AN ENORMOUS 200-year-old pattern carved into the earth in a barren patch of land in India is the biggest artwork of its kind ever found.
The mysterious curvy scrawl spans 51 acres of the Thar Desert and was discovered by researchers using Google Earth.
It’s thought to be the largest known example of a Geoglyph – sprawling designs formed with earth or stone, Live Science reports.
Glyphs have not previously been found in India but examples have cropped up across the globe from California to Kazakhstan and even rural England.
The Indian design consists of several spirals and a long snaking line that doubles back on itself.
In total, the artwork covers around 100,000 square metres, or 14 times the area of a football pitch.
In total, the pattern of spiralling lines spans an area equivalent to 14 football pitchesCredit: Archaeological Research in Asia
It’s so large, that the enigmatic peoples who created it likely never saw their work in its entirety, scientists wrote in a paper published last month.
The glyph was uncovered by father-and-son researchers Carlo and Yohann Oetheimer, who are based in France.
They surveyed an area of the Thar desert near the border of Pakistan using satellite imagery provided by the online tool Google Earth.
After identifying eight sites with possible geoglyphs, they flew a drone over the area to reveal a cluster of enigmatic line formations.
The glyph consists of a massive spiral and a serpent-shaped drawing, each connected by a cluster of swirling linesCredit: Archaeological Research in Asia
While some of these were furrows seemingly dug for trees, others had no obvious purpose, and appeared to link together to form a spiralling pattern.
In particular, two “remarkable geometrical figures” close to the village of Boha stood out, researchers said.
They were a massive spiral and a serpent-shaped drawing, each connected by a cluster of sinuous lines.
The researchers estimate that the drawings total 24 kilometres of lines, each up to 10 centimetres deep and 50 centimetres wide.
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It’s not clear why the lines were carved. Researchers believe they’re between 180 and 200 years old.
One theory is that the markings commemorated a spectacular event observed in the night sky.
“[This] invites us to consider religious, astronomical, and/or cosmological meanings,” the researchers wrote.
“Because of their uniqueness, we can speculate that they could represent a commemoration of an exceptional celestial event observed locally.”
The research was published in the journal Archaeological Research in Asia.
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