This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Maria Reiche (1903–1998)

Author of Markings: Aerial Views of Sacred Landscapes

Includes the names: Maria Reiche

MembersReviewsPopularityRatingFavorited   Events   
51 (55)246,078 (5)00
No events listed. (add an event)
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical name
Legal name
Other names
Date of birth
Date of death
Burial location
Country (for map)
Place of death
Places of residence
Awards and honors
Short biography
Maria Reiche was born in Dresden, Germany, and studied mathematics, astronomy, geography, and foreign languages at the Dresden Technical University. In 1932, she went to Peru as a nanny for the children of a German consul in Cuzco. She became a teacher in Lima and used her knowledge of five languages to do scientific translations. After the outbreak of World War II, when German nationals were detained in Peru, she became an assistant to Paul Kosok, an American historian from Long Island University in New York. Kosok is credited as the first Westerner to seriously investigate the Nazca Lines during his field studies from 1939–1941 and 1948–1949. With him, Maria Reiche began to map and assess the lines for their relation to astronomical events. She found lines converging at the summer solstice. Around 1946, she began to map the figures represented by the Nazca Lines and determined there were 18 different kinds of animals and birds. After Kosok left Peru in 1948, she continued mapping the area, using her training in mathematics to analyze how the Nazca may have created such large-scale figures. She theorized that the builders of the lines used them as a sun calendar and an observatory for astronomical cycles. She persuaded the Peruvian Air Force to help her make an aerial photographic surveys. She published her theories in The Mystery on the Desert (1949), which received a mixed response from scholars. She used profits from the book to campaign for preservation of the Nazca desert and to lobby and educate Peruvian officials and the public about the importance of the Nazca Lines. In 1977, she was a founding member of South American Explorers, a nonprofit travel, scientific and educational organization. At her death in 1998, she was buried near Nazca with official honors. In 1995, UNESCO declared the Nazca Lines a World Heritage Site.
Disambiguation notice


Member ratings

Average: (5)
5 1

Improve this author

Combine/separate works

Author division

Maria Reiche is currently considered a "single author." If one or more works are by a distinct, homonymous authors, go ahead and split the author.


Maria Reiche is composed of 2 names. You can examine and separate out names.

Combine with…


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 128,079,924 books! | Top bar: Always visible