Peru’s Nazca Lines might not be one of the Seven Wonders of the World, but it is certainly a special slice of history. The ancient geoglyphs were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in the early nineties and have mystified people for years, especially those who like to think they are part of the ongoing Ancient Aliens craze. They’ve also become a place for conservation, leading many to try to preserve the glyphs despite the actions of some protests from Greenpeace and the presence of the nearby Pan-American Highway.
The latter is where the latest news drops, as a truck driver made his way past several warning signs and drove through the ancient glyphs, leaving “deep tire marks” according to CNN in an area 50 meters by 100 meters and damaging at least three of the geoglyphs.
The driver, 40-year-old Jainer Jesús Flores Vigo, was initially set to be charged with an “attack against cultural heritage” according to the New York Times but was later released on Monday after it was found that there was not enough evidence to prove the driver acted with intent. According to NPR, he claimed he did not know the road or area before damaging the glyphs, but the media provided some different speculation as to why it happened:
Argentine newspaper Clarín reports that the driver said he didn’t know the area because he had never traveled there before and that he left the road because of a mechanical problem. The newspaper speculated that the driver actually drove off the Pan-American Highway to avoid paying a toll.
According to CNN, the protection of the area proves to be a difficult task due to its size and the fact that “entry and transit are possible through valleys and streams” throughout the area. The Greenpeace protest from 2014 reportedly did “irreversible damage” to the area. As shown in the photographs, the damage from the truck might be far worse.