Chaco Canyon, New Mexico: The Chaco Canyon complex was the main social and ceremonial center of the Anasazi culture. It is not known what these people called themselves, the term Anasazi is a Navaho word meaning variously "the ancient ones" or "the enemies of our ancient fathers." The early Anasazi (100 BC.) were nomadic hunter-gatherers ranging over great expanses of territory; by AD 700 they had begun to live in settled communities of which Chaco Canyon is the finest example. Intensive construction occurred throughout Chaco Canyon between AD 900 to 1100, resulting in the development of several sophisticated dwelling complexes. Pueblo Bonito (meaning "pretty village" in Spanish; the original Anasazi name is unknown) had more than six hundred rooms, numerous two- and three-storey buildings, several ceremonial structures called kivas, and a population between 800 and 1200 persons. From tree-ring dating, it is known that a period of great drought came upon the Chaco area in AD 1150, causing the abandonment of the site.
Carthage: The Latin name, Carthago or Cartago, was derived from the Phoenician name, which meant new city. Northwest of Tunis on the shore of the Golfe de Tunis is Carthage. Carthage was founded by Dido from Tyre in the 9th cent. B.C. The city-state built up trade and in the 6th and 5th cent. B.C. began to acquire dominance in the W Mediterranean. Merchants and explorers established a wide net of trade that brought great wealth to Carthage. In the second century BC, Rome defeated Carthage in the Third Punic War. As a result, Carthage was pillaged, burned and razed by the Romans.
Palenque, Mexico: Vast, mysterious and enchanting, the ruined city of Palenque is considered to be the most beautifully conceived of the Mayan city-states. Palenque was even more beautiful, for then its limestone buildings were coated with white plaster and painted in a rainbow of pastel hues. Hidden deeply in the jungles, the ruins existence was unknown until 1773. Scattered pottery shards show that the site was occupied from as early as 300 BC, but most of the buildings were constructed between the 7th and 10th centuries AD. Then, mysteriously, the great city was abandoned and reclaimed by the inexorable claws of the jungle. Even the Mayan name of the city was lost, and the ruins received their current name from the nearby village of Santo Domingo de Palenque.
Step Pyramid, Djoser: The Step Pyramid Complex of Djoser (also spelled Zozer) was built during the Third Dynasty (ca. 2800 B.C.) in what is now Saqqara, Egypt. Djoser's Step Pyramid is generally considered the first tomb in Egypt to be built entirely of stone. Djoser's architect, Imhotep, built in stages. The tomb started life as an unusual square, solid mastaba, but a series of extensions saw it develop into a six-stepped pyramid with a rectangular ground-plan. Below ground, a warren of tunnels, galleries and rooms surrounded Djoser's burial chamber. Around the pyramid, his mortuary complex included courts and buildings, each with its own particular function, and its own particular magic.
Monte Alban, Mexico: Soaring above the valley and city of Oaxaca, the hilltop ruins of Monte Alban are the second largest ceremonial site in Mesoamerica, only exceeded in size by Teotihuacan near Mexico City. One ancient name of the site was Sahandevui, meaning, `at the foot of heaven.' Elaborate yet currently undeciphered hieroglyphs found here are among the most ancient writings in all of Mesoamerica. Equally mysterious are the strange rock carvings known as danzantes, which depict humanoid figures with Negroid facial features. The buildings were constructed between 1000 - 800 BC but most of these are now destroyed or buried beneath later Zapotec structures. The Zapotec occupation of the site dates from 100BC and most of the enormous structures standing today date from the Classic phase of 300-900 AD when Monte Alban had become the principal ceremonial site of the Zapotec empire. The complex contains great plazas, numerous pyramids, a ball game court, underground passageways, and over 170 tombs. The site was abandoned as a functioning ceremonial center during the 10th century though it continued to be used as a burial place by the Mixtecs.
Paphos, Cyprus: Paphos has been inhabited since the Neolithic period. It was a centre of the cult of Aphrodite and of pre-Hellenic fertility deities. Aphrodite's legendary birthplace was on this island, where her temple was erected by the Myceneans in the 12th century B.C. The remains of villas, palaces, theatres, fortresses and tombs mean that the site is of exceptional architectural and historic value. The mosaics of Nea Paphos are among the most beautiful in the world. Aphrodite's legendary birthplace was on this island, where her temple was erected by the Myceneans in the 12th century B.C.
Mitla, Mexico: The ruins of Mitla are one of Mexico's most fascinating and enigmatic sacred places. Archaeological excavations indicate that the site was occupied from as early as 900 BC. Mitla's visible structural remains however, date from between 200 and 900 AD when the Zapotecs were present, from 1000 AD when the Mixtecs took control of the site, and from 1200 AD (some sources say 1500), when the Zapotecs were back in control. The word Mitla is a term from the Nahuatl language meaning 'Place of the Dead', and the earlier Zapotec name of Lyobaa means 'tomb' or 'place of rest'. These two names, as well as the findings of the archaeological excavators, indicate that the village had great importance as a place of burial during both Zapotec and Mixtec times.