Category: archaeological

Abandoned Asylum: Horrors of Forest Haven [44 PICS]

May 2nd, 2014 Permalink

Once upon a time, the story of Forest Haven was happy and hopeful because the state-of-the-art D.C. Training School would help developmentally and mentally handicapped children and adults learn skills to help them survive in the real world instead of being institutionalized. That was 1925; the Forest Haven facilities grew to a compound with over 22 buildings spread over 250 acres. By 1991, the story of Forest Haven was a heartbreaking horror story as hundreds of residents died of abuse and neglect before the U.S. Justice Department forced the District of Columbia institution closed. “What we have here are quiet little murders,” explained a Justice Department expert witness in a 1994 article. “They’re killed one day at a time because people don’t pay attention and then no one finds out the real cause of death.” Before everything was said and done, Forest Haven ended up being one of the worst cases of criminal institutional abuse that the U.S. has ever seen. Oh the sickeningly sad stories the walls would tell you if only they could. Now, over 20 years later, this is the abandoned Forest Haven asylum. [44 Photos]

Left behind luggage at abandoned Forest Haven asylum

Left behind luggage at abandoned Forest Haven asylum. Like this luggage, patient records and sensitive information were all left behind. This place seems like the saddest version of Hotel California because mentally disabled children and adults were checked in, but could only check out by dying. Forest Haven history is dark and demented, full of epic abuses, criminal neglect and atrocities like rape. As we look at the abandoned asylum, let’s listen as if the walls could to talk about some the horrors of Forest Haven. Photo #1 by © Darryl Moran Photography

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Incredible Rocky Rainbow Vista Carved into the Valley of Fire [38 PICS]

March 28th, 2014 Permalink

Back when the dinosaurs walked the Earth, the Valley of Fire was forming. Time and the elements carved the fossilized sand into greats mazes of canyons, arches, ridges, domes, and valleys. Today, the Valley of Fire is a National Natural Landmark and the oldest state park in Nevada. This amazing and colorful wilderness in the Mojave Desert is only about an hour away from the bright city lights of Las Vegas; it comes highly recommended to experience. Sunlight striking the bright red rocks make the valley look like it’s on fire, but there are also layers of multicolored rocks in a “rainbow” of colors that stretch for many miles. Rainbow Vista is a breathtaking site to behold in the Valley of Fire. [38 Photos]

Amazing Rainbow Vista, rainbow of colored rocks at Valley of Fire during sunset

Amazing Rainbow Vista, rainbow of colored rocks at Valley of Fire during sunset. The Nevada State Park sign states, “Rainbow Vista: You are looking across 150 million years of time. The great maze of canyons, domes, towers, ridges and valleys before you are carved from sand deposited during the time when dinosaurs walked the earth. This is wild, virtually untouched wilderness. It is an ‘Adventure in Color’ for you to experience by car and on foot.” Photo #1 by LDELD

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Sacred Valley of the Incas: Salt, Stones & Secrets [42 PICS]

March 20th, 2014 Permalink

When you think about the Incas, does Machu Picchu come to mind? While that might be where your destination starts or ends in Peru, there is so much more to see in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, or El Valle Sagrado de los Incas. Look up along the Urubamba River and Valley to see Andes Mountain peaks stretching to a height of 20,000 feet. It is over these steep hillsides that the Incas managed to move massive stones without the help of the wheel. They had no iron tools to cut the stones, but still the pieces fit together so tightly that not even a knife blade can slide between them. The “how’s” are part of the secrets to which we might never know the answers. Huge circular terraces at Moray were thought to be where Incas conducted experimental agriculture. Carved into the mountains are also thousands of small salt ponds, Salineras de Maras, or Inca salt pans. All of this is located in the Peruvian Andes, with Cusco on one end and Machu Picchu on the other; this is the heartland of the Inca Empire. This is the Sacred Valley of the Incas. [42 PICS]

Las Salineras, Inca salt ponds

Inca salt ponds, Sacred Valley in Peru. The photographer wrote, “Indians mined salt slopes of the valley from pre-Inca times. Today, 700 to 800 families owning some 3600 basins are organized as a cooperative. The total annual production varies between 160 and 200 tons.” Photo #1 by David (Wanaku)

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6 National Parks of Ireland: Castles, Cliffs, Green Mossy Landscapes [38 PICS]

