10 Ancient Civilizations To Discover


Do you fantasize about discovering ancient cities? Picture yourself uncovering long-lost ruins or buried treasure? Well grab that worn-out fedora and pack your passport, Live and Invest Overseas has the inside word on the best places around the world to let your inner Indian Jones run wild…

Ciudad Perdida, Colombia

Ciudad Perdida is Spanish for Lost City, and the name says it all. Archaeologists believe that Ciudad Perdida, in Colombia’s Seirra Nevada, is more than 600 years older than Machu Picchu, but it was not officially rediscovered until the early 1970s, when treasures, such as golden figurines, from the site began to appear on the black market. Members of Colombian indigenous tribes are thought to have visited the site regularly throughout its history, but chose to keep its existence secret.

Tamchén and Lagunita, Mexico

Think there’s nothing left to discover in the age of Google Streetview? Tell that to Ivan Sprajc and his team from the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts. In 2014, they discovered not one but two ancient Mayan cities in the jungles of Campeche, southern Mexico. If you bump into Ivan down there, ask him to point you in the direction of the more than 80 other Mayan sites he has uncovered during his astonishing career…

Mahendraparvata, Cambodia

Most everyone has heard of Cambodia’s incredible temple complex Angkor Wat. Fewer people are aware of the recent discovery of Mahendraparvata, 40 kilometers to the north. An archeological expedition team announced initial findings in 2013 and have now dated the site to 802, meaning Mahendraparvata predates Angkor Wat by roughly 350 years.

Cappadocia, Turkey



So you’re not surprised to see Cappadocia on the list—but what if we told you archaeologists had just uncovered another lost city in Cappadocia? One with churches, escape galleries, and more than 7 kilometers of tunnels. Discovered beneath a Byzantine castle, some archaeologists are predicting the city will rival the famous Derinkuyu, which housed 20,000 people, in size.

Villa Epecuen, Argentina

For the Indiana Jones of a modern persuasion, a visit to Villa Epecuen will prove intriguing. Situated next to Lago Epecuen, a saltwater lake, the tourist town Villa Epecuan was established in the 1920s. The village boomed, and, in the 1970s, the population was upwards of 5,000. Trouble was brewing, however, as season on season brought heavy rains to the surrounding hills, the lake grew, and the town was consumed by a salty, slow-growing flood. In the early 1990s, the water, having peaked at 10 meters, began to recede. The town that was submerged for 25 years is now, once again, attracting tourists.

Sukhothai, Thailand

Sukhothai is an ancient city in northern Thailand and was the seat of the Khmer Empire in the 13th and 14th centuries. The name Sukhothai translates literally to “Dawn of Happiness.” Sukhothai, as Thailand’s capital for more than 120 years, saw the rule of many kings, most notably Ramkhamhaeng the Great, who is credited with laying the foundations for Thailand’s religion, politics, and monarchy.

Conímbriga, Portugal

Conímbriga was on the Roman road between Lisbon and Braga. Despite evidence of occupation as early as the 2nd century B.C., Conímbriga is not the oldest Roman city in Portugal. It is, however, extremely well preserved, and, with archaeologists estimating that less than 10% of the site has been excavated, there is plenty of opportunity for theorizing and discovery with fellow explorers.


Pompeii, Italy

In August of the year 79, Italy’s Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the cities of Pompeii and nearby Herculaneum. The once-prosperous Pompeii near Naples lay undiscovered for 1,700 years, until a surveying engineer stumbled upon it. Despite years of careful archaeological work, roughly one-third of the city remains buried.

Ingapirca, Ecuador

The Ingapirca Inca ruins in Ecuador’s Cañar are the largest known in the country. It’s also the only place in Ecuador you can see a sun temple. The Temple of the Sun is positioned so that on the winter and summer solstices, the sun lines up precisely with the doorway, flooding the temple with light.

Caracol, Belize

The Caracol Mayan site in the Cayo District of Belize covers an area twice the size of the modern-day capital, Belize City. The jungle kept Caracol’s existence secret for hundreds of years until a local mahogany logger came across the ruins in the 1930s. This is not an easy place to get to, but, having once been home to more than 100,000 people, it is worth the trip.



About Author

Rebecca Adams

Rebecca Adams is a New Zealander living in Panama City. She has visited more than 35 countries around the world and is actively working to up that number.