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Archaeological Intrigue

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Indulging my inner Indiana Jones without the paper work that accompanies a real archaeologist.
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Rano Raraku, Easter Island, Valparaiso Region, Chile
After viewing the scattered Moai on the slopes of Rano Raraku, do the (easy) hike up and into the crater. It's a totally different feeling in there, all reeds in water and grazing wild horses. Easy to imagine the world without civilization.
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Middle East
Cleopatra bathed in the Antique Pool at Hierapolis--before a great earthquake knocked several pillars into the pool. Fed by natural spring, the warm water is said to have healing qualities. My kids and I enjoyed the bubbles; they stick to skin and...
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Stairways, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal
Late that afternoon, we reach the confluence of the Rongshar and Menlung rivers, where a promontory of ancient glacial shelf rises several hundred feet above the two swollen rivers. On its summit, the blackened tin roof and broken adobe walls of...
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Lhasa, Tibet, China
Just before dawn, I’d set out to explore Chakpori—the “Iron Hill”—highest promontory in Lhasa. On its summit, Sangye Gyatsho, seventeenth century regent of Tibet, built the Mentsikhang, a medical college that turned out doctors until it was...
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29450 Valley of Fire Hwy, Overton, NV 89040, USA
Valley of Fire is the oldest state park in Nevada, and a great place to see 3,000-year-old Indian petroglyphs and explore the red sandstone formations created during the age of the dinosaurs. Bring your camera to photograph the landscape while...
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Piazzale Napoleone I, 00197 Roma RM, Italy
Encompassing early 200 acres of rolling parkland, Villa Borghese is Rome's verdant heart and everyone's favorite place for an afternoon walk. The vast gardens are criss-crossed with picturesque paths, where visitors can meander past ancient...
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Chelsea, QC, Canada
Architectural ruins carefully sited by Mackenzie King at his country retreat known as Moorside in the Gatineau Hills (King was Canadian prime minister during World War II) reflect the romanticism of the forested setting. The Arc de Triomphe...
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312 Stikine Ave, Wrangell, AK 99929, USA
In Wrangell, Alaska, an old lodge that once belonged to Chief Shakes has been restored with many of the original (or recreations of the original) carvings on furniture and the poles that hold up the roof. Carved wooden whale oil lamps still hang...
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İkiçeşmelik Mahallesi, kitas Adalioglu sit. D:11E, 09400 Kuşadası/Aydın, Turkey
As an American it is difficult to fathom something that is from the 1st Century BC. That's really old! Ephesus (and a lot of other ruins in Turkey) made my draw drop. Here were ruins from 2-3 thousand years ago. Huh? Really? Some were still...
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Tyneham, Wareham BH20 5DE, UK
In 1943 the villagers of Tyneham in Dorset were ordered to leave their homes so that top secret preparations for D Day could take place on the South Coast of England. Overnight the village emptied and people went to stay with family or be...
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Mehrauli, Seth Sarai, Mehrauli, New Delhi, Delhi 110030, India
Delhi's Qutub Minar, at 72.5 meters or 238 feet tall, is the tallest tower in India. Built as an Islamic monument in the early 13th century of red sandstone and marble, the minar is not without controversy. Some believe the tower...
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Luxor City, Luxor, Luxor Governorate, Egypt
The ancient temple ruins at Karnak in Luxor, Egypt, are the second most popular tourist attraction in Egypt after the Pyramids at Giza and the Sphinx. Karnak was built starting more than 4,000 years ago and was constructed, destroyed, and...
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Olympos, Yazır Mahallesi, 07350 Olympos/Kumluca/Antalya, Turkey
The ruins of Olympos are very cool. Unlike some of the other ruins in Turkey, they sit back in the trees. You kind of feel like Indiana Jones as you walk through them. the thicker vegetation, waterways and uncleared ruins. It was one of the...
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Ruta Santisimo Downhill 2, Chinchero, Peru
One of the first stops outside of Cusco was on the Anta plain at 12,375 ft. The 16th century ruin of Chinchero is rumored to be the birthplace of the rainbow. I would be hard pressed to argue those refractions of light could have a more beautiful...
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Ma'an Governorate, Jordan
Petra Jordan is one of those places that you have to put on any bucket list. I went a decade ago and then dragged my husband there last year because "you can't miss this one" I told him. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade fans will recognize the...
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Middle East
To go up and touch a piece of a building, a piece that was a work of art, was one of the most profound experiences of my trip to Turkey. How could this be 2000 years old (older?) and still be intact? How is it that I am allowed to touch it, feel...
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80045 Pompeii, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy
We were offered the chance to visit Pompeii or Herculaneum when we docked at Sorrento. People rave about Pompeii because it's absolutely huge and gives you a great sense of just how sophisticated Roman civilisation was. Herculaneum, by contrast,...
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Angkor Thom, Cambodia
Carved bas relief on the walls of the Elephant Terrace near Angkor Thom, Cambodia.
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The Pends, St Andrews KY16 9QL, UK
Often called, "Scotland's Greatest Cathedral" the now-ruined medieval St. Andrews, overlooking the North Sea in its namesake town, is a splendid sight any time of day or night. However, in my several days of residence in the town made famous by...
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Stonehaven AB39 2TL, UK
Dunnottar Castle is a dramatic and evocative ruined cliff-top fortress in a truly stunning setting. And just a half hour's drive from Aberdeen, Europe's oil-capital. William Wallace and Mary Queen of Scots graced the Castle with their presence....
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53037 San Gimignano, Province of Siena, Italy
Forty-five minutes to an hour away from Florence awaits the medieval hilltop town of San Gimignano, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bordered by 13th-century walls and featuring a triangular central square lined with historic houses, the town is...
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Dioklecijanova ul. 1, 21000, Split, Croatia
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this 1,700-year-old palace sits on the Adriatic seafront, serving as the focal point of Split. It was built by Roman Emperor Diocletian as a seaside retirement home and has served as a refuge for many a conqueror over...
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Orkney, UK
The flight into the Orkney Islands was amazing. Many of the neolithic ruins can be seen from the air, dotting the land. I visited several of the sites including Skara Brae, and Maeshowe, but the Ring of Brodgar was the highlight of the sites I...
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Macau
One of Macau's most famous landmarks. The front façade and the grand stone stairs are the only remains of the greatest church in Macau or even in East Asia.
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St Dunstan's Hill, London EC3R 5DD, UK
In the midst of bustling London a friend of mine surprised me with a gem of a place surrounding the picturesque ruins (walls, no roof) of a church. An intimate, romantic garden with–in case you didn't guess the picture–an INSECT hotel! Its...
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Outside the village of La Flotte, off the eastern shore of Ile de Ré, lies the ruins of an old Cistercian abbey. Once revered as a place of pilgrimage, the Hundred Year War and Wars of Religions lead to its abandonment in the 17th century. Many of...
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Polignotou 3, Athina 105 55, Greece
Slave-traders and shoe-menders, jewelers and moneylenders haggled and gossiped at this ancient marketplace the history of which spans five millennia. The Agora was also the stomping ground of rival philosophers Plato and Socrates—the latter...
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Ürgüp/Göreme/Nevşehir, Turkey
On any tour of Cappadocia in central Turkey, you'll find ruins of cave homes, churches carved inside the cliffs, and outdoor museums like the famous one near Goreme. However, just a short bus ride away is another open air museum with far fewer...
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Rue de l'Abbaye 55, 1495 Villers-la-Ville, Belgium
Most people know some of Belgium's best beer is brewed by monks in abbeys. These abbeys are still active and thriving. However there are many ruined abbeys dotting the countryside. Villers Abbey is one of the most beautiful and atmospheric. The...
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1495 Villers-la-Ville, Belgium
In 1146 a dozen monks and some lay brothers, with the blessings of St Bernard (not the dog!) headed to what is now Belgium and founded the abbey. It had been neglected and then revitalized during its second golden age in the 1800s where some of...
