NASA can’t explain who made these huge, 8,000-year-old Geoglyphs in Kazakhstan

Aerial images of the desert region of Turgai in northern Kazakhstan, reveal gigantic geometric figures that resemble the famous Nazca Lines in Peru and are only noticeable at high altitudes.

One of the enormous earthwork configurations photographed from space is known as the Ushtogaysky Square, named after the nearest village in Kazakhstan © NASA

These unusual drawings were discovered by Dmitryi Dey, an amateur archaeologist from Kazakhstan, with the help of Google Earth and, since then, their origin and the function of the strange formations continue to intrigue researchers.

The Bestamskoe Ring is among the so-called Steppe Geoglyphs in Kazakhstan — at least 260 earthwork shapes made up of mounds, trenches and ramparts, the oldest estimated at 8,000 years old, recognizable only from the air © NASA

These formations, which from a great height reveal clear and intriguing geometric patterns and drawings made on the ground, when seen from the ground are only small mounds of earth and wood, but together they form circles, crosses or lines with sizes varying between 90 and 400 meters.

The earthworks, including the Turgai Swastika, were spotted on Google Earth in 2007 by Dmitriy Dey, a Kazakh archaeology enthusiast © NASA

In terms of comparison, the most well-known geoglyphs today are the Nazca Lines in Peru, which, according to estimates, were created 1,500 years ago. According to Dey, the Mahanzhar culture inhabited the region between the years 7000 BC and 5000 BC and could have created some of the oldest forms, he also believes that these structures were used to observe and follow the movements of the Sun, just as Stonehenge worked.

Stonehenge is a massive stone monument located on a chalky plain north of the modern-day city of Salisbury, England. Research shows that the site has continuously evolved over a period of about 10,000 years. No one knows why ancient people built Stonehenge, but it seems to have been arranged to face the midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset. It’s arguably one of the most famous megalithic monuments in the world © YouTube / Geoff Aitken

The largest of the structures is located next to an old settlement from the Neolithic Period, also called the Polished Stone Age, and contains a square formed by 101 small hills, whose opposite corners are connected by a diagonal cross. The combined area of this formation is larger than that of the Great Pyramid of Cheops in Egypt.

The research is being conducted by a team from Kazakhstan’s Kostanay University and Lithuania’s Vilnius University. “So far, we can say only one thing: geoglyphs were built by ancient peoples. For whom and for what purpose, a mystery still remains”, said the researchers.

It is believed that these enormous engravings, which cover an area of 692 km, could reveal details about the ancient rituals of the peoples of the region, but so far attempts to decipher them have been in vain.

NASA asked astronauts at the International Space Station to take more images of the region to help decipher the geoglyphs. They also hope to obtain information about geoglyphs from other places in the world, including Peru’s Nazca Lines.

Nazca Lines, Nazca Desert in Southern Peru
Aerial view of the “Spider”, one of the most popular geoglyphs of the Nazca Lines, which are located in the Nazca Desert in southern Peru. The geoglyphs of this UNESCO World Heritage Site (since 1994) are spread over a 80 km (50 mi) plateau between the towns of Nazca and Palpa and are, according to some studies, between 500 BC and 500 AD old © Wikimedia Commons

According to NASA, the figures were made 8,000 years ago and their colossal size is surprising. “I’ve never seen anything like this before, we want to map the entire region from the material we can.” Said Compton J. Tucker, a NASA scientist.

“Building these structures requires a large number of people and requires a huge effort,” explains Giedre Motuzaite Matuzeviciute, an archaeologist at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, who visited the site.

Now it remains to be seen whether some ancient civilization built these formations for art, communication, rituals or some other purpose far beyond our reach.