Tarpeian Rock: in the early Roman empire, people deemed traditors and criminals were tossed to their deaths from this rock

Tarpeian Rock, or locally Rupe Tarpea, is a steep cliff located on the southern side of the Capitoline Hill, just above the Roman Forum and, for centuries, the location was used an an execution sites. People who had been convicted of crimes were thrown from the 25-meter cliff ledge down to the Forum below. This method of execution carried a stigma of shame and was considered a fate worse than death. It was reserved as punishment for crimes that were considered especially heinous like treason, murder, and perjury. Also larcenous…

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The Stromatolites of Hamelin Pool – Australia

Located within a sheltered bay on the coast of Western Australia, theb Hamelin Pool Marine Nature Reserve appears at first glance to be a regular rock-strewn beach, though the rocks look kind of odd. Those rocks are not actually rocks. Rather, they are active colonies of one of the first life forms on our planet. They are called “stromatolites”, and they are made by a single-celled organism know as “cyanobacteria”. Previously known as blue-green algae, cyanobacteria exist since about 3500 million years ago, well before the existence of any other…

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Chichen Itza Chirp: clapping at base of an ancient pyramid echoes the call of a sacred bird

Chichen Itza, a pre-Colombian archaeological site built by the Mayans in northern Yucatan, Mexico, is home to many architectural and cultural wonders, and one of this has baffled acoustics experts for decades. The Temple of Kukulkan is one of the most visually-striking structures at Chichen Itza, but perhaps its most intriguing characteristic is acoustic. The reason? Clapping at the base of the Mayan pyramid causes an echo that resembles a bird’s chirp. Do it repeatedly, or in a group, and the echos will sound like a chorus of ghostly chirps…

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Anundshög – the Sweden’s largest burial mound, allegedly belonging to a mythical king

We are in Sweden, near Västerås in Västmanland. Scandinavia is full of burial mounds, runestones, and any sort of ancient graves. Similar to the Egyptian pyramids, great rulers were honored with these grand burial mounds as the correct ritual was important for the deceased to reach the afterlife. At 9 meters high and 60 meters in diameter, Anundshög (also know as Anundshögen and Anunds hög) has the largest burial mound in Sweden, which is often associated with Anund, a semi-legendary mid-7th-century Swedish king from the House of Yngling. His name…

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The Aqueduct of Segovia, a glorious Roman heritage in Spain

If we speak about architecture, the Romans are among the greatest builders of the world’s history. Some of the surviving Roman buildings and monuments are magnificient still today, many centuries after they were built. And one of such creations is the famed Roman Aqueduct of Segovia. The historic city of Segovia is located in north-western central Spain, in the autonomous region of Castile and Leon. This important city is rich in history and sights, as it is located on an important trading route between Merida and Zaragossa. In ancient history,…

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Torre Argentina – the Roman Cat Sanctuary

As you probably know cats in Rome are very popular and they have always found shelter amongst the ancient city ruins. They are also protagonists of numerous postcards depicting them sitting on stumps of old Roman columns, cat napping on the foot of an emperor’s statue, or just lounging near the Colosseum. And, in addition, in Rome stray cats have an ancient temple-complex all to themselves. Known as Largo di Torre Argentina, this archaeological wonder was excavated as part of Mussolini’s rebuilding efforts in 1929, revealing four Republican victory-temples that…

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The ruins of the lost city of Nan Madol: a pearl in South Pacific

Off the coast of a remote Micronesian island are the ruins of a once-great city of man-made stone islands, that represent the remains of megalithic architecture on an unparalleled scale in Micronesia. Ruins that, in addition, have inspired the city of R’lyeh in H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. Evidence of the earliest human activity in the area dates back to the first or second century BC, while the construction of artificial islets started probably about 8th and 9th century AD. However, the megalithic structures were built in period of 12th…

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The sunken city of Pavlopetri: the oldest submerged city in the Mediterranean

Pavlopetri, in Greek: Παυλοπέτρι, is an anonymous village opposite the island of Elafonisos, on whose beach, in 1967, an exceptionally important discovery was made for world archeology: an ancient submerged city, whose topography was remained almost completely visible after 5,000 years of history. Mapped one year later by by a team of archaeologists from Cambridge, the ancient city, underwater off the coast of southern Laconia in Peloponnese, was called by the modern name for the islet and beach, Pavlopetri, (“Paul’s and Peter’s”, or “Paul’s stone”), apparently named for the two…

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The spectacular Neskowin Ghost Forest in Oregon

In the small coastal town of Neskowin in Tillamook County in Oregon, somewhere between Lincoln City and Pacific City lie the remains of an ancient forest, rising out of the sand and seawater. Dubbed the Neskowin Ghost Forest, they are an eerily beautiful memory of the towering Sitka spruce trees that stood here for some two millennia. For nearly 300 years the “phantom forest” strains remained hidden under the sand, resting until they were uncovered during the winter of 1997-1998, when the coast of Oregon was pummeled by powerful storms…

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Garum: the bizzarre sauce that tells the story of Ancient Rome.

Probably romans needed a recharge after a rousing chariot race, dining with at least one food seasoned with this popular fermented fish sauce known as garum. The original Roman Garum was not an appetizing condiment. Lets face it: to the average stomach of modern man, there can be few things more disgusting than the thought of a spatter of fermented fish guts over your roast, which is basically what garum was. Even for the entrails-loving Romans, the smell of garum during the process of fermentation was said to be so…

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