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Aincient Lost Cities Discovered!


'Oldest city' unearthed?
July 3, 2000 08:40 CDT
(Photo courtesy of the University of Chicago) www.cosmiverse.com

The British press has reported the discovery of what may be the oldest known city, found in a remote region of Syria by a joint Syrian-American expedition.

The Independent newspaper, based in London, said archaeologists believe that the city, called Hamoukar, may date as far back as 6,000 BC. "The discovery is 2,500 years older than any known site and will prompt a dramatic reappraisal of ancient history," said the Independent.

Hamoukar, between the legendary Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, spreads over 750 acres and the population may have reached 25,000 people in the ancient period when the region was known as Mesopotamia.

Dr Mouhammed Maktash, director of the Syrian-American joint excavation, said, "there is no question this is the most exciting find I have come across. Of course you can find older individual (archeological artifact) pieces but there is a big difference between a small village and a city."

Maktash is director of antiquities at the regional museum at Raqqa. He told the UK newspaper that "one of the most astonishing finds has been of double-walled living quarters to encourage air flow, suggesting the inhabitants had designed their own air-conditioning system to combat summer temperatures of more than 40 degrees Centigrade."

The excavation team also has unearthed living quarters of the time, stone god icons, and other artifacts that suggest an advanced culture--such as porcelain figurines of lions, leopards, bears and horses, together with pottery and 7,000 beads.

The Syrian excavation team was joined by archaeologists from the University of Chicago. "From the beginning we knew that Hamoukar was very old, but when we excavated we found things we have never seen before. We have Islamic material, Hellenistic and sixth millennium BC. We have everything here," said Maktash.

The discoveries will prompt a reassessment of how mankind developed in the "cradle of civilization" between the two great Middle Eastern rivers. Textbooks and historians have theorized that is was the Sumerians who established the oldest known "modern" civilizations of the Babylonian and Mesopotamian era, at about 3500 BC. Hamoukar is thought to have predated the birth of the Sumerian civilization by 2500 to 3000 years.

"Hamoukar is at least 1,000 years older than Sumeria," Maktash said. "But we don't know who the people were who lived at Hamoukar. If they were here first the big question is: where did the Sumerian civilization come from - from nothing? It's possible they came from Hamoukar. This will change many things in our understanding of history."

McGuire Gibson, professor of Chicago University's Oriental Institute, said, "we need to reconsider our ideas about the beginnings of civilization, pushing the time further back. This would mean that the development of kingdoms or early states occurred before writing was invented."

The two scientists also said the meaning of the city's name is unclear. In Kurdish, Hamoukar means the "man with no ears", or the deaf man; there's a similar Sumerian word that translates as "economic or business center."

Syria is a relatively recent destination for archaeologists. While excavations have taken place periodically during the past 150 years, it was the Gulf War and the isolation of Iraq that led to an explosion of interest. With Iraq effectively off limits, and many of its sites damaged, archaeologists have turned to its neighbor. The excavation at Hamoukar, just a few miles from the Iraqi border, will likely increase the interest in this region as an archaeological research destination.

Staff Writer Sally Suddock
Another lost city found in Sahara
July 17, 2000 08:14 (CDT)

Another lost, ancient empire has been discovered in the Sahara Desert. The Independent of London said archaeologists located the 1500-year-old empire of the Garamantes this summer, spread over a 70,000-square-mile area.

The discovery is important for several reasons. For one, it's one of the oldest civilizations to be unearthed. For another, the evidence found in the Sahara paints a new, revised picture of the Garamantes people. And archaeologists discovered that the Garamantes were highly ingenious in adapting to the arid environment in which they lived.

The team from Universities of Leicester, Newcastle and Reading said the discovery in the Sahara is "revealing how this long-forgotten Saharan people made the desert bloom, built impressive cities and controlled an empire of 70,000 square miles."

Most scholars had concluded that the Garamantes civilization was barbaric, limited to one small settlement and scattered, nomadic encampments.

But the researchers, led by David Mattingly, an archaeologist at Leicester, found the Garamantes "had at least three big cities and 20 other important settlements in the middle of the world's largest desert."

Despite an average rainfall of a mere half-inch each year, the Garamantes successfully cultivated their settlements. The British field team identified a 3,000-mile network of underground irrigation canals connected to natural fossil water supplies. The underground aquifer dates to 40,000 years ago when rain was prevalent in the region.

With the subterranean canals, food production rose and the population expanded, so by 500 BC the Garamantes were able to create their first towns and to start expanding their area of political control.

The archaeological research, funded by the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust, shows that by around 100 BC they had become a major political force, and they remained a 50,000-strong state until easily accessible fossil water supplies ran out.

The Garamantian civilization reached its peak in the second and third centuries AD, when the new archaeological evidence suggests it became one of the Roman Empire's main trading partners.

Archaeologists believe large quantities of African gold, ivory, salt, semi-precious stones and slaves were supplied to the empire via the Garamantian kingdom.

"When the groundwater level fell below that of the underground canal complex, the irrigation system simply dried up, and the Garamantes had to dig hundreds of wells to reach the lowered water table. This water crisis, as well as a reduction in trade caused by the lesser volume of slavery in the Mediterranean and the decline of the Roman Empire, seems to have reduced the power of the Garamantian civilization by the sixth century AD. By the end of the following century, the kingdom had come under Islamic domination," said The Independent.

But the civilization left its mark on history.

"Our research is revealing that, with human ingenuity and against all the odds, the people of the world's largest desert were able to create a prosperous and successful civilization in one of the driest and hottest wildernesses on earth. The Romans liked to think of the Garamantes as simple barbarians. The new archaeological evidence is now putting the record straight and showing they were brilliant farmers, resourceful engineers and enterprising merchants who produced a remarkable civilization," said Mattingly.

Staff Writer Sally Suddock

<This message has been edited by Time02112 (edited 27 August 2000).>
this just goes to prove what old geezers are fond of saying is true; We're trying to go in to space and time and we really know nothing of the planet were standing on. The oceans alone have millions of stories to tell us, never mind the earth we populate.
*chin in hand*

I seem to remember another being found off the coast of Japan I believe...Hmmm wonder if photographs from space assisted in their discovery... someone sensing some anomaly or some such.

Be safe and dream sweetly.

First Temple From The Iron Age Found in Sweden
August 24, 2000 08:04 CDT

Outside the Swedish capital of Stockholm, archaeologists have discovered what they believe to be an Iron Age temple at an ancient burial site. They say that it is the first of its kind found in Scandinavia.

The burial ground contains more than 200 graves and was unearthed in the early 1980's at Aaby, 25 miles south of Stockholm, when construction work was planned in the region.

But last week, the temple and at least 30 more graves were discovered, after two months of renewed excavations prompted by plans to build apartments and a parking lot in the area.

The temple, which dates from between 200 B.C. and A.D. 200 is shaped like a pentagon and measures 46 feet across, said Roger Blidmo of the private excavation company Arkeologikonsult, whose team found the remains.

The temple also includes a doorway covered with flat stones and marks of corner holes that once supported pillars.

The shape and size of the building indicate that it was a place of worship or sacrificial offering, Blidmo said. This theory is supported by the fact that no graves were found in or directly outside the doorway.

"I don't think people would have built such a firm construction over a single grave, even for a chief," Blidmo said.

Other Iron Age burial buildings have been found in Denmark, but none resembles the pentagon near Stockholm, he said.

Ulla Lund from Copenhagen University in Denmark, who did not participate in the excavation, said the shape of the construction implies that it was a temple or religious building.

"It sounds totally unique," she said. "There are no temples or religious constructions from this period anywhere in Scandinavia."

Blidmo is hoping for the temple to be reconstructed on-site. "We have to preserve it, or it will be washed away by rain," he said. However, rebuilding the site would mean scrapping the other construction plans.

Neither the municipality nor the landowner has decided what to do yet, said Daniel Forsblom at Seniorbostaeder, the official owner of the property. If they decide to go ahead with developing it, construction would not begin until next year, he said.

The area around Stockholm was apparently very prosperous during the Iron Age, considered to be about 500 B.C. to A.D. 1000 in Scandinavia. Villagers kept livestock and traded hides with the Roman Empire.

"This (temple) is probably influenced by Rome," Blidmo said. "The construction style diverges sharply from the normal way of building during that period in Scandinavia." Similar temple finds have been made in Germany and England, he said.
Deep Lake Yields Ancient Temple
August 25, 2000 08:32 CDT

A team of archaeologists and scientists have discovered an ancient temple lost for millennia beneath the waters of Lake Titicaca in South America.

After 18 days of diving below the clear waters of Titicaca, scientists said this week they had discovered a 660-foot-long, 160-foot-wide temple, a terrace for crops, a pre-Incan road and an 2,600-foot containing wall. Artifacts also recovered from the site included a stone anchor and animal bones that they believe to have been those of llamas.

Called Atahuallpa Mission 2000, the expedition sought to unearth new evidence of the lifestyles of the Incan people that lived in the region thousands of years ago.

"I strongly support the hypothesis that was found by the Atahuallpa 2000 expedition are the ruins of a submerged pre-Columbian temple," said Eduardo Pareja, a Bolivian scientist who was among those who explored the site, around 90 miles northeast of the Bolivian capital La Paz. Scientists believe the temple they found is at least 1,000 to 1,500 years old.

Pareja, of Bolivia's National Archeology Department, this week termed the discovery "the greatest archeological find of the new millennium." He said he believes the animal bones were from a breed of "cameloid animals such as llamas," and that they might have been from sacrifices.

"This material is very valuable because it contains information that can help uncover some of the great mysteries of South American cultures," he said.

The scientists made more than 200 dives into water 65 to 100 feet deep to record the remains on film and with photographs.

Lake Titicaca, which is the highest in elevation of any large body of freshwater on Earth, lies 12,464 feet above sea level in the Andes Mountains. It borders on Bolivia and Peru, and is known to have been a "holy lake" among the indigenous aboriginal peoples of the region.

The Tihuanacu people lived on its shores before they became part of the Incan empire with its base in Cusco, Peru. Spaniards arrived in the 16th Century.

The submerged ruins were found in an area of the lake between the town of Copacabana and the Island of the Sun and Island of the Moon. In all, 18 scientists from five countries participated in the expedition: 10 Brazilians, five Bolivians, two Germans and a Romanian.

Staff Writer Sally Suddock
*smiling* *head tilts*

*shakes head a bit* That wasn't it..in sea water and satellite imagery was used...

*little thinking frown* It will come in the middle of the night and as soon as it does I shall post...

I am amazed however at the number that are being discovered..

and Time thank you for the other sites... I enjoy following your links S*

Be safe and dream sweetly.


Vanderbilt Archaeological
Team Unearths Buried
Maya Royal Palace
Vanderbilt University www.vanderbilt.edu http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/09/000909224023.htm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A team of archaeologists from the United States and Guatemala has determined that a structure previously identified as a minor palace is not only one of the largest and most elaborate residences of ancient Maya kings discovered but also one of the best preserved.

"With more than 170 rooms built around 11 courtyards in three stories, this eighth century royal palace is about the same size as the central acropolis in Tikal (Guatemala), says Arthur Demarest, the archaeologist from Vanderbilt University who heads the expedition with Tomas Barrientos from the Universidad del Valle in Guatemala. "But what is most incredible about this site is that most of the palace is buried virtually intact. No one has found anything like this since the turn of the century.

The vegetation-covered royal palace sits in the center of the ruins of an ancient city named Cancuén, which means "place of serpents. It is located in a remote area of the Petén rainforest of Guatemala that has been largely overlooked by archaeologists. The expedition that has begun to map and excavate the site is sponsored by Guatemala,s Institute of Anthropology and History, the National Geographic Society and Vanderbilt University.

Cancuén was first visited by archaeologists in 1905, but they characterized it as a minor center; the expedition went within 100 meters of the palace but didn,t see it because it was covered in dense jungle vegetation. The site was visited again briefly in the 1960s by a group of Harvard graduate students, who first identified the palace. Their sketches and maps, however, underestimated the size of the palace and covered only a small fraction of the ancient city,s actual extent.

"These underestimates are quite understandable, says Demarest. "To the untrained eye, the palace looks just like a great, jungle-covered hill. Even to archaeologists much of the palace appeared to be high, solid platforms.

