15 Most Impressive Archaeological Sites - Owlcation - Education
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15 Most Impressive Archaeological Sites

Archaeology is one of Kelley's great passions. He's read many books on the subject, as well as every issue of "Archaeology" since 1987.

Restored area of the Domus Aurea in Rome, Italy

Restored area of the Domus Aurea in Rome, Italy

You gotta dig those ruins!

The list of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World has been around for a long time, but only one of these wonders is still vertical—the Great Pyramid of Khufu in Egypt. Therefore, you won't find the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus on this compilation, because it's little more than rubble strewn on the ground, which isn't very impressive! Moreover, each site on this list can include more than just the well-known monuments, temples or citadels; the surrounding area or complex can be just as important to archaeologists and laypeople.

Pyramids of Giza

Pyramids of Giza

Entrance leading to the Grand Gallery in the Great Pyramid of Khufu

Entrance leading to the Grand Gallery in the Great Pyramid of Khufu

1. Pyramids of Giza

Pyramids can be found all over the world, but the only true pyramids can be found in Egypt. The Pyramids of Giza, the largest found in Egypt, were constructed about 4,500 years ago during the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom. Scientists are still trying to figure out how these three monuments were built. Many think external ramps and cranes were used, which seems the most scientific way possible. In an article of the May/June 2007 issue of Archaeology magazine, the author theorizes that an external ramp was used for the lower third of the pyramids, and then this ramp was re-used in an “internal ramp” designed to erect the higher levels of the structures. Interestingly, a microgravimetry survey of the Great Pyramid of Khufu, the highest of the three, showed less dense areas in the upper reaches of the pyramid. According to an article in the July/August 2009 issue of Archaeology, a noticeable niche in the upper northeast face of Khufu’s pyramid may provide an entry into this hypothetical internal ramp.

Regarding this noticeable niche, on an installment of Secrets of the Dead entitled “Scanning the Pyramids,” shown on PBS in January 2018, scientists using 3D technologies and muon detectors discovered a void inside the niche on the northeast face of the Great Pyramid. This void could be as long and wide as the Grand Gallery, which connects to the King’s Chamber lower in the pyramid. In the future, tiny robots may be used to explore this void and any others that may be discovered.

However the Pyramids of Giza were built, they are perhaps the most enduring monuments ever constructed by humankind!

Tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi

Tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi

Terracotta warriors found near the tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi

Terracotta warriors found near the tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi

2. Tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi

The Tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi lies about 30 kilometers from modern Xian in China. The tomb contains the remains of China’s first emperor, a ruthless autocrat who died in 210 B.C.E. The pyramid-shaped tumulus over the burial chamber rises to a height of 165 feet and a circumference of nearly one mile (originally it was nearly 400 feet high). The mausoleum is thought to contain a scale model of the capital city, including rivers of mercury, and a planetarium with constellations made of pearls.

A nearby pit contains an army of perhaps 8,000 life-size terracotta warriors and horses arranged in battle formation. Incredibly, each soldier shows a unique likeness! The tomb has not been excavated because of Chinese government does not think it can perform at present such a monumental archaeological project. Who can wait for when they do? (Please note: the latest movie in The Mummy series, Tomb of the Dragon Emperor relates to the story of Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi.)

Aerial view of Teotihuacán

Aerial view of Teotihuacán

Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacán

Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacán

3. Teotihuacán

Located in the Valley of Mexico, Teotihuacán was the capital of a great civilization, which flourished from 300 B.C.E. to about the year 1000. Teotihuacán was the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas and could have housed as many as a quarter million inhabitants. The major monuments of this area are the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon. According to ancient Mexican legend, the Pyramid of the Sun marks the place where time began. Bisecting the site, the Avenue of the Dead, labeled as such by Spanish conquerors who thought the buildings were tombs, is flanked with flat-topped temples, perhaps the most prominent of which is the Temple of the Feathered Serpent, where in recent years numerous human bones have been discovered. Some scientists think these bones are the remains of a mass human sacrifice, whose purpose was to consecrate the temple. One popular theory likens this ancient metropolis to a kind of model of the solar system. (For more information regarding this theory check out Graham Hancock’s book Fingerprints of the Gods.)

In 2009, a team of scientists placed a muon detector in a tunnel beneath the Pyramid of the Sun, hoping to discover hidden chambers in the monument. Muons, essentially cosmic ray remnants from deep space, can penetrate solid mass, though the denser the mass the more particles are blocked, providing images of rarefactions for investigators. (For more information about this high-tech investigative tool, see the September/October 2008 issue of Archaeology magazine.)

Present day view of Stonehenge

Present day view of Stonehenge

Artist's depiction of ancient Stonehenge at the summer solstice sunrise

Artist's depiction of ancient Stonehenge at the summer solstice sunrise

4. Stonehenge

Stonehenge is as old as the Pyramids of Egypt and perhaps just as enigmatic. Nobody knows for sure how or why it was built. One of many so-called “henges” found throughout the United Kingdom, current theory posits that Stonehenge could have been a ceremonial center linked to others in the region, particularly the nearby Woodhenge. (See the June 2008 issue of National Geographic.) For many years scientists have theorized that Stonehenge was an astronomical observatory or calendar, because of stone alignments with the winter and summer solstices. It also could have been a burial ground, as human bones have been found in the area. Some experts think these could be the remains of sacrificial victims.

And, according to an article in the October 2008 issue of Smithsonian magazine, some archaeologists think the megaliths at the monument, particularly the so-called bluestones, could have been used for healing purposes. At any rate, it’s truly astonishing to realize that Neolithic people (perhaps the Druids) had the technical skills for moving megaliths weighing as much as 50 tons from as far away as the Preseli Mountains in Wales, some 250 miles from Stonehenge! One thing about Stonehenge remains certain - it will continue to amaze for years to come.

Serpent effect at El Castillo (the Castle) at Chichén Itzá

Serpent effect at El Castillo (the Castle) at Chichén Itzá

Temple of the Warriors at Chichén Itzá

Temple of the Warriors at Chichén Itzá

5. Chichén Itzá

Chichén Itzá was a city and ceremonial center strategically located in the heart of the northern Yucatan peninsula. The Maya built this ancient metropolis about 600 C.E. and then about 987 C.E. the rulers of Teotihuacán took control of it for a time. The city flourished until 1221 when a revolt and civil war broke out. Perhaps the most prominent edifice of the city is El Castillo (the Castle) or Temple of Kukulkan, a multi-tiered pyramid whose steps cast the shadow of a moving serpent at the spring and fall equinoxes. Also found in the area are the Temple of the Jaguars, the Temple of the Warriors, the Temple of the Wall Panels, the Caracol (observatory temple), the Sacred Cenoté and others. There are many impressive Mayan sites, of course—Uxmal, Caracol, El Mirador, Copán and Palenque, just to name some—but Chichén Itzá is perhaps the most magnificent of them all. What’s your choice?

Huaca del Sol at Moche

Huaca del Sol at Moche

"Decapitator" mural at Huaca de la Luna

"Decapitator" mural at Huaca de la Luna

6. Moche, Peru

The Moche culture flourished along the northern coast of Peru from 100 to 700 C.E. The Moche built an elaborate system of canals, as well as many adobe temples or huacas, as they are called there, particularly the Huaca del Sol and the Huaca de la Luna (or pyramids of the sun and the moon, respectively.) Excavated since the 1990s, various impressive Moche ruins have been heavily damaged by looters, first by the Spanish conquistadors looking for gold and other riches, and later by local tomb robbers in search of valuable artifacts which can be sold on the black market. The Moche, like many other ancient Peruvian civilizations, were a warlike people who engaged in human sacrifice and ritualized executions. Interestingly, the Moche suffered from extreme weather conditions around 500 C.E.—30 years of heavy rain, followed by 30 years of drought, an El Niño event of great proportions, indeed!


Reconstructed Ziggurat of Ur

Reconstructed Ziggurat of Ur

Artist's depiction of the Ziggurat of Ur

Artist's depiction of the Ziggurat of Ur

7. Ziggurat of Ur

The Ziggurat of Ur is the finest example of Sumerian architecture. (The Sumerians invented writing—and many other things—about 5,000 years ago.) Built about 2000 B.C.E. by the Sumerians near the city of Ur in what is now south-eastern Iraq, the Ziggurat of Ur has been re-constructed in recent years and looks astonishingly good, particularly compared to the ruins of others ziggurats, which are little more than piles of mud brick. (The “ruins” of the Tower of Babel, another ziggurat, are nothing more than a hole in the ground.)

