Monday, September 24, 2012

Lost Cities Forgotten by Time

Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde, in southwestern Colorado, is home to the famous cliff
dwellings of the ancient Anasazi people. In the 12th century, the Anasazi start building houses in shallow caves and under rock overhangs along the canyon walls. Some of these houses were as large as 150 rooms. By 1300, all of the Anasazi had left the Mesa Verde area, but the ruins remain almost perfectly preserved.
The reason for their sudden departure remains unexplained.
Theories range from crop failures due to droughts to an intrusion of foreign tribes from the North.

  • Leptis Magna

    Leptis Magna or Lepcis Magna was a prominent city of the Roman Empire, located in present-day Libya. Its natural harbor facilitated the city’s growth as a major Mediterranean and Saharan trade centre, and it also became a market for agricultural production in the fertile coastland region. The Roman emperor Septimius Severus (193–211), who was born at Leptis, became a great patron of the city. Under his direction an ambitious building program was initiated. Over the following centuries, however, Leptis began to decline because of the increasing difficulties of the
    Roman Empire. After the Arab conquest of 642, the lost city fell
    into ruin and was buried by sand for centuries.

  • Tikal

    Between ca. 200 to 900 AD, Tikal was the largest Mayan city with an estimated population between 100,000 and 200,000 inhabitants. As Tikal reached peak population, the area around the city suffered deforestation and erosion followed by a rapid decline in population levels. Tikal lost the majority of its population during the period from 830 to 950 and central authority seems to have collapsed rapidly. After 950, Tikal was all but deserted, although a small population may have survived in huts among the ruins. Even these people abandoned the city in the 10th or 11th centuries and the Guatemalan rainforest claimed the ruins for the next thousand years.



  • Palenque

    Palenque in Mexico is much smaller than some of the other lost cities of the Mayan, but it contains some of the finest architecture and sculptures the Maya ever produced. Most structures in Palenque date from about 600 AD to 800 AD. The city declined during the 8th century. An agricultural population continued to live here for a few generations, then the lost city was abandoned and was slowly grown over by the forest.

  • Pompeii

    On August 24, 79 AD, the volcano Vesuvius erupted, covering the nearby town Pompeii with ash and soil, and subsequently preserving the city in its state from that fateful day. Everything from jars and tables to paintings and people were frozen in time. Pompeii, along with Herculaneum, were abandoned and eventually their names and locations were forgotten. They were rediscovered as the results of excavations in the 18th century. The lost cities have provided an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of people living two thousand years ago.




  • Chan Chan

    The vast adobe city of Chan Chan in Peru was the largest city in pre-Columbian America. The building material used was adobe brick, and the buildings were finished with mud frequently adorned with patterned relief arabesques. The centre of the city consists of several walled citadels which housed ceremonial rooms, burial chambers and temples. The city was built by the Chimu around 850 AD and lasted until its conquest by the Inca Empire in 1470 AD. It is estimated that around 30,000 people lived in the city of
    Chan Chan.