Roman Aptera, Crete


The archaeological site is located in western Crete east of modern-day Chania ( about 13 km) overlooking Souda Bay to the north and wonderful views of the White Mountains to the south.  Aptera was inhabited since the Minoan times and was destroyed in the 365 AD earthquake.  Originally Aptera was a Minoan settlement mentioned in the Age Linear B tablets.  It was re-established during the 7-th century B.C. and eventually flourished in the Classical and especially the Hellenistic Greek times.  Later it became a Roman and Byzantine town.

Souda Bay and Dorian

Roman L-Shaped Cistern

Roman three vaulted cistern

Three vaults are visible



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Villa Romana del Casale, Piazza Armerina, Sicily, Italy

Villa Romana del Casale (Villa Rumana dû Casali) is a large and elaborate Roman  palace located about 3 km from the modern-day town of Piazza Armerina, Sicily. Through  excavations archeologists have revealed one of the “richest, largest, and varied collections” of Roman mosaics in the world.  Also they have revealed a rather elaborate system of water technologies including fountains, cisterns, an aqueduct, and bath facilities.  This site has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Photo by L.W. Mays

© José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.



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Aflaj in Oman

What is a falaj?

A falaj in Oman refers to water that runs through a channel dug in the earth with the source of water being groundwater. The plural of the word ‘falaj’ used in Oman is ‘aflaj’, which is a comprehensive term used to denote a system of irrigation.

Types of falaj

Dawoodi Falaj: These are long channels dug underground that are several kilometers long. Their depth usually reaches up to tens of meters, so water can be present in these channels all year. The most important of these falaj are: Falaj Al Khatmayn (or Khatmeen) and Falaj Daris in A’Dakhiliyah Governorate, which appear on the World Heritage List.  These are basically the same as the Persian qanat originating over 3,000 to 4,000 years ago.

Ghaili Falaj: These falaj receive their water from ponds or running water. Their depths do not exceed 3 to 4 meters. Water quantities increase in these falaj directly after rainfall and usually dry up quickly during extended dry periods.

Ayni Falaj: These falaj draw their water directly from the springs (wells), including hot springs. The importance of these falaj depends on their water quality, which varies between hot and cold, and between fresh drinking water, saline water, and between alkaline water mixed with valley water, considered suitable for agriculture. There is another kind of spring that contains varying proportions of mineral salts suitable for water treatments and therapies.

Falaj typesimg20190224_18430703Source: Abdullah Al-Ghafri, Study on Water Distribution Management of Aflaj Irrigation Systems of Oman, Ph.D. Dissertation, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan, March 2004.

Aflaj visited Feb. 7 – 9, 2019

Falaj Sarrani – Al Baraimi, Oman
Falaj Darius – Nizwa, Oman
Falaj Khatmeen – Birket Al Mouz, Oman
Falaj Al Malki – Izki, Oman
Falaj Farfarah – Bidbid, Oman
Falaj Al Khaudh Village – near Muscat, Oman

Falaj Sarrani – Al Baraimi, Oman


Talib and Susi Mays






Falaj Daris – Nizwa, Oman


Falaj Khatmeen – Birket Al Mouz, Oman


Falaj Al Malki – Izki, Oman


Falaj Farfarah – Bidbid, Oman



Falaj Al Khaudh Village – near Muscat, Oman





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Roman Odessos (Varna, Bulgaria)

The contemporary city of Varna originated as a settlement named as Odessos in the 5-th century B.C. by Greek settlers from Millet in Asia Minor.  The Pontic settlement was founded around 570 B.C.  In addition to the Greeks the inhabitants were Thraceans, Romans, settlers from Asia Minor and other ethnic origins.  Ruins are located in the ancient part of Varna not far from the sea

Roman Thermae

The Romans built the thermae (baths) that became significant and magnificent monuments of the ancient architecture during the end of the 2nd century AD.  The baths occupied an area over 7,000 square meters.  Surviving walls reach 22 meters in height at some locations.

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Photo taken at modern day entrance to site on west side of the thermae.

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Photo taken at modern day entrance to site on west side of the thermae.


Underground gallery  of shops on west side of thermae looking north

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Underground gallery of shops on west side of thermae looking south

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Area of shops

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Looking to entrance

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Western apodyterium (dressing room)

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Basilica hall

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Basilica hall – view from northwest

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Basilica hall – view from northeast

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Channel section

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Hypocaustum or underfloor heating system – showing terracotta pipe.

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Praefurnium – service gallery

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Caldarium (on south side)

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Carved marble cornice – fridgidarium

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Piscina – pool in fridgidarium

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Area outside praefurnium

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Hercules’ club – architectural detail


Sewer system at Odessos

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Main aqueduct of ancient Odessos and the entry point into the Odessos Fortress were discovered by archaeologists in Varna at the site of an excavation for a building with the ground floor being a coffee shop with the aqueduct and fortress wall remains seen from inside the coffees shop through the floor and viewing wall.

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Aqueduct – 25 cm diameter

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Fortress wall and aqueduct

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Photo of aqueduct taken through glass floor of Muro Coffee Shop.

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Coffee shop (Muro) where main aqueduct was found during excavation for foundation of building.

More information of the aqueduct can be found in

We visited Assist. Prof. Dr. Hirsto Kuzov of the Varna Museum of Archaeology who was instrumental in the success of this excavation and protection of the remains.

Small bath of Odessos

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Shows Black Sea









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Stratonikeia (Turkey)


Stratonikeia – also translated as  Stratoniceia , Stratoniki, and Stratonike and Stratonice

Stratonikeia is located in the Yatagan district of the Mugla province at the Eskihisar Village.  Stratonikeia has been inhabited continuously from the Late Bronze Age (1500 BC) to the present. The name of the settlement was Atriya during the Hittite Period, Khrysaoris and Idrias during the Classical Period and Stratonikeia during the Hellenistic Period. In 130/129 BC the region became a part of the Roman Republic Empire.   From the Early Byzantine Period The population started to decrease in the Early Byzantine period and during the Middle Byzantine period continued to shrink.

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Gymnasium – Total length of the building is estimated to be 267 m and  is the largest known gymnasium from the Ancient Period.

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Water channel to latrine

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Turkish bath






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Water storage facility

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Inlet for water storage

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Inlet for water storage

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Ancient Sardes (Sardis) (Turkey)

Located 82 kilometers from Izmir with a history dating back to the 5000’s B.C.








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Heirapolis (Turkey)

Heirapolis, located about 24 kilometers from Denizli, is at the location of Pamukkali,  famous the healing waters.

Roman gate


Frontius main street

Tritons Fountain

Tritons Fountain


View towards theater showing channel at bottom


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