Truck Driver Leaves Road, Scars Ancient Nazca Lines
Prosecutors hope he'll be punished
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2018 8:33 AM CST
This 2014 photo shows an aerial view of the condor geoglyph in the Nazca desert, in southern Peru.   (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File)
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(Newser) – Following in the footsteps of tomb raiders, illegal miners, and Greenpeace, a truck driver is the latest to be accused of damaging Peru's ancient Nazca Lines. The country's Culture Ministry says Jainer Jesús Flores Vigo, 40, left "deep scars" across "three straight lined geoglyphs" and a swath of desert the size of four Olympic swimming pools when he ignored warning signs and drove off a road and into the UNESCO World Heritage Site on Saturday, report NPR and Fox News. Vigo, who was detained and released Monday, claims he left the road because of a mechanical issue and was unaware he was damaging what UNESCO calls "the most outstanding group of geoglyphs anywhere in the world." A magistrate found there wasn't enough evidence to show Vigo acted with intent, but prosecutors are appealing that verdict.

They previously called for nine months of preventive detention and a $1,550 fine for Vigo, who Argentina's Clarin newspaper notes might've actually left the road to avoid a toll, per NPR. Authorities are now planning to increase surveillance in the area. Though the ministry "monitors areas with the largest concentration of geoglyphs" daily, the larger site is still accessible "through valleys and streams where the archaeological area spreads out," a culture rep tells news agency Andina, per CNN. The entire area covers 280 square miles, and includes 800 straight lines, some as long as 30 miles; 300 geometric figures; and 70 animals and plant depictions dating between 500 BC and AD 500. They're thought to have been etched by the Nazca and another pre-Inca civilization. (A geoglyph showing a mythological creature was discovered in 2016.)

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