Special Report

24 Ancient Cities That Were Just Discovered

Mahendraparvata
>Location: Cambodia
>Dates to: 802
>Discovered: 2012

In 2012, scientists discovered this city and temple complex 25 miles away from Angkor Wat, capital of the Khmer Empire, using LiDAR technology. The city contained an advanced municipal water system, a vast network of roads, temples, dams, farm plots, homes, and a fortress. Although a few temples had been identified previously, LiDAR enabled scientists to map and document the city as a whole.

Source: Chris McGrath / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Nevsehir underground city
>Location: Turkey
>Dates to: 3000 B.C.
>Discovered: 2013

During site work for a housing development, a large underground dwelling complex was uncovered in Turkey in 2013. Multiple underground cave complexes exist in the Cappadocia region of Turkey. Archaeologists believe that these subterranean cities were used as hideouts during raids and times of religious persecution. The caves contain kitchens, chapels, barns, and even wineries, and could have housed tens of thousands of people.

Source: Jun / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Lagunita
>Location: Mexico
>Dates to: 300 B.C.
>Discovered: 2014

The Mayan city of Lagunita, which was likely abandoned around 1000, was documented by a Swiss Archaeologist in the 1970s – but unfortunately, as he had visited on foot, the exact location was not recorded. In 2013, aerial photographs allowed Slovenian researcher Ivan Sprajc to locate the city, which contains pyramid temples, carved stone slabs, and plazas. Scientists are hoping to discover why the city was abandoned.

Source: Marek Stefunko / Getty Images

City of the Jaguar
>Location: Honduras
>Dates to: 1000
>Discovered: 2015

La Ciudad Blanca or White City is a legendary urban center of great wealth that has been sought by archaeologists and explorers for decades. Although the city may not actually exist as a single site, in 2015 a team of scientists and filmmakers found a pristine site in the rainforests of the Mosquitia region of Honduras. The ruins, which have been dubbed the City of the Jaguar, contain plazas, pyramids, stone sculptures, and many more artifacts that were partially buried.

Qalatga Darband
>Location: Iraqi Kurdistan
>Dates to: 331 B.C.
>Discovered: 2016

In 331 B.C., Alexander the Great is said to have established a fortified city in modern day Iraq called Qalatga Darband. It became a center of wine production and trade before disappearing from historical accounts. When spy satellite images taken in the 1960s were declassified, aerial photos of the city were found and analyzed. The site was finally excavated in 2016, revealing pottery, Greco-Roman style ruins, a temple, and a fortified building.

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