A HUGE ancient cat carving has been unearthed on an arid hillside in southern Peru.
The country's Ministry of Culture is classing the 2000-year-old drawing as a new Nazca line that has gone undiscovered for all this time.
Nazca lines were first "discovered" by archaeologists academically in 1927, and have proved mysterious ever since.
Around 1000 of the enormous drawings have been found across the desert, and are so big they can generally only be identified properly from the air.
The ancient cat geoglyph measures 121 feet wide.
It was discovered during maintenance work at a visitor vantage point.
The Ministry said: "The figure was barely visible and was about to disappear as a result of its location on a fairly steep slope and the effects of natural erosion."
It added: "Representations of this type of feline are frequently found in the iconography of ceramics and textiles in the Paracas society."
The hillside the cat was found on is already popular with tourists.
As workers started to clean and restore the area they noticed the lines carved into Earth and carefully uncovered them all till the cat figure was observed whole once more.
It's thought that it was carved in 200 BC to 100 BC.
The Nazca lines cover an area of around 174 square miles.
They were created by pre-Hispanic societies and may have had religious purposes.
Lots of them depict animals but others are just mysterious shapes and patterns.
Nazca Lines – the key facts
Here’s what you need to know…
- The Nazca Lines are a group of giant "designs" made in the soil of the Nazca Desert in southern Peru
- They're typically made through depressions or shallow incisions
- It's believed that they were created between 500BC and 500AD
- Many of the designs depict humans, animals and plants
- And they typically measure anywhere from 0.2 miles to 0.7 miles across
- Each line is generally cut around four to six inches deep, and around one foot wide
- They're best seen from the air at an altitude of around 1,500 feet
- The isolated and windless nature of the plateau has helped preserve many of the lines
- But new lines that are more faded are still being discovered today
- The purpose of the lines is still largely a mystery, but experts believe they may have served as messages to the gods
- It's also possible that they were used for astronomical purposes
In other archaeology news, a Viking temple dedicated to Old Norse gods like Thor has been unearthed by archaeologists.
A sunken ship has been found in almost perfect condition despite spending 400 years underwater.
And, Ancient Egyptian coffins sealed for thousands of years have been found down a burial shaft.
What are your thoughts on this large cat discovery? Let us know in the comments…
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