March 16th, 2014 Permalink

We’ve looked at Ireland Now and Then (100 years ago), but to celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day, here’s a look the six national parks of the Republic of Ireland. Killarney National Park was first, and Ballycroy was the last to be established. The Burren National Park is the smallest and Wicklow Mountains National Park is the largest in Ireland. There are also Connemara and Glenveagh as well as landscapes with castles, karst, cliffs, waterfalls and green mossy forests. [38 Photos]

Kylemore Abbey in Connemara is about 5km from Connemara National Park

Kylemore Abbey in Connemara is about 6km (10 minutes) from Connemara National Park. For St. Patrick’s Day, let’s look upon the green beauty of Ireland and scenic landscapes found in the 6 National Parks of Ireland: Ballycroy, Connemara, Glenveagh, Killarney, The Burren and Wicklow Mountains National Park. Photo #1 by Dennis Wilkinson

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US Government Top Secret Town: Manhattan Project ‘Atomic City’ aka Oak Ridge TN

April 14th, 2013 Permalink

In 1942, as part of the Manhattan Project, the U.S. government created a top ‘Secret Town’ aka ”The Atomic City’ now called Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The government bought up about 68,000 acres of land and about 1,000 Tennessee families were given two weeks or less to vacate. All the while, other secret towns were created elsewhere in the US as part of the race to create an atomic weapon. These photos are a flashback into World War II and a treasure trove of Oak Ridge period history. Through these pictures we can peer into the past, previously shrouded in secrecy, into the atomic city where the Little Boy bomb was created before the Enola Gay dropped it on Hiroshima. It’s a story that involves Soviet atomic spies, espionage, compartmentalization to guard secrets, and government billboards encouraging secrecy among Oak Ridge workers. [60 Photos]

Atoms For Peace Traveling Exhibit in Oak Ridge 1957

Atoms For Peace Traveling Exhibit in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, 1957. But once upon a time, for years, both the atomic research and the facility in Oak Ridge were shrouded in secrecy. The government created this ‘Secret Town’ aka ‘The Atomic City’ as part of the Manhattan Project. In fact, Oak Ridge was the Manhattan District Headquarters. Oak Ridge National Lab, which is now home to ultra-fast and powerful supercomputer Titan, has digitized photo archives, making this photo essay possible. DOE Photo #1 by Ed Westcott

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Chernobyl Exclusion Zone: Adrenaline & Radiation Urbex, A Good Day to Die Hard?

March 15th, 2013 Permalink

The Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster happened 27 years ago on April 26, 1986. After the explosion, a radius of 18.6 miles (30 km) was setup as the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. That “zone of alienation” is becoming more frequently seen in popular culture; it was seen in the 2013 film A Good Day to Die Hard, in the 2012 Chernobyl Diaries and also in the 2011 movie Transformers: Dark of the Moon. The area is featured in hundreds of documentaries and even early on in the 1998 film Godzilla as a researcher studies the mutational effects of radiation on native earthworms. It’s the nightmare setting for several video games. Although urban explorers have been coming to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone for years, Ukrainian officials opened the zone for tourists with “special permission” in 2011. Whether you call it reverse eco-tourism, terror tourism, or an adrenaline rush urban exploration, it would undoubtedly be surreal to experience. Some claim it’s haunted, while others think it’s a dream setting for playing a zombie apocalypse-like paintball gun war. Thanks to those that were brave enough to take up their cameras and Geiger counters, we can take a virtual tour of the Exclusion Zone. It includes Prypiat, Prypiat amusement park, Polissya hotel, the Red Forest and more places stuck in time as everyone was evacuated with no time to pack. This is what visiting the Chernobyl disaster after almost 27 years looks like, since criteria for this photo essay included being creative commons photos taken as recently as possible with as many different radioactive areas as possible. Enjoy!
[69 Photos, 8 Videos]

Pripyat - Lenin Square during fall season in 2012

Pripyat – Lenin Square during fall season in 2012. In April, it will be 27 years after the Chernobyl disaster and the emergency abandonment of Pipyat and other areas also known as the 30 Kilometer Zone, extending in a radius of 18.6 miles (30 km) from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Photo #1 by Michael Kötter

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Holy Land: Christian Tour of Israel [49 Divine Pics]

March 8th, 2013 Permalink

It is the desire of many people to visit the Holy Land, but different people want to see different things, different sacred places. Many Christians would like to visit places featured in the Bible, and many others would like to walk where Jesus walked, taught, preformed miracles, was born, was crucified, temporarily entombed, and rose again. Google Street View lets you tour parts of Israel, but for those of you who can’t currently afford a trip to see more sacred destinations, here are 49 divine pictures to make up a virtual tour of the Holy Land. [49 Photos]

Mount of Beatitudes view at the Sea of Galilee with the Golan heights at the background

Mount of Beatitudes view at the Sea of Galilee with the Golan heights at the background. The Mount of Beatitudes refers to the hill in northern Israel where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes.”Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Photo #1 by gugganij

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Beautiful Blue Lake Cave in Brazil

February 24th, 2013 Permalink

Bonito is the heart of eco-tourism in Brazil because it is famous for its natural beauty, prehistoric caves, waterfalls, and clear blue waters. One of the most beautiful is Blue Lake Cave (Gruta do Lago Azul). Amazingly, it is believed that no human set foot inside the cavern with the cobalt blue waters until 1924 when an Indian from the Terena tribe discovered it. That’s not to say nothing ventured down into the 328 feet (100 meters) deep cave, since massive mammals fossils from about 10,000 years ago were discovered by cave divers, bones such as those belonging to the Saber-tooth tiger and giant ground sloth. Because the water is so clear, it is hard to fathom that Blue Lake Cave is about 295 feet (90 meters) deep. Adventurers start with a hike through the forest, then go caving through a wide entrance that allows sunlight to illuminate the gorgeous blue waters as well as stalactites and stalagmites of all different sizes. Here’s a look at Bonito, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil and some of the extraordinary and unusual ecotourism adventures and true natural treasures including beautiful Blue Lake Cave. [25 Photos]

Sunlight lighting up the blue waters in the ancient cavern

Sunlight lighting up the blue waters in the ancient cavern. The cave itself is deep, 328 feet (100 meters) deep, and the lake inside has a depth of about 295 feet (90 meters). Photo #1 by LNarimatsu

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Carved by Dynamite, Massive Founding Fathers at Mt. Rushmore [34 PICS]

February 16th, 2013 Permalink

President’s Day is always celebrated on the third Monday of February and the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, a sculpture carved into the granite near Keystone, South Dakota, seemed most appropriate to celebrate it. Each of the 60 foot sculpted heads were carved into the granite, mostly by blasting with dynamite, to depict U.S. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Together, these Founding Fathers represent the first 130 years of American history. [34 Photos]

Mount Rushmore during sunset

Mount Rushmore during sunset, a shot of the great monument with fading sunlight behind the Black Hills. The 60-foot (18 m) sculpted heads are of U.S. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Photo #1 by Chaitanya Polumetla

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7 Sea Temples of Beautiful Bali: The Island Paradise Of 1,000 Temples [51 PICS]

November 30th, 2012 Permalink

Beautiful Bali has been called the famed island of the Gods. With its varied landscape of sandy beaches, hills and mountains, rugged coastlines and cliffs, gorgeous waterfalls, as well as lush rice terraces and barren volcanic hillsides, some people claim that Bali is a paradise on earth. But Bali also has a colorful and deeply spiritual culture, which is why it is known as the “island of a thousand temples.” There are sea temples, directional temples and so many others so that 1,000 is an understatement. In fact, everywhere you go, you see a temple. “There are so many temples that the Government does not bother to count them.” There are also monkeys guarding the temples, monkeys in the rain forest, and even bats in a cave temple. Here’s a look at the sea temples, some wonderfully cute wildlife like monkeys, and some other stunning temples on the paradise on earth known as beautiful Bali. [51 Photos]

A Bali sunset and Tanah Lot Temple, one of seven sea temples

After being inspired by a gorgeous photo of Tanah Lot, a sea temple in Bali, we looked up more information. There are seven sea temples, but in trying to find them all, we kept bumping into images of directional temples. Then even more temples, until we found out that beautiful Bali is known as the “island of a thousand temples.” According to the CIA World Fact Book, Indonesia is “slightly less than three times the size of Texas.” Bali is the largest tourist destination in the whole country . . . and everywhere you go there is a temple. “A Bali sunset and Tanah Lot Temple,” one of seven sea temples. Photo #1 by Fabio Gismondi

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Laura Croft’s Tomb Raider & Indiana Jones’ Temple of Doom: Ancient Angkor [PICS]

November 15th, 2012 Permalink

Once upon a time, or around 1580, while cutting a path through the thick Cambodian jungle, Portuguese missionaries came upon huge towers carved into rocks that were in ruins and covered in roots and vines. Continuing on, they discovered an ancient lost city that was twice as large as Manhattan and that nature was trying to swallow. The missionaries had discovered abandoned Angkor Wat—the 500-acre site is one of the world’s largest religious monuments and the most elaborate of the Angkor’s temples. There are more than 1,000 Temples of Angkor which were built from the 9th to 13th centuries during a time when the Kingdom of Cambodia was one of the most powerful civilizations on the planet. There were rarely any inscriptions found in later centuries after 1431, when Angkor was seized by the Thai army. During its prime, as many as 750,000 – one million people lived in Angkor, making it one of the greatest vanishing acts of all time. Archaeologists now know that Angkor Wat and many of its surrounding structures were built to appease “devas” and “asuras” which are angelic demi-Gods of the Hindu religion. Thousands upon thousands of these demi-god beings are carved into every single rock temple at the site. Both Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones Temple of Doom were filmed here. Angkor Archaeological Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992. New research claims to have solved the mystery of how the huge stones of Angkor Wats were moved. “The massive sandstone bricks used to construct the 12th-century temple of Angkor Wat were brought to the site via a network of hundreds of canals. The findings shed light on how the site’s 5 million to 10 million bricks, some weighing up to 3,300 pounds, made it to the temple from quarries at the base of a nearby mountain.” The mystique of Angkor may cry out to the adventurer in us all, but the roots and trees are now being cut back as Angkor is being restored. So many people come here, about 2 – 3 million a year; all that walking and climbing on the (mostly) sandstone monuments caused additional damage to the archaeological sites at Angkor. These photos hearken to ancient Angkor as the Temples of Doom for a Tomb Raider to explore. [41 Photos, 4 Videos]

Echoes of Silence; the beauty and mystical ambiance of Ta Prohm. Angkor, Cambodia

“Echoes of Silence; the beauty and mystical ambiance of Ta Prohm. Angkor, Cambodia,” the photographer wrote. This scene may appeal to the Indiana Jones in all of us. Photo #1 by Peter Nijenhuis

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Pretty Pounds Hollow in Autumn & Garden of the Gods Rock!

November 3rd, 2012 Permalink

Most folks have heard of the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, but did you know that there is also a Garden of the Gods in Illinois? Nestled within the Shawnee National Forest, this spectacular wilderness area is over 320 million years old and covers over 3,300 acres of amazing old growth forest and humongous rocks that call out to scramble over and climb here. The landscape is drastically different than most of southern Illinois because it is unglaciated. The fractured bedrock at Garden of the Gods, along with erosive forces like windblown sand, rain, freezing and thawing actions, have created beautiful hoodoos and fascinating rock formations. Cave In Rock is not too far away, so you can both climb and cave if you are so inclined, but today we’re exploring three “must see” areas with hills and hollows, magnificent bluffs and massive mossy boulders: Garden of the Gods, Rim Rock, Pounds Hollow. Other areas near Garden of the Gods and Pounds Hollow Recreation Area, include Rim Rock National Recreation Trail, River, River Trail, High Knob Picnic Area and the Illinois Iron Furnace, But all of Shawnee, the only National Forest in southern Illinois, is gorgeous. Take a backpack, wear shoes you can climb in that are comfortable, some water, your thirst for adventure, maybe a picnic, and, oh yes, your camera. [58 Photos]

Garden of the Gods is located in southern Illinois in the Shawnee National Forest

Garden of the Gods is located in southern Illinois in the Shawnee National Forest. The spectacular wilderness area is over 320 million years old and covers over 3,300 acres of beautiful old growth forest. During the Ice Age, glaciers didn’t flatten this region, so it offers great rock formations to climb, hills to explore while hiking and streams to cross. There are also magnificent bluffs which drop more than 100 feet down, but provide breathtaking views of the forests below and beyond. Some of the more popular rock formations surrounding the cliffs acquired titles such as Monkey Face, Mushroom Rock, Anvil Rock, Noah’s Ark, Table Rock and Devil’s Smokestack. But Camel Rock is probably the most photographed feature along the paved Observation Trail at Garden of the Gods in southern Illinois. Photo #1 by Grover Webb

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