Hi everyone, it’s Katrina.
From a city built on a coral reef
to ruins that may tell us the secrets of humanity,
here are 8 of the most mysterious ancient structures in the world.
8. Nan Madol
Off the coast of the island of Pohnpei in Micronesia
stand the ruins of the ancient city of Nan Madol.
That’s Pohnpei, not Pompeii. Just in case.
以防误解 说的是波纳佩 不是庞贝
The only ancient city ever built entirely on a coral reef,
the city is made up of almost 100 artificial islands
made of coral fill and stone,
separated by narrow canals and protected by an outer seawall.
Like Easter Island, this place is an engineering marvel!
The name Nan Madol means “the space between”
and refers to the canals that cut through the ruins.
The megalithic structures are estimated to have been built
in between the 12th and 13th century,
about the same time as the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris.
The entire city covers an area of about 75 hectares
and features walls built of columnar basalt.
The walls are up to 15 meters tall and 5 meters thick.
The average weight of each individual stone is almost 5 tons,
but some weigh as much as 50 tons.
Amazingly, the total weight of the stone used to build the city
is estimated to be about 750,000 metric tons.
The building of such structures must have taken a herculean effort,
but nobody really knows when it was built,
how the massive rocks that were used in the construction
were transported to the city,
or where those rocks came from in the first place!
Why it was built on the reef,
separated from the actual land of the island, is also a mystery.
Before Europeans came to North America,
an unknown culture arose in central Mexico
and built a grand city that
we have come to know as Teotihuacan.
In its heyday,
it was a city that covered 20 square kilometers
and was home to 200,000 people,
all of them in carefully constructed and delineated neighborhoods
where people were grouped according to the crafts that they constructed.
The Teotihuacanos, as the mysterious residents have been called,
left no written records,
and their city predated the Aztecs by as much as 1000 years.
The city was marked with pyramids, one of which,
the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent,
was found to contain the bodies of over 100 human sacrifices.
The city collapsed and was abandoned,
and nobody knows why.
We don’t even know who built the city,
or what it was actually called.
The name Teotihuacan (“the place where the gods were created”)
was given to the city by the Aztecs,
who found the city already in ruins when they entered the area.
In its day, Teotihuacan was the largest city in the western hemisphere,
but by 550 AD it was a ghost town.
Where did everybody go?
And now for number 6, but first be sure to subscribe
and click the notification bell if you are new here! We’d love to have you.
6. Puma Punku
The massive ancient city of Tiwanaku in Bolivia is dominated by
a temple complex called Puma Punku
that has puzzled archaeologists for decades.
The city was already standing
when the Inca moved into the region in 1470,
although it was completely abandoned.
The stone buildings of Puma Punku
(an Incan name, since we have no idea what the original inhabitants called it)
are built with massive stone blocks
that were so exquisitely shaped and fitted
that even today you can’t fit a knife blade between the blocks.
Even more curious, none of these obviously man-made blocks
show any sort of chisel marks
or other signs indicating how they were constructed.
Like with Teotihuacan, nobody really knows who built Puma Punku,
and even its age is a matter of debate.
Some scholars say that
the buildings date back to about 500BC,
but others believe that the city is much, much older.
What is known is that the buildings
were built as ancient observatories.
On the equinoxes, the sun rises directly above the center of the temple,
visible through and perfectly framed by stone archways.
On the summer and winter solstices,
the researchers thought the sun would rise over the cornerstones,
but the sunrise is actually over a different point.
It’s odd that a culture capable of such feats of accuracy
would have failed to mark
two of the most important dates on the ancient calendar,
but if you take into account
where the sunrise would have been 17,000 years ago,
the cornerstones are in perfect alignment.
This seems to indicate a much more ancient origin for the city.
Who built it? And how?
Your guess is as good as mine!
5. Ggantija, Malta
On the Mediterranean island of Gozo,
one of the islands of Malta,
stands a megalithic temple complex
that predates the pyramids of Egypt.
The two towers were built during the Neolithic Age,
between 3600 and 2500 BC.
They are the second-oldest manmade religious structures in the world.
Number one is coming up so stay tuned!
The temples appear to have been built to honor fertility deities.
There have been many figurines and other artifacts found on the site
that are associated with fertility cults.
According to local folklore, they were built by a giantess,
but the true builders are unknown.
The Ggantija complex includes two complete temples
and a third that was never finished.
They face the equinox sunrise
and are enclosed inside a boundary wall,
setting them apart from the daily lives of the people who worshipped there.
The temples were built in a clover-leaf shape,
with semi-circular apses connected with a long central passage.
The walls were covered with plaster, some of which can still be seen.
The largest temple is the one furthest to the south,
and it’s also the most complete.
It stands 6 meters tall and includes multiple altars
and huge stone block with a carved recess,
which might have been used as a place of ritual ablution, or purifying baths.
Based upon the sheer volume of animal bone that has been found on the site,
it’s conjectured that the temple was used as a site of animal sacrifice.
These temples were built at a time
when the wheel had not yet been introduced to Malta,
and when there were no metal tools available to the islanders.
Researchers have found many small, spherical stones,
which they think were used like ball bearings
to help transport the huge stones.
The Salisbury Plain in England is home to
possibly the most famous mysterious megalithic structure in the world,
so of course, I had to mention it!
Stonehenge was built from 3000 BC to 2000 BC,
constructed in a series of stages.
