The Nazca Lines, in the desert in southern Peru, date from 500 B.C.
A truck driver badly damaged Peru's sacred Nazca Lines after plowing into the site on Saturday.
Officials from Peru’s Ministry of Culture said the truck driver, identified as Jainer Jesús Flores Vigo, drove through the UNESCO World Heritage Site at 6 p.m. that day, despite seeing signs warning trespassers. The truck left deep tire marks across the Nazca Lines that measured 165 feet by 330 feet.
Ministry officials also said the driver left damage to three different geoglyphs in the site, damaging culturally significant artwork that dates back thousands of years.
The Nazca Lines are ancient geoglyphs that sit in Peru’s Nazca desert, located in the southern portion of the country. They date from 500 B.C. to 500 A.D. and were created by etching the surface of the ground (which is dark sanded and graveled) to showcase the pale surface underneath.
The method was used to create illustrations that range from animals and plants to geometric designs and that can be seen as far back as from across most hilltops in the area thanks to their impressive scale.
“They are the most outstanding group of geoglyphs anywhere in the world and are unmatched in extent, magnitude, quantity, size, diversity, and ancient tradition to any similar work in the world,” UNESCO's description of the Nazca Lines reads.
Vigo, who was arrested by police officials, was later released after a magistrate found there was not enough evidence to show he acted with the intent of damaging the site. Nazca's prosecutor's office has decided to appeal the decision and is calling for the driver to receive a $1,550 fine and nine months of preventative detention during ongoing investigations, according to Peruvian newspaper Peru21.
According to Argentinian newspaper Clarín, the driver of the truck said he only drove into the area due to a mechanical emergency and did not know the area or that it was sacred since he had never traveled to the country before.