Maria Reiche was born in Dresden, the eldest of three children of the District Court Council Felix Reiche-Grosse and his wife Elisabeth. After visiting the Municipal educational establishment for girls in Dresden, she studied mathematics, physics and geography at the Technical University of Dresden and graduated in 1928 with the state exam. In 1932 she took a job as a private tutor at the German consul in Cuzco, Peru, on. Before the expiry of the contract period they went to the capital Lima. There they lived from odd jobs, language training and translations.
Since 1937, she helped at the National Museum Lima to restore historical materials. In 1939, she heard about the U.S. scientist Paul Kosok for the first time of the so-called Nazca Lines, which were discovered in 1924. He asked her to make some measurements for him. In 1946 she began alone and unsupported, to investigate the enigmatic drawings in the Nazca desert floor at. Rich was convinced that " ... if we succeed in all dimensions translate into time data, we can read in the sticks like a giant history book. "
1960 Maria Reiche met the 21- year-old Jewish Yonah Ibn Aharon. He lived in the U.S. and had studied theology and Torah in New York formed a committee to protect the Nazca lines. Between 1962 and 1964 he helped on the pampas. He brought countless ideas into kingdom work, among other things, he developed a file system into which the lines were registered with their measuring points and idiosyncrasies. With 52 years, Maria Reiche was outside the pulpit tie on the skids of a helicopter in order to make better aerial photographs of the giant pictures can. The close-ups they made world famous. Until the 1960s, Maria Reiche had surveyed an area of approximately 150 square kilometers on foot. They lived spartan in a small hut on the edge of the Pampa Colorada or together with her friend and partner Amy Meredith in a house in Lima. Even the wheelchair did not stop them to continue their studies into old age.
Beginning of the 70s the Nazca lines were a tourist attraction. Maria Reiche was committed to the protection and preservation of the drawings, and resulted in 1994 recording the Lines and Geoglyphs of Nasca and Pampas de Jumana in the UNESCO list of world heritage.
Maria Reiche has discovered about 50 characters and 1000 lines in the Pampa of Nasca and measured and was an avant-gardist of science. She never married. She received the Federal Cross of Merit 1st class of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Order of the ways of the Inca and the highest award of the Republic of Peru, the sun north, an Honorary Doctorate from the Peruvian San Marcos University ( among others, overall they received five honorary doctorates ) and 90 -year-old in recognition of their achievements for the country's Peruvian citizenship. On 6 June 1998 Maria Reiche died 95 years old. The funeral was held at the National Museum of Lima on June 10, 1998. She was buried in Nazca, where she had lived for 25 years in a hut without water and electricity and what is now a museum. For over 40 years Maria Reiche studied the mystery of the lines and geoglyphs in Peru.
- Prehistoric geoglyphs in Peru. In: photography and research. Werkzeitung ZEISS IKON. Vol 6, Issue 4, 1954.
- Prehistoric geoglyphs in Peru. In: The Umschau in science and technology. 55th year (1955 ), Issue 11
- Mystery of the desert. Mystery on the Desert. Secreto de la Pampa. Selbstverlag Maria Reiche, Stuttgart- Vaihingen 1968.
- Peruvian geoglyphs / Peruvian Ground Drawings. Edit: Art Space Munich Munich e.V. 1974.