Ancient cities as canaries in the coal mine
As an archaeologist, I am used to seeing the effects of time—and natural and human impacts on—ancient sites around the world. Over the millenia so many historic sites, villages, settlements, and works of art have been destroyed through neglect, economic depression, abandonment of cities due to environmental stress, and of course intentional destruction during times of human conflict. The destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan by the Taliban and of heritage sites at Palmyra in Syria by ISIS demonstrate that such activities have reached unprecedented levels—when heritage sites that have survived hundreds and thousands of years are intentially destroyed, clearly something different is happening.
By Griffin Shea
February 14, 2017