Still a hidden treasure… In order for you to witness the beauty of El Tigre in Guatemala, you will need to complete a 2-day hike and sleep in hammocks. The jungle has enveloped this Lost City, which used to be a powerful centre around the 6th Century BC. It was first discovered in 1926, but excavation only began in 1978.
El Mirador flourished from about the 6th century BCE, reaching its height from the 3rd century BCE to the 1st century CE, with a peak population of perhaps between 100,000 and 250,000 people, judging by the size and extent of the labor pool required to build the massive constructions. Then it experienced a hiatus of construction and perhaps abandonment for generations,followed by re-occupation and further construction in the Late Classic era, and a final abandonment about the end of the 9th century. The civic center of the site covers some 10 square miles (26 km2) with several thousand structures, including monumental architecture from 10 to 72 meters high.
One of the key elements for this tremendous rise in human population was the many bajos, seasonal swamps, in the region. Tropical-forest soil contains hardly any nutrients and most of the nutrients present get washed away by rain. Yet the Maya developed a system that was highly productive. In the Mirador basin, the swamps provided the solution. By importing mud from the swamps by the thousands of tonnes, the Maya created mud-covered terraces ready for agriculture. By adding lime to the soil, they elevated the pH, making it suitable for a variety of crops: corn, squash, beans, cacao, cotton and palm. When the ground was depleted of nutrients, adding another layer of mud reinvigorates the fields.
There is a number of “triadic” structures (around 35 structures), consisting of large artificial platforms topped with a set of 3 summit pyramids. The most notable of such structures are three huge complexes; one is nicknamed “El Tigre”, with height 55 metres (180 ft); the other is called “La Danta” (or Danta) temple. The La Danta temple measures approximately 72 metres (236 ft) tall from the forest floor, and considering its total volume (2,800,000 cubic meters) is one of the largest pyramids in the world. When the large man-made platform that the temple is built upon (some 18,000 square meters) is included in calculations, La Danta is considered by some archeologists to be one of the most massive ancient structures in the world. Also the “Los Monos” complex is very large (48 meters high) although not as well known. Most of the structures were originally faced with cut stone which was then decorated with large stucco masks depicting the deities of Maya mythology. According to Carlos Morales-Aguilar, a Guatemalan archaeologist from Pantheon-Sorbonne University, the city appears to have been planned from its foundation, as extraordinary alignments have been found between the architectural groups and main temples, which were possibly related to solar alignments. The study reflects an importance of urban planning and sacred spaces since the first settlers.
An additional feature of El Mirador is the quantity and size of causeways, internally linking important architectural compounds, and externally linking the numerous major ancient cities within the Mirador Basin during the latter part of the Middle and Late Preclassic periods. The causeways are commonly referred to as sacbeob (the plural form of sacbe, meaning “white road” in Mayan, from sac “white” and be “road”). These are raised stone causeways raising 2 to 6 meters above the level of the surrounding landscape and measuring from 20 to 50 meters wide. One sacbe links El Mirador to the neighbouring site of Nakbe, approximately 12 km away, while another joined El Mirador to El Tintal, 20 km away.
While the city and the sister centers of the Mirador Basin thrived between 300 BCE and the Common Era (CE), apparently, the site was abandoned, as were nearly all other major sites in the area, by about 150 CE. A large wall, which must have been as high as 3 to 8 meters, had been constructed on the entire northern, eastern, and southern portions of the West Group of the city prior to its abandonment in the terminal Preclassic period, suggesting a possible threat that had been perceived by this time.
Even the sand dunes have secrets… This incredible discovery was in Scotland, on an Island called Orkney. Skara Brae lay hidden in a ginormous sand dune for centuries. It’s one of the best preserved Stone Age villages in all of Europe, because of the sand. is an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland, situated off the north coast of Great Britain. Orkney is 16 kilometres (10 mi) north of the coast of Caithness and comprises approximately 70 islands, of which 20 are inhabited. The furniture was also made of stone, so survived. It was occupied from around 3180 BC -2500 BC. The climate change was the main reason people left, as it became very cold and wet. A terrible storm in 1850 led to its discovery.
