Remnants of Lost City located in Peru?

"Finding the Lost City"

“Finding the Lost City” (1898)
Attribution: Illustration by L.J. Bridgman
Source: The Lost City by Joseph E. Badger, Jr. (Digitized by Google Books)

Peru, like much of Central and South America, is a veritable treasure trove of lost history. This latest discovery is a lost temple located within the ruins at El Paraiso. However, it’s estimated to be 5,000 years old, making it 1,000 years older than the rest of the ruins. So, it appears to be from a lost city. Here’s more from BBC News:

Archaeologists in Peru say they have discovered a temple at the ancient site of El Paraiso, near the capital, Lima. Entry to the rectangular structure, estimated to be up to 5,000 years old, was via a narrow passageway, they say. At its centre, the archaeologists from Peru’s Ministry of Culture found a hearth which they believe was used to burn ceremonial offerings.

With 10 ruins, El Paraiso is one of the biggest archaeological sites in central Peru. The archaeologists found the structure, measuring 6.82m by 8.04m (22ft by 26ft), in the right wing of the main pyramid…

(See the rest at BBC News)

The Forgotten Walls of China?

The Great Wall of China isn’t really a single wall. Instead, it’s a catchall term to describe the many fortifications built in China over the last ~2,700 years. Recently, archaeologists finished a 5-year project to map these structures. What are the Forgotten Great Walls of China?

The Great Wall of China (1907)

The Great Wall of China
Attribution: Herbert Ponting (1907)
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Forgotten Great Walls of China?

China’s first walls sprouted up around the 7th century BC, probably to keep Mongol invaders at bay. Many additional walls have been built over the years and some of them have been linked together. The wall most commonly associated with “The Great Wall of China” is actually a series of structures which were restored during the Ming Dynasty.

Recently, China’s State Administration of Cultural Heritage and the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping completed a 5-year archaeological survey of China. Back in 2009, surveyors had estimated the total length of the Great Wall of China at about 5,500 miles. Now, Xinhua, China’s government-owned news agency, is reporting the completion of the survey. The wall’s total length has been updated…to 13,170.6956 miles!

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

That’s a lot of walls. But don’t get too excited. Most of these “forgotten” structures are gone. Only the remnants remain. Even the famed Ming Dynasty wall is just a shell of its former self. Only 8.2% of it still stands. And 75% of its surviving sections are extremely dilapidated. Also, some of the walls run parallel to each other. And many of them aren’t so much walls as “earthworks or ditches.”

Interestingly enough, the 13,170 mile figure might still be low. China’s borders have shifted dramatically over the centuries. Back in March, we reported on the discovery of a “lost” section of the Great Wall of China in the Gobi Desert…outside of China’s current borders. Are there more walls out there, waiting to be found? Only time will tell.

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World?

By the 4th century BC, the ancient Greeks had conquered much of Egypt, Persia, and Babylonia. This opened the door for ancient travel writers to record the most amazing structures in the so-called “known world.” What were the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World?

What are the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World?

What were the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World?
Description: A collage depicting the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Attribution: Maarten van Heemskerck
Source: Wikimedia Commons

What were the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World?

Multiple versions of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World exist. However, the canonical version is generally listed as follows:

  1. Great Pyramid of Giza
  2. Hanging Gardens of Babylon
  3. Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
  4. Statue of Zeus at Olympia
  5. Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
  6. Colossus of Rhodes
  7. Lighthouse of Alexandria

Considering the nationality of the travel writers, it should be no surprise that Greek architecture dominates this list. Only the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon came from civilizations outside of Greece. Interestingly enough, those Seven Wonders only existed at the same time for about 55 years. That’s the lifespan of the magnificent, but extremely short-lived Colossus of Rhodes.

However, the canonical list isn’t the original one. For example, check out this poem written by Antipater of Sidon in 140 BC.

