Today I Learned...

Key Takeaways:

tep into the past and journey around the world through 5 of its most exciting archaeological sites.

Whether you’re into ancient history or just want to improve your general knowledge, these sites will not disappoint. From the pyramids of Egypt to the underground town of Pompei and beyond, this list features some of the most fascinating archaeological sites in existence today.

1. The Great Pyramids

These pyramids, built roughly between 2550 and 2490 BCE by the pharaohs Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure respectively, are elaborate burial complexes.

Believing that they would become immortal, the pharaohs had temples and pyramid tombs constructed to house goods necessary for their next incarnation.

Each pyramid is part of a larger complex, which also includes the remains of smaller temples and settlements. The entire area contains palaces for each pharaoh's occupancy in death as well as pits containing parts of a wooden boat meant to usher their souls back to primordial oceans.

2. Machu Pichu

Located in the Andes Mountains of Peru, Machu Picchu was believed to have been built by Inca Emperor Pachacuti around 1450 as a self-contained city.

This elaborate city included hundreds of buildings such as palaces, temples, and baths—plus a complex water-delivery system.

Due to its inaccessibility, Machu Picchu was not invaded by Spanish conquistadors during their campaign against the Inca peoples. Once conquered, however, the site was left abandoned until it was uncovered by Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham in 1911.

3. Teotihuacán

Between 300 BCE and 1000 CE, Teotihuacán flourished as the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas with as many as 250,000 inhabitants.

Human remains have been found in the Temple of the Feathered Serpent, suggesting that sacrifices were made there to consecrate its construction.

4. Pompeii

In 79 CE, Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried the ancient Roman city of Pompeii just outside present-day Naples, Italy. Its inhabitants were frozen in time under layers of ash—offering insight into daily life for both patricians and plebeians alike.

In 1748, a group of explorers discovered the ruins of Machu Picchu while looking for ancient artifacts. The excavations uncovered streets, houses, food, jewelry, sculptures and frescoes from the doomed city. Scholars estimate that about 12 thousand people were living in Pompeii when Mount Vesuvius erupted.

5. Alexandria

Located on the Mediterranean coast in northeast Egypt and founded by Alexander the Great, Alexandria is one of the world's most ancient cities.

In ancient times, Rhakotis was a small port town whose development into an Egyptian capital made it prosperous and known for learning. Under the Ptolemaic dynasty it grew further; its status as a center of early Christianity later came about under Roman rule.

There you have it, 5 of the top most important archaeological sites in the world and why they are important!

These sites have helped to shape our understanding of history, culture, and society. They have given us insight into the lives of people from different time periods, as well as their beliefs and way of life. Archaeology is a fascinating field, one that we hope will continue to expand so that we can learn more about our past!

Take a virtual tour of Italy! Check out our class: A Pilgrimage in Italy: the Way of St. Francis.

Aug 22, 2022

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Russ Eanes

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