Truck damages Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca lines

The truck driver claims he wasn’t familiar with the UNESCO heritage site and had to change a tyre

What continues to be one of the biggest archaeological enigmas in the world now bears the scars of modern-day ignorance.

Careless truck driver damaged ancient geoglyphs in the Nazca desert — Shutterstock Peru
Careless truck driver damaged ancient geoglyphs in the Nazca desert — Shutterstock

At over 2,000 years old, the mysterious lines depicting plants, imaginary beings and geometric figures in the Peruvian Nazca desert suffered damage caused by a careless trucker.

The driver, identified as 40 years old Jainer Jesus Flores Vigo, ignored warning signs and entered the location leaving visible traces across an area of 50 metres by 100 metres. Three of the ancient geoglyphs were damaged, the Culture Ministry said.

According to Peru21, the driver was arrested and later released on Monday. The magistrate dealing with the case didn’t have enough evidence to indicate that he acted intentionally.

Vigo reportedly explained that he wasn’t familiar with the area that is under UNESCO heritage protection as he had never driven there before. He claims that his vehicle had a mechanical problem and that he needed to change a tyre.

While the investigation is still in progress, Peru‘s public ministry demands nine months of preventive detention and a $1,550 fine for the unlucky trucker.

Local authorities are now seeking to increase surveillance and security in the area using drones.

The area is listed as being “the most outstanding group of geoglyphs anywhere in the world and are unmatched in its extent, magnitude, quantity, size, diversity and ancient tradition to any similar work in the world.”

Entering the 200-square-mile site in southern Peru is strictly prohibited. The extremely fragile soil requires any visitors granted access to wear special footgear covered in foam.

This incident was not the first in Nazca lines’ history. With the intention to raise awareness of the environment, Greenpeace activists wrote a message to the lines in 2014 stating: “Time for change! The future is renewable. Greenpeace.”

The organisation was fined $200.000 for the unfortunate stunt.