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The Ancient City of Paquimé

The Ancient City of Paquimé

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Casas Grandes or Paquimé, a prehistoric archaeological site in Mexico, has not been mapped since a hand drawing of the location was completed in the 1950s. In July 2015, Scott Ure and a team from Brigham Young University used drone technology to create an accurate and up-to-date digital map of the site for identifying future excavation locations…

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Dali Old Town

Dali Old Town is one of Yunnan's most popular tourist destinations. It has a history of 1,200 years and was the capital of the Nanzhao Kingdom.

It faces Erhai Lake to the east and the Cangshan Mountains to the west. Dali Old Town has historic sites, ancient buildings, temples, and streets lined with shops, restaurants, bars, and hotels. It is a nice place to hang out.

The ancient city of Dali is now preserved by the government. It has a population of about 40,000 people. A large percentage of them are of ethnic minorities — mainly Bai and Yi.

  • Open: all day
  • Entry: free
  • Typical touring time: half a day

The government does not allow modern construction in the old town, so the structures are traditional. The modern district of Dali is about 10 km (6 miles) away. The Dali government's urban planning keeps the old and new districts separate, so it is quieter than a modern town.


Lying on the left bank of Queiq River the ancient city was surrounded by a circle of eight hills surrounding a prominent central hill on which the castle (originally a temple dating to the 2nd millennium BC) was erected in the shape of an acropolis. The radius of the circle is about 10 km (6 mi). The hills are Tell as-Sawda, Tell ʕāysha, Tell as-Sett, Tell al-Yāsmīn (Al-ʕaqaba), Tell al-Ansāri (Yārūqiyya), ʕan at-Tall, al-Jallūm, Baḥsīta. [8] With an approximate area of 160 hectares (400 acres 1.6 km 2 ), the ancient city was enclosed within a historic wall of 5 km (3 mi) in circuit that was last rebuilt by the Mamlukes. The wall has since mostly disappeared. It had nine gates (5 of them are well preserved) and was surrounded by a broad deep ditch. [8]

The newer Jdeydeh quarters of the old city were first built by the Christians during the early 15th century in the northern suburbs of the ancient city, after the Mongol withdrawal from Aleppo. Jdeydeh is one of the finest examples of a cell-like quarter in Aleppo. As a result of the economic development, many other quarters were established outside the walls of the ancient city during the 15th and 16th centuries.

Throughout its history, Aleppo has been part of the following states:

  • ca. 2400 BC–mid 23rd century BC, Kingdom of Armi
  • mid. 23rd century BC–mid 22nd century BC, Akkadian Empire
  • 21st century BC–19th century BC, Eblaite Kingdom
  • ca. 1800 BC–1595 BC, Amorite Kingdom of Yamhad
  • 1595 BC–ca. 1500 BC, Hittite Kingdom
  • ca. 1500 BC–ca. 1450 BC, Mitanni
  • ca. 1450 BC–ca. 1350 BC, New Kingdom of Egypt
  • ca. 1350 BC– early 12th century BC, Hittite Kingdom
  • 11th century BC, Syro-Hittite kingdom of Palistin
  • 10th century BC, Syro-Hittite kingdom of Bit Agusi
  • 9th century BC–late 7th century BC, Neo-Assyrian Empire
  • early 6th century BC–mid-6th century BC, Chaldean Empire
  • ca. 550 BC–ca. 350 BC, Persian Achaemenid Empire
  • 333 BC–312 BC, Macedonian Empire
  • 312 BC–88 BC, Seleucid Empire
  • 88 BC–64 BC, Armenian Empire
  • 64 BC–27 BC, Roman Republic
  • 27 BC–395 AD, Roman Empire
  • 476–608, Byzantine Empire
  • 608–622, Sassanid Persia
  • 622–637, Byzantine Empire (restored)
  • 637–661, Rashidun Caliphate
  • 661–750, Umayyad Caliphate
  • 750–878, Abbasid Caliphate
  • 878–905, Tulunids
  • 905–941, Abbasid Caliphate (restored)
  • 941–944, Ikhshidids
  • 944–1003, Hamdanids
  • 1003–1038, Fatimid Caliphate
  • 1038–1080, Mirdasids
  • 1080–1086, Uqaylids
  • 1086–1118, Seljuq Empire
  • 1118–1128, Artuqids
  • 1128–1183, Zengids
  • 1183–1260, Ayyubids
  • 1260 March–October, Mongol Empire
  • 1260–1400, Mamluk Sultanate
  • 1400 Timurid Empire
  • 1400–1516, Mamluk Sultanate (restored)
  • 1516–1918, Ottoman Empire
  • 1920 March–July, Arab Kingdom of Syria
  • 1920–1924, State of Aleppo under the French Mandate
  • 1924–1946, French Mandate of Syria
  • 1946–1958, Syrian Republic
  • 1958–1960, United Arab Republic
  • 1960–present, Syrian Arab Republic

Pre-history and pre-classical era Edit

Aleppo has scarcely been touched by archaeologists, since the modern city occupies its ancient site.