Dedicated to the Nanna, the Moon-God, this temple was rebuilt by many kings, the last of whom Nabonidus of Babylon, whom the invading Persians wrested from power in 539 B.C.E. The ziggurat, in general, represented the religious nexus of the Mesopotamian cultures of the ancient Middle East, providing a platform, if you will, from which a man or woman could interact with the gods and perhaps receive a favor or two in the process.

Reconstructed area of the Domus Aurea

Reconstructed area of the Domus Aurea

Painted vault in the Domus Area

Painted vault in the Domus Area

Vault with occulus at Domus Aurea

Vault with occulus at Domus Aurea

8. Domus Aurea

A list such as this wouldn’t be complete without at least one archaeological site found in Rome, Italy, often called The Eternal City. The Domus Aurea, Latin for Golden House, was built by the Emperor Nero from 64 to 68 C.E. This palatial complex, from 100 to 300 acres or more in size or about the area of three football fields, included a bronze statue of Nero some 30 meters high. Known as the Colossus Neronis, the statue disappeared sometime between the fourth and seventh centuries C.E. The Domus Aurea wasn’t completed before Nero died in 68 C.E.

Within a decade of Nero’s death, the Golden House was stripped of it gold, marble, jewels and ivory, so these valuables could be used for subsequent construction of other Roman buildings. What remained was soon covered with 40 feet of dirt so the Baths of Trajan, the Temple of Venus, the Flavian Amphitheater and the Baths of Titus could be built upon it. Fortunately this dirt protected the frescoes, mosaics and other artworks from moisture, which can degrade archaeological sites.

The ruins of the Domus Aurea lay underground and forgotten for centuries, until rediscovered in the late fifteenth century, when artists such as Raphael and Michelangelo descended through these ruins of Roman antiquity, the sight of which influencing their artwork and that of many other artists for centuries to come.

Only 30 per cent of the Domus Aurea has been uncovered and much of the rest is deteriorating rapidly, as vaults and galleries collapse. A pilot project has been undertaken to lessen the weight above the Domus Aurea by thousands of kilograms, before more of the Domus succumbs to gravity, moisture and earthquakes.

Many millions of dollars is needed to continue excavations and restoration at the Domus Aurea, so if you want to donate to the cause, please do so!

Artist's depiction of the Colossus Neronis

Artist's depiction of the Colossus Neronis

Entrance to the Treasury of Pharaoh at Petra

Entrance to the Treasury of Pharaoh at Petra

Royal tombs at Petra

Royal tombs at Petra

9. Petra

Petra, the so-called rose-red city was built by the Nabataeans about the time of the birth of Christ. Carved from the native red sandstone, the city is a marvel of the ancient world, particularly when one realizes that it was built in the inhospitable Jordanian desert. In fact, without the construction of numerous cisterns, the city would have been impossible to maintain. Perhaps the most arresting portion of the site is the so-called Treasury of Pharaoh at the main entrance to Petra. (This entrance was used in a scene for the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.) The portal to this entrance seems to beckon one into a mysterious, perhaps dangerous world, into which one should think twice before entering!

Another amazing area of Petra is the royal tombs, also carved into a cliff face, the architecture of which is an equivalent of seventeenth-century baroque. Interestingly, the Romans were the last “civilized” people to occupy Petra. Once the spice trade, which traveled through the area, became diverted by maritime routes, Petra was slowly abandoned to the shepherds and, of course, eventually, the tourists. If you’re planning on being one of those tourists, you better hurry. An article in the July/August 2009 issue of Archaeology says that water is destroying the monuments by carrying salt to them (salt is very destructive to monuments) and also leeching minerals from the rock used in their construction. Also, local developers, hoping to make profits from the site, have damaged many of the buildings during the construction of septic tanks, roads and hotels.

Cliff Palace

Cliff Palace

Close-up of Cliff Palace

Close-up of Cliff Palace

10. Cliff Palace

Perhaps the finest archaeological ruin in what is now the United States, Cliff Palace was built by the Anasazi, a tribe of pueblo Indians, about 900 years ago and then abandoned some one and a half to two centuries later, probably as the result of a lengthy drought in the American Southwest. The ruin, located in Mesa Verde National Park near the Four Corners region in the state of Colorado, holds over 150 rooms and 23 kivas (round sunken ceremonial areas). This cliff dwelling was essentially an apartment building, though some archaeologists think it was a center place for all residents of the Mesa Verde region. (As a sidebar, due to the discovery of human bones with telltale markings at certain other sites, some scientists think the Anasazi may have practiced a form of ritualized cannibalism. See the January/February 1994 issue of Archaeology magazine).

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Cliff Palace was heavily damaged by looters, curiosity seeks and even so-called scientists. Looting of archaeological sites is a major problem throughout the American Southwest. Fortunately Cliff Palace is now protected by the federal government.

Aerial view of Caral

Aerial view of Caral

Sunken temple at Caral

Sunken temple at Caral

11. Caral

Caral is the site of what may be the oldest city in the Western Hemisphere. Constructed some 4,700 years ago in what is now the Norte Chico region of Peru, just north of Lima in the Supe Valley, Caral ranks on the short list of regions, along with Egypt, Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley, as the first to develop what most people would call civilization. Covering 165 acres, the site is one of the largest in Peru, a country with the most archaeological sites in South America. The site contains six pyramids, some originally as high as 70 feet, circular plazas and massive monumental architecture. Caral’s architectural style seems the precursor for subsequent Andean civilizations for the next 4,000 years.

Numerous artifacts have been found at the site, including flutes made from pelican and condor bones and cornets fashioned from llama and deer bones, suggesting the site may have heard its share of music. Experts think Caral’s population could have reached 3,000. The site was occupied for perhaps a millennium and then abandoned for some reason. Competition from other nearby cities is considered the probable cause. (For more information about Caral, see the July/August 2005 issue of Archaeology magazine.) Please keep in mind, the nearby site of Aspero may be even older than Caral; it fact, it could be the world’s oldest city!

Acropolis of Athens today

Acropolis of Athens today

Artist's depiction of the Acropolis of Athens in 100 C.E.

Artist's depiction of the Acropolis of Athens in 100 C.E.

The Parthenon at the Acropolis of Athens

The Parthenon at the Acropolis of Athens

The Erechtheum with Caryatids (huge female statues) at the Acropolis of Athens

The Erechtheum with Caryatids (huge female statues) at the Acropolis of Athens

12. Acropolis of Athens

Perhaps the greatest architectural achievement of the legendary Gold Age of Greece, the Acropolis of Athens is a spectacular sight, even in ruins, and its historical significance would be very hard to qualify. Comprising 21 archaeological attractions—the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheum, the Theatre of Dionysus, the Temple of Athena Nike, and many others—the Acropolis was constructed by the direction of Pericles, a Greek statesman, general and lover of the arts. It was built upon an outcropping of rock nearly 500 feet high. The Acropolis, which in Greek means “high city,” underwent a series of construction periods, which began in the seventh and sixth centuries B.C.E. and continued until about 400 B.C.E.

Over the centuries, the various buildings of the Acropolis have suffered from age, natural disasters, pollution, misguided repairs and acts of war; in fact, in 1687, during the Morean War, the Parthenon, being used as a storage site for gunpowder, was hit by an artillery shell and badly damaged. And during the Greek War of Independence in the 1820s, the Acropolis, by this time used as a fortress, was besieged once again. In present times, parts of the Acropolis, particularly the Parthenon, have undergone extensive restoration, which may continue for many years, as long as funding is available, of course.

