“The Venice of the Sands in Peril by G.W. Bowersock” | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books

Sowing a path of death and destruction, ISIS has taken another ancient city. The world looks on helplessly as they continue to slaughter all who do not meet their ideological standards, including women and children. And it is not enough for them to destroy the present, they feel that they must destroy the past as well. While there is no evidence of damage yet, it is likely that the magnificent ancient city of Palmyra will meet the same fate as Nimrud and Hatra.

In contemplating this possibility, G.W. Bowersock acknowledges the extensive archeological excavations of the site, but argues that “it would be folly to believe that the survival of archaeological reports and photographs could in any way compensate for the destruction or looting of the ancient remains. The preservation of buildings and objects that managed to survive for two thousand years of Palmyra’s history has to be a priority wherever civilization is cherished. The Arabs at Palmyra today, and undoubtedly many Arabs everywhere, know that the city belongs to them and their past.” Read his summary of the history of this splendid ancient city here:


The Venice of the Sands in Peril by G.W. Bowersock | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books.


What the collapse of ancient capitals can teach us about the cities of today | Cities | The Guardian

Based on the work of the archaeologist Roland Fletcher, Srinath Perur warns us that we may suffer the same fate as “Tikal, Angkor and Anuradhapura.” These ancient cities  collapsed “after thriving for more than a millennium.” And despite the fact that they “were very different cities in their geography, environment and social and political functioning…they all had operational similarities: extensive land clearance, sprawling low-density settlement patterns, massive infrastructure – all of which are attributes of modern cities. The extended infrastructure of Angkor and Tikal proved vulnerable to a changing climate, something else that may be upon us.”

What the collapse of ancient capitals can teach us about the cities of today | Cities | The Guardian.