Early Bronze Age Edit

Aleppo appears in historical records as an important city much earlier than Damascus. The first record of Aleppo may from the third millennium BC if the identification of Aleppo as Armi, a city-state closely related to Ebla is correct. Armi has also been identified with the modern Tell Bazi. [9] Giovanni Pettinato describes Armi as Ebla's alter ego. Naram-Sin of Akkad (or his grandfather Sargon) destroyed both Ebla and Arman in the 23rd century BC. [10] [11]

Middle Bronze Age Edit

In the Old Babylonian period, Aleppo's name appears as Ḥalab (Ḥalba) for the first time. [11] Aleppo was the capital of the important Amorite dynasty of Yamḥad. The kingdom of Yamḥad (ca. 1800-1600 BC), alternatively known as the 'land of Ḥalab,' was the most powerful in the Near East at the time. [12]

Yamḥad was destroyed by the Hittites under Mursilis I in the 16th century BC. However, Aleppo soon resumed its leading role in Syria when the Hittite power in the region waned due to internal strife. [11]

Late Bronze Age Edit

Taking advantage of the power vacuum in the region, Parshatatar, king of the Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni, conquered Aleppo in the 15th century BC. Subsequently, Aleppo found itself on the frontline in the struggle between the Mitanni and the Hittites and Egypt. [11]

The Hittite Suppiluliumas I permanently defeated Mitanni and conquered Aleppo in the 14th century BC. Aleppo had cultic importance to the Hittites for being the center of worship of the Storm-God. [11]

Iron Age Edit

When the Hittite kingdom collapsed in the 12th century BC, Aleppo became part of the Syro-Hittite kingdom of Palistin, [13] then the Aramaean Syro-Hittite kingdom of Bit Agusi (which had its capital at Arpad), [14] it stayed part of that kingdom until conquered by the Assyrians In the 9th century BC, and became part of the Neo-Assyrian Empire until the late 7th century BC, before passing through the hands of the Neo-Babylonians and the Achamenid Persians.

Classical antiquity Edit

Alexander the Great took over the city in 333 BC. Seleucus Nicator established a Hellenic settlement in the site between 301–286 BC. He called it Beroea (Βέροια), after Beroea in Macedon.

Northern Syria was the centre of gravity of the Hellenistic colonizing activity, and therefore of Hellenistic culture in the Seleucid Empire. As did other Hellenized cities of the Seleucid kingdom, Beroea probably enjoyed a measure of local autonomy, with a local civic assembly or boulē composed of free Hellenes. [15]

Beroea remained under Seleucid rule for nearly 300 years until the last holdings of the Seleucid dynasty were handed over to Pompey in 64 BC, at which time they became a Roman province. Rome's presence afforded relative stability in northern Syria for over three centuries. Although the province was administered by a legate from Rome, Rome did not impose its administrative organization on the Greek-speaking ruling class. [15]

Beroea is mentioned in 2 Macc. 13:3.

Medieval period and the expansion of the city Edit

The Sassanid King Khosrow I pillaged and burned Aleppo in 540 CE. [16] [17] Later on, the Sassanid Persians invaded Syria briefly in the early 7th century. Soon after Aleppo fell to Arabs under Khalid ibn al-Walid in 637 CE. In 944 CE, it became the seat of an independent Emirate under the Hamdanid prince Sayf al-Daula, and enjoyed a period of great prosperity.

On 9 August 1138 CE, a deadly earthquake ravaged the city and the surrounding area. Although estimates from this time are very unreliable, it is believed that 230,000 people died, making it the fifth deadliest earthquake in recorded history.

After Tamerlane invaded Aleppo in 1400 and destroyed it, the Christians migrated out of the city walls and established their own cell in 1420, at the northwestern suburbs of the city, thus founding the quarters of Jdeydeh. The inhabitants of Jdeydeh were mainly brokers who facilitated trade between foreign traders and local merchants. Many other districts were built outside the historic walls during the 15th and 16th centuries.

Mention is made of the city, by one of the witches, in William Shakespeare's Macbeth, written between 1603 CE and 1607 CE. [18]

Aleppo is characterized by mixed architectural styles, having been ruled, among the other, by Romans, Byzantines, Seljuqs, Mamluks and Ottomans. [19]

Various types of 13th and 14th centuries constructions, such as caravanserais, caeserias, Quranic schools, hammams and religious buildings are found in the old city. The quarters of Jdeydeh district are home to numerous 16th and 17th-century houses of the Aleppine bourgeoisie, featuring stone engravings.

Souqs and Khans Edit

The city's strategic trading position attracted settlers of all races and beliefs who wished to take advantage of the commercial roads that met in Aleppo from as far as China and Mesopotamia to the east, Europe to the west, and the Fertile Crescent and Egypt to the south. The largest covered souq-market in the world is in Aleppo, with an approximate length of 13 kilometres (8.1 miles). [20]

Al-Madina Souq, as it is locally known, is an active trade centre for imported luxury goods, such as raw silk from Iran, spices and dyes from India, and coffee from Damascus. Souq al-Madina is also home to local products such as wool, agricultural products and soap. Most of the souqs date back to the 14th century and are named after various professions and crafts, hence the wool souq, the copper souq, and so on. Aside from trading, the souq accommodated the traders and their goods in khans (caravanserais) and scattered in the souq. Other types of small market-places were called caeserias (قيساريات). Caeserias are smaller than khans in their sizes and functioned as workshops for craftsmen. Most of the khans took their names after their location in the souq and function, and are characterized with their beautiful façades and entrances with fortified wooden doors.