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Isle of Skye, Duntulm, Portree IV51 9UF, UK
At the very northern tip of the Isle of Skye, which is an island off of the upper north western shore of Scotland, are the ruins of Duntulm Castle. To get there, you have to drive for several hours on narrow dirt roads, but the sense of remoteness...
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Angkor, Cambodia
Visitng Ta Prohm feels like you are rediscovering a lost kingdom being reclaimed by the forest. The trick is to go to Ta Prohm first, while everyone else is at Angkor Wat, and explore the crumbling ruins alone.
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Xunantunich Rd, San Jose Succotz, Belize
The Cayo District is home to many of Belize’s ancient Maya sites, including one of the largest, Xunantunich. Located atop a ridge near the Mopan River and the Guatemala border, Xunantunich’s "El Castillo," the main pyramid, is...
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Gede Watamu Rd, Kenya
Taking an exciting a matatu (mini-bus) ride south of Malindi to the town of Gede we were treated to a sweet little town with kiosks selling glass coca colas and lots of laughing school kids. Down a long, winding, forested road you reach the Gede...
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11391 El Lentiscal, Cádiz, Spain
Baelo Claudia is the seaside site of an ancient Roman town that was settled was about 2,000 years ago. You can take a self-tour of the ruins, which include skeletons of the city's temple, forum and basilica. The modern Visitors Centre includes a...
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San Ignacio, Chaa Creek Road, Belize
If you want to spoil yourself in between climbing Maya ruins or exploring the depths of the Maya underworld, the Lodge at Chaa Creek is the place. Even Prince Harry and Bill Gates think so, as they both stopped by during visits to Belize recently....
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Champotón-Campeche, Mexico
The days of Black Beard and Captain Morgan terrorizing the high seas have long since past, but the Fuerte de San Miguel still watches vigilantly over the city of Campeche. The fortress is located upon a rise just south of the city and attractive...
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Av de los Héroes, Centro, 77000 Chetumal, Q.R., Mexico
The capital of Quintana Roo, Chetumal is a great place to base yourself for a couple nights in order to explore some of the surrounding attractions, including several Maya archaeological sites and the Bacalar Lagoon, before jumping across the...
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Calakmul, Camp., Mexico
Rising high above the vast expanse of the Peten forest in southern Campeche are the towering pyramids of Calakmul. Calakmul was perhaps the most powerful state in the Classic Maya world, dominating the likes of Tikal for centuries and creating a...
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Balkans
Part of our Classic Crete trip allows time for exploring the archaeological site of Phaistos, an ancient Minoan site that was inhabited as early as 4000 BC! It contains an extensive palace complex that was first excavated in 1874.
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The Parque Museo La Venta in the busy city of Villahermosa, Tabasco provides an excellent opportunity to experience Tabasco's local archaeology and ecology. Tabasco was the ancient heartland of the mysterious Olmec culture and is a steamy, jungle...
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Bonampak, Chis., Mexico
The classic Mayan site of Bonampak, located deep in the jungles of Chiapas, Mexico, holds one of the most unlikely and important discoveries in the history of Mayan archaeological investigation. The story of the wall murals is a story of an...
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Easter Island is a strange, remote, and magical place. After a full day of wandering around this tiny island, we were fortunate enough to witness an absolutely breathtaking sunset over the Pacific. The "beach" here is made up of pitch black...
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Calle de Bailén, 10, 28013 Madrid, Spain
After paying your patriotic fee of 10 Euro to enter the Royal Palace, you will notice the Almudena Cathedral beyond the courtyards gates. While I was too late in the day to be graced with the inner divinities of this structure I did in fact, get...
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Ballycarbery East, Co. Kerry, Ireland
The Cahergall Stone Fort is one of three accessible stone forts in the Ring of Kerry. We found this one the most impressive and the most fun to walk around in. All three of these forts were built in early A.D. and originally built with no mortar....