If you like your holidays filled with plenty of ancient culture and history then check out these suggestions for an archeology-packed vacation;
7. Stonehenge, UK – The surrounding area of Stonehenge is fairly unassuming and amongst the fields stand the 25 ton megalithic structures. The ring was built during the Neolithic period of 4000 to 2000 BC and not by Druids as originally suspected. Stonehenge predates Egyptian culture and more recent research by astronomers have concluded that the site was used for astronomical observatories.
6. Petra, Jordan – The ancient city of Petra is a multitude of tombs and temples set amid mountainous red sandstone landscapes. The abandoned necropolis was the head of the Nabataean culture at the time of Christ. Both Paleolithic and Neolithic settlements have been found in a long line of ancient inhabitants. Rediscovered in 1812 by a Swiss adventurer, Petra is now an important archeological site.
5. Easter Island Statues, Chile – Pictures of the carved moai statues on Easter Island are mysterious and captivating. Inhabitants began carving in 1000 AD and there are nearly 400 massive statues carved from compacted volcanic ash. The largest is nearly 10 meters tall and weighs 75 tons and mystery still remains as to how the people of Easter Island carved, moved and erected the giant statues and what actually happened to the inhabitants?
4. Great Pyramid, Egypt – Take a trip to Cairo to marvel at the massive ancient structure which is built from 2.5 million limestone blocks which each weigh 2.6 tons. Originally the Great Pyramid covered 13 acres and was 480 feet tall. Egyptologists still grapple with many questions that surround the Pyramid; was this the ancient burial site of Khufu? What purpose did the structure actually serve?
3. Terracotta Army, China – Local farmers unearthed the Terracotta Warriors in 1974 in Xian and the site has now become the greatest archeological unearthing of modern times. Nothing prepares visitors for the sheer scale of the army which comprises an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 intricately carved figures of warriors, horses, chariots, acrobats, musicians and strongmen. The statues measure up to 195cm (6ft 5in) tall and were originally constructed in honor of the first Emperor of China Qin Shihuangdi. More figures are still being excavated and the current exhibition halls are well laid out for visitors, measuring 180 by 60 meters.
2. Tikal, Guatemala – During 600 and 800 AD there were around 50,000 Mayan people living within Tikal, which used to cover 25 square miles. Today the largest remaining Mayan city is surrounded by 222 square miles of National Park and visitors come to explore over 3,000 monuments including shrines, temples, terraces, residences and plazas. Within the El Petén rainforests, which are popular for an eco adventure holiday, also live parrots, toucans and howler monkeys.
1. Machu Picchu, Peru – Declared as one the most stunning ancient sites on the planet, the Machu Picchu ruins were rediscovered by archeologist Hiram Bingham in 1911. Inca people inhabited the peak at 9,060 feet and built huge stone monuments in the 1400s. Probably a secret ceremonial city, Machu Picchu was a fully self-contained enclave with fields of crops and natural springs. Today travelers flock to wonder at the massive stone structures, which weigh 50 tons and are carved so precisely and to trek the trails surrounding the Sacred Valley.
By Julie Bowman