The most significant khans within and along the covered area of Souq al-Madina are: Khan al-Qadi from 1450, Khan al-Saboun from the early 16th century, Khan al-Nahhaseen from 1539, Khan al-Shouneh from 1546, Khan al-Jumrok from 1574, Souq Khan al-Wazir from 1682, Souq al-Farrayin, Souq al-Dira', Souq al-Hiraj, Souq al-Attarine, Souq az-Zirb, Souq Marcopoli, Souq as-Siyyagh, The Venetians' Khan,*Souq Khan al-Harir from the second half of the 16th century, Suweiqa, etc.

Other traditional souqs and khans in Jdeydeh quarter (outside the walled city):

The City Was Allied With the Kingdom of David

While the gate may date to the reign of the Kingdom of David it appears that it was not a Hebrew city. In the ruined settlement was found a stele that was dedicated to a lunar deity that was worshipped by an Aramaic group. It is dated back to approximately 1000 BC. The newly discovered gate was probably an entrance to the capital city of the kingdom of Geshur.

This was not part of the Kingdom of David, but an independent state. We can better understand the era if we realize that the region was divided into a number of small kingdoms or chiefdoms. Kings such as David, can be understood to be the “chieftain of large tribes of Israelites”, reports WND. The Geshur king was an ally of and the father-in-law of David, the slayer of Goliath, and may have visited the city at some time.

The team that found the City Gate has been excavating Bethsaida for 32 years. ( Rami Arav / University of Nebraska )

Nan Madol: The City Built on Coral Reefs

We zigzag slowly in our skiff around the shallow coral heads surrounding Pohnpei. The island, a little smaller than New York City, is part of the Federated States of Micronesia. It is nestled in a vast tapestry of coral reefs. Beyond the breakers, the Pacific stretches 5,578 miles to California. A stingray dashes in front of us, flying underwater like a butterfly alongside our bow.

Our destination is Nan Madol, near the southern side of the island, the only ancient city ever built atop of a coral reef. Its imposing yet graceful ruins are made of stones and columns so heavy that no one has figured out how it was built. Besides the elegance of the walls and platforms, there is no carving, no art – nothing except legend to remember the people, called the Saudeleur, who ruled the island for more than a millennium. They were deeply religious and sometimes cruel, and modern Pohnpeians view the ruins as a sacred and scary place where spirits own the night.

Abandoned centuries ago and now mostly covered with jungle, Nan Madol may soon be getting a makeover. Before I explore it, I stop to discuss its future with the man who holds sway over this part of Pohnpei.

We nuzzle up to land and jump onto the remnants of a sea wall. I follow Rufino Mauricio, Pohnpei’s only archaeologist, along a path and up a hill to what appears to be a warehouse, painted white with a corrugated metal roof. It’s known here as the Tin Palace. There is a small house tacked on the end, with flowering bushes here and there. A gaggle of dogs welcome us noisily. This is the residence of the Nahnmwarki of Madolenihmw, the primus inter pares among the five traditional paramount chiefs who preside over a delightfully complex social structure that underpins Pohnpei's vibrant native culture.

Aside from Easter Island, Nan Madol is the main archaeological site in Oceania that is made up of huge rocks. But while Easter Island gets 50,000 visitors a year, Nan Madol sees fewer than 1,000. Before I left on this trip, Jeff Morgan, director of the Global Heritage Fund of Palo Alto, California, had told me he wanted to fund a rehabilitation program. But before anything can be done, ownership issues that blocked previous rehabilitation efforts would have to be resolved—the state government and the Nahnmwarki both claim sovereignty over the ruins. A resolution would pave the way for Nan Madol to become a Unesco World Heritage site, increasing the flow of visitors and grants.

“Nan Madol is one of the most significant sites not yet on the World Heritage List,” says Richard Engelhart, an archaeologist and former Unesco adviser for Asia and the Pacific.

Mauricio and I are a bit nervous: an audience with the Nahnmwarki is best arranged through Pohnpei’s governor, John Ehsa. A day earlier, Ehsa had pledged to support the Global Heritage Fund’s idea and promised to arrange an audience with the Nahnmwarki so that I could interview him about the plan—but then Ehsa didn’t come through on his promise. Ehsa had noted that a previous attempt to clean up the ruins had foundered because the Japanese donors had not followed proper protocol with the Nahnmwarki.

Sadly, neither do I. It’s unthinkable to arrive without a tribute, but the bottle of Tasmanian wine I brought for the occasion slipped out of my hand and shattered on the rocks as I got off the boat. Mauricio, who holds a lesser traditional title, is mortified: he didn’t know we were stopping to see the chief on our way to the ruins, so he is empty-handed too.

Arriving empty-handed without an appointment is the height of rudeness, he grumbles.

Mauricio, who, as I am, is dripping with sweat in Ponhpei’s steamy equatorial heat, informs the chief’s wife of our arrival.

The Nahnmwarki agrees to see us and we walk back to the other end of the building so we can make our entry from the visitors’ side. Mauricio, who earned a PhD from the University of Oregon with a thesis on Nan Madol, kneels. He addresses the chief, a former teacher and school bus driver, who finishes buttoning up a russet aloha shirt and tan shorts and sits at the head of a small staircase. He has short, thick hair and, like most people in Pohnpei, his teeth are stained by betel nut, which he chews during out meeting, occasionally walking over to the door to spit.

Aside from Easter Island, Nan Madol is the main archaeological site in Oceania that is made up of huge rocks. But while Easter Island gets 50,000 visitors a year, Nan Madol sees fewer than 1,000. (Christopher Pala) From atop the outside walls of Nandowas, one can see the ruins of breakwaters and the vast reef flats beyond. (Christopher Pala) The Nahnmwarki of Madolenihmw is among the five traditional paramount chiefs who preside over a delightfully complex social structure. The state government and the Nahnmwarki both claim sovereignty over the Nan Madol ruins. (Christopher Pala) Rufino Mauricio is Pohnpei's only archaeologist. He is also the director of the national archives. (Christopher Pala) The inner courtyards at Nandowas, the most visited place in the city, have been kept clear of intrusive vegetation. (Christopher Pala) The mortuary at Nandowas is where kings were laid in state before being buried on other islands. (Christopher Pala) Beyond easily accessible Nandowas, kayak is the best way to discover the rest of the city. (Christopher Pala) The cornerstone Nandowas is believed to weigh up to 60 tons. (Christopher Pala) It remains a mystery how the Nan Madol civilization was able to build Nandowas without pulleys, levers or metal. (Christopher Pala) The walls at Nandowas remain in excellent condition. (Christopher Pala)

Through Mauricio, who translates, I inquire: Would the Nahnmwarki be interested in setting aside old grievances and cooperating with the state and other stakeholders in order to take advantage of this opportunity?

“I would love to see Nan Madol rehabilitated, but it has to be under my supervision,” he replies, later adding, “All funding should go through the Madolenihmw municipal government, not the Pohnpei state government.” The municipal government is the heir to the Nahnmwarki’s rule.

On the way back, Mauricio, who is director of the national archives, says thoughtfully, “It’s a reasonable request. Certainly, the national government [of the Federated States of Micronesia] would have no objection.”

Back on the skiff, Augustine Kohler, the state historical preservation officer and himself the son of another of Pohnpei’s five Nahnmwarkis, says, “It could work.”

We head for the ruins in the boat to take a look at what kind of rehabilitation would be appropriate. On the way, Mauricio explains that Nan Madol is composed of 92 artificial islands spread over 200 acres abutting Pohnpei’s mangrove-covered shore. Most of it was built from the 13th to the 17th centuries by the Saudeleurs, descendants of two brothers of unknown provenance who founded a religious community in the sixth century focused on the adoration of the sea. On their third attempt to build their political, religious and residential center, they settled on this patch of coral flats. They and their successors brought from the other side of the island columns of black lava rock up to 20 feet long that are naturally pentagonal or hexagonal and straight. They used them in a log cabin formation to build outer walls as well as foundations filled in with lumps of coral to create elevated platforms where traditional thatched structures were used as lodgings. Even with all the sunshine in the world washing over the thick green jungle and aquamarine water beyond, the unadorned black architecture is intimidating.

The tyrannical last Saudeleur ruler was overthrown by an outsider named Isohkelekel who instituted the system of multiple chiefs that remains today. The Nahnmwarki of Madolenihmw is directly descended from him. Because of this bloodline, most Pohnpeians feel he is the legitimate supervisor of the ruins.

As we approach the first building, Mauricio observes, “We don’t know how they brought the columns here and we don’t know how they lifted them up to build the walls. Most Pohnpeians are content to believe they used magic to fly them.”

The easiest way to see Nan Madol is to take a cab from Kolonia, the little capital of Pohnpei, park on an unmarked spot and walk for nearly a mile through a primitive jungle path. When you arrive, only a channel separates you from the main building, the Nandawas. Representatives of the Nahnmwarki with a boat are on hand to collect $3 and take you across. The odds are good that you will have the place to yourself.

Having your own boat at high tide allows you to go much farther. We glide though the channel, the outboard purring. The islands are covered with almost impenetrable jungle. A large component of the rehabilitation effort, if it happens, will be to clear brush to make the buildings accessible. The other component would be dredging the main channels so the ruins are accessible to boats at all times.

Many of the outer walls, usually just a few feet high, are intact. Mauricio points out the little island of Idehd, where priests fed turtle innards to an eel, the sea deity, kept in a well, before sharing among themselves the rest of the turtle as a sacrament. To this day eels are considered holy and never eaten. Then we pass Peikapw, where Isohkelekel resided after he overthrew the last Saudeleur. He eventually committed suicide there after discovering how old he looked when he saw his reflection in a pool, according to the oral history. After he died, Nan Madol was largely abandoned, though religious ceremonies were occasionally held there until the late 19th century.