“I have set eyes on the wall of lofty Babylon on which is a road for chariots, and the statue of Zeus by the Alpheus, and the hanging gardens, and the colossus of the Sun, and the huge labour of the high pyramids, and the vast tomb of Mausolus; but when I saw the house of Artemis that mounted to the clouds, those other marvels lost their brilliancy, and I said, ‘Lo, apart from Olympus, the Sun never looked on aught so grand.'” ~ Antipater of Sidon, Greek Anthology (IX.58)

Interesting huh? His list of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World has the Walls of Babylon (which includes the famous Ishtar Gate) instead of the Lighthouse of Alexandria. And older lists include even more variations. Diodorus mentions a mysterious obelisk in Babylon as “among the seven wonders of the world.” The Palace of Cyrus has also been mentioned in this regard. Supposedly, the earliest Seven Wonders lists didn’t include any non-Greek monuments. Unfortunately, none of those lists exist today.

Sadly, other than the Great Pyramid of Giza, all the ancient wonders have succumbed to the ravages of time. In addition, numerous questions surround the inclusion of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Indeed, many modern scholars question its very existence.

Updating the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World?

Just as the original list of wonders changed over the years, many modern groups have created their own lists. Perhaps the most notable one comes from the New7Wonders Foundation:

  1. Great Wall of China
  2. Petra
  3. Christ the Redeemer
  4. Machu Picchu
  5. Chichen Itza
  6. Colosseum
  7. Taj Majal
  8. Great Pyramid of Giza (Honorary Member)

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

But should we take this list seriously? After all, it excludes the Moai of Easter Island, the Statue of Liberty, and Angor Wat. Furthermore, this was a popularity poll conducted in part on the Internet. Since there were no steps taken to prevent multiple votes, there was no way to stop ballot box stuffing.

Regardless, there are literally hundreds of possible candidates for a modern Seven Wonders of the World. In fact, there are so many candidates, its impossible for everyone to agree on one list. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s a good thing. It indicates the world we’ve created is literally full of Wonders.

The Longest Bridge of the Ancient World?

During the late 7th century, Maya engineers constructed the longest Maya bridge known to exist in the ancient world. It spanned 113 meters across the Usumacinta River and was designed to allow residents of Yaxchilan to reach their villages and farms.

Is this an ancient Maya bridge?

Is this an ancient Maya bridge?
Description: A pile of debris in the Usumacinta River. Archaeologists speculate it may be part of an ancient Maya bridge.
Attribution: Neatguy at en.wikipedia
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Maya Bridge – The Longest Bridge of the Ancient World?

Here’s more from the discoverer of the Maya bridge, James O’Kon:

The Maya city of Yaxchilan is sited within a giant omega of the Usumacinta River. This circular bend in the river developed a 3.2 kilometer wide land mass within the inner curve of the river. This protected area, formed within the confines of the inner curve of the river, created a natural fortress for the city. However, the river is in a flood state for six months of the year, and during the rainy season the broad and swiftly flowing waters isolated the city from access to its domain across the river.

In order to survive as a viable urban center, this ancient city required a dependable year-round way to cross the river. While the site had been studied by archaeologists since 1882, the need for a bridge crossing was not considered as a necessity by archaeological studies. The ancient ruins that were the clues to the existence of this lost landmark of Maya Engineering were hiding in plain sight…The need for a permanent lifeline to insure the survival of the city during the flood season was overlooked by archaeologists until James O’Kon carried out a series of expeditions, forensic engineering investigations, archaeo-engineering analysis, remote sensing, and computer modeling of this structure lead to the digital re-construction of the bridge. Constructed in the late 7th century, landmark three-span suspension bridge crossed from the city center over the Usumacinta River to the north side where the villages and farms were located…

The “Lost” Great Wall of China?

Contrary to popular opinion, the Great Wall of China wasn’t built all at once. Construction on various walls to keep out Mongol invaders began as early as the 7th century BC. Over the ensuing centuries, more walls were built. The current standing wall was largely restored from earlier versions during the Ming Dynasty.