He says the scale and importance of Cancuén were unrecognized for so long for several reasons:

· Cancuén is situated in a region bordering the Guatemalan highlands that has been largely overlooked by archaeologists. That is partly because the Maya built no temples in the area. "Temples indicate a major site and the presence of tombs, Demarest says. He theorizes the Maya didn,t need temples at Cancuén because they used the area,s natural, cave-filled towers of limestone for burials and religious purposes.

· One of the Cancuén kings had an area of about two square kilometers around the palace paved with stone. This kept the farmers from using the area to grow crops. Over time, jungle trees pushed through the stones and established an island of dense rainforest, complete with trees 16 feet in diameter and troops of howler monkeys. The area became an oasis as the rest of the rainforest was cleared for farming.

· The walls of the 270,000-square foot palace are built of solid limestone masonry, rather than the concrete and mud typical of other sites. As a result, it did not collapse the way that other Maya structures did when enveloped by jungle. The preliminary survey of the palace found that it contains a densely packed labyrinth of hundreds of small rooms with extravagant, 20-foot, corbel-arched ceilings. This design, combined with small courtyards that were easily filled in by jungle vegetation, disguised the palace for more than 1,000 years.

The palace was so well camouflaged that Demarest and his colleagues did not recognize its true size for their first two weeks at the site. Like previous visitors, they also thought large parts of the palace were solid platforms. Then, one day when walking along the ruin,s highest level, Demarest fell up to his armpits into vegetation filling one of the courtyards. "That,s when I realized the entire hill was a three-story building and we were walking on top of the roof, he says.

The archaeologists visited Cancuén in 1999 to follow up a lead from a 10-year dig in northern Guatemala. Excavations at Dos Pilas and several other sites had given them a wealth of information about a highly militaristic city-state called Petexbatun.

Among the Petexbatun records, they found a description of a marriage alliance between a Dos Pilas prince and a Cancuén princess. The small palace where the princess lived was one of the Dos Pilas site,s most exquisite structures. "It looks as if the princess brought her own artisans, because the stonework on her palace is just like that at Cancuén and far superior to anything in the Petexbatun region, Demarest says.

At Cancuén, where the archaeologists expected to find a minor center, they were surprised to find evidence of a much larger, richer and more powerful kingdom, one based on control of the trade in precious commodities: jade, pyrite for making mirrors and obsidian for razor and knife blades. Thousands of people apparently lived at the center during its peak.

The palace was surrounded by the homes and workshops of artisans, which the archaeologists have explored. "Even the workmen at Cancuén were well-to-do. They had teeth filled with jade inlays and were buried with fine ceramic figurines with beautiful headdresses, Demarest says.

While the archaeologists were mapping the site, Guatemalan epigrapher Federico Fahsen was reconstructing the history of the site by deciphering its monuments. The city,s statuary had been looted in the past, so he tracked down some of it in private and public collections. The story he has found is likely to cause major revisions in the scholarly views of Maya civilization.

Cancuén was ruled by one of the oldest Maya dynasties, one that was already well established by 300 A.D. So far, the researchers have found no evidence that Cancuén conducted any major wars with its neighbors. Instead, Cancuén,s rulers appear to have been single-mindedly dedicated to commerce. Their location, at the beginning of the navigable stretch of the Pasion River, the major waterway used by the Maya, allowed them to control the trade in precious commodities between the Guatemalan highlands and the jungle lowlands. The record shows that they used their wealth to form alliances throughout the Maya world. The researchers think that the palace had such a large number of rooms to house visiting royalty from their many allies.

The fact that Cancuén appears to have prospered for hundreds of years without warfare and that commerce appeared to play a far more important role in everyday life than religion contradicts the widespread view among scholars that religion and warfare were the sources of power for Maya kings, particularly toward the end of their dominance, after about 600 A.D.

"I have a book in press that I,ll have to revise, says Demarest. "It just goes to show that you can,t believe everything you read on one dynasty,s monuments.

Editor's Note: The original news release can be found at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/News/news/sept00/nr8a.html Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Vanderbilt University for journalists and other members of the public. If you wish to quote from any part of this story, please credit Vanderbilt University as the original source. You may also wish to include the following link in any citation: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/09/000909224023.htm
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