As we continue, the channel gets narrower and shallower. We turn back to explore the city’s outer walls, still strong, and continue to the islet of Pahnwi, whose wall of huge, flat-sided stone rises 58 feet and encloses a tomb.

Our final stop is Nandowas, by far the most elaborate building. It’s the royal mortuary, with two sets of 25-foot-high walls whose gracefully up-swept corners cover an area greater than a football field. One cornerstone is estimated to weigh 50 tons. I step down into the moss-encrusted tomb. Eight columns form the basis of a roof that lets in shards of sunlight. I’m glad I’m not alone. The bodies of kings were placed here and later buried elsewhere.

On the way back, Mauricio remarks that, given Pohnpei’s population at the time was less than 30,000, the building of Nan Madol represented a much larger effort than the pyramids were for the Egyptians. The total weight of the black rocks moved is estimated at 750,000 metric tons, an average of 1,850 tons a year over four centuries. “Not bad for people who had no pulleys, no levers and no metal,” said Mauricio. Waving at the brush, he adds, “We need to clear all this out in at least some of the islands so we can appreciate the extraordinary effort that was put into this construction.”

The ancient city of Kish—the first city of the ‘Gods’ after the great flood

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“After the flood had swept over, and the kingship had descended from heaven, the kingship was in Kish.” A total of twenty-two kings ruled for a period of 16, 480 years, which make up the first dynasty of Kish.

One of the most important ancient cities to have existed in ancient Mesopotamia is Kish.

Considered to have been located somewhere near modern-day Tell al-Uhaymir in the Babil Governorate of Iraq, east of Babylon and 80 km south of Baghdad, this ancient city was the place where the kingship had descended from heaven after the Great Deluge swept over Earth.

It is there, in Kish, where the Gods came down from the heavens and restored their reign after the total destruction caused by the great Flood, according to the Sumerian King List.

The first ruler of Kish, after the flood, is Jushur, who ruled for a period of 1,200 years. Experts not that his rule is historically uncertain, despite the fact its mentioned in the Sumerian King List.

In fact, according to modern scholars, all rulers mentioned in the Sumerian King List before Etana do not appear in any other known source, and their existence is archaeologically unverified.

Ruins of the ancient city of Kish. Image via

Following the rule of Jashur, twenty-two rulers are mentioned as kings of Kish. In total, they ruled for a period of 16, 480 years, which make up the first dynasty of Kish.

Nearly all of the rulers that reigned after the Great Flood, mentioned in the Sumerian King list lived through incredibly lengthy reigns.

Starting off with Jashur, the Sumerian King List mentions how he ruled for 1,200 years. After him, Kullassina-bel ruled for 960 years, Nangishlishma ruled over Kish for 670 years, his reign was followed by En-tarah-ana who ruled for 420 years, Babum ruled for 300 years, Puannum for 840 years, Kalibum ruled for 960 years, he was succeeded by Kalumum who reigned for 840 years, then Zuqaqip ruled for 900 years, Atab ruled for 600 years, Mashda, who was the son of Atab ruled for 840 years, Arwium, the son of Mashda reigned for 720 years and then came Etana, who is referred to as the “the shepherd, who ascended to heaven and consolidated all the foreign countries,” he ruled for 1,500 years. The son of Etana Balih ruled for 400 years, En-me-nuna ruled after Balih for 660 years, his son Melem-Kish ruled for 900 years after which his brother Barsal-nuna ruled for 1,200 years. Zamzug ruled over Kish for 140 years, Tizqar who was the sun of Zamug ruled for 305 years, Ilku ruled for 900 years, and he was succeeded by Iltasadum who ruled for 1,200 years. En-me-barage-si—he “who made the land of Elam submit” ruled for 900 years, and his sun Aga of Kish ruled for 625 years, and then Kish was defeated and the kingship was taken to E-ana.”

Etana, also known as the shepherd is regarded by some as the first king and founder of the ancient city of Kish.

The first archaeologically confirmed ruler of Kish was En-me-barage-si. He is believed to have captured the weapons of Elam, and in different literary references, he and his son Aga of Kish are portrayed as contemporary rivals of Dumuzid, the Fisherman, and Gilgamesh, early rulers of Uruk.

Today, the archeological site of Kish spans over an oval area of approximately 8 by 3 km, transacted by the dry former bed of the Euphrates River, encompassing around 40 mounds, the largest being Uhaimir and Ingharra.

Ancient Cities Lost to the Seas

Beneath the slate-gray surface of the North Sea, about a half-mile off England’s east coast, lies the underwater town of Dunwich. Crabs and lobsters skitter along the streets where some 3,000 people walked during the town’s heyday in the Middle Ages. Fish dart through the sea sponge-ridden ruins of its churches, now partially buried in the seabed some 30 feet down.

Erosion—caused by the North Sea’s relentless pounding of England’s east coast—had all but consumed Dunwich (pronounced DUN-ich) by 1750. And the sea’s silty, cold waters made visibility almost nonexistent for the intrepid few who wanted to explore the medieval ruins.

Until now. Thanks to advances in acoustic technology, a group of divers and a geomorphologist are surveying the sunken town this summer using multibeam and sidescan sonars that can detect objects on the seafloor. During a survey last year, the group mapped two churches and found evidence of a third.

“This is absolutely opening the seas up,” said David Sear, the Dunwich project’s geomorphologist who teaches at the University of Southampton. And, he added, the North Sea has plenty to reveal in addition to Dunwich, Sear would like to use the undersea technology to explore the submerged towns of Old Kilnsea and Eccles that lie farther north.

The English sunken sites join a list of others that span the globe. According to UNESCO, submerged settlements have been found in Egypt, India, Jamaica, Argentina, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, and the Black Sea.

“Under the sea is probably the world’s biggest museum,” said James P. Delgado, president of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology based in Texas. “There’s not a lot of work going on in this area right now, however. The issues are time, money, interest, and research. Just to do a single shipwreck can take years. Underwater archaeology costs 10 times more to dig.”

In addition to these issues, Delgado noted a strong push toward conservation pervading the world of nautical archaeology. People aren’t jumping into the water unless a site is in danger or stands to advance research.

For Sear, surveying Dunwich answers a question people in the region have asked for years: Is anything left?

“In the 1970s when I was a child playing on the beach, the last remains of All Saints church were visible on the shoreline,” Sear said in an e-mail. “Hence why I got fired up over the place. The sand banks grow and decline over time, so there are periods when more of the site is exposed (1970s) and when they are not (now). As the coast recesses, so the banks migrate shorewards covering more of the site. The exposed remains lie in a tidal scour channel between the inner and outer bank. This migrates shorewards too so in another 100 years different ruins may well be exposed, assuming the coastal morphology remains the same.”

Sear expects to find ruins of religious structures and forts, since they were made of stone. Houses were made of timber or wattle and daub.

Between 1066 and 1086 more than half of Dunwich's taxable farmland had washed away. Major storms swallowed up more land. By 1844, only 237 people lived in Dunwich. Local fisherman over the years have said they heard bells tolling in the church towers from beneath the waves. (Leon Neal / AFP / Getty Images) Erosion—caused by the North Sea's relentless pounding of England's east coast—had all but consumed Dunwich by 1750. (Newscom) The clear turquoise waters off Turkey's southern coast reveal the partially submerged ruins of the ancient city of Simena. (iStockphoto) Two thousand people were killed instantly on June 7, 1692 when an earthquake wiped out Port Royal, Jamaica. (Atlantide Phototravel / Corbis) In Alexandria, Egypt, divers have found remnants of Alexandria's famous lighthouse as well as Cleopatra's palace. (Hulton-Deutsch Collection / Corbis) Several manmade structures believed to be temples built in the 7th or 8th century surfaced off India's southeast coast after the 2004 tsunami. (Adam Woolfitt / Corbis)

Lead diver Stuart Bacon has found several objects since he began his exploration in 1971. One of the most exciting finds to date is a portion of a slab used to cover a knight’s tomb in 1320, a fine example of the prosperity Dunwich once enjoyed.

“Eight hundred houses. a dozen abodes of prayer and worship, windmills, workshops, taverns, shops, storehouses, ships,” wrote Rowland Parker in Men of Dunwich, the 1978 classic reference book about the town. “It would be difficult to think of an every-day commodity in existence in the late 13th century which was not obtainable in Dunwich market-place, either immediately or ‘when the next ship comes in from’ Copenhagen, Hamburg, Barcelona or wherever.”

The sea that brought trade to Dunwich was not entirely benevolent. The town was losing ground as early as 1086 when the Domesday Book, a survey of all holdings in England, was published between 1066 and 1086 more than half of Dunwich’s taxable farmland had washed away. Major storms in 1287, 1328, 1347, and 1740 swallowed up more land. By 1844, only 237 people lived in Dunwich.

Today, less than half as many reside there in a handful of ruins on dry land. These include portions of the Greyfriars monastery and a corner of All Saints’ cemetery. Beachcombers have occasionally seen bones protruding from the cliffs, left over from burial grounds that are crumbling into the sea. And local fishermen over the years have said they heard bells tolling in the church towers from beneath the waves.

Ghostly sounds or not, the rediscovery of Dunwich continues. Sear wants to create a 3-D map of the church sites found so far. The group wants to expand the survey to cover other churches and structures.

“We’ve got to be in for some surprises,” he added.

Around the world, other sunken settlements have been explored or are the subject of current work:

* Kekova, Turkey: The partially submerged ruins of the ancient city of Simena are easy to see through the clear turquoise waters off Turkey’s southern coast. A massive earthquake buried much of Simena in the 2nd century AD. Tourists can swim near the ruins or see them from glass-bottomed tour boats.

* Port Royal, Jamaica: On June 7, 1692, an earthquake wiped out this Caribbean port, once known as “the wickedest city on Earth.” Two thousand people were killed instantly, and many others perished later. Nautical archaeologists have found eight buildings so far.

* Alexandria, Egypt: Divers have found remnants of Alexandria’s famous lighthouse in the bay, as well as Cleopatra’s palace. UNESCO is looking into whether the world’s first underwater museum could be built here.

