Japanese University Finds 4 Nazca Drawings with AI

Courtesy of Yamagata University / Jiji Press
One of the Nazca Lines geoglyphs newly identified using artificial intelligence, a drawing of a bird, is seen in Peru.

YAMAGATA (Jiji Press) — Researchers at Yamagata University have identified four Nazca Lines geoglyphs in Peru using artificial intelligence deep learning technology in a joint project with IBM Japan Ltd.

According to the university, the use of AI helped significantly reduce the time needed to identify Nazca drawings. Previously, researchers looked over aerial photographs of wide areas to spot such geoglyphs.

The university’s Institute of Nazca has so far discovered 358 such drawings.

“We learned that work that could take more than 20 years for humans to do can be done in one year with AI,” Yamagata University Prof. Masato Sakai said.

“Research on Nazca geoglyphs is accelerating, and the discovery of more geoglyphs is expected to allow us to find out what they were drawn for,” Sakai added.

The institute developed a model to automatically detect new geoglyphs by getting AI to learn simplified patterns for divided parts of known geoglyphs, whose designs are unique and complicated.

The four Nazca drawings identified by AI are a pair of legs, a fish, a bird and a humanoid, measuring 78 meters, 19 meters, 17 meters and 5 meters, respectively.

The findings have been published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.