Eliot Weinberger

from the desert music:

in the southern peruvian desert, eighty-five square miles of the rainless moonscape are covered with lines. Nazca is a palimpsest, a half-erased blackboard scribbled over with straight lines and spirals; vast trapezoids, rectangles, and truncated triangles; and, in a corner of the plain, huge figures of birds, fish, monkeys, whales, insects, flowers. There are six hundred miles of lines that are still visible; originally there may have been twice as many. The longest is four and a half miles; the average length is a mile. The largest figure alone takes up thirty-seven acres.