Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


17 September 2013

Digging deep: 15 ancient ruins you might not know

Leslie Gilbert Elman, CNN International, 13-09-2013

Ancient sites open your mind to just how old “old” can be and how sophisticated our ancient ancestors were in devising their artistic, engineering and construction methods. You’ll never equate “ancient” with “primitive” again.

You don’t need us to call your attention to the Colisseum in Rome or the pyramids in Egypt. So, like archaeologists, we’re digging deep for a list of lesser-known ancient ruins. We’re abiding by the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of “ancient” as history up to the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 AD. That means you won’t find New World sites on this list. (We’ll follow up with that list soon.) Our definition of “ruins” includes some sites that are mere shadows of their glory days and others that have been protected or preserved since, virtually, the beginning of civilization.

In Mycenae, German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann unearthed the golden “Mask of Agamemnon” from a tomb in 1876. Or, at least, he claims he did. Schliemann was an enthusiastic digger but an unreliable chronicler of his finds. While the mask may or may not have come from Mycenae, it almost certainly had nothing to do with Agamemnon, the mythological 14th-century BC king.

The Mycenaean empire, however, was real and extremely influential in the ancient world. The site is in ruins, but the Lion Gate of the former palace from around 1300 BC still stands and the remains of the beehive-shaped

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