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Discovering Ancient Worlds…

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Last month, the archaeological world was rocked by a Canadian teenager’s supposed discovery of a lost Mayan city – rumors that were hyperinflated by the media before being fully verified…

Nonetheless, archaeology is full of trial and error, and the excitement surrounding the “lost Mayan city” is part of archaeology’s long love affair with the spirit of discovery. After all, many long-hidden secrets have been made famous by archaeologists and explorers of the unknown – and some of those long-lost secrets now feature on our tours. From Ice Age cave art to incredible cities of the ancient Indian desert, we have collated some of our favorite rediscovered sites for you below…

THE PREHISTORIC GALLERIES OF THE PECH MERLE CAVES, FRANCE

Wandering amongst the hyena bones and ancient footprints left by ancient children in the chambered caves of Pech Merle is an almost otherworldly experience. Prehistoric ocher handprints, scattered amongst the hulking shoulders of ancient mammoth, offer an intimate link to our Ice Age ancestors…

The spotted horses and charging bison of Pech Merle – some dating back 25,000 years – were hidden underground for thousands and thousands of years, the entrance blocked by rocks. They were discovered in 1922 by a pair of French teenagers – Andre David and Henri Dutertre – they were the privileged first explorers of Pech-Merle’s deepest chamber galleries…

Interested in exploring Pech Merle and the other cave art sites of prehistoric Europe? Join our 2017 Caves and Castles tour in Franco-Iberia…

MACHU PICCHU, PERU

“I know of no place in the world which can compare with it. Gigantic precipices of many-coloured granite, rising sheer for thousands of feet above the foaming, glistening, roaring rapids… It has also, in striking contrast, orchids and tree ferns, the delectable beauty of… the mysterious witchery of the jungle. One is drawn irresistibly onwards by ever-recurring surprises…” – Hiram Bingham, ‘The Lost City of the Inca’

Machu Picchu, the green-cloaked imperial estate of Pachacuti, was largely lost to all but a small number of local Peruvians for centuries after its abandonment during the Spanish Conquest. In 1911, Hiram Bingham – a Yale professor – was led to the site by local farmer Melchor Arteaga, where an eleven year-old Quechuan boy called Pablito Alvarez guided him across the ridge to the main fortress…

Machu Picchu is one of the many highlights of our Peru tour, departing late this summer. Click here to find out more…

DHOLAVIRA (GUJARAT, INDIA)

Dholavira, once one of the grandest and most sprawling of the lost Harappan cities, lies in Gujarat’s Kutch district – an area that almost passes for an island, caught between the golden desert and the curving coastline of the Arabian Sea. Exploring the extraordinary hydraulic engineering of Dholavira leaves visitors humbled…

Dholavira was discovered by Jagat Pati Joshi, an Indian archaeologist, in 1968. Excavations are still ongoing, but the site has revealed hidden secrets of the ancient Harappan civilisation of the Gujarat region – which boasted advanced hydraulic engineering capable of conserving and harvesting water in a hot climate. Dholavira is constantly revealing new secrets – just this week, scientists discovered that the city’s fortifications were originally developed as a powerful tsunami wall.

Dholavira is just one of the many incredible Indian sites we will explore on our Gujarat tour this New Year. Will you be joining us amongst India’s temples and palaces?

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