May 15

Can you name this important woman whose birthday is May 15?

Maria Reiche (born May 15, 1903) was a German mathematician, archaeologist and translator who spent the bulk of her life in Peru investigating and interpreting the Nazca Lines, a series of large geoglyphs in the Nazca Desert in southern Peru.  The figures extend approximately 50 miles and consist of hundreds of lines and geometric shapes and more than 70 animal and human shapes.  You can see the image of a whale above.

Reiche began her work as an assistant to Paul Kosok from the Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York, but continued on after he had left.

Most of the lines are made by removing the reddish-brown iron oxide-coated pebbles that cover the surface of the Nazca Desert. leaving a shallow trench 4 to 6 inches deep.  When this gravel is removed, the light-colored clay earth below is exposed which sharply contrasts the surrounding land surface.

It is most commonly accepted that these Nazca Lines had religious significance, though both Kosok and Reiche believed that they had astronomical purposes.

A children's book was written about Maria Reiche and her work: Maria and the Stars of Nazca.

Sources:

Wikipedia

New York Times obituary

 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *