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10 of the Most Incredible Geoglyphs From Around the World

6. In a remote Australian plateau near Callanan, a charter pilot discovered a 2.6-mile long geoglyph. It looks like a man holding a throwing stick and is known as the “Marree Man.” It was discovered in 1998 and its creators are unknown.

Marree Man
Marree Man

The geoglyph representing an aboriginal hunter is located in a completely isolated area of central South Australia. The lines of the Marree Man are 115 feet wide and a foot deep in the harsh Australian landscape.

There is no clear evidence about the creators of the figure, but the speculations are that it was made by the Americans. It is widespread that the drawing is made by the Americans because when it was discovered, its dimensions were written in feet instead of meters.

Moreover, in 1999, a plaque was also found near Marree Man’s head. It consisted of the American flag, Olympic rings, and a quote from a book about aboriginal hunting.

Some researchers claim differently and say that the figure is an artwork of an Australian artist who died in 2002.

The site is not open for a public visit, but flyovers above it are allowed. Marree Man was on the brink of disappearance due to a lack of maintenance and environmental changes, but it was rescued because of the efforts made by the locals in 2016. (Source)

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7. The Cerne Abbas Giant is a hill figure located in Dorset, England. The 180-foot-high figure depicts a naked god wielding a large club in its right hand. It is considered to be created 1,000 years ago by outlining shallow trenches cut in the grassland and backfilling it with chalk rubble.  

The Cerne Abbas Giant
The Cerne Abbas Giant

Earlier, the geoglyph was assumed to be created in prehistoric or Roman times, or maybe even in the 17th century. However, the latest research has revealed its dating to be in the medieval times or the late Saxon Period near the 10th century.

Microscopic snails were found on the site that helped researchers define its age. Also, the soil samples from its deepest layer were dated from 700 CE to 1100 CE.

At the same time, it is interesting to notice that more samples from the same site were dated to 1560. This created a lot of confusion since its latest reference was found in a church warden’s account of 1694.

Lastly, the archaeologists working on its research said that the figure was created centuries ago in the late Saxon Period, then was forgotten for unknown reasons and was rediscovered again. 

The Cerne Abbas Giant is listed as a Scheduled Monument of England and is owned by the National Trust. (1, 2)

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8. A group of giant figures incised on the ground in the Blyth region of the Colorado Desert is known as the “Blythe Intaglios.” The anthropomorphic geoglyphs have huge human and animal designs that date to as long as 2,000 years ago. The purpose of drawing the geoglyphs is unknown.

Blythe Intaglios
Blythe Intaglios. Image credits: Rsfinlayson/Wikipedia

Also known as the “Blythe Geoglyphs,” these are the best-known geoglyphs in the USA. These are located west of the Colorado River and are around 15 miles away from Blyth, California.

The figures are estimated to be created from 450 to 2,000 years ago, mostly by Mohave and Quechan Indians. It is interesting to note that the drawings depict Mastamho or the creator of life.

There is nothing fancy in their creation; the palette is the earth itself. The artists simply scraped the dark rock of the desert ground and revealed the lighter soil beneath.

The images are difficult to appreciate from ground level and can be best viewed from a helicopter. The largest of all is a human figure measuring 167 feet in length.

The figures were unknown to modern human society until they were rediscovered by a pilot in 1932. (Source)

9. Located in the Thar Desert of India, a set of sinuous lines were found which are the largest geoglyph ever found. These are long, spiral, snaking lines that double back on themselves again and again. The patterns cover a total of 51 acres of land, and if aligned together, they would measure no less than 48 kilometers.

Boha 3's meandering lines.
Boha 3’s meandering lines. (C & Y Oetheimer, Archaeological Research in Asia, 2021) Image credits: Sciencealert.com

The researchers studying the Thar Desert Geoglyphs said that these are so immense that even the creators would have not completely been able to see them in their entirety. The lines are carved into the land and are only evident from far up above.

These lines are the first examples of geoglyphs found in the Indian subcontinent and might be the largest of the geoglyphs that we may ever find. The figures were discovered by two French researchers when they were using Google Earth to virtually survey the region.

The depth of these curved lines is ten centimeters, and their width ranges from 20 to 50 centimeters. The largest among the lines was a huge, asymmetrical spiral named “Boha 1” which ran for 12 kilometers alone. The second, “Boha 2,” spanned 11 kilometers of distance.

Researchers say that the patterns were created recently, around 150 years ago. Even if their creators and purpose are unknown, researchers consider them special and have high hopes of working on them. (Source)

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10. The Long Man of Wilmington near East Sussex, England is a huge, 235-foot-tall man on a hillside. Once locally known as the “Green Man,” it is a depiction of a human holding two staffs and is designed in the manner that it looks proportional if looked from below. The figure’s origination is a mystery, but now the site is used for neo-pagan rituals.

The Long Man of Wilmington
The Long Man of Wilmington

Very few things about the Long Man are known after it was first documented in the 1700s. Nobody knows why, when, or who created the Long Man.

Earlier, some believed it was created in the Iron Age, some believe it to be a Roman-British relic, and others see it as a symbol from the Neolithic Astral religion. All of these claims were proved wrong when an excavation study was conducted in 2003. It revealed that the figure is a recent, 16th- or 17th-century, product.

Nonetheless, the estimated date didn’t stop neo-pagans from believing that the site is ancient and sacred. They hold and perform rituals near the place throughout the year. One of the celebrations includes their traditional dance at the Long Man’s base.  

In 2007, the figure was subjected to a gender-based controversy. (Source)

Also read: 10 Amazing Hidden Histories From the World’s Most Famous Places

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