* Mahabalipuram, India: Several manmade structures believed to be temples built in the 7th or 8th century surfaced off India’s southeast coast after the 2004 tsunami. Some believe they are pagodas that were part of this pilgrimage city, which is now a World Heritage site.

* Tybrind Vig, Denmark: During the late Mesolithic period (5600 to 4000 BC), people hunted, fished, wove fabric, and were buried in this new submerged settlement close to the west coast of the island of Fyn.

Babylon Today: Rebuilding the Ancient City

The city of Babylon is currently in ruins. Yet we know it will rise to power again because of biblical prophecy. The eighteenth chapter of Revelation says Babylon will once again rule the economic world, this time as a hub for the Antichrist&aposs one&ndashworld economy. In the End Times, it will rise&mdashand fall&mdashagain.

How will this transformation occur? In the world today, there are already indications emerging of things to come.

The rebuilding of Babylon is not just an idle topic of scholarly books. When Saddam Hussein rose to power in Iraq, he conceived a grandiose scheme for the rebuilding of that ancient city. He promised that Babylon&aposs grand palaces and legendary Hanging Gardens (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) would rise from the dust. Believing himself to be the reincarnation of King Nebuchadnezzar II, who had conquered Jerusalem 2,500 years earlier, Hussein invested more than $500 million toward his goal of restoring Babylon&aposs ancient city.

In 1987, while on a site visit to the ruins of Nebuchadnezzar&aposs palace, Hussein asked how his guides were so certain of the date of its construction. The curator showed Hussein some of the original bricks, stamped with the name of Nebuchadnezzar II and the date that we now refer to as 605 B.C. Hussein, not to be outdone, had bricks laid in his palace wall that read: "In the reign of the victorious Saddam Hussein, the president of the Republic, . . . the guardian of the great Iraq and the renovator of its renaissance and the builder of its great civilization, the rebuilding of the great city of Babylon was done in 1987." 1

To further cement the implication of a relationship between himself and Nebuchadnezzar, Hussein had a seal struck depicting parallel images of himself and the ancient ruler. The inscription was written in the wedge shapes of ancient cuneiform script as well as, strangely enough, in English.

Hussein was consumed with reviving the glory days of Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar. He made Babylon "the focal point of Iraqi nationalism," and on September 22, 1987, he inaugurated the musical event known as the Babylon Festival. Saddam seemed determined to echo Nebuchadnezzar&aposs bold proclamation: "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?" (Daniel 4:30).

Saddam&aposs extravagant plans were interrupted by the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Despite his removal from power and subsequent execution, the work to rebuild Babylon continues.

How does a war&ndashtorn nation like Iraq come up with the funds to rebuild an ancient site? Obviously, some of the resources come from the exportation of oil. In early 2010, Iraqi oil exports were at the highest level in more than a decade. As the world&aposs third largest exporter of crude oil, the Iraqi government has issued long&ndashterm contracts with foreign oil companies to manage ten of Iraq&aposs major oil fields. Al&ndashMaliki aims to make Iraq a "preeminent producer that will rival, if not eclipse, Saudi Arabia and Russia" as the predominant world oil producers. 2

In 2009 the U.S. State Department issued a media note announcing a $700,000 pledge to The Future of Babylon Project, explaining that "Babylon stands out among Iraq&aposs rich contributions to humanity." The note went on to say that this project "exemplifies the American people&aposs commitment to the preservation of human heritage and their respect for the cultural heritage of Iraq." 4

An article in the British newspaper The Independent was titled, "Iraq&aposs New Venture: Holidays in the Garden of Eden," and subtitled, "Iraq is trying to lure visitors to the land of Babylon with the slogan &apostourism not terrorism.&apos " The article goes on to say, "The cradle of civilisation, the land of Babylon and the Garden of Eden, will become a paradise for foreign tourists." 5

The United States government is taking seriously the rise of the city of Babylon and the central place of Iraq in the future of the world. On January 5, 2009, the largest and, at $474 million, the most expensive U.S. Embassy in the world opened in Baghdad, not far from Babylon. The 104&ndashacre, twenty&ndashseven&ndashbuilding complex is situated on the banks of the Tigris River. 6 It includes 619 apartments for staff, restaurants, basketball and volleyball courts, and an indoor Olympic&ndashsized swimming pool. 7

This embassy, known as "Embassy Baghdad," is the largest of its kind in the world. It is the size of eighty football fields&mdashas large as Vatican City&mdashwith a population of 5,500. It dwarfs U.S. embassies elsewhere that typically cover about ten acres. The Baghdad embassy has its own defense force and is designed to be entirely self&ndashsufficient. We can see by these moves toward rebuilding Babylon that the city has a special interest in the eyes of the powers of the world. I believe these steps signal the beginning of the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Henry Morris explains:

Never has a great world city had such a meteoric rise as New Babylon, and never will one experience such a cataclysmic and total fall. . . . Babylon on the Euphrates has lain dormant and foreboding for centuries. . . . But mighty Babylon is not really dead. . . . Suddenly it will rise once again. Under the impact of overwhelming geopolitical needs, it will be authorized and implemented by the unprecedented building program undertaken by the federal ten&ndashkingdom empire of the West, then pushed to dynamic completion by the Beast. Finally it will be inaugurated as the great world capital of the Beast, who will have become king of all the kingdoms of the globe. 8

This is an excerpt from David Jeremiah&aposs book The Coming Economic Armageddon, published in 2010.*

*Since the rebuilding was last reported in Dr. Jeremiah&aposs The Coming Economic Armageddon, the Future of Babylon Project has helped conserve and stabilize the Lion of Babylon and complete a Site Management Plan. This plan addresses site boundaries, future excavations, and effective viewing stations for future tourism. In 2017 they focused efforts on and around the Ishtar Gate, improving drainage and repointing the brick to protect against further water damage.

