Ancient city constructed on a coral reef remains the only one of its kind

January 1, 2017 by  
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On the island of Pohnpei, Micronesia rest the remarkable ruins of Nan Madol, the only ancient city ever constructed on top of a coral reef . Referred to as an ” engineering marvel ” by the Smithsonian and nicknamed the “Venice of the Pacific,” this series of over 90 artificial islets could have once housed around 1,000 people. Although the Saudeleur built the city around 1200 AD, it wasn’t until earlier this year Nan Madol was finally named a World Heritage Site . Nan Madol flourished sometime during the 13th to 17th centuries AD as a spiritual and political center for the Saudeleur. Little remains of the intriguing ancient civilization – no art or carvings – other than marvelous ruins atop the coral reef. Oral history says the Saudeleur came to Pohnpei as foreigners in 1100 and ended up ruling the island, with Nan Madol as their dynastic seat. The city also served as a temple for the god the nobility worshiped. Related: Lasers reveal ancient Cambodian cities hidden by jungle near Angkor Wat The Saudeleur utilized columnar basalt, a kind of volcanic rock, to build the impressive city on a foundation of coral – and as the building materials are so heavy, no one has yet figured out how they accomplished the feat. The heaviest pillars weigh around 100,000 pounds. The walls surrounding the island’s largest structure, a royal temple called Nandauwas, are 25 feet high. The enduring stability of the remains is also something of a mystery. According to the National Park Service , “The Pohnpeians, who had neither binding agents like concrete nor modern diving equipment, sank the heavy stones into the lagoon using an unknown method. The building remains and canals are stable enough that even after centuries of abandonment visitors can still tour Nan Madol by boat.” Earlier in 2016, the World Heritage Committee added Nan Madol to both the World Heritage List and the List of World Heritage in Danger, underlining the need to protect the fascinating site from unchecked mangrove growth and waterway siltation. Nan Madol is Micronesia’s first World Heritage Site. Via Smithsonian.com , Metropolitan Museum of Art , and National Park Service Images via Stephanie Batzer on Flickr ( 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ), Stefan Krasowski on Flickr , and Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Ancient city constructed on a coral reef remains the only one of its kind

The top 7 WTF moments in fashion this year

December 31, 2016 by  
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Has there ever been a year in our lifetime that so many of us have been so eager to kiss good-bye? It seems like there wasn’t a single thing not touched by tragedy: music, art, fashion , (ahem) politics . Check out our roundup of the top 7 WTF moments of 2016 and tell us which was the worst of the worst.

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The top 7 WTF moments in fashion this year

Lasers reveal ancient Cambodian cities hidden by jungle near Angkor Wat

June 13, 2016 by  
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In a thrilling new discovery, archaeologists used laser imaging technology to reveal ancient cities hidden by jungle in Cambodia. The LiDAR data provides information on waterways, iron smelting locations, and even another temple, Preah Khan. The discovery reveals that the cities near Angkor Wat were much larger than previously thought. Angkor Wat was built during the reign of King Suryavarman II of the Khmer Empire in the early to middle 1100s, and it was part of one of the biggest ancient cities . Archaeologists suspected there had to be more to the area, and research has been underway for several years. The new data appears to confirm these suspicions. Related: Archaeologists find 2,150-year-old Petra monument ‘hiding in plain sight’ Archaeologist Damian Evans said to AFP, “The LiDAR quite suddenly revealed an entire cityscape there with astonishing complexity. It turned out we’d been walking and flying right over the top of this stuff for ten years and not even noticing it because of the vegetation. What we had was basically a scatter of disconnected points on the map denoting temple sites. Now it’s like having a detailed street map of the entire city.” Back in 2012, scans revealed an ancient temple city close to Angkor Wat called Mahendraparvata, and the new scans will assist archaeologists on the ground as they continue to explore that area. It had been difficult for archaeologists to determine the extent of this area because the empire constructed many of the ancient buildings with wood that’s since rotted. Made of stone , the temples endure. Archaeologists saw evidence of both Hinduism and Buddhism in the temples; both religions were part of the Khmer Empire during different time periods. A spokesperson from the government authority in charge of Angkor Wat said they aimed to research further to build on the exciting discoveries. Via Phys.org Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Lasers reveal ancient Cambodian cities hidden by jungle near Angkor Wat

Drone video shows damaged Palmyra after ISIS occupation

March 30, 2016 by  
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Now that ISIS has been pushed out of Palmyra , archaeologists are starting to assess the damage done to the UNESCO World Heritage Site . Many expressed relief that more damage wasn’t perpetrated, yet there were still significant losses: both the Temple of Bel and the Temple of Baalshamin were blown up . There are some landmarks, such as the Roman amphitheater, that remain intact, although worse for the wear. Read the rest of Drone video shows damaged Palmyra after ISIS occupation

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Vineyard House uses rammed earth to stay cool in the Portuguese heat

March 30, 2016 by  
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