Amazing Ancient Ruins of the Pueblo People
Ancient Pueblo people were an ancient Native American culture centered on the present-day Four Corners area of the United States, comprising southern Utah, northeastern Arizona, northern New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado. Archaeologists still debate when this distinct culture emerged but the current consensus is around 12th century BC.
They lived in a range of structures, including pit houses, pueblos, and cliff dwellings designed so that they could lift entry ladders during enemy attacks, which provided security. The pictures above feature some of the amazing pueblos and cliff dwellings of these people. The most photographed ruin is the “House on Fire” (picture 1). This ruin, when captured at certain times of the day, resembles a dwelling on fire and is a favorite among photographers.
- "House on Fire" ruin in Mule Canyon, South Fork, Utah
- Petroglyph with the prehistoric symbol, flute player Kokopelli
- Multistory dwellings at Bandelier. Rock wall foundations and beam holes and “cavates” carved into volcanic tuff remain from upper floors
- Laguna Pueblo dwellers posing for a picture
- Doorways, Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico
- Casa Rinconada, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico
- Ancestral Pueblo ruins in Dark Canyon Wilderness, Utah
- Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde National Park
Angkor Wat - The Largest Religious Monument in the World
Angkor Wat is an ancient Hindu, then subsequently Buddhist, temple complex built in the early 12th century by the Khmer King Suryavarman II in Yasodharapura (present-day Angkor) in Siem Reap Province of Cambodia. It is the largest religious monument in the world. It was the capital of the Khmer Empire and the king’s eventual mausoleum. Breaking from the Shaivism tradition of previous kings, Angkor Wat was instead dedicated to Vishnu. As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious center since its foundation – first Hindu, then Buddhist. The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and it is the country’s prime attraction for visitors.
The Archaeological Survey of India carried out restoration work on the temple between 1986 and 1992. Since the 1990s, Angkor Wat has seen continued conservation efforts and a massive increase in tourism. The temple is part of the Angkor World Heritage Site, established in 1992, which has provided some funding and has encouraged the Cambodian government to protect the site. The German Apsara Conservation Project (GACP) is working to protect the devatas and other bas-reliefs (examples: pictures 4 & 5) which decorate the temple from damage.
The Gallery of Bas-reliefs, surrounding the first level of Angkor Wat, contains 1,200 square meters (12,917 square feet) of sandstone carvings. The relief covers most of the inner wall of all four sides of the gallery and extend for two meters (seven feet) from top to bottom.
The Škocjan Caves - A Unique Natural Phenomena
An ancient cave system considered one of the largest discovered underground chambers with the most famous underground features in the world.
Due to their exceptional significance, the Škocjan Caves in Slovenia were entered on UNESCO’s list of natural and cultural world heritage sites in 1986. International scientific circles have acknowledged the importance of the Caves as one of the natural treasures of the planet.
The Škocjan Caves are a unique natural phenomenon ranking among the most important caves in the world. They represent the most significant underground phenomena in both the Karst region and Slovenia. Above the caves lies the village of Škocjan, now famous for its archaeological treasure below.
Research has shown that people have lived in the caves and the surrounding area in prehistoric times up to the present – totaling more than 5,000 years of history. The first written sources on the Škocjan Caves date back as early as the 2nd century B.C. and were marked on the oldest published maps of that part of the world.
Nearly 100 years after the discovery of Dead Lake within the cave system, the last important event took place in 1990 when Slovenian divers discovered over 200 meters of new cave passages. It is still believed there is even more to be discovered in the extraordinary
Ancient Mayan Art Discovery
GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Archaeologists have found an “extraordinary” Mayan frieze richly decorated with images of deities and rulers and a long dedicatory inscription, the Guatemalan government said Wednesday.
The frieze was discovered by Guatemalan archaeologist Francisco Estrada-Belli, a professor at Tulane University’s Anthropology Department, and his team in the northern Province of Peten, the government said in a joint statement with Estrada-Belli.
"This is an extraordinary finding that occurs only once in the life of an archaeologist," Estrada-Belli said. The archaeologists were exploring a Mayan pyramid that dates to A.D. 600 in an area that is home to other classic ruin sites when they came upon the frieze.
"It’s a great work of art that also gives us a lot of information on the role and significance of the building, which was the focus of our research," Estrada-Belli said. The high-relief stucco sculpture, which measures 26 feet by 6 feet (8 meters by 2 meters), includes three main characters wearing rich ornaments of quetzal feathers and jade sitting on the heads of monsters.
The frieze, which was found in July, depicts the image of gods and godlike rulers and gives their names. The dedicatory inscription “opens a window on a very important phase in the history of the classical period,” Estrada-Belli said.
The inscription is composed of some 30 glyphs in a band that runs at the base of the structure. The text, which was difficult to read, was deciphered by Alex Tokovinine, an epigraphist at Harvard University and contributor to the research project at Holmul, the site where the frieze was found.
Ancient Cliff Dwellings
Cliff dwellings have existed in many different parts of the world. In many cases, basic homes could be made simply by utilizing the existing walls and roofs of caves. Rock could be tunneled into rather than having to be carved out in great quantities for use as building materials.
- Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellings, Colorado, US
- The Bandiagara Cliff Dwellings, Mali
- The Gila Cliff Dwellings, New Mexico, US
- The Uçhisar Cliff Dwellings,Turkey
- Manitou Cliff Dwellings, Colorado, US
- Guyaju Cave Dwellings, Yanqing District, China
The cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde (picture 1) are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are considered among the best preserved and most important sites of their kind in North America. They were inhabited by Ancestral Pueblo peoples, built between 1190 and 1300 CE. The structures and villages range from a 200 chamber Cliff Palace to single room storage spaces.
The origins of China’s Guyaju cave dwellings (picture 6) are shrouded in mystery, as there are no records of the people who created them. However, they are thought to be over 1,000 years old and may have been the work of the Xiyi people, of whom little is known. The dwellings are the biggest ruins of their kind ever discovered in China and feature 170 caves with more than 350 chambers. Relics such as stone bedding, air vents and rainwater collection devices have been found, as well as caves that housed horses.
Underwater Secrets of the Ancient Maya
Ancient Maya believed that the rain god Chaak resided in caves and natural wells called cenotes. Maya farmers today in Mexico’s parched Yucatán still appeal to Chaak for the gift of rain, Meanwhile cenotes are giving archaeologists new insights into the sacred landscapes of the ancestral Maya.
In ancient times, the natural well, or cenote, acted as a sacred sundial and timekeeper for the ancient Maya on the two days of the year, May 23 and July 19, when the sun reaches its zenith. At that moment it is vertically overhead, and no shadow is cast. The fact that the cenote is directly northwest of the main staircase of El Castillo, the famous central pyramid of Chichén Itzá, is not coincidental. The ancient Maya came here during times of drought to deliver offerings and to give thanks for a plentiful harvest. The Maya people have a strong relation to their gods, their sacred city and their extraordinarily accurate calendar.
(Source: National Geographic)
Whether laid to rest in a simple grave or a grand tomb, the human body rarely survives the sweep of time. But in the few places in the world where people deliberately mummified their dead, or the environmental conditions were right—very dry or wet—flesh and bone are extremely well-preserved, such as this mummified baby found in Peru.
(Source: National Geographic)