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Is Mars as Dry as It Seems?

When searching for life, scientists first look for an elemental key to sustaining it: fresh water. Although today’s Martian surface…

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Sutton Hoo

On Thursday, November 2, 2017, I arrived at London’s Heathrow Airport, traveled by Underground to the Baker Street station, and…

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The Ancient Wheel-Rut Enigma


A Russian Geologist Is Defying the Conventional Dating Dogma

A story in the Alternative News section of Atlantis Rising #124 chronicled how anomalous tire and tread tracks of what could be ancient machines—found mostly in Turkey and Spain, but other places as well—are providing a major archaeological mystery. Now a respected Russian geologist says he believes the tracks could be 12 to 14 million years old.

Dr. Alexander Koltypin, director of the Natural Science Research Center at Moscow’s International Independent University of Ecology and Geology, has been studying ancient ruts appearing in ground that has been petrified since the middle to late Miocene era. Often intersecting very ancient geological fault lines, which they, thus, must predate, the tracks cannot be dismissed as of recent origin.

Koltypin has investigated numerous petrified sites in Malta, Italy, Kazakhstan, France, and even in North America. In Turkey, one cluster near Sofia covers an area of about 450 square miles. In Cappadocia are several such areas as large as 300 square miles. Some of the tracks are comparable in width to modern vehicles with tires about nine inches wide.

The conventional theory, found in the very few works previously discussing the subject, was that the tracks were caused by lightweight carts or chariots. (Of course, according to orthodoxy, modern humans were not around at such early dates.) The ruts are far too deep, says Koltypin, to be made by such small conveyances—even those that could have been drawn by camel. After conducting many field studies in various locations and extensively reviewing scientific literature on the local geology, he speculates that the tracks might have been left by the builders of underground cities found in places like Cappadocia; but he says they are far older than is conventionally believed and could have been left only by heavy machinery.

Dr. Koltypin’s research and many pictures can be found on his website and in several YouTube videos. —ED



Back in 1995 I visited the island of Malta. I was interested in the very old megalithic monuments (once considered to be the oldest man-made stone structures in the world, going back over 7,000 years) as well as the cart ruts. Malta has a number of ancient monuments like Hagar Qim that draw tourists from around the world. Tourists in Malta will also often visit the cart ruts.

The general theory on the ruts is that the ancients were transporting goods on sledges that gouged the tracks into the rock—or that the vehicles were wheeled carts that were transporting goods, and, as other carts followed, the ruts were made over time. Another suggestion has been that some ruts were used for channeling water in some complex and now lost irrigation system. The Maltese archaeologist Anthony Bonanno thinks the ruts are devices of the Phoenicians, putting them in the time period of the seventh century B.C. This is a time after the other monuments were built. It is said that some ruts go into the ocean, indicating that they were there before the sea rose to its current level.

Researchers from Portsmouth University in the UK suggest that wooden-wheeled carts eroding soft limestone while it was wet may have caused the ruts. Professor Mottershead of Portsmouth University (UK) says, “The underlying rock in Malta is weak and when it’s wet it loses about 80 percent of its strength. The carts would have first made tracks in the soil, but when that eroded, the cartwheels ran directly on the bedrock, making it easier for other carts to follow the same tracks.” (Wikipedia)

During my 1995 visit, I awoke early one morning to explore the mystery of the cart ruts at various places around both Malta and its sister island Gozo. The ruts can be found at a number of sites, such as Busewdien in St Paul’s Bay, Naxxar, San Gwann, and Bidnija. A thin and shallow pair of cart ruts runs into the sea at St. Georges Bay (Birzebbuga) on Malta. At Mellieha Bay, a set of cart ruts run parallel to the seashore.

After a bus ride into the interior of the island, I came to Clapham Junction, the most famous intersection of cart tracks. This area is now referred to by its original Maltese name: Misrah Ghar il-Kbir. The Clapham Junction name was given by an Englishman who said the ruts reminded him of the busy railway station Clapham Junction in London.

I left the bus at the village of Dingli and set out for the Dingli Cliffs, where, hundreds of feet below, the sea crashed into the island’s west side. A Maltese man in a dump truck stopped abruptly and gave me a ride to the scene of the cart ruts.

