Archaeologists and Historians are not always just sitting around reading history books, or researching the ordinary and mundane. While much of their time is spent unearthing ancient ruins or human remains, they often discover unexpected objects and findings, and sometimes some of these discoveries are controversial and bizarre – from seemingly alien type things to weird artifacts.
History is also replete with many amazing civilizations and locations that are fascinating to study and learn about. The earth is a very big place, and strange landmarks can be seen in all parts of the world. Aside from providing a good sight or scenery, these places each have their own strange stories. Here are some of the more unusual and stranger ancient places on Earth.
Bagan, Pagan Kingdom
From the ninth to 13th centuries, Bagan was the capital of the Pagan Kingdom, now known as Myanmar. More than 10,000 temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed at the kingdom’s peak. Buddhism became the dominant religion. Repeated Mongol invasions in the late 13th century were disruptive and so, the Pagan Kingdom eventually collapsed. Bagan survived, but only as a lesser settlement and pilgrimage destination.
This kingdom was the first kingdom to unify the regions that would constitute modern-day Burma. The origins of this kingdom have been reconstructed using archaeological evidence and the chronicle tradition of Burmese. There exist considerable differences between the various chronicle narratives and views of modern scholarship.
On the Isle of Lewis, in Scotland, Callanish, you can find the largest of several stone circles, arcs, and alignments. A monolith surrounded by a stone circle and five rows of standing stones which seems to have been used until around 1500-1000 BC. And then a tomb was added at some time after the stones were put into place.
Stone circles are usually grouped in terms of the shape, size of stones, and the spanof their radius and their population within the local area. Many theories have been advance to explain their use, which is to prove a setting for ceremony or ritual.
The Lycian rock-cut tombs
The Lycian rock-cut tombs can be found in the town of Myra, now known as Turkey. The Lycian civilization is mentioned in the historical records of ancient Egypt. The ancient Lycians are among the most enigmatic people of antiquity for the reason that little historical record has been left behind them.
There are different types of Lycian tombs, the most common of is the rock-cut tomb. The earliest examples of these tombs were carved in the 5th century BC, and can be found in certain places such as Myra and Amasia. These rocks are considered as an amazing sight to behold, since these tombs were carved directly into the rock face, or a cliff. The reason for the position of their tombs on cliff is that Lycians believed that a mythical winged creature would carry them off into the afterlife.
The Circular Terraces
The Circular Terraces can be found in an archaeological site in Peru. A series of concentric terraces that looks like an ancient Greek amphitheater is constructed in a large bowl-like depression. Located at the center is the largest of these terraces. They are enormous in size, and a descending depth leading to a circular bottom so well drained that it never completely floods, no matter how strong the rain.
The vast difference in temperature of this site is one its most remarkable feature. The temperature difference exists between the top and the bottom reaches of the site, which can be up to 15 degree Celsius. Micro climates were formed due to this large temperature difference.
The fortress at Masada, Israel was overcome by a Jewish sect, Sicarii, during the Great Jewish Revolt in 66 AD. Masada Fortress is located at an isolated rock cliff at the western end of the Judean Desert overlooking the Dead sea. This is a place of majestic beauty that has become one of the Jewish people’s greatest symbols. Masada Fortress was declared as UNESCO World Heritage since 2001.
The first structures on Masada were built by Alexander Jannaeus, a Hasmonaean king, in the early 1st century BC. The roman army six years later the foundation of Sicarii, besieged the fortress and over the course of three months built a ramp from which they launched an attack.
The Ajanta Caves
The Ajanta Caves was carved out of flood basalt rock on a bend in the Waghur River in India. Over the centuries, the 29 caves fell into disuse and the entrances became obscured by jungle. The caves were known locally but it was during the British colonial administration in the early 19th century that they began to be explored.
The Ajanta Caves includes ancient monasteries and worship-halls of different Buddhist traditions carved into a 250-feet wall of rock. This cave was also mentioned in the memoirs of several medieval-era. The 30 caves are famous for their temple architecture and delicately drawn murals.
The Nazca Lines are located in the Jumana pampas, on the Nazca desert.The majority of the drawings of the Nazca Lines in Peru are geometric shapes, such as triangles and spirals. The lines depict the natural world.
The Nazca culture use strings to not deviate from the traces of the lines, with little models to later translate the big draw in the land. The main reason why the lines are not erased could be because there is no rain at all.
The Angkor Wat in Cambodia is the largest religious monument in the world. It was built by king Suryavarman II in the first half of the 12th century. The temple was originally constructed as a Hindu temple which was dedicated to the God VIshnu, then later on transformed into a Buddhist temple.
Angkor Wat is surrounded by a 650-foot-wide moat that would help stabilize the temple’s foundation, which prevents groundwater from rising too high or falling too low. The heart of the temple was the central tower, which has a statue of Vishnu at the top.
Hidden paintings have been discovered in the central tower. One chamber in the tower contained a traditional Khmer ensemble of musical instruments known as the pinpeat, and is made up of different wind instruments and percussion instruments.
The Maya comprises great monuments, cities and roads, which were swallowed up by the central American jungles. The people of this place scattered to small villages, but the traditions of Maya still survive up to the present day.
The peak of their civilization was during the first millennium AD, that was the time when their greatest architectural feats covered a vast region in the Yucatan. The Maya made extensive use of writing, math, sophisticated engineering and elaborate calendar to build their pyramids and terraced farms.
Indus Valley Civilization
Indus Valley civilization is also called as the Harappan civilization, and it is one of the greatest civilizations of the ancient world. This civilization suffered from gradual changes in rainfall patterns which made it difficult for people to raise enough food for their massive population. Their brick hives, metallurgy shops, and grand walkways were abandoned over 3,000 years ago.
Thousands of years ago, almost 10 percent of the world’s population, spread over a region that encompassed parts of present day India, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The people of this island represent another classic civilization. It is well known for their Moai, an enormous stone statue of human heads which are line up along the coastline of the island.
Jared Diamond, sums up on his book ‘Collapse’, what many of them believe to be thereason why this Polynesian civilization disappeared after centuries of monument-building, which is that the Easter Islanders were sophisticated but their methods weren’t sustainable. Possibly between 700-1200 AD, the time when they settled in Easter Island, they used up the island’s entire agricultural resources and trees, and then they had to move on.
Catalhöyük was known as the world’s oldest city, and is part of a large city-building and agricultural civilization in what is known today as Turkey. Unlike most other cities, this one stood out because of its structure. It contained no roads and was built like a hive, with houses built next to each other.
The civilization was pre-iron Age and pre-literate, but never left behind evidence of a sophisticated society. The reason why people abandoned the city is left unknown.
The so-called Mississippians built a great city which was surrounded by huge earthen Pyramids and a stonehenge-link structure to track the movement of the stars, long before the Europeans made it to North America. The people of this great city were brilliant artists, architects, and farmers. They diverted a branch of the local Mississippi river to suit their needs for irrigation.
It is uncertain why people abandoned this city, but according to some archaeologists, the city has always problems with disease and famine, and that people left for healthier pastures elsewhere.
This is one of the most mysterious human structures ever discovered. This was built In 10,000 BCE, and is located in present day, Turkey. The place probably served as a temple for nomadic tribes in the area, since it has carvings of monoliths.
This structure is the first permanent human-built structure ever found, and represented the pinnacle of the local Mesopotamian civilization of its era.
The gateway to Egypt, Thonis is located at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. Thonis sank between the waves. The reason why is still left unknown, though today, Archaeologists are attempting to excavate the remains of this sunken city.
The Turquoise Mountain
A gorgeous architectural feat was built in the 1100s as part of a city in Afghanistan, called the Minaret of Jam. This is where archaeological remains suggest that it was a cosmopolitan area where many religions including
Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived together harmoniously for hundreds of years.
Some crumbling monument represents a lost civilization. The possibility that the incredible minaret was part of the lost medieval capital of Afghanistan, called Turquoise Mountain.
This structure is relic of the lost civilization of the early Silk Road, which is a trade route that linked China with Central Asia, Africa and Europe. From wealthy merchants to scientists, different groups traveled the Silk Road, in which they exchange ideas and creating a complex enlightened culture.
Archaeologists have uncovered countless treasures in the remains of Naya, which was once a graceful town full of wooden houses and temples.
An incredible urban community arose in present day Egyptian Sahara Desert. The people living in this community domesticated cattle, farmed, created elaborate ceramics, and left behind stone circles which offered evidence that astronomers were living in their civilization. Considering the harsh conditions of the Sahara Nabta Playa was quite a place.
This city is located in present day Turkey and is considered as one of the most extensive underground cities ever built. The underground city consisted of tunnels and rooms which had over 20,000 people living in it.
The subterranean city once offered respite from nearby enemies, even though the city was used as a residence. The city was fully abandoned in 1923.
Since the colonists vanished without a trace, the so-called “lost colony” of Roanoke Island has inspired countless storytellers. The carved word “Croatoan” was the only sign that they were there. That significant word was the name of a local tribe in a nearby island.
These places may not be as famous as many of the tourist attractions that most people are drawn to, but if these photos are to be believed, then they are all worth it.