The Great Wall of China (1907)

The Great Wall of China
Attribution: Herbert Ponting (1907)
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Lost Great Wall of China?

Due to the nature of its construction, scholars have long suspected the existence of “lost” sections of the Great Wall of China. And now, thanks to an international expedition along with Google Earth, one of those lost sections has been located…in the Gobi Desert…and interestingly enough, outside China’s current borders. Here’s more on the lost Great Wall of China from National Geographic:

A forgotten section of the Great Wall of China has been discovered deep in the Gobi Desert—and outside of China—researchers say. With the help of Google Earth, an international expedition documented the ancient wall for roughly 100 kilometers (62 miles) in a restricted border zone in southern Mongolia in August 2011.

The defensive barrier formed part of the Great Wall system built by successive Chinese dynasties to repel Mongol invaders from the north, according to findings published in the March issue of the Chinese edition of National Geographic magazine.

Preserved to a height of 9 feet (2.75 meters) in places, the desert discovery belongs to a sequence of remnant walls in Mongolia collectively known as the Wall of Genghis Khan, said expedition leader and Great Wall researcher William Lindesay

(See National Geographic for more on the lost Great Wall of China)

The Lost City of Calakmul

Deep in the jungles of the Petén Basin lies Calakmul, one of the great lost cities of the Mayas.

A Pyramid in the Lost City of Calakmul

Becán, Campeche: A Pyramid in the Lost City of Calakmul
Attribution: Joaquín Martínez Rosado
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Lost City of Calakmul?

The lost city of Calakmul remained undiscovered by outsiders until 1931. Since that time, it’s become more accessible but just barely. It’s an archaeological paradise and contains the second-largest Maya structure known to exist…the 184-foot tall Structure II. Here’s more on the fabulous lost city of Calakmul from Air Tran Magazine:

Around here, the signs of ancient Maya civilization are everywhere, rising like ghosts from the ground. In the state of Campeche (which borders Cancun’s Quintana Roo on the west), Mexico’s archeological authority, INAH, has catalogued more than 1,500 Maya sites. These sprawling, longago cities and towns covered so much of the area that when the government sought to widen Highway 180, it had to choose which ruins were small enough to plow under and which were worthy of preservation.

Even amid such archeological bounty, though, an ancient city called Calakmul stands out…

(See Lost in the Jungle for more on the lost city of Calakmul)

Lost Ancient Megalithic Architecture?

Lost cities are a fascinating subject. But have we found them all? Or is there ancient megalithic architecture still out there, waiting to be discovered?

Do Lost Cities Still Exist?

Do Lost Cities still exist?
David Meyer (aka the Guerrilla Explorer) ventures into ancient Maya ruins
Source: Guerrilla Explorer

Do Lost Cities Still Exist?

A few weeks back, I was trekking through the Yucatán Peninsula, in search of ancient Maya lost cities. Much of the upper part of this region is flat land. So, when you spot a hill, the chances are good you’re looking at an unexcavated ruin, which has given way to nature over the course of many centuries. The sheer number of such sites in the Yucatán is truly remarkable.

Here’s a good article from Katie Crenshaw at Technorati on the possibility of finding far more ancient “monumental architecture” (aka lost cities) in today’s modern world:

…It is widely accepted that anatomically modern humans, humans who look and think like humans today, emerged around 200,000 years ago. Linguists argue that language emerged sometime between 150,000 – 50,000 years ago. Assuming that the creation of complex sites such as Gobekli Tepe required the use of a complete language, not a proto-language, we can assume that humans had the capacity and ability to produce monumental architecture since at least 50,000 years ago, if not before…

Your next question should rightfully be “If we have had the ability to produce such impressive sites as Gobekli Tepe, the pyramids of Egypt and Mexico, and Stonehenge, since 50,000 years ago, conservatively, why haven’t we found evidence of these early sites?”

(See more on ancient monumental architecture and lost cities at Technorati)