Orkney is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland, a constituency of the Scottish Parliament, a lieutenancy area, and a historic county. The local council is Orkney Islands Council, one of only three Councils in Scotland with a majority of elected members who are independents.
In addition to the Mainland, most of the islands are in two groups, the North and South Isles, all of which have an underlying geological base of Old Red Sandstone. The climate is mild and the soils are extremely fertile, most of the land being farmed. Agriculture is the most important sector of the economy. The significant wind and marine energy resources are of growing importance, and the island generates more than its total yearly electricity demand using renewables. The local people are known as Orcadians and have a distinctive Orcadian dialect of Scots and a rich inheritance of folklore. There is an abundance of marine and avian wildlife.
Dawn of happiness And you can see why it’s called that. Sukothai means Dawn of Happiness or Place of Happiness. Sukothai was the capital of the Sukhothai Kingdom. Sukhothai is 12 km west of the modern city of Sukhothai Thani.Around 80 000 people used to live there in the 13th century. The Aranyika monastery was west of the city, a great lake to the east, a market to the north, and the Khao Luang hill to the south. In 1438 the town was conquered and eventually abandoned in the late 15th century, reasons unknown. Sukothai was covered in thick vegetation when it was rediscovered by Mongkut in the 1800’s when he was travelling the kingdom as a monk. It’s been a Unesco World Heritage site since 1991.
Great Zimbabwe is a ruined city in the south-eastern hills of Zimbabwe near Lake Mutirikwe and the town of Masvingo. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe during the country’s Late Iron Age. Construction on the monument began in the 11th century and continued until the 15th century. The most widely-accepted modern archaeological theory is that the edifices were erected by the ancestral Shona. Not your regular find… It’s called the Great Zimbabwe, and used to the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe around the Late Iron Age. It was built during the 11th century right through to the 15th century. It’s guessed around 18 000 people lived there, and it used to be a bustling place with lots of trading.The earliest known written mention of the Great Zimbabwe ruins was in 1531 by Vicente Pegado, captain of the Portuguese garrison of Sofala, who recorded it as Symbaoe. The first confirmed visits by Europeans were in the late 19th century, with investigations of the site starting in 1871. Later, studies of the monument were controversial in the archaeological world, with political pressure being put upon archaeologists by the government of Rhodesia to deny its construction by native African people. Great Zimbabwe has since been adopted as a national monument by the Zimbabwean government, and the modern independent state was named for it. The word great distinguishes the site from the many hundreds of small ruins, now known as “zimbabwes”, spread across the Zimbabwe Highveld.There are 200 such sites in southern Africa, such as Bumbusi in Zimbabwe and Manyikeni in Mozambique, with monumental, mortarless walls; Great Zimbabwe is the largest of these.
The City with 9 lives… This intriguing Lost City is Hatussa, found in Turkey. According to research, Hattusa was around in about 1200 BC. Hatussa was the capital of the Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. Its ruins lie near modern Boğazkale, Turkey, within the great loop of the Kızılırmak River.
Before 2000 BC, the apparently indigenous Hattian people established a settlement on sites that had been occupied even earlier and referred to the site as Hattush. The Hattians built their initial settlement on the high ridge of Büyükkale. The earliest traces of settlement on the site are from the sixth millennium BC. In the 19th and 18th centuries BC, merchants from Assur in Assyria established a trading post there, setting up in their own separate quarter of the city. The center of their trade network was located in Kanesh (Neša) (modern Kültepe). Business dealings required record-keeping: the trade network from Assur introduced writing to Hattusa, in the form of cuneiform.