West Court at Copán

West Court at Copán

Stela M (bottom center) and the Hieroglyphic Stairway at Copán

Stela M (bottom center) and the Hieroglyphic Stairway at Copán

Reconstruction of the Rosalia Temple at the site museum of Copán

Reconstruction of the Rosalia Temple at the site museum of Copán

13. Copán

The Maya civilization is certainly one of the most impressive of the New World and, fortunately, the remnants of their buildings are scattered throughout Mesoamerica at places such as Chichén Itzá, Palenque, Tikal, Caracol and, of course, Copán, considered by academics and other experts to be the grandest of the Classic Maya city states, particularly in terms of art and architecture. Mayan presence on the fertile bottomlands near the Copán River in western Honduras began about 2000 B.C.E. But the city state that would eventually become Copán developed much later, around 300 to 450 C.E., roughly around the beginning of the Classic Maya era, which lasted until about 900 C.E. Copán’s Classic dynasty collapsed because of deforestation, soil erosion, disease and/or a loss of political stability, though experts can only speculate about such causes by drawing analogies to other civilizations around the world.

More than 20 Stelae or statues of rulers can be seen at Copán. But perhaps the most spectacular aspect of Copán is the fascinating Hieroglyphic Stairway, which covers the western face of a pyramid where the twelfth king of Copán’s greatest dynasty was entombed around 700 C.E. The steps of this imposing stairway are covered with dates, emblems and some 2,200 name glyphs, the latter of which comprising the longest known Mayan hieroglyphic text, as well as statues (seated figures) of Copán’s many prominent kings. There’s nothing quite like it in the Mayan world—and perhaps any other place on the planet as well!


Model of the Second Temple of Jerusalem

Model of the Second Temple of Jerusalem

Western Wall or Wailing Wall (center), the only extant remnant of the Jewish Second Temple

Western Wall or Wailing Wall (center), the only extant remnant of the Jewish Second Temple

14. Jerusalem

As is the case with many ancient cities in the Middle East, Jerusalem comprises as veritable layer cake of different civilizations going back at least 3,000 years. If one were to dig just about any place in this holy city, one could possibly find an artifact of archaeological significance, though it doesn’t hurt to have a good idea where some of them could be found. In the December 2019 issue of National Geographic, in an article titled “Under Jerusalem,” archaeologists search for a 2,000-foot-long street that once conveyed people to the Second Jewish Temple, built in 516 B.C.E. and later destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E. So far, scientists have found some of the limestone steps for this ancient avenue.

Unfortunately, excavating beneath Jerusalem is problematic because many of the city’s utilities lie underground; also, people living in the modern city need a secure foundation for their homes and businesses, or else their property could suddenly collapse into an archaeological dig! Moreover, since Jerusalem is a sacred city to three of the world’s primary religions, any archaeological discovery could cause a political, religious or cultural firestorm that could eventually turn global in magnitude.

Nevertheless, since they’re a very curious lot, archaeologists probably won’t be satisfied until they find what they’re looking for beneath Jerusalem, perhaps the most significant ancient city in the world.

Roman ruins at Leptis Magna

Roman ruins at Leptis Magna

Roman theater at Leptis Magna

Roman theater at Leptis Magna

Arch of Septimius Severus at Leptis Magna

Arch of Septimius Severus at Leptis Magna

15. Leptis Magna

Located in modern Libya and founded by the Phoenicians in the seven century B.C.E., Leptis Magna is one of the best preserved and reconstructed archeological sites in the Mediterranean—but it didn’t always look so good! In those early years, the Greeks tried repeatedly but failed to conquer the city. Then, about 650 B.C.E Leptis Magna, along with many other cities in North Africa, was subsumed by the powerful Carthaginian Empire, whose capital, Carthage, was located in present day Tunisia. During the Punic Wars (264 -146 B.C.E.), Rome conquered the Carthaginian Empire and began demanding tribute from such cities as Leptis Magna, whose major form of wealth came from its abundant olive trees.

Although Leptis Magna eventually became a colony of Rome, it had much autonomy in governmental affairs, and in the second to third centuries C.E. Roman emperor Septimius Severus, born in Leptis Magna, spent a great deal of his wealth on the city, building the Arch of Septimius Severus and the Severan Basilica, among many other elegant buildings. Over the years Leptis Magna became one of the greatest cities in North Africa, rivaling Carthage and Alexandria in Egypt.

