Tag Archives: archaeologists

Five lost cities that have been found

August 27th, 2014
Archeologists have recently discovered a lost Mayan city in the Mexican jungle — so here are five lost cities you need to know about.

1. Lagunita
An archeologist from Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts rediscovered the lost Mayan city of Lagunita. He identified a Mayan doorway, the remains of massive buildings, plazas, ball courts, a pyramid and three altars that date back to 711 AD. How cool is that?

Monster

2. Helike
In the year 373 BC, a giant earthquake hit off the coast of Greece, which created a giant tsunami that swallowed the ancient city of Helike. Then, in 2001 a team finally rediscovered Helike, digging up coins, pottery and ruins. The reason it took them so long to find it, was because they were looking in the water, but it was under dirt! The water had dried up!

real-atlantis-3

3. Troy
Yes, the famous city of Troy was once lost. In fact, a lot of people thought in never existed. But then, Heinrich Schliemann went on quite adventure in 1870, following clues laid out in Homer’s the Iliad and dug that city up.

troy

4. Pavlopetri
This is the real life Atlantis. Thes 5,000-year-old lost city was found in 1967 and is thought to have been submerged about 3,000 years ago. So, it had a good run. Archeologists found roads, buildings, courtyards and pottery.

Pavlopetri1

5. Machu Picchu
Maybe the greatest lost city sits on top of a mountain in Peru. It wasn’t rediscovered until 1911 mostly because of its location. People are always digging for lost cities, or trekking through the jungle. No one thinks to look up.

machu-picchu-peru

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4,600-year-old step pyramid uncovered in Egypt

4,600-year-old step pyramid uncovered in Egypt

By Owen Jarus

Published February 03, 2014

  • step-pyramid-1 new.JPG

    Archaeologists working near the ancient settlement of Edfu in southern Egypt have uncovered a step pyramid that dates back about 4,600 years. (Tell Edfu Project at the University of Chicagoâs Oriental Institute)

Archaeologists working near the ancient settlement of Edfu, in southern Egypt, have uncovered a step pyramid that dates back about 4,600 years, predating the Great Pyramid of Giza by at least a few decades.

The step pyramid, which once stood as high as 43 feet, is one of seven so-called “provincial” pyramids built by either the pharaoh Huni (reign ca. 2635-2610 B.C.) or Snefru (reign ca. 2610-2590 B.C.). Over time, the step pyramid’s stone blocks were pillaged, and the monument was exposed to weathering, so today, it’s only about 16 feet tall.

Scattered throughout central and southern Egypt, the provincial pyramids are located near major settlements, have no internal chambers and were not intended for burial. Six of the seven pyramids have almost identical dimensions, including the newly uncovered one at Edfu, which is about 60 × 61 feet. [See Photos of the Newly Uncovered Step Pyramid]

The purpose of these seven pyramids is a mystery. They may have been used as symbolic monuments dedicated to the royal cult that affirmed the power of the king in the southern provinces.

“The similarities from one pyramid to the other are really amazing, and there is definitely a common plan,” said Gregory Marouard, a research associate at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute who led the work at the Edfu pyramid. On the east side of the newly uncovered pyramid, his team found the remains of an installation where food offerings appear to have been made — a discovery that is important for understanding this kind of pyramid since it provides clues as to what they were used for.

The team also found hieroglyphic graffiti incised on the outer faces of the pyramid. The inscriptions are located beside the remains of babies and children who were buried at the foot of the pyramid. The researchers think the inscriptions and burials date to long after the pyramid was built and that the structure was not originally intended as a burial place.

Initial results of the excavation were presented at a symposium held in Toronto recently by the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities.

Uncovering the pyramid Though scholars knew of the existence of the pyramid at Edfu, the structure had never been excavated before Marouard’s team started work in 2010, he said in the study. His team found that the pyramid was covered by a thick layer of sand, modern waste and remains from the pillaging of its blocks.

It didn’t look like a pyramid he said, and people in a nearby village even thought the structure was the tomb of a sheikh, a local Muslim saint. As the team went to work cleaning the monument, the ancient pyramid was revealed. [In Photos: The Seven Ancient Wonders of the World]

Built of sandstone blocks and clay mortar, it had been constructed in the form of a three-step pyramid. A core of blocks rises up vertically, with two layers of blocks beside it, on top of each other. This made the pyramid look like it had three steps. The style is similar to that of a step pyramid built by Djoser (reign ca. 2670-2640 B.C.), the pharaoh who constructed Egypt’s first pyramid at the beginning of the third ancient Egyptian dynasty. The technique is close to that used at the Meidum pyramid, which was built by either Snefru or Huni and started out as a step pyramid before being turned into a true pyramid.