A carbonized layer apparent in excavations attests to the burning and ruin of the city of Hattusa around 1700 BC. The responsible party appears to have been King Anitta from Kussara, who took credit for the act and erected an inscribed curse for good measure:
Hattusa has actually been destroyed and restored several times over the centuries, and due to its close proximity to water and fertile soil, was abundant with life and around 40-50 000 people at a time. Archaeologists rediscovered the lost city of Hatussa. After the Kaskas arrived to the kingdom’s north, they twice attacked the city to the point where the kings had to move the royal seat to another city. Under Tudhaliya I, the Hittites moved north to Sapinuwa, returning later. Under Muwatalli II, they moved south to Tarhuntassa but assigned Hattusili III as governor over Hattusa. Mursili III returned the seat to Hattusa, where the kings remained until the end of the Hittite kingdom in the 12th century BC. Yenicekale, between the Lion Gate and the outer cityAt its peak, the city covered 1.8 km² and comprised an inner and outer portion, both surrounded by a massive and still visible course of walls erected during the reign of Suppiluliuma I (circa 1344–1322 BC (short chronology)). The inner city covered an area of some 0.8 km² and was occupied by a citadel with large administrative buildings and temples. The royal residence, or acropolis, was built on a high ridge now known as Büyükkale (Great Fortress). The Great Temple in the inner city. To the south lay an outer city of about 1 km2, with elaborate gateways decorated with reliefs showing warriors, lions, and sphinxes. Four temples were located here, each set around a porticoed courtyard, together with secular buildings and residential structures. Outside the walls are cemeteries, most of which contain cremation burials. Modern estimates put the population of the city between 40,000 and 50,000 at the peak; in the early period, the inner city housed a third of that number. The dwelling houses that were built with timber and mud bricks have vanished from the site, leaving only the stone-built walls of temples and palaces. The city was destroyed, together with the Hittite state itself, around 1200 BC, as part of the Bronze Age collapse. Excavations suggest that Hattusa was gradually abandoned over a period of several decades as the Hittite empire disintegrated. The site was subsequently abandoned until 800 BC, when a modest Phrygian settlement appeared in the area.
The Mountains are calling, I must go! Let’s head to the cliff dwellings of the ancient people of Anasazi, who built these incredible homes in the shallow caves and under the rocks. Situated in southwestern Colorado, Mese Verde is thought to have begun in the 12th century. The Mountains are calling, I must go! Let’s head to the cliff dwellings of the ancient people of Anasazi, who built these incredible homes in the shallow caves and under the rocks. Situated in southwestern Colorado, Mese Verde is thought to have begun in the 12th century. From 100 B.C. to 1300 A.D., the Anasazi civilization grew in the dry lands of the American southwest. The Anasazi are called the Ancient People. They lived in groups of houses that the Spanish later called pueblos. Pueblo is the Spanish word for “town” or “village.” Pueblos were multistory buildings. They were made of adobe. Adobe is a mixture of sand and straw that is dried into bricks. There was very little wood in the dry lands. The Anasazi had to carry wood from miles away to use for roof beams for their pueblos. Early pueblos were built on top of mesas or high, flat-topped hills. Pueblos had very few windows or doors on the lower levels. People moved from one level to another by ladder. The Anasazi had no windows and doors on the first level to protect themselves from their enemies. If they were attacked, they pulled up the ladder. There are several famous pueblos that can be visited today in the South West. Pueblo Bonito or “Beautiful Town” was built under the tall canyon walls of Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. It had 800 rooms and was home to 1,200 Anasazi. Another pueblo is know as Cliff Palace. It is in Mesa Verde, Colorado. Cliff Palace was three stories high. It had 200 rooms where 1,000 Pueblo people lived. The Anasazi learned how to farm in the dry lands. They grew corn, squash, and beans. They planted seeds deep in the dry soil to get the most water. They stored water in holes and ditches to use during droughts. The Anasazi were always prepared for droughts. They saved dried corn in clay jars. They stored enough dried corn to feed their people for two years during a long drought. Anasazi had many gods. Like other Native peoples, nature was represented by their gods. The Earth mother, the sun god, and the rain god were a few of the Anasazi gods. The Anasazi held secret religious ceremonies in underground rooms called kivas. No one knows for sure why the Anasazi left their great Pueblos in the high mesa lands. Some people think a drought that lasted for many years may have caused the Anasazi to move. They moved to the lower river valley where they lived in smaller pueblos.
Fact or fiction… You be the decider… Atlantis, the most legendary Lost City, but never actually discovered. It’s been thought that Atlantis holds the key to world peace. Many people have used the information shared in famous written works to find its exact location, but answers differ… Some say the Atlantic Ocean, others Bolivia, Antarctica, Malta, the Caribbean and even Germany. It’s a legend that will be kept alive probably forever! Atlantis is a fictional island mentioned within an allegory on the hubris of nations in Plato’s works Timaeus and Critias, where it represents the antagonist naval power that besieges “Ancient Athens”, the pseudo-historic embodiment of Plato’s ideal state (see The Republic). In the story, Athens repels the Atlantean attack unlike any other nation of the (western) known world,supposedly giving testament to the superiority of Plato’s concept of a state. At the end of the story, Atlantis eventually falls out of favor with the deities and submerges into the Atlantic Ocean. Despite its minor importance in Plato’s work, the Atlantis story has had a considerable impact on literature. The allegorical aspect of Atlantis was taken up in utopian works of several Renaissance writers, such as Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis and Thomas More’s Utopia. On the other hand, nineteenth-century amateur scholars misinterpreted Plato’s narrative as historical tradition, most notably in Ignatius L. Donnelly’s Atlantis: The Antediluvian World. Plato’s vague indications of the time of the events—more than 9,000 years before his time and the alleged location of Atlantis—”beyond the Pillars of Hercules”—has led to much pseudoscientific speculation. As a consequence, Atlantis has become a byword for any and all supposed advanced prehistoric lost civilizations and continues to inspire contemporary fiction, from comic books to films.While present-day philologists and classicists agree on the story’s fictional character,there is still debate on what served as its inspiration. The fact that Plato borrowed some of his other allegories and metaphors—most notably the story of Gyges from older traditions has caused a number of scholars to investigate possible inspiration of Atlantis from Egyptian records of the Thera eruption, the Sea Peoples invasion, or the Trojan War. Others have rejected this chain of tradition as implausible and insist that Plato created an entirely fictional nation as his example, drawing loose inspiration from contemporary events such as the failed Athenian invasion of Sicily in 415–413 BC or the destruction of Helike in 373 BC
What once was… Leptis Magna used to be a bustling city, with markets, shops, homes and loads of activity. Found in Libya, it was this amazing city around 1000 BC. At one stage it was the 3rd most prominent city in Africa! Arabs eventually conquered Leptis Magna. They didn’t look after the land, which became dry and eventually the sand just buried the whole city. This amazing place was only rediscovered in 2005! The Berber and Punic city was founded in the second half of the 7th century BC. Little is known about the old city, but it appears to have been powerful enough to repel Dorieus’ attempt to establish a Greek colony nearby in c. 515 BC. A 4th to 3rd century BC necropolis was found under the Roman theatre. It nominally remained part of Carthage’s dominions until the end of the Third Punic War in 146 BC and then became part of the Roman Republic, although from about 111 BC onward, it was for all intents and purposes an independent city. During the reign of Augustus, Leptis Magna was classified as a Civitas libera et immunis, or a free community, over which the governor had an absolute minimum of control. As such Leptis retain its two suphetes at the head of its government, with the mhzm, similar to the Roman aediles, as minor magistrates. In addition there were such sacred officials as the ‘addir ‘ararim or praefectus sacrorum, the nēquim ēlīm, and probably a sacred college of fifteen members. These offices were still in effective operation when Leptis was made a “Municipium” with a certain degree of Roman rights and privileges at some time between 61 and 68 A.D., during the rule of Nero. The city depended primarily on the fertility of its surrounding farmland, where many olive-presses have been excavated. As early as 46 BC, its olive oil production was of such an extent that the city was levied by Caesar with a tax of three million pounds of oil annually. The Roman Republic sent some colonists together with a small garrison in order to control the city. Since then the city started to grow and was even allowed to create its own money (coins). Soon Italian merchants settled in the city and started a profitable commerce with the Libyan interior.