Sadly, though, like many great cities of antiquity, Leptis Magna had it share of disasters and invasions. In 365 C.E. it was devastated by a tsunami, and then the Vandals—soon to sack and loot Rome in 455 C.E.—invaded Leptis Magna in 439 C.E. after which the Vandals, named for such destruction, tore down the city’s walls, making it much more vulnerable to attack. Then the Berbers took over but were eventually defeated by the Islamic Arabs, who let the city fall into decline. By 1000 C.E, only sand dunes, birds and lizards occupied this once thriving ancient metropolis, until the British came around in the early 1800s.

Questions & Answers

Question: Where is Caral located?

Answer: Caral is in Peru. You could find the exact location on Google Earth or other places.

Question: What is another definition of an archaeological site?

Answer: A place where people try to find old information left by people.

Question: What is another way to say era?

Answer: An era is simply a period of time. Similar words or synonyms would be age or epoch, such as the age of the dinosaurs.

Question: How many of these places on the list of the most impressive archaeological sites can you visit?

Answer: All of them are accessible to the public. You can either stroll around on your own or go with a tour group.

Question: What is another meaning for an archaeological site?

Answer: An archaeological site is where scientists do research by digging in the ground for artifacts, scanning ruins and taking photographs.

Question: Where is Moche, the Peruvian archaeological site?

Answer: It's located in the region of Moche, along the Pacific coast of Peru in South America.

Question: What is the most important archaeological site?

Answer: The Pyramids at Giza, as they're still doing much archaeological work.

Question: Where is the Petra archaeological site?

Answer: Petra is in Jordan.

Question: Why isn’t Machu Picchu included in this list of impressive archaeological sites?

Answer: Machu Picchu is included on my list of the world's greatest lost cities. Anyway, these days, there isn't much archaeology being done at Machu Picchu, because most of it has already be done.

Question: What does archaeology mean to you?

Answer: Archaeology is a study of human history by examining human remains and artifacts.

Question: What books should I go through to learn about human civilization?

Answer: Your local library will have many books about ancient history and archaeology, and online you can find much information regarding those subjects on Wikipedia and other websites.

© 2008 Kelley Marks

Comments

Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on December 07, 2019:

In response to someone who asked a question, Mohenjo-daro is not on this list because it's listed as one of the 11 greatest lost cities in the world. I could put it on both lists but it's not a good idea to have redundancy on these compilations. Thanks for looking at my lists!

Alicia on October 06, 2019:

This helped with my homework, thanks!

1001 Places on August 01, 2019:

Thanks for the article.

Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on May 22, 2019:

Cool person, it would take lots of time and effort to pronounce many of the non-English words in this article. I'm sorry but you'll have to look elsewhere for pronunciation.

Cool person on May 22, 2019:

Plz give examples of how to pronounce some of the words.

PoppingCandy3000 on February 18, 2019:

I really think that u should do better in explaining things

Kosmo Kelley on June 22, 2018:

Thanks for the comment, Gary Glenn Jones. I also like history and archaeology, two of my favorite subjects. Later!

Gerry Glenn Jones from Somerville, Tennessee on June 22, 2018:

I love your article. It is very well written and delves deep into the subjects you have written about. I love archaeology and history in general.

Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on June 06, 2018:

Macchu Picchu used to be on this list, and then I moved it to the 10 Greatest Lost Cities, a list on which it definitely belongs. Later!...

RobertJames77 on June 05, 2018:

Usually Macchu Picchu would be on a list like this.

Dang on June 04, 2018:

Giza is the best

Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on May 15, 2018:

Yeah, Bob, Gobekli Tepe is certainly a site that could appear on this list. There are so many to choose from, you know? Later!...

Bob on May 15, 2018:

I think Göbekli Tepe in southern Turkey is the most impressive archaeological site in the world. Göbekli Tepe is so old that it is rewriting the entire history of humanity.The construction at Göbekli Tepe dates back almost 12,000 years, placing it in a time period that is generally considered to be pre-civilization.

Martha on March 04, 2018:

My favorite archeological site is the cliff palace, I wish it was higher on the list. Also scotte spencer, I'm writing a paper too.

Kosmo Kelley on January 23, 2018:

Hey, Ron, not a lot is known about the Toltecs, but Tula and Teotihuacan were major cities of theirs, it seems safe to suggest. Archaeologists have probably labeled Teotihuacan as the capital because it's such a grand place. Later!

