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Sunday, November 29, 2009

7 Greatest Underwater Ruins

Rank #7. The Lost Villages (Canada)
"The Lost Villages" are ten communities in the Canadian province of Ontario, in the former townships of Cornwall and Osnabruck (now South Stormont) near Cornwall, which were permanently submerged by the creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1958.

Rank #6. Dwarka Port (India)
Among the most exciting archaeological discoveries made in India in recent years are those made off the coast of Dwarka and Bet Dwarka in Gujarat. Excavations have been going on since 1983. These two places are 30 km away from each other. Dwarka is on the Arabian sea coast, and Bet Dwarka is in the Gulf of Kutch. Both these places are connected with legends and there are many temples here, mostly belonging to the medieval period.

Rank #5. Pavlopetri (Greece)
The ancient town of Pavlopetri lies in three to four metres of water just off the coast of southern Laconia in Greece. The ruins date from at least 2,800 BC through to intact buildings, courtyards, streets, chamber tombs and some thirty-seven cist graves which are thought to belong to the Mycenaean period (c.1680-1180 BC). This Bronze Age phase of Greece provides the historical setting for much Ancient Greek literature and myth, including Homer's Age of Heroes.

Rank #4. 8,000 years old Yonaguni-Jima (Japan)
Situated 68 miles beyond the east coast of Taiwan, Yonaguni Islands are a remarkable place for its rugged and mountainous coastlines. The special attraction is the submerged ruins located in the southern coast of Yonaguni: a superb 100×50x25 meters man-made artifact out of solid rock slabs stands erect at right angles. Its is estimated to be around 8000 years old, which is remarkably early for the kind of technology that has been used for carving it. Different theories exist about the possible identities of this structure.

Rank #3. The submerged temples of Mahabalipuram (India)
According to popular belief, the famous Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram wasn't a single temple, but the last of a series of seven temples, six of which had submerged. New finds suggest that there may be some truth to the story. A major discovery of submerged ruins was made in April of 2002 offshore of Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu, South India.

The discovery, at depths of 5 to 7 meters (15 to 21 feet) was made by a joint team from the Dorset based Scientific Exploration Society (SES) and marine archaeologists from India's National Institute of Oceanography (NIO). Investigations at each of the locations revealed stone masonry, remains of walls, square rock cut remains, scattered square and rectangular stone blocks and a big platform with steps leading to it. All these lay amidst the locally occurring geological formations of rocks.

Rank #2. World's Wickedest City, Port Royal (Jamaica)
One of the advantages of marine or nautical archeology is that, in many instances, catastrophic events send a ship or its cargo to the bottom, freezing a moment in time. A catastrophe that has helped nautical archeologists was the earthquake that destroyed part of the city of Port Royal, Jamaica. Once known as the "Wickedest City on Earth" for its sheer concentration of pirates, prostitutes and rum, Port Royal is now famous for another reason: "It is the only sunk city in the New World," according to Donny L. Hamilton.

In 1981, the Nautical Archaeology Program of Texas A&M University, in cooperation with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) and the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), began underwater archaeological investigations of the submerged portion of the 17th-century town ofPort Royal, Jamaica. Present evidence indicates that while the areas of Port Royal that lay along the edge of the harbor slid and jumbled as they sank, destroying most of the archaeological context, the area investigated by TAMU / INA, located some distance from the harbor, sank vertically, with minimal horizontal disturbance.

Rank #1. Cleopatra's Palace in Alexandria (Egypt)
Off the shores of Alexandria, the city of Alexander the Great, lies what is believed to be the ruins of the royal quarters of Cleopatra. A team of marine archaeologists led by Frenchman Franck Goddio made excavations on this ancient city from where Cleopatra, the last queen of the Ptolemies, ruled Egypt. Historians believe this site was submerged by earthquakes and tidal waves more than 1,600 years ago.