Leptis Magna remained as such until the reign of the Roman emperor Tiberius, when the city and the surrounding area were formally incorporated into the empire as part of the province of Africa. It soon became one of the leading cities of Roman Africa and a major trading post. The city grew rapidly under Roman administration. It was elevated to municipium in AD 64/5 and to colonia under Trajan (r. 98 –117) Leptis achieved its greatest prominence beginning in AD 193, as the hometown of emperor Septimius Severus. Septimius favored his hometown above all other provincial cities, and the buildings and wealth he lavished on it made Leptis Magna the third-most important city in Africa, rivaling Carthage and Alexandria. In AD 205, he and the imperial family visited the city and received great honors. Among the changes that Severus introduced were to create a magnificent new forum and to rebuild the docks. The natural harbour had a tendency to silt up, but the Severan changes made this worse, and the eastern wharves are extremely well preserved, since they were scarcely used. Leptis over-extended itself at this period. During the Crisis of the 3rd Century, when trade declined precipitously, Leptis Magna’s importance also fell into a decline, and by the middle of the 4th century, even before it was completely devastated by the 365 tsunami, large parts of the city had been abandoned. Ammianus Marcellinus recounts that the crisis was worsened by a corrupt Roman governor named Romanus during a major tribal raid who demanded bribes to protect the city. The ruined city could not pay these and complained to the emperor Valentinian I. Romanus then bribed people at court and arranged for the Leptan envoys to be punished “for bringing false accusations”. It enjoyed a minor renaissance beginning in the reign of the emperor Theodosius I. In 439, Leptis Magna and the rest of the cities of Tripolitania fell under the control of the Vandals when their king, Gaiseric, captured Carthage from the Romans and made it his capital. Unfortunately for the future of Leptis Magna, Gaiseric ordered the city’s walls demolished so as to dissuade its people from rebelling against Vandal rule. The people of Leptis and the Vandals both paid a heavy price for this in AD 523 when a group of Berber raiders sacked the city.
Belisarius recaptured Leptis Magna in the name of Rome ten years later, and in 533/4 it was re-incorporated into the empire. Leptis became a provincial capital of the Eastern Empire, but never recovered from the destruction wreaked upon it by the Berbers. In 544, under the prefecture of Sergius, the city came under intensified attack of Berber tribes, and after some successes, Sergius was reduced to retreating into the city, with the Leuathae tribal confederation camped outside the gate demanding payments. Sergius admitted eighty deputies into the city to present their demands, but when Sergius moved to leave the conference he was detained by the robe by one deputy and crowded by others. This provoked an officer of the prefect’s guard to kill the deputy laying hands on the prefect, which resulted in a general massacre. The Berbers reacted with an all-out attack and Sergius was eventually forced to abandon Leptis and retreat to Carthage. By the 6th century, the city was fully Christianised.During the decade 565–578 AD Christian missionaries from Leptis Magna even began to move once more among the Berber tribes as far south as the Fezzan in the Libyan desert and converted the Garamantes.Numerous new churches were built in the 6th century,but the city continued to decline, and by the time of the Arab conquest c. 647 the city was mostly abandoned except for a Byzantine garrison force and a population of less than 1,000 inhabitants. Under Arab domination Leptis disappeared: by the 10th century the city was forgotten and fully covered by sand. Today, the site of Leptis Magna is the site of some of the most impressive ruins of the Roman period. Part of an ancient temple was brought from Leptis Magna to the British Museum in 1816 and installed at the Fort Belvedere royal residence in England in 1826. It now lies in part of Windsor Great Park. The ruins are located between the south shore of Virginia Water and Blacknest Road close to the junction with the A30 London Road and Wentworth Drive.
When Italians conquered Italian Libya in the early 20th century, they dedicated huge efforts to the rediscovery of Leptis Magna. In the early 1930s Italian archeological research was able to show again the buried remains of nearly all the city.