Old Holes

Ancient holes exist beneath our radar. Often referred to as “digs” or “sites” , we tend to ponder them as novels rather than chapters or pages. For now lets just call them holes – I don’t care if the story makes sense or chapters flow sensibly – take a look at some very old “holes”.

Constructed around 800 AD, Chand Baori in India is a spectacular old hole. This Stepwell ( a well behaving more like a pond – water reached by descending steps) has 3,500 steps sloping 100 feet to the bottom. In monsoon season, the well fills almost to capacity.


Derinkuyu in Turkey may not be a hole in the traditional sense, but any civilization that digs a 13 level, over 100 foot deep underground structure able to house 20,000 people, makes my list of old holes. Attributed to the Phrygians around 800 BC, each level could be secured behind rolling stone doors from inside the structure. Sophisticated ventilation kept fresh air flowing to deepest corners, and a tunnel almost 5 miles long connected it to the underground city of Kaymakli.

Qanat Firaun is below ground and excavated by hand – I see no reason not to consider it an old hole. Credited as the worlds longest ancient underground aqueduct, it runs for over 100 miles beneath present day Jordan and Syria. Work began around 80 AD to supply water to the Roman frontier known as Decapolis – capital city Gadara was home to an estimated 50,000 people. Also called the Gadara Aqueduct – so much water funneled beneath the desert, thousands of fountains and baths gave ancient Gadara a staggering daily water consumption of 500 litres per capita. I call that a remarkable old hole.

Who Decides History Starts When We Write Sumarian?

The history I learned named Mesopotamia, located in the “fertile crescent” as the cradle of civilization. Researching historical timelines, I find it astounding that this is still taught as fact. No question Mesopotamia was a great civilization, if you were alive in 3500 BC, Mesopotamia was the place to be. Credited with the first written language ( Sumarian ) the first recorded religion, remarkable groundwork in mathematics and astronomy, including the 24 hour day,  7 day week, and 365 day year. Mesopotamia had libraries, irrigation, were said to be the first metal and copper workers, worked with glass, made lamps, had temples, and awe inspiring palaces.

The history I learned presented these  facts as if prior to Mesopotamia the world was nothing but trailer parks and tent cities. At one time the world was also thought to be flat.

So lets ponder – who decides historical fact or fiction? At what point do we cease to re-print textbooks,  opening minds instead to further possibilities? Gobekli Tepe in Turkey is estimated to be 6 – 7 thousand years older than Mesopotamia. At Varna in Bulgaria  almost 300 graves dating 2 thousand years before Mesopotamia have been excavated. These graves contained almost 3000 pieces of gold, the earliest known gold in the world, including a gold penis sheath. They’ve found weapons, and evidence of a highly structured society. Derinkuyu is another baffling site. Located in Turkey its an underground city, built to house 20,000 people, complete with stables, breweries, shops, and lets not forget the elaborate ventilation system, impenetrable stone doors, and no idea who, when, or why it was constructed.

We may not have found their libraries, but they deserve pondering in that dusty old high school history text.


Grave 43, full of gold, from the Varna Necropolis.

Photo from the above link. Grave at Varna.


Ponder this – the ancient city of Derinkuyu in Turkey, estimated to have been constructed between the 5th and 10th centuries, is completely below ground. Virtually invisible from above, 11 stories deep, able to house at least 35 thousand people. It has an elaborate ventilation system, stables, kitchens, living quarters, and massive sliding stone doors, that make it impossible to penetrate. Quite an accomplishment for people with nothing more than hand tools.