Ron on January 22, 2018:

Where do you get the idea that Teotihucan was the Toltec Capital? Their capital was Tula. No one knows who the people were who built Teotihucan. If you have newer information I would love to see it, since I just finished a whole series of specials on this city, and they all say no one knows who the builders were .

uswah on December 09, 2017:

this is good

Tom on August 18, 2017:

Stonehenge? And not Acropolis(Athens), Pantheon(Rome), Pompeii (Italy), Persepolis(Iran), Delphi (Greece)? OK, I think I know your origin.

scotte spencer on July 11, 2017:

I wrote an essay and the website helped a lot

Alex on May 08, 2017:

Yes, yes Greece AND Rome, so much stuff at both places!

Theo on August 06, 2014:

Really!?!?! What about Greece ?? It's the place with the most archaelogical sites in the world!! Including Parthenon

vaneeza nawaz on January 05, 2012:

Carol at night and Caral at sunset are my favourite these sites are wonderful.....

Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on April 29, 2011:

Yes, India is definitely a fascinating place for archaeology enthusiasts, especially the Indus Valley civilization, though I believe that rests in Pakistan, formerly a part of India, of course. Thanks for the comments. Later!

cascoly from seattle on April 29, 2011:

many of these places have fascinated me since i was a kid - by serendipity, my college dorm was named after Hiram Bingham, the 'discoverer' of Machu Picchu

i've written hubs about maybe 1/2 these places thus far - probably my favorite area to explore is India, where isn't so much the standalone 'wonder', but the thoiusands of years of history and culture you find everywhere

Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on April 28, 2011:

Hey, cascoly, you've visited all those incredible places? I'm impressed! Maybe one of these days I can see at least one of them. Fortunately, there's always the Discovery Channel. Later!

cascoly from seattle on April 28, 2011:

I've visited Giza, Teotihuacan, Chichen Itza, Machu Picchu, Xian Terra Cottas & Mesa Verde

some other contenders I've seen:

Palmyra, Syria - well preserved ruins from 2nd CE

Baalbek, Lebanon - best preserved Roman temples

Nemrut Dag, Turkey - monument to egotism

Khajuraho, India - incredible stone work

Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on March 12, 2011:

Thanks for the thumbs up, toknowinfo. I really enjoy the subject of archaeology and I guess that enthusiasm makes for good writing. Later!

toknowinfo on March 12, 2011:

Very well done hub. I have been to Stonehenge and to the Mayan ruins. They really leave you wondering about how they did that or knew the stuff they did. I enjoyed this article very much.

Zoe on February 11, 2011:

"it's truly astonishing to realize that Neolithic people (perhaps the Druids) "

Nope, the druids were much later. They were around in the Iron Age. Stonehenge pre-dates them by nearly 2000 years.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 14, 2010:

You have assembled a great list here. Another interesting site would be Easter Island. I think that Petra looks fascinating!

Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on August 09, 2010:

El Castillo is one of the greatest ancient monuments in the world. It could be on this list by itself, as can many other individual wonders. Later!

Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on August 08, 2010:

Chitchen Itza is amazing. I went for one Spring equinox and have been dying to go back to explore more of the site. There are some impressive things there.

Lamme on June 28, 2010:

I'd love to visit ALL of these places! I've been to a few, but this is fascinating. Thanks for sharing.

Xi'an tour on April 24, 2009:

Xi'an ~ Wow~

I have been there,and I can't foget the spectacle.

1000 Places to See Before You Die on February 20, 2009:

I recommend the book 1000 Places to See Before You Die. It has modern wonders among the ancient in it.

Rebecca Graf from Wisconsin on December 04, 2008:

I would love to see these sights. They are so beautiful and rich in history and culture. Maybe before I die I can visit them.

Wendy Iturrizaga from France on September 14, 2008:

Stonehenge and Machu Picchu are my favourite sites. I still have to visit the others ;-)

There is not only the historical value of these places but also the magic around them.Waking up to the view of Machu Picchu, only listening the wild life, you experience one of those "mystical moments" that you cannot explain.

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