The site currently consists of a ring of standing stones,
each stone at least 4 meters tall,
2.1 meters wide, and weighing around 25 tons.
These stones are set inside a circular earthen bank and ditch,
which might date back to 3100 BC.
The standing stones were made of bluestone
taken from the Preseli Hills,
which lie about 250 kilometers away in Wales.
How were the stones brought?
How were they erected?
That’s only part of the mystery.
Like many other Neolithic monuments,
Stonehenge is a kind of ancient observatory,
with the great trilithons aligning with the sunrise on the summer solstice
and with the sunset at the winter solstice.
Apart from its astronomical uses,
the site was also probably used as a burial ground
and a religious gathering area of sorts.
Deposits of human remains have been found dating back to
the very earliest stages of the monument’s construction,
and it has been determined that
burials continued at the site for nearly 500 years.
It was long believed that
Stonehenge was built by the Celtic Druids,
and certainly modern-day Druids have laid claim to the place.
It’s now thought that the monument was built by
three different groups of ancient people,
each one using a different construction style and process,
all of whom pre-date the arrival of the Celts in Britain.
Another Neolithic site, with important astrological alignment,
can be found at Newgrange in Ireland’s Boyne Valley.
Older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Giza,
Newgrange was originally believed to be a tomb,
but it’s actually a temple complex that was built by Stone Age farmers
more than 5,200 years ago.
Newgrange is a large mound that is 85 meters in diameter
and 13.5 meters high, covering about one acre of land.
It is ringed and held in place by a retaining wall of some 97 kerbstones.
Some of these stones are highly decorated with carvings,
often with spirals or whorls.
There is one doorway into the mound,
which leads to a passageway that extends more than 19 meters
into the man-made hill.
The passage leads to a room with three alcoves,
and the chamber and the passage
are aligned with sunrise on the Winter Solstice.
Newgrange is just one of a series of structures
built along the River Boyne,
making up a complex known collectively as Brú na Bóinne.
There are as many as 35 other smaller mounds in the complex, as well.
2. Skara Brae
Located on the windy Orkney Islands of northern Scotland
stands the Neolithic settlement known as Skara Brae.
The most complete Neolithic village in Europe,
Skara Brae was probably occupied between 3180 BC and 2500 BC.
The site consists of eight clustered houses,
which were sunk into the mounds called middens,
which were made up of domestic waste.
The middens provided stability for the walls and shelter
from the brutal winds that scour the islands.
Each house is about 40 square meters,
with a large square room holding a stone hearth
that was used for heating and cooking.
Seven of the eight buildings have stone-built furnishings,
including cupboards, dressers, seats, beds and storage boxes.
包括橱柜 梳妆台 座椅 床和储物柜
It’s like the real life flintstones!
The beds and dressers are in the same place in every house.
Each house had a stone slab door
that could be closed with a sliding bar,
and there was a sophisticated drainage system,
and each house had its own toilet!
The eighth building was not a house and was not sunk into a midden.
Instead, it seems to have been a sort of workshop,
with the space divided into small cubicles
where fragments of stone, bone and antler were found.
The people who lived at Skara Brae were not,
as some wild-eyed folk have fantasized,
an enclave of philosophers and spiritual teachers
who studied the stars and other esoterica.
Instead, they were pastoralists,
meaning that they were settled herders
who lived and died according to the welfare of their flocks.
When the climate changed in 2500 BC,
the residents abandoned their cold and rocky settlement
and moved south, where the grazing was better.
The village was gradually covered over by sand and lost
until it was revealed by a blistering storm in 1850.
1. Göbekli Tepe
Its name is Turkish for “potbelly hill,”
and it’s the most recently found ancient structure on this list.
Found on the plains of Anatolia, Göbekli Tepe is a man made hill,
standing about 15 meters tall,
and about 300 meters in diameter.
Well It’s about 11,000 years old,
making it the oldest temple structure in the world.
The temple was built in two phases.
During the first phase,
more than 200 pillars in about 20 circles were erected.
Each pillar is about 6 meters tall and weighs up to 10 tons.
They are fitted into sockets that were dug into the bedrock.
The second phase saw smaller pillars that were set up in
rectangular rooms that had floors polished with lime.
The site was abandoned in the Neolithic era
for reasons that remain a mystery.
The site was excavated by a German archaeological team
directed by Klaus Schmidt from 1996 until he passed away in 2014.
Schmidt compared the site to a cathedral,
believing that it was a place where
people intermittently gathered for religious reasons.
The site was a place of pilgrimage for people
coming from as far away as 150 kilometers.
The remnants of butchered and cooked animal waste have been found,
indicating food that was prepared for large numbers of people.
Although there have been no graves yet found at the site,
Schmidt was convinced that
Göbekli Tepe was a central location for a cult of the dead.
The 2017 discovery of human skulls with deliberate incisions
might support that theory.
There are more questions than answers about Göbekli Tepe,
because only 5% of the site has been excavated.
What is certain is that, since it is so old,
the site may be a window into the way
that mankind first developed its concept of religion,
making Göbekli Tepe one of the most important
early human monuments ever found.
Thanks for watching!
What did you think of these sites?
Have you been to any of them,
and do you have any theories about these unanswered questions?
Let me know in the comments below. Remember to subscribe!
And I’ll see you soon! Bye！
Hi everyone, it’s Katrina.