A dirt road led to a signpost pointing the way further. Later, at a grassy rock field, where over 30 ruts converge and radiate outward in multiple directions, I wandered about inspecting the many weird ruts carved into the rock. Many pairs of tracks ran in perfect parallel, at a distance from each other, curiously matching the old British gauge for railway tracks. They ended abruptly over cliffs.

Conventional Research

Scientists have studied the anomalous ruts since the turn of the twentieth century. M. A. Murray, in a 1928 article entitled, “The Cart-Ruts of Malta,” published in the British scientific journal Man, argued that the archaeological evidence for human origin for the tracks is fairly strong. There seems, he said, to have been a network of these roads over the whole island of Malta. The age of these ancient roads seems indicated; not only by their connection with the megaliths, but also by the fact that they were made when the configuration of the island was different from its present condition.

These ancient tracks are remarkable in many ways. They go over cliffs; they are of consistent gauge; and crisscross both Malta and Gozo. The more researchers looked into the cart tracks, the more mysterious and puzzling they became.

The British archaeologist H. S. Gracie wrote in a 1954 article for Antiquity magazine (28:91–98) entitled, “The Ancient Cart-Tracks of Malta,” that the barren hilltops of Malta are scored in many places by ancient ruts cut deeply into the rock: “They can be seen also on the slopes and on the lower plains,” he wrote, “but less frequently because these areas are normally under agricultural soil. They always occur in pairs from 52 to 58 inches apart and were quite clearly used by vehicles.”

“Rut depths,” says Gracie, “range from a mere smoothing of the surface to more than 2 feet. The greatest depth noted was 27 inches, and there were several measurements between 22 and 24 inches. These are the mean depths of a pair of ruts taken from the highest point of the intervening rock. A wheel to negotiate such ruts would need to be 5 feet in diameter, allowing only 6 inches for the hub.”

There are sometimes sharp turns in the tracks. “In no case,” Gracie found, “was there any widening or flattening of the bottoms of the ruts such as would necessarily have been formed by a sledge runner. Sledges, therefore, could not have been used.”

Frequently a track will “bifurcate,” Gracie reported, “the two parts coming together again after a short distance.”

“The date of the road system is more difficult to arrive at,” said Gracie. “Tracks pass over Punic graves in at least four places. At Imtarfa, the lip of the rut is a sharp right angle, indicating that the rut is older than the grave, which has cut through and truncated the rut.”

Gracie believed that a simple system of natural tracks joining settlements with each other and with springs and the sea was formed about the beginning of the first millennium BC but possibly earlier.

British-Maltese researcher David Trump on his website mentions a number of sites around Malta where cart ruts can be seen on the seabed, as at St. George’s Bay (near Birzebbuga Bay). He says that St. Georges Bay also has a strange, thin, shallow pair running into the sea near the underwater cart ruts. He mentions other sets of ruts that run parallel to the seashore at Mellieha Bay.

Trump also reports on submerged cart tracks and other shapes that may be buildings on the seafloor out from St. Julian’s, towards the village of Pembroke.

Also mentioned briefly, is that the massive harbor of the capital Valletta is reported to have many, large stone structures on the seafloor. It was well known, Trump says, that “a megalithic structure once existed inside Valletta’s Grand Harbor, at the foot of Fort Saint Angelo.” The historian Jean Quintinus said that this temple extended over “a large part of the harbor, even far out into the sea” as late as the years 1536 and 1606. The historian Megeiser (1606) said that he could see that it was constructed of “rectangular blocks of unbelievable sizes.”

One of the mysteries of the cart ruts is that while grooves for the wheels are clearly worn, there are no similarly worn tracks between the ruts for any draft animals. It has been suggested that sidecars were used in moving quarried blocks or other cargo, yet there are no tracks or depressions showing that animals or men pushed or pulled the carts.

Were the hypothetical carts self-powered? Did a primitive form of steam engine move them along their rock-cut tracks? Were they electric vehicles of some kind? It is clear that the ruts were made in a world now long gone and that much of it is now underwater.

Part of the mystery of the Malta cart ruts is that they seem to be from a time before the Mediterranean was flooded as we find it now. Was that 12,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age? Or was it hundreds of thousands of years earlier? Geologists can, and do, argue about this.

What was going on with these cart tracks? What were they hauling? In my 1996 book, Lost Cities of Atlantis, Ancient Europe & the Mediterranean, I suggested that it had something to do with nearby rock quarries, of which there are many on Malta. The giant blocks used at the megalithic sites of Hagar Qim and Mnjadra and others, I argued, were transported by carts that made the ruts. But did they have an independent power source? That is an enduring mystery, as we do not see any ruts for draft animals.

The late researcher Phillip Coppens wrote that Italian researchers Conti and Saliba believed the whole network dates back to Phoenician-Roman times, when large ashlar blocks were extracted from quarries. Conti and Saliba conclude that dating of these ruts is of only secondary importance: “Cart-ruts and quarries could have been a system which saw its birth in the Neolithic Period and continued to be used until the Classical and possibly later periods.” The rock was rough and fissured enough, so that primitive tools could easily break it up. The quarries at Misrah Ghar il-Kbir still show signs of drilling, which is of a similar type what is found in the unfinished sections of the Hypogeum, suggesting Neolithic hands might have engineered the first cart ruts.

“Good rock is good rock,” said Coppens, “whether in Neolithic, medieval, or modern times. Thus, when we look southwest of the site, there is a huge modern quarry, more than 25 meters deep; underscoring that a quarry is often not used in just one historic period, but that it has retained its importance for eons. However, that the rock might not be as good as one might think—at least not if one looks for hard rock—is a conclusion drawn by the previously mentioned Professor Mottershead, who developed a cart to fit the cart ruts and estimated its weight and the stresses that would be involved when it was moved over the rocks. Mottershead argues that in some places the rock is so soft that after heavy rain, the passage of a single cart could cause the rock to fail and result in the deep ruts. In wet conditions, the rock loses eighty percent of its strength—which is why there are so many ruts.

It is known that some of the stones for the Maltese temples came from afar, just like some of the stones for Stonehenge, which were transported for several miles. Not only was it because it had to be the “right type” of stone, it seems that the stones were often taken from religiously important sites. Noting that several Maltese temples were built on top of hills, it might be no coincidence that “Clapham Junction” is located on a hill. Was stone once quarried here because these rocks were deemed sacred? We will likely never know, but if not Misrah Ghar il-Kbir, then perhaps some of the other sites on the island, from which the stones were taken, were held sacred.

Still, for an island that had no rail infrastructure, Clapham Junction will remain its single greatest contribution to the “art” of such modes of transport. Indeed, one often forgotten aspect is the question as to where the workforce that quarried these stones could have lived. Though no trace exists, it has been proposed that nearby Buskett is one of the few areas of Malta with a year-round, spring-fed water supply. And hence, the two sites in this area that bring tourists—Buskett Gardens and Clapham Junction—might also have been the ones that saw human habitation in ancient times. Good sites, like good stones, will always attract people, regardless of the times in which we live. And though the ruts might not yet have revealed their true age, they have unveiled their purpose.

We may never know the origin of all of the cart ruts around the world, but their prevalence would seem to speak of a prehistoric world that shared the same gauge of cart for their many rock quarrying and moving tasks.

It is interesting to note in this regard that Egypt is not known for cart ruts, yet it is a place of many megalithic monuments. The mystery continues.

CAPTION: Typical stone road in Turkey, intersected by a fault line (photo by Alexander Koltypin).

Prehistoric wheel ruts on Malta, origins unknown.

Ancient quarry at Misraћ Gћar il-Kbir in Siġġiewi, Malta.

March/April 2018 – #128

Out-of-Place Artifacts

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Rising Above Materialism

According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia of the Internet, levitation is a process by which an object is held aloft,…

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Long-Lost Worlds Beneath Our Feet

For ages, people have populated the blank spaces on the map with strange creatures and stranger people, imagining lost cities and fabulous beasts. As the world was largely explored, people continued to imagine strange realms underground or beneath the sea. Now our imaginings have largely been moved off planet, yet much of the sea is still unexplored, and we know very little about the underground. And, indeed, it still may hold some surprises for us.

But before examining the evidence, we need to dispel a couple of modern myths. We who investigate the unexplained owe it to ourselves not to react to close-minded skepticism by embracing its opposite, uncritical credulity. Yet there are still some people who cling to the idea that the earth is hollow, with entrances usually located at the poles, and often lit by a central miniature sun. Let’s first dispose of the central sun myth. First of all, it would be in a dynamically unstable position; if it drifted even slightly away from the exact center, it would be attracted by the earth’s gravity and crash into the side of the underworld. Furthermore, there is no known or projected way for a tiny object to generate brilliant light; stars are very massive objects, held together by their immense gravity. Throughout the universe, whether energy is created by hydrogen fusion or by some other unknown process, it remains true that massive objects are invariably hotter than smaller objects. And even if a tiny central sun magically produced energy, it would simply expand and blow itself apart. As for the earth being hollow, there is no known process that would produce a hollow planet, and no known force that would keep it hollow. People speak of “centrifugal force,” which, technically, is not a force; it is angular momentum. If the earth were spinning fast enough, the poles would be even more flattened than they are now, but it would not be hollow. Gravity may not be fully understood by modern physics, but it can at least be measured, and there is no doubt that for the earth to have the gravity it does, it must be solid and very dense. Furthermore, every bit of evidence we have, including volcanism and careful measurements of crustal heat flow, show the earth’s deep interior is hotter than the surface of the sun. As for the North Pole entrance, the North Pole is on the three-mile-deep Arctic Ocean. And countless people have visited both poles; we even have a permanently manned base at the South Pole.

Another popular modern myth is the tunnel-boring machine (TBM) that uses heat to melt a tunnel at great speed, lining its roof and walls with the molten stone. Some versions involve a laser. But the molten stone would simply sink to the bottom of the cavity and flow back around the machine, simultaneously overheating it, and, as it cooled and solidified, entrapping it. And melting stone and allowing it to harden again does not decrease its volume and produce an empty space. There is a patent for a machine that uses heat to cut or shatter rock and then remove it mechanically, but there is no evidence that this process would be appreciably faster than the drilling done by more conventional TBMs.

Yet there are still underworlds. There are the physical underworlds of natural caves and man-made mining tunnels, and there is the underworld of ancient and modern myth.

The cave with the biggest known rooms is the Son Dong cave in Vietnam; it is actually a natural tunnel eroded through limestone, with a stream flowing in one end and out the other. The cave is 5.6 miles long and in places its ceiling is 660 feet high, and the cave is up to 490 feet wide. The longest explored cave is Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave system, also known as the Flint Ridge system; cavers discovered that Mammoth Cave and several other nearby caves are connected in a system, of which 365 miles of passageways have been explored. It is possible that Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico may be connected with the nearby Lechugilla Cave, which is at least 1,597 feet deep. The deepest cave yet explored is the Krubera Cave in the Western Caucasus Mountains; it has been explored to a depth of 7,208 feet below its entrance, but that entrance is well over 7,000 feet above sea level. The deepest anyone has been below sea level is the Marianas Trench in the Pacific; so far, three people have been to the bottom, about seven miles down.

The deepest mine is the Mponeng gold mine in South Africa, at 2.5 miles. At this depth, the heat flow is so intense that powerful air conditioners and fans are needed just to keep the miners alive, and the rocks are too hot to touch. In addition, the passageways tend to close slowly due to the pressure of the rock above, and sometimes miners are killed in sudden “rock bursts.” It is doubtful that any man-made or natural cavity could exist much deeper than this unless it is filled with (relatively incompressible) water.

Then there is the underworld of ancient myth. The Greeks and Romans believed in Hades, the underworld of the dead; it was not a place of punishment, although it was not particularly pleasant. The idea that a vengeful God condemned sinners to an eternity of fiery torment evolved much later and helped the Church keep people in line. The Egyptians believed in an underworld called the Duat, and the Mayan underworld was Xibalba. Mayan civilization was concentrated in the Yucatan Peninsula, which is honeycombed with caves and underground rivers, and the landscape is dotted with cenotes, places where the cave roofs have collapsed, giving access to the water. The caves extend offshore; I myself have dived in a tunnel eighty feet down off Isla Cozumel. In other parts of the world, people traditionally believed that fairies, elves, gnomes, and the like, lived underground, often in hollowed-out hills, or in a kind of parallel universe that could be accessed through tunnels or caves.

Yet with all that, haunted caves do not seem all that common. Some believe that the infamous Bell Witch of Tennessee still dwells in a cave, and there are accounts of mysterious voices and other sounds in Mammoth Cave. Moaning Cavern in Calaveras County, California, is allegedly haunted, and some people claim to have heard knocking sounds there, reminiscent of the accounts of “tommy knockers.” The original entrance is a vertical pit 165 feet deep, where many Indians and early Gold Rush miners fell to their deaths. When I rappelled down it years ago, I encountered nothing strange.

Then there are the modern legends of secret government bases or underground cities inhabited by reptoids. Some of these alleged bases have been given the acronym “DUMB” for Deep Underground Military Base, and some people claim that they are often two miles down. No one has explained why the government would go to the trouble and expense of going that deep; and, as the Mponeng Mine shows, the rock is dangerously hot and unstable at that depth. In fact, some claim there are bases that deep in Nevada, where the earth’s crust is stretched thin and heat flow is extreme, or even in Mt. Shasta. Having climbed Shasta, I must point out that it is a volcano made of weak and unstable rock, very hot inside, with an active fumarole near the surface—not a good place for an underground base or a Lemurian city. There are urban legends of tunnels going miles down under Los Alamos, New Mexico, and there really is at least one shallow tunnel there, used by the government’s laboratories; I have seen the entrance to it. But Los Alamos is built on the flanks of an immense volcano, thought to be extinct, and, as local hot springs show, there is still a lot of heat below the surface.

There have been claims of a secret underground base near the town of Dulce, beneath Archuleta Mesa on the Jicarilla Apache reservation in northern New Mexico. There have been some strange events in the area, including cattle mutilations investigated in the seventies by former New Mexico state police officer Gabe Valdez, but the underground base stories began with one Paul Bennewitz, who believed that he had picked up radio transmissions from the base. However, it is no secret that Bennewitz had been fed disinformation by the USAF OSI (Office of Special Investigations), ultimately leading to his nervous breakdown. A man named Phil Schneider, now deceased, claimed that he had worked in the base under Archuleta Mesa and that the upper parts were used by the US military, but hostile aliens controlled the lower parts, and that he participated in a gun battle with these aliens. There is not one shred of evidence to back any of this up.

Regarding the theories that reptoids (humanoid reptiles) live underground, there are innumerable accounts of reptoids encountered by UFO abductees; and they have also been reported in places like South Carolina’s Scape Ore Swamp; and there are ancient Mesopotamian statues of humanoid reptilians. It is likely that there is a grain of truth behind these accounts, but there is no hard proof that reptoids live in deep caves. No miners or cave explorers have reported them.

And while there is no proof of DUMBs or interconnecting maglev train tunnels as some writers have claimed, there is no doubt that maglev trains are possible and could travel at immense speeds. The government does have many known (and, almost certainly, many unknown) underground bases, although they are nowhere near two miles deep. For example, there is the Mt. Weather Emergency Operations Center in Virginia, and the continuity of government shelter beneath the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia. And, of course, there is the operations center under Cheyenne Mountain near Colorado Springs. The Denver Airport has a Masonic plaque and a statue of a horse with glowing eyes, and it used to have some strange and disturbing paintings. The old Denver Airport was handling traffic quite effectively, but the city insisted on building the new one 25 miles out of town; it wound up costing two billion dollars more than expected and was 16 months behind schedule. The area used for the airport is far larger than necessary, and there are known maintenance and storage areas underground. The workers there admit that there are underground sections that are off limits to them, and no one knows what they contain, or why. Some believe it is quite likely that there are shelters here for our elites, and/or an underground command center.

Whether or not such speculation is on target, there yet remain many underground mysteries around the world that conventional science has utterly failed to adequately explain.

In Turkey, for example, there really are ancient underground cities. The largest yet explored is Derinkuyu in the Cappadocia region. Some 200 feet deep, this beautifully engineered structure has room for 20,000 people, plus food, and livestock. Multiple levels and doorways can be closed off against intruders. In more recent times, Christians hiding from the Muslims have apparently briefly used the cities. They would, however, be of no use as strategic refuges against attack. Invaders could easily have taken the land above and left the people beneath to slowly starve or suffocate, their ventilation shafts blocked. Derinkuyu, some speculate, may have been built by the Indo-European Phrygians around 600-800 BC. Some 36 of these cities have been found so far and the Hittites may have constructed some before the time of the Phrygians, and at least one is conceded by orthodoxy to be some 5,000 years old.

[As in the case of many spectacular ruins around the world, no one can say with certainty just when, how, or for what reason, these underground cities were originally built. They could well be thousands of years older than the peoples who ultimately used them for their own purposes, and who have been erroneously credited with the original constructions. —ED]

So why did ancient people go to such trouble and expense to live underground? It seems they faced some threat from the sky, perhaps a nuclear war (ancient Hindu texts seem to describe something of the sort) or a super-massive solar outburst. They could, hopefully, take shelter until the danger was past and then reemerge, but how did they know in advance that such threats were coming? How could such catastrophes be reliably predicted far enough in advance to allow for the building of enormous underground cities? Clearly, the builders must have had great knowledge, and perhaps technology, that we don’t have today.

Equally strange are many ancient ruins located above natural caves or above man-made underground chambers. Inspired by Edgar Cayce, as well as cryptic ancient records and prophecies, occultists have long claimed there are secret chambers in the Great Pyramid at Giza, and even a tunnel connecting them with a “Hall of Records” beneath the Sphinx. Egyptologists have scoffed, of course, but in recent decades geologist Dr. Robert Schoch, engineer Thomas Dobecki, and others have used sonic waves to identify unknown chambers under the Sphinx. Along with ground penetrating radar and particle physics, such technologies are leading to many new underground and underwater discoveries. Other researchers have found even more tunnels and chambers under Giza. Researcher Andrew Collins has explored some of them, and they connect with a natural cave system, but lower levels are filled with water. Under Giza, it turns out, there is far more than even the wildest theorists had suspected. And yet Zahi Hawass and other conventional archaeologists have fought tooth and nail to deny it all and keep it secret. Why?

Under Sacsayhuaman in Peru there is a tunnel system that was, inexplicably, blocked off by authorities after a teenage couple entered and never came out. Their bodies were never recovered. Why would the Peruvians not do a thorough exploration of the system, which, some believe, could contain gold and emeralds and/or ancient artifacts and records, providing, perhaps, a treasure house of knowledge? What could governments across the world be hiding from us? There are known caves and tunnels under the ruins of Teotihuacan in Mexico and a cenote beneath El Castillo, the pyramid at Chichen Itza. In Malta, very ancient ruins remain partly underground. Beneath a temple in Ellora, India are man-made tunnels, some too small for adult humans to traverse. Carvings in the temple depict the ‘reptoid’ Nagas, full-sized humans, and dwarf humans—reptoids, perhaps, live underground after all. In fact, it may be true that most ancient sacred sites are above caves or man-made underground chambers and that these existed first, with surface temples added later.

Could ancient cave paintings, mostly in Spain and France, be clues to advanced ancient civilization? (See Joseph Jochman’s article on page 41 of this issue.) Some believe that many of the paintings represent the visions of people who have ingested psychedelics, like peyote or ayahuasca. Could there be some mysterious energy concentrated at such sacred sites? Might this energy be even greater underground, where it could help shamans and priests achieve altered states of consciousness?

Did initiates lie, as some believe, in something like the Ark of the Covenant fitted into the “sarcophagus” in the King’s Chamber of the Great Pyramid focusing power like a lens focusing sunlight? Did this help raise their consciousness? And are there artifacts beneath Giza and other sites that could challenge all of our conventional beliefs—if, indeed, the authorities have not preemptively removed and hidden them?

Are global elites, and the conventional archaeologists who serve them, hiding advanced ancient knowledge from the rest of us? And will that knowledge, one way or another, finally be revealed to the public? Stay tuned.

(In early November 2017, particle physicists, using recent muon studies, reported finding an immense, unexplained cavity in the Great Pyramid. For an exclusive Atlantis Rising report, see the article by Dr. Robert M. Schoch on page 42. —ED)

CAPTION: A chamber in the vast underground city beneath Derinkuyu, Turkey.

Lost History

March/April 2018 – #128