Any choice of the “10 Most Endangered Sites” is, at most, a kind of informed arbitrariness. Although all of the sites on our list are archaeologically important and in imminent danger, some have more value than others and some face greater threats. Our ranking takes both factors into account, as well as the collective judgment of the World Monuments Fund, which publishes the biennial World Monuments Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites