A while back, The Independent published a list of their top ten archaeological sites in the Mediterranean region. Here’s a list of my favourite sites. I often change my mind on such things, so it’s not a definitive list! And there are, of course, still many parts of the Mediterranean that I have yet to visit.
1. Sagalassos, Turkey.
Beautiful setting with lots of archaeological potential, especially for late antique archaeology. On-going excavations, and very few tourists.
2. Rome, Italy.
I don’t know how The Independent could leave this one out! Too obvious? Ruins of immense importance are practically around each and every corner in Rome. And if you know where to go, the food can be good too.
3. Delos, Greece.
A deserted island covered in ruins! What more can I say?
4. Barbégal, France.
Great place to explore the Roman impact on a provincial landscape with both aqueducts and a gigantic watermill.
5. Herculaneum, Italy.
I actually prefer Herculaneum to Pompeii. It’s more manageable in size and the preservation is even more extraordinary than at its more famous counterpart.
6. Aphrodisias, Turkey.
Pretty much as close to a late antique Pompeii as one can get (if I may use a cliché of archaeological reporting). It’s also a site of monumental importance for our understanding of Roman sculpture.
7. Banditaccia, Cerveteri, Italy.
One of the most interesting Etruscan necropoleis to explore! And much more fun than the painted graves at Tarquinia.
8. Butrint, Albania.
This site covers most periods – and as a bonus, it has a very interesting history of investigation that includes a Fascist expedition looking for Aeneas.
9. Pergamon, Turkey.
Great views, and the trek down (or up) from the Acropolis through the Middle and Lower Cities is hard to beat in sheer diversity of ruins.
10. Ostia, Italy.
Rome’s harbour city is simply chock-a-block with great ruins!
Now, what did I miss?
Photo credits: 1-5, 7, 9-10: TMK. 6: Paul Hart. 8: Tim Niblett.