Category Archive 'Lost Cities'

24 Sep 2013

Lost Cities of the Upper Amazon Basin

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Boo hoo! Human economic development is ravaging the precious Amazon rain forest. Except, wait a moment, clearing rain forest vegetation is making it clear that people had cleared the same land centuries ago, cities, systems of irrigation, an entire unknown civilization once existed covering huge areas that have since been buried by the jungle.

In the academic journal Antiquity: Pre-Columbian geometric earthworks in the upper Purús: a complex society in western Amazonia.

The combination of land cleared of its rainforest for grazing and satellite survey have revealed a sophisticated pre-Columbian monument-building society in the upper Amazon Basin on the east side of the Andes. This hitherto unknown people constructed earthworks of precise geometric plan connected by straight orthogonal roads. Introducing us to this new civilisation, the authors show that the ‘geoglyph culture’ stretches over a region more than 250km across, and exploits both the floodplains and the uplands. They also suggest that we have so far seen no more than a tenth of it.

03 Jun 2011

Lost City of 1001 Churches

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Church of the Holy Redeemer, built 1035 to house a fragment of the True Cross.

I had not ever hear of the abandoned city of Ani until seeing Boogie Man’s photoessay.

Ani, located in Eastern Turkey, was in the 10th Century the capital of an Armenian principality. In its prime, the city’s population was similar in size (100,000 — 200,000) to Constantinople, Baghdad, and Cairo. It became the seat of the Catholicoi, the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church in 992.

Ani was sacked by the Seljuk Turks in 1064, and by the Mongols in 1236. The city declined over subsequent centuries, ceasing to be a dynastic capitol around 1400, and losing the Armenian Catholicosate in 1441. Ani gradually dwindled to a small settlement within the walls of the former city, and was completely abandoned by the 18th century.

The site was excavated and documented by the Russian linguist and archaeologist Nicholas Marr 1892-93 and 1904-17.

Hat tip to Fred Lapides.


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