“The construction itself reflects a certain care and a real expertise in the mastery of stone construction, especially for the adjustment of the most important blocks,” said Marouard in his paper. Marouard also noted that the pyramid was built directly on the bedrock and was constructed entirely with local raw materials. The quarry where the sandstone was extracted was discovered in 2011, and is located only about a half mile north of the pyramid.

The growth of a modern-day cemetery and village poses a danger to the newly uncovered pyramid. In order to help prevent further looting, a fence was built around the structure, thanks to financial assistance from the American Research Center in Egypt and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Graffiti and child burials As the team uncovered the pyramid, they found that inscriptions had been incised on its outer faces. They include hieroglyphic depictions of a book roll, a seated man, a four-legged animal, a reed leaf and a bird.

“These are mostly private and rough inscriptions, and certainly dedicated to the child/babies’ burials located right under these inscriptions at the foot of the pyramid,” Marouard told Live Science in an email. One of the inscriptions appears to mean “head of the house” and may be a reference to the mother of a buried child.

Marouard said his team would be publishing these burials and images in more detail in the future.

A pyramid abandoned The archaeologists found that by the time of the reign of Khufu (the pharaoh who built the Great Pyramid), ca. 2590-2563 B.C., the pyramid at Edfu had been abandoned, and offerings were no longer being made. This occurred less than 50 years after its construction, Marouard said.

This suggests the seven small pyramids stopped being used when work on the Great Pyramid began. It seems Khufu no longer thought there was a need to maintain a small pyramid at Edfu, or elsewhere in southern Egypt, Marouard said. Rather, Khufu focused all the resources on building the Great Pyramid at Giza, which is close to the Egyptian capital at Memphis, he added.

Khufu may have felt politically secure in southern Egypt and saw no need to maintain or build pyramids there, Marouard said in the email. The “center of gravity of Egypt was then at Memphis for many centuries — this region draining resources and manpower from the provinces, all regions being put to use for the large construction sites of funerary complexes.”

At Wadi al-Jarf, a port found on the shore of the Red Sea that dates to Khufu’s time, papyri (written documents) dating to the end of Khufu’s reign were recently discovered that supports the idea that the pharaoh tried to converge all the resources he could toward Giza and the ancient wonder being constructed there.

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Ancient city discovered beneath Biblical-era ruins in Israel

Ancient city discovered beneath Biblical-era ruins in Israel

By Tia Ghose

Digging History

Published November 19, 2013

LiveScience
  • tel-gezer

    Burned ruins and fired mudbrick collapse, as well as smashed pottery, reveal the late Bronze Age destruction at the city. On the left is the room where several pottery vessels, a scarab of Amenhotep III, a cache of cylinder seals, as well as s (SAMUEL WOLFF, TEL GEZER EXCAVATIONS)

Archaeologists have unearthed traces of a previously unknown, 14th-century Canaanite city buried underneath the ruins of another city in Israel.

The traces include an Egyptian amulet of Amenhotep III and several pottery vessels from the Late Bronze Age unearthed at the site of Gezer, an ancient Canaanite city.

Gezer was once a major center that sat at the crossroads of trade routes between Asia and Africa, said Steven Ortiz, a co-director of the site’s excavations and a biblical scholar at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

The remains of the ancient city suggest the site was used for even longer than previously known. [The Holy Land: 7 Amazing Archaeological Finds]

Biblical city
The ancient city of Gezer has been an important site since the Bronze Age, because it sat along the Way of the Sea, or the Via Maris, an ancient trade route that connected Egypt, Syria, Anatolia and Mesopotamia.

The city was ruled over many centuries by Canaanites, Egyptians and Assyrians, and Biblical accounts from roughly the 10th century describe an Egyptian pharaoh giving the city to King Solomon as a wedding gift after marrying his daughter.

“It’s always changed hands throughout history,” Ortiz told LiveScience.

The site has been excavated for a century, and most of the excavations so far date to the the 10th through eighth centuries B.C. Gezer also holds some of the largest underground water tunnels of antiquity, which were likely used to keep the water supply safe during sieges.

But earlier this summer, Ortiz and his colleague Samuel Wolff of the Israel Antiquities Authority noticed traces of an even more ancient city from centuries before King Solomon’s time. Among the layers was a section that dated to about the 14th century B.C., containing a scarab, or beetle, amulet from King Amenhotep III, the grandfather of King Tut. They also found shards of Philistine pottery.

During that period, the ancient site was probably a Canaanite city that was under Egyptian influence.

The findings are consistent with what scholars suspected of the site, said Andrew Vaughn, a biblical scholar and executive director of the American Schools of Oriental Research, who was not involved in the study.

“It’s not surprising that a city that was of importance in the biblical kingdoms of Israel and Judah would have an older history and would have played an important political and military role prior to that time,” Vaughn told LiveScience. “If you didn’t control Gezer, you didn’t control the east-west trade route.”

But once the location of that major road moved during the Roman period, the city waned in importance. It was later conquered and destroyed, but never fully rebuilt.

“Just like today when you have a ghost town where you move the train and that city goes out of use,” Ortiz said.

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India digs for treasure on tip from Hindu holy man

India digs for treasure on tip from Hindu holy man who says late king appeared in dreams

Published October 18, 2013

Associated Press
  • India Hidden Treasure 2.jpg

    Oct. 18, 2013: Onlookers stand at the site where the state archaeological survey of India has sent a team of archaeologists to start digging at Daundia Khera village in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. The Indian government is digging for treasure after a civic-minded Hindu village sage dreamt that 1,000 tons of gold was buried under a ruined palace, and wrote to tell the central bank about it. (REUTERS/STRINGER)

  • India Hidden Treasure.jpg

    Oct. 17, 2013: People visit the fort of King Rao Ram Baksh Singh in Unnao in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh state, India. Archaeologists began digging for treasure beneath the 19th century fort on Friday, after a popular Hindu holy man said a former king appeared to him in a dream and told him of the cache. (AP PHOTO)

UNNAO, INDIA –  Archaeologists began digging for treasure beneath a 19th century fort in northern India on Friday, after a popular Hindu holy man said a former king appeared to him in a dream and told him of a nearly $50 billion cache.

The treasure hunt began after Hindu swami Shobhan Sarkar relayed his dream to an Indian government minister who was visiting the swami’s ashram last month.

The swami said the spirit of King Rao Ram Baksh Singh, who was hanged in 1858 after rising up against British colonial forces, told him to take care of the 1,000-ton treasure hidden under the late king’s fort in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

Indian geological and archaeological officials surveyed the area Sunday and found evidence of heavy metal about 66 feet underground, District Magistrate Vijay Karan Anand said. Digging would the only way to confirm which type of metal.

‘Everyone in the village knows about it.’

– 60-year-old area resident Vidyawati Sharma 

The Archaeological Survey of India said it would begin digging under a temple contained within the ruins of the old fort.

A host of interested parties have already lined up to stake a claim to the treasure, believed to be in gold and silver.

One of the king’s descendants, Navchandi Veer Pratap Singh, said “if gold is really found there, we should get our share.”

Uttar Pradesh state authorities, as well as local officials, also said they had a right to the wealth.

“The treasure trove should be used for the development of the state,” local lawmaker Kuldeep Senger said. Uttar Pradesh, with a staggering population of 200 million, is one of the poorest and least developed states in India.

Residents of the impoverished Daundia Khera village, who have no access to electricity, said they have long known about the treasure from stories told by their elders.

“Everyone in the village knows about it,” said 60-year-old Vidyawati Sharma, who learned the stories from her father-in-law.

Locals have found silver and gold coins in the area in Unnao district, about 50 miles southwest of the state’s capital of Lucknow, according to the swami’s disciple, Om Ji. “No one knew exactly where” the treasure was until the late king visited the swami in his sleep, he said.

However, officials from the Archaeological Survey of India denied that the agency had begun the excavations at the bidding of the Hindu holy man.

“Archaeology doesn’t work according to the dreams of a holy man, or anybody else. Archaeology is a science. We are carrying out this excavation on the basis of our findings” at the site, said Syed Jamal Hasan, an agency official.

Authorities have set up barricades against thousands of people who have since thronged to the village in hopes of seeing the treasure, or possibly taking a small piece home. People were offering prayers at the temple within the fort’s ruins.

Locals also said they hoped Swami Sarkar’s vision turned out to be real, as he “is revered as God in this area because he has done a lot for this place,” schoolteacher Chandrika Rani said.

The Supreme Court said Friday that it would consider a petition for the court to monitor the treasure hunt, amid fears that some of the riches could be stolen.

Indian officials are also unearthing and cataloging another treasure trove found two years ago in a 16th century Hindu temple, and have barred the media and public from the excavation site in the southern state of Kerala. The discovery of that treasure, including bagfuls of coins, jeweled crowns and golden statues of gods and goddesses, made the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple the richest known religious institution in India. The former royal family that has remained the temple’s trustees since India’s 1947 independence has said the treasure belongs to the Hindu deity Vishnu, who is also known in the region as Padmanabhaswamy.

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