Here are three stories from the world of archaeology that I bookmarked in recent weeks (I love lost cities and have visited scores of them). Did any others catch your eye?
There's no clear path to Hire Benakal in the hills north of the Tungabhadra River in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. If you have to double back only two or three times on the way, you've done well .. knee-high aligned stones and propped-up slabs ... mark the edges of the site. As we navigate through it, we walk around a pile of house-sized boulders, and the massive scale of Hire Benakal, like a city skyline in the distance, becomes apparent.
On a gentle slope are scores of dolmens (megalithic tombs) resembling houses of cards—if playing cards were slabs of granite 10 feet tall and weighed 10 tons or more ... built over more than 1,000 years spanning the southern Indian Iron Age (1200-500 B.C.) and Early Historic (500 B.C.-A.D. 500) periods, and there are more than 1,000 of them across nearly 50 acres, from modest rock enclosures to mausoleum-like tombs.
Afghan archaeologists say they are racing against time to salvage a major 7th Century religious site unearthed along the famous Silk Road. [This] 2,600-year-old Buddhist monastery will be largely destroyed once work at a mine begins. A Chinese company is eager to develop ... the world's second-biggest unexploited copper mine which lies beneath the ruins at the site ... located at Mes Aynak, in the eastern province of Logar. Archaeologists fear that the monastery - complete with domed shrines known as stupas - will probably be largely destroyed once work at the mine begins. (another story)
A well-preserved tomb of an ancient Maya king has been discovered in Guatemala by a team of archaeologists led by Brown University’s Stephen Houston. The tomb is packed with carvings, ceramics, textiles, and the bones of six children, who may have been sacrificed at the time of the king’s death [in] about 350 to 400 A.D., beneath the El Diablo pyramid in the city of El Zotz....
Though the findings are still very new, the group believes the tomb is likely from a king they only know about from other hieroglyphic texts ... “These items are artistic riches, extraordinarily preserved from a key time in Maya history,” said Houston. “From the tomb’s position, time, richness, and repeated constructions atop the tomb, we believe this is very likely the founder of a dynasty.”