10 Incredible Unearthed Ancient Megastructures

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10 Incredible Unearthed Ancient Megastructures



Much of archaeology involved digging for small artifacts to piece together a picture of life in the past, but occasionally, much bigger finds occur. When enormous ancient ruins are discovered, it’s always exciting for those who wish to know our history, and these sorts of discoveries have been made all over the world.

10The Temple Of Pan

Pan Temple Hippos

Photo credit: Dr. Michael Eisenberg via Breaking Israel News

Archaeologists excavating the ancient city of Hippos in Northern Israel found a large bronze mask depicting the Greek god Pan. Additionally, an enormous entrance to a large stone building was found, and it’s believed to be the remains of a temple compound dedicated to Pan. The temple compound itself dates to the time of the Roman emperor Hadrian (around AD 117–138) and was located just outside the city limits, similar to other locationsdedicated to Pan.

Pan was the mischievous half-man, half-goat deity who represented shepherds, and celebrations for the god were known to get out of hand. Often, worship took the form of ecstatic rituals including drinking wine and dancing nude. Due to the nature of the rituals for the wild god, celebrations were held outside the city in rustic settings like a cave or a forest, but a temple outside the city could also work.


9The Petra Monument

Petra Monument

Photo credit: I. LaBianca, J. Blanzy via National Geographic

Petra has been an important archaeological site for centuries, but an entirely new discovery has recently been made in the area—a massive monument that was found by satellites. A raised platform the length of an Olympic-sized swimming pool, it has no known parallels to any other structure in Petra. The site, now a tourist attraction, was once a bustling caravan city at the crossroads of the world.

Since Petra was first mapped in 1812, ancient structures have been found in what was its urban core, but this monument had remained obscure until now. When it still stood, the monument would have been built as a raised platform with a small building on top surrounded by a massive facade. Pottery found near the monument indicates that it was built during the city’s early years as part of a public building program.

8The Goliath Gates

Goliath Gates

Photo credit: Prof. Aren Maeir via LiveScience

The Bible makes frequent mentions of the Philistines throughout the Old Testament, but proof of the Philistines’ existence remained elusive for years. In 2015, an excavation in modern-day Israel uncovered the massive gates that would have been the entrance to the famed biblical metropolis of Gath. The gates were dubbed “the Goliath Gates” due to their enormous size.

During biblical times, Gath would have been one of the largest cities in the region, so it isn’t much of a stretch to believe that it would have been an intimidating regional power. The ruins of Gath have been investigated on and off since around 1899, but it was only in recent years that the sheer size of the city has been recognized. The newly unearthed monumental gates illustrate even more clearly how impressive Gath once was.




Photo via ExtremeTech

Just 3.2 kilometers (2 mi) away from Stonehenge lies a stone monument 15 times the size of its more famed neighbor. Located at Durrington Walls in Great Britain, “Superhenge’s” origins are just as murky and obscure as Stonehenge’s. Unlike Stonehenge, Superhenge is no longer visible above ground, but the buried stones uncovered in 2015 provide a clear picture of how it once appeared. The stones would have stood around 4.5 meters (15 ft) high when it was built during the Neolithic period.

For some unknown reason, the stones fell over around 4,500 years ago and were then buried. Inside of the henge, smaller, timber-ringed circles have been discovered. There has been only one stone taken from the site—the so called “cuckoo stone,” which was built from sarson stones, the same stones quarried for Stonehenge.

Because of its close proximity and similar qualities to Stonehenge, Superhenge is believed to be related in some way, although we can only guess about its true purpose due to lack of historical records.

6Gigantic Aztec Skull Rack

Aztec Skull Rack

A gruesome find from the time of the Aztecs was partially uncovered behind a colonial-era cathedral in Mexico City. Known as a skull rack, or tzompantli, the massive wooden structure would have served to shock and awe anyone arriving in the Aztec capital. Built between 1485 and 1502, the skull rack stood 35 meters (115 ft) tall and was 12 meters (40 ft) wide—an imposing sight for sure.

The rack would have held hundreds of skulls, many of which were obtained through human sacrifice. The skulls, bleached white for preservation, weren’t of ordinary people; they were enemy warriors who were captured and decapitated. The skull rack would have been symbolic of two important characteristics of of the Aztecs—war and spiritualism.

5Ancient Welsh Bridge

Ancient Welsh Bridge

Photo credit: Steve Clarke via LiveScience

In 2012, one of the most unique archaeological finds in Europe was uncovered. The remains of three timber logs that were placed together were found in Monmouth, Wales. The logs were enormous in length and were likely created from whole tree trunks cut in half. At first, it was believed that the timbers were just ancient sleeper beams, but when researchers realized that the area where the timber logs were found was once a lake, they began to theorize that it may have been a bridge to an artificial island in the middle of the lake.

The lake was eventually filled entirely with silt, burying the timber beams along with it. At its oldest, the bridge could have been built during the Bronze Age around 4,000 years ago, but a more likely date places it during the Iron Age. There were other uses for the structure; remains of burnt charcoal were found underneath the bridge, suggesting that there was some kind of trough for heating water.


4The Roman Villa At Wilshire

Wiltshire Villa

Photo credit: Wiltshire Archaeological Service via Smithsonian

In 2016, construction workers digging in the backyard of a residential home in Wilshire, England, uncovered an intricate red, white, and blue mosaic. It soon became clear that the property was built atop a massive Roman villa. The mosaic dated to sometime between AD 175 and 220.

The villa was spacious and luxurious, suggesting that it was built for someone of great importance and standing in Roman-era Britain. It was once three stories high and contained 20 to 25 rooms before it was knocked down around 1,400 years ago. The Wilshire villa has allowed historians a glimpse of life for the Roman aristocrats who occupied Britain and is one of the most important finds in Great Britain.

3Neanderthal Cave Circles

Neanderthal Cave Circles

Photo credit: Etienne Fabre via National Geographic

Inside Bruniquel cave in Southern France, hundreds of carved stalagmites can be found jutting from the cave floor. The cave was originally found in 1990 but remained closed off until 2013. Researchers were finally able to examine the mysterious circles constructed from the stalagmites. The stalagmite circles are notable because there is evidence that they were altered and used by early men for heat, lighting, and cooking.

It was believed that they had been built around 40,000 years ago, but carbon dating places them at an astonishing 165,000 years old. The only species in the area at that time were the Neanderthals, once thought to be brutish and unintelligent. The 400 elaborate stone stalagmite structures tell a different story. The Neanderthals apparently possessed sufficient knowledge and cunning to create such elaborate constructions.

2The Ancient Greek Naval Base

Athens Naval Base

Photo credit: University of Copenhagen via History.com

Thousands of years ago the bustling port city of Athens, Greece, began to prepare for war against the encroaching Persian Empire by building hundreds of triremes (ships with three oar banks). Those ships were housed in a massive naval base. It has taken over a decade to fully study the remains of the base, and it is clear that the structure would have been one of the largest buildings in the world at the time of its completion.

Due to highly polluted waters, there was very little visibility when divers tried to investigate the site, so research progressed slowly, but we now have enough information to make an educated guess as to the purpose of structure. Built between 520 and 480 BC, the naval yard existed around the time of one if the most pivotal naval battles in Greek history—the Battle of Salamis. It is believed that many of the ships at Salamis were housed in the naval shed at Athens.

1The City At Old Sarum

Old Sarum

Photo credit: English Heritage Via LiveScience

Located near Salisbury, England, Old Sarum is a historical site that sits above the ruins of a recently examined medieval city. The city dates back to the late 11th century and contained a cathedral and a castle. It died out in the 13th century, around 300 years after its construction.

It had long been known that there was once a city at Old Sarum, but it was only only recently excavated and researched since Old Sarum is a protected site. Old-fashioned excavation isn’t permitted, so high-tech laser techniques have been employed to get a sense of the underground structures.

The remains of defensive buildings form an outer wall, with many of the city’s other structures located inside of the area. Ruined residential homes are scattered about the area, and mineral deposits indicate furnaces and ovens. However, why the city was abandoned remains a mystery.

Gordon Gora is a struggling author who is desperately trying to make it. He is working on several projects but until he finishes one, he will write for Listverse for his bread and butter. You can write him at gordongora21@gmail.com.



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Germany has some of the strictest gun control laws in Europe, but multiple attacks increase calls to loosen laws.

The leader of the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has spoken out in favor of people arming themselves with guns and self-defense devices following a series of violent attacks last month.

The anti-immigrant AfD has won growing popular support in Germany due in part to Europe’s migrant crisis, which has seen more than 1 million refugees arrive over the past year, and it now has seats in eight of Germany’s 16 state assemblies.
“Many people are increasingly feeling unsafe. Every law-abiding citizen should be in a position to defend themselves, their family and their friends,” Frauke Petry told the Funke Media Group in an interview published on Saturday.After two Islamist attacks and a shooting rampage by a mentally unstable teenager last month, Germans are on edge and the AfD is expected to make a strong showing in votes next month in Berlin and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

“We all know how long it takes until the police can get to the scene, especially in sparsely populated places,” she said.

Known for her fiery speeches to AfD supporters, Petry sparked an uproar earlier this year when she called for German police to be allowed to use firearms against illegal migrants.


Chairwoman of the anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) Frauke Petry addresses the second day of the AfD party congress in Stuttgart, Germany, May 1, 2016.REUTERS

Petry rejected calls to toughen up gun laws, saying this would affect respectable citizens and not those who acquire weapons in the so-called “dark net,” which is only accessible via special browsers.

Instead, she criticized “ruinous cuts” on police and said the state at lost its monopoly on the use of force in places.

Germany has some of the most stringent rules around gun control in Europe. Firearm owners must obtain a weapons license for which applicants must generally be at least 18 years old and show they have they have a reason for needing a weapon.

Nonetheless, sexual assaults on women in Cologne at New Year and three fatal attacks have added to the feeling of vulnerability and prompted Germans to stock up on scare devices.

The number of Germans applying for so-called “small firearms license,” which are required to carry around blank guns and pepper spray, jumped 49 percent in the first half of 2016 to 402,301, according to federal statistics.

However, permits for firearms fell to 1.894 million as of the end of June compared to 1.898 million a year earlier.

Germany may warn public to stockpile food and water in case of attack: Report

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Germany may warn public to stockpile food and water in case of attack: Report

2 Hours Ago

Germans told to prepare for attack

Germans told to prepare forattack  1 Hour Ago|01:10

The German government is considering telling the public to stockpile food and water in case of disasters or an armed attack, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper reported in German on Sunday.

The newspaper cited the text of a “civil defense concept” that the German cabinet will consider this Wednesday. This would be Germany’s first civil defense concept since the Cold War and was commissioned in 2012.

The plan would require the German public to hold food supplies to last up to 10 days and 10 liters of drinking water per person, to last for five days. Plus, the public would be told to hold a fallback supply of energy and cash.

Sean Gallup | Getty Images

The 69-page report also discussed the need for civilian support of the armed forces, a reliable alarm system, the reinforcement of buildings and sufficient capacity in the health system.

Germany suffered two Islamist attacks last month and a shooting onslaught by a disturbed teenager.

Read the full Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung article here.

Rio 2016 closing ceremony in pictures

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Rio 2016 closing ceremony in pictures

Pita Taufatofua of Tonga jumps on stage during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Pita Taufatofua of Tonga, the greased-up beefcake taekwondo star, caused a stir in the opening ceremony; he was back for the end too
Dancers perform during the closing ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 21, 2016
There was a significant amount of shrubbery
British athletes wear glooming shoes during the closing ceremony in the Maracana stadium at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016
The only thing glowing brighter than Team GB’s gold medals were their athletes’ shoes
Dancers perform at the Olympic Wings segment during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
No parrots were harmed in the production of this closing ceremony
A dancer performs during the closing ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 21, 2016
This person was dancing, and was not the statue he looks like
A large martini glass in the closing ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 21, 2016
Martini, anyone?
Dancers perform during the closing ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 21, 2016
Don’t ask
Japanese performers take part in the closing ceremony
The handover to Tokyo 2020 was partly inspired by Japanese console games – this looks like Tetris and a bit of Super Mario to us
Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe is seen on stage
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe turned up dressed as Super Mario and everyone immediately forgot everything that had happened before this
Fireworks explode during the Closing Ceremony 2016 Olympic Games at Maracana Stadium on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Good job, Brazil – next, it will be Tokyo’s turn

Turkey: Suicide bomber kills more than 50 at wedding

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Turkey: Suicide bomber kills more than 50 at wedding

More than 50 people have been killed and scores more wounded in a suicide attack at a wedding ceremony in Turkey’s southeastern province of Gaziantep, near the Syria border.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that “Daesh is the likely perpetrator of the attack”, using the Arabic name for ISIL, also known as ISIS.

The suicide bomber who attacked the wedding party was a child between the ages of 12 and 14, Erdogan said.

The president added that it is not yet clear whether the teenager detonated a suicide vest, or the vest was detonated remotely by someone else.

READ MORE: How will the military shake-up affect Turkey’s future?

“Turkish authorities are now going to look for further proof about the identity of the suicide bomber,” said Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Gaziantep.

“They will try to find out whether this was someone used by adults who strapped explosives around his body and remotely detonated the explosive.”

This is the first instance ISIL used a child in a suicide bombing attack in Turkey, Ahelbarra said.

In comments shown live by broadcaster NTV, Erdogan also confirmed that 51 people had died in the blast, and 69 were wounded. Seventeen of the injured were “heavily” wounded, Erdogan said.

“Our country and our nation have again only one message to those who attack us: You will not succeed!” he said.

This is the first instance ISIL used a child in a suicide bombing attack in Turkey[Sedat Sunda/EPA]

Hub for Syria refugees

The blast, which occurred at around 11pm local time on Saturday in the Akdere neighbourhood of Sahinbey district, was a “terror attack”, according to Ali Yerlikaya, the governor of Gaziantep.

A major city lying just 60km north of the Syrian border, Gaziantep has become a hub for Syrians fleeing the civil war in their country.

As well as refugees and opposition activists, there have long been fears it is home to a significant presence of sympathisers of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

Separately, Samil Tayyar, a member of parliament from the governing Justice and Development Party, pointed the finger at ISIL in remarks on Twitter.

READ MORE: Turkey roundtable – War on two fronts?

Strong Kurdish presence

Sahinbey district is said to have a large number of Kurdish residents and reports indicate the wedding too had a strong Kurdish presence, raising speculation of ISIL involvement.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) said the wedding party was for one of its members. The groom was among those injured, but the bride was not hurt.

According to a report by Turkey’s Dogan news agency, the couple had moved to Gaziantep from another predominantly Kurdish town, Siirt, to escape from fighting between Kurdish rebels and Turkish security forces.

The bomb went off as guests spilled out into the streets of the city after the traditional henna night party [EPA]

The bomb went off as guests spilled out into the streets of the city close to the Syrian border after the traditional henna night party, when guests have their hands and feet painted.

Women and children, including a three-month-old baby, were among the dead, witnesses said.

“The celebrations were coming to an end and there was a big explosion among people dancing,” said 25-year-old Veli Can. “There was blood and body parts everywhere.”

“We want to end these massacres,” witness Ibrahim Ozdemir told Reuters news agency. “We are in pain, especially the women and children.”

Purely civilian celebration

Metin Gurcan, a former Turkish military officer and columnist, told Al Jazeera the attack deliberately targeted HDP sympathisers attending a purely civilian celebration.

“This is the first of its kind in Turkey. And we know very well from the Afghanistan experience to what extent attacks on weddings can disrupt order in a society,” he said.

“I think ISIL is trying to exacerbate already tense ethnic and sectarian cleavages in the southeast of Turkey.”

Southeastern Turkey has been hit by several deadly blasts over the past year, linked either to ISIL or the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group outlawed in Turkey.

Three suspected ISIL suicide bombers killed 44 people at Istanbul’s main airport, Ataturk, in July, the deadliest in a string of attacks in Turkey this year.

Almost 40 people were killed in a suicide bomb attack in Ankara in March that was claimed by a Kurdish separatist group.

Violence flared up in the largely Kurdish southeast in the past week, with bomb attacks leaving 10 people dead in separate attacks, mostly police and soldiers, in an escalation that officials blamed on the PKK.

Failed coup fallout

Saturday’s attack comes a month after a group of Turkish soldiers attempted to overthrow the government, commandeering tanks, helicopters and warplanes in an attempted coup that killed 240 people.

The government has accused followers of Fethullah Gulen, a US-based exiled Turkish religious leader, of being behind the plot, a charge rejected by the cleric.

Hakan Yavuz, a professor in the department of political science at the University of Utah, says Turkey is more vulnerable now because of the purge in security forces after the coup.

“The coup attempt destroyed the military institutions,” Yavuz told Al Jazeera.

“There is also a rapprochement between Russia, Iran and Turkey over their Syria policies. Ankara is much more moderate now in allowing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stay in government, at least during the transition period,” he said.

“ISIL poses a greater threat to Turkey as a result of this shift in the country’s foreign policy.”

Inside Story – Is Turkey undergoing a shift in foreign policy?

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies