An archeologist says heavy rains have damaged part of Peru’s famed Nazca lines. The rains deposited desert clay and sand on top of three fingers of a geoglyph shaped like a pair of hands.

Mario Olaechea, an archeologist with Peru’s National Culture Institute, says water from the unusually heavy rains has washed off the nearby Pan-American highway and pushed sand and clay onto part of the site.

The damage is minor, and the institute plans to clear the material and restore the glyph.

Nazca’s dry and windless climate has preserved the mysterious lines since they were etched into the desert sand by indigenous groups who cleared away rocks and small pebbles to form the shape of animals and other figures.

The lines are too large to be appreciated from the ground, but rather can only be seen from the air, although they were drawn in the sand between 100 B.C. and 700 A.D. by the Nazca Indians, long before airplanes and hot-air balloons existed.

Archeologists have warn?ed the lines — one of Peru’s top tourist destinations — are vulnerable to flooding, but Olaechea said it was the first known instance of rain damage.

The lines were added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1994.

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