky".
Another hypothesis contends that the lines are the remains of "walking temples," where a large group of worshipers walked along a preset pattern dedicated to a particular holy entity, similar to the practice of labyrinth walking. Residents of the local villages say the ancient Indians conducted rituals on these giant drawings to thank the gods and to ensure that water would continue to flow from the Andes. This view correlates with the purposes of other North American geoglyphs. However, the emergence of ritual after the fact, does not prove that ritual was the reason or the basis for the creation of the geoglyphs to begin with. To the contrary, it is common for practices to de-evolve over time from fact to mythology.
Also, according to another fanciful recent hypothesis from Michael Vaillant, conductors under the form of very slim gold or copper leafs would have been stretched on the ground. These conductors would have been used as antennas to collect the very low frequencies magnetotelluric waves produced in certain seismographic areas, and that occurred a few hours (or days) before the seisms. This hypothesis relies on a controversial theory named as "SES" (Seismic Electric Signals). However, there has never been any remnants of these antennae found.
Perhaps the most controversial hypothesis was put forward by Erich von Däniken in his book Chariots of the Gods, who proposed that the lines were in fact landing strips for alien spacecraft. His argument is similar to Woodmann's, claiming that the designs are so large and complex that they could only have been constructed using or for flying machines.
However, the major missing point in most hypothesis is simply that almost all religious or mythical structures also serve functional roles. From Stonehenge to Notre dam, these structures fulfill a mythical aspect, coupled with a physical use or manifestation. Thus when you look at the scope of this creation, covering hundreds (thousands) of square miles, it becomes obvious that there was a practical use for the geoglyphs, or they would have been far more limited. However, one of the practical uses could simply have been documentation of an event as suggested in a August 2007 theory relating the Aurora!
The single most disturbing aspects of the Nazca lines - and I mean lines, not the zoomorphic symbols, is both the precision and quantity. Though they tend to fall into two distinct classes (one: precise; two: imprecise). Regardless, this was a massive undertaking, to which what purpose justified the considerable labor required? It is this "purpose" that is the central mystery of the Nazca Plateau! As well as the lines of Palpa, Casma, and elsewhere!