Special Report

24 Ancient Cities That Were Just Discovered

>Location: Egypt
>Dates to: 12th century B.C.
>Discovered: 2000

Heracleion, also known as Thonis, was an Egyptian port city that thrived between the 6th and 4th centuries B.C., before it succumbed to rising sea levels, earthquakes, and flooding, eventually sinking into the Mediterranean Sea. In 2000, after five years of seeking the ruins, French underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio laid eyes on Heracleion. Subsequent excavations of the site have uncovered numerous ships, ceramics, a Greek temple, baskets containing palm fruits, and bronze statues.

>Location: Greece
>Dates to: Bronze age
>Discovered: 2001

Founded in the Bronze Age, Helike was a Greek city-state on the coast of the Peloponnese peninsula that sank after an earthquake and tsunami struck the city in 373 B.C. Since the mid 19th century, numerous efforts have been made to locate it. Finally, in 2001, a search team of the Helike Project found the city buried in a lagoon. Clay tiles, cobblestones, and pottery have been uncovered, all showing evidence of earthquake damage.

Source: tony4urban / Getty Images

Unnamed Mures River city
>Location: Romania
>Dates to: Bronze age
>Discovered: 2009

Since 2009, Romanian and German archaeologists have been excavating a prehistoric fortified city that has been dubbed the “Troy of the Carpathians.” The nearly 200-acre city was built of soil and wood, and may have been the capital of the area between the 14th and 12th centuries B.C. Research has uncovered evidence of war and the conquest of the city, as well as many bronze farming implements.

Source: Lucy Ryan / Getty Images

Unnamed bead-making settlement
>Location: Florida, USA
>Dates to: 900
>Discovered: 2010

Along an uninhabited stretch of the Gulf Coast of Florida, the Raleigh Islands were once home to a culture that produced gastropod shell beads and used them as currency. Although researchers had previously been aware of this culture’s existence, a major discovery came in 2010 when a drone with LiDAR sensors created a detailed topographical map of the area, revealing the architecture of the settlement. The town contains 37 residence compounds, outlined with rings of piled oyster shells, and evidence of high output bead production.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Unnamed Cucuteni-Trypillian city
>Location: Romania
>Dates to: 5000 B.C.
>Discovered: 2011

In 2016, Romanian archaeologists uncovered what appears to be a huge 7,000-year-old temple complex of the Cucuteni-Tryptillian culture, a Neolithic culture that built high-density settlements sometimes containing up to 40,000 people. The complex is over 10,000 square feet and contains defensive structures and a wooden palisade. The temple, which is also theorized to have been the home of a tribal leader, is part of a larger 61-acre site that has been under excavation since 2011, and which contains houses, barns, silos, and earthen walls.

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