The Nazca Symbols: Groupings By Style
The Precolumbian Geoglyph symbols of the Nazca Region (including those of the San Jose & Jumana Pampas, Palpa Valley, Ingenio Valley, lower Rio Grande Valley, and Cahuachi area) naturally fall into classes and style groups. The system of classification used here categorizes each geoglyph into one of five classes (categories) by their characteristics (suggestive of the culture or period that created them based upon the McGuinness System). But in addition, the Nazca (Palpa, etc.) geoglyphs also fall into 12 distinct style groups based upon visual style (see the chart at right).
The Nazca Symbols: Astronaut / Bird Group
This style group is characterized by animal and human figures of very low precision, constructed using both the clearing method of removing desert pavement, and digging more pronounced trenches. Their appearance suggests no use of templates, guide-lines, or measurements when creating these symbols. However, they are clearly planed designs, that were possibly transferred from another medium (possibly pottery). These figures are placed on hillside inclines, probably to be viewed from the plateau floor as guide/directional-signs for trade routes.
The Nazca Symbols: Monkey
This style group is characterized by outlined animal and geometric figures of low precision. Their appearance suggests little use of templates, guide-lines, or measurements when creating these symbols. However, they are clearly planed designs, that were possibly transferred from another medium (possibly pottery). The figures with hands show inconsistencies in the shape and numbers of fingers.
The Nazca Symbols: Shark / Fish Group
This style group is characterized by outlined animals and geometric shapes, with a higher degree of precision, but employing a unique design style with either a continuous line forming the symbol, or utilizing internal lines as a part of the design. These figures suggest better, more precise planning and organization of the design and construction.
Nazca Symbols: The Flower / The Sun
These figures suggest better, more precise planning and organization of the design and construction. This style group is characterized by outlined geometric shapes, with a high degree of precision, including the use of mostly curved lines with a unique hook, and composed of continuous lines but with an entry & exit line typical of most Nazca figures. The Nazca flower appears to be separate from the parallel lines that form the "stem" - in fact it appears to be "stemless" s originally designed - it is possible it is not a flower at all, but rather a symbol for the sun.