U.S. Department of State, "The Future of Babylon Project," 7 January 2009, (accessed 15 January 2009).

"New American Embassy Opens in Baghdad,", 5 January 2009, (accessed 15 January 2009).

"Opening Soon in Baghdad: Largest U.S. Embassy in the World with Restaurants, 619 Apartments," World, 18 April 2008, (accessed 20 April 2010).

Henry M. Morris, The Revelation Record (Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1983), 351.

The basics

A great stone head from the Olmec civilization at the Smithsonian Institution

The Olmec civilization is believed to have been centred around the southern Gulf Coast of Mexico area (today the states of Veracruz and Tabasco) - further south east than the heart of the Aztec empire.  The Olmec culture developed in the centuries before 1200BC (BCE), and declined around 400BC.

We know far less about the Olmecs than we do about, for example, the Aztecs and Mayans.  There are very few written records to tell us about the culture.  In fact, at first Olmec artifacts were thought to be Mayan, and the Mayans were thought to be the first great culture in the area.  The generally accepted belief is that the culture arose from people in the area, although some have suggested that the Olmecs may have originally come from Africa.

The Ancient City of Paquimé - History

The Decapolis and its Cities

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Map of the Cities of the Decapolis in Israel

The Decapolis was an alliance of ten cities, originally Palestinian. All but one (Scythopolis) were on the east side of the Jordan. In New Testament times these cities were most definitely Greek in character and under the protection of Rome (Governor of Syria).

Mark 7:31 - And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis.

The Decapolis in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE

de-kap'-o-lis (Dekapolis): The name given to the region occupied by a league of "ten cities" (Mt 4:25 Mk 5:20 7:31), which Eusebius defines (in Onomastica) as "lying in the Peraea, round Hippos, Pella and Gadara." Such combinations of Greek cities arose as Rome assumed dominion in the East, to promote their common interests in trade and commerce, and for mutual protection against the peoples surrounding them. This particular league seems to have been constituted about the time of Pompey's campaign in Syria, 65 BC, by which several cities in Decapolis dated their eras. They were independent of the local tetrarchy, and answerable directly to the governor of Syria. They enjoyed the rights of association and asylum they struck their own coinage, paid imperial taxes and were liable to military service (Ant., XIV, iv, 4 BJ, I, vii, 7 II, xviii, 3 III, ix, 7 Vita, 65, 74). Of the ten cities, Scythopolis, the ancient Bethshean, alone, the capital of the league, was on the West side of Jordan. The names given by Pliny (NH, v.18) are Scythopolis (Beisan), Hippos (Susiyeh), Gadara (Umm Qeis), Pella (Fahil), Philadelphia (`Amman), Gerasa (Jerash), Dion (Adun?), Canatha (Qanawat), Damascus and Raphana. The last named is not identified, and Dion is uncertain. Other cities joined the league, and Ptolemy, who omits Raphans, gives a list of 18. The Greek inhabitants were never on good terms with the Jews and the herd of swine (Mk 5:11 ff) indicates contempt for what was probably regarded as Jewish prejudice. The ruins still seen at Gadara, but especially at Kanawat (see KENATH) and Jerash, of temples, theaters and other public buildings, attest the splendor of these cities in their day. Full Article

Decapolis in Easton's Bible Dictionary

ten cities=deka, ten, and polis, a city, a district on the east
and south-east of the Sea of Galilee containing "ten cities,"
which were chiefly inhabited by Greeks. It included a portion of
Bashan and Gilead, and is mentioned three times in the New
Testament (Matt. 4:25 Mark 5:20 7:31). These cities were
Scythopolis, i.e., "city of the Scythians", (ancient Bethshean,
the only one of the ten cities on the west of Jordan), Hippos,
Gadara, Pella (to which the Christians fled just before the
destruction of Jerusalem), Philadelphia (ancient Rabbath-ammon),
Gerasa, Dion, Canatha, Raphana, and Damascus. When the Romans
conquered Syria (B.C. 65) they rebuilt, and endowed with certain
privileges, these "ten cities," and the province connected with
them they called "Decapolis." Full Article

The Bible Mentions the "Decapolis"

Mark 7:31 - And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis.

Matthew 4:25 - And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and [from] Decapolis, and [from] Jerusalem, and [from] Judaea, and [from] beyond Jordan.

Mark 5:20 - And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all [men] did marvel.

Watch the video: Without Borders: The Deep History of Paquimé. (July 2022).


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