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The original world nomad "Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance." - Confucius.


GREECE | Sunday, 14 October 2007 | Views [2562] | Comments [1]

All the ancient ruins are spectactular if for nothing else than their age: when you are looking at beautiful jewelry and art, often with very human humour, that is 1900 BC it is breathtaking.

Over the years we have visited many of the anciant temples and cultures of the world (with the exception of Egypt) and trying to get these into some sort of hostorial perspective isn't as easy as it sounds. How does Ankor Wat relate to Minoan ruins? Or stone henge and the Pyramids of Egypt? Chinese civilisation versus Machu Pichu?

Although many of the great sites were built over centuries, here is a rough chronology (and any archaeology professors are welcome to prove me wrong):

Stone Henge (England) 2800BC
Pharos (Egypt) 2600 BC
Minoans (Greece) 1900 BC
The Great Wall (China) 800 BC
Tikal (Guatemala) 200AD
Ankor Wat (Cambodia) 1100AD
Machu Pichu (Peru) 1450 AD

As we travel across Crete visiting various Minoan ruins, we find we really don't know much about the Minoan's, not even what they called themselves, yet some of their temples and artifacts are extraordinary. The two main complexes here are Knossos and Phestos, of which we preferred the latter just because it has been left relatively untouched so you get a better idea of the structures whereas Knossos has had British archaeologists try to rebuild it at the turn of the century and some of their decisions are confusing at best!

Phestos was also the source of the famous Phestos disc which has something of a special significance of Yuki and I.

It becomes apparent that something fairly cataclysmic happened about 1450 BC that was enough to destroy a fair chunk of their civilisation.

When we visited Knossos which was the primary centre of the time, it was the same story, but the remains of the palace are so high up (perhaps 300m) and so far inland (perhaps 6 km) that I couldn't imagine any sort of tidal wave doing it.

But then we arrived at Santorini.

It isn't until you are up high on the main segment of the island and you scan around the rim to work out where the original island was that you realise the sheer scale of the eruption and explosion that must have taken place. Cruise liners visiting Santorini look like private yachts as they sail up to the harbour.

You don't need much imagination to work out what sort of waves might have been unleashed by the eruption. What if they were over 100 metres high? That would do it. Crete is over 100 km away but any waves generated by Santorini's explosion would have been fearful.

Travelling with two young boys aged 3 and 5 has its own unique flavour this time around: we seem to send half our time saying "Don't touch", "Be careful" or "Quietly!" and the other half picking them up from dusty ruins and applying first aid to grazed knees.


Tags: adventures, ancient, culture, history, perspective, philosophy, ruins




thanks for your thoughts, original :) i hope your travels are safe and insightful.

  avant-garde_chauvintist Oct 18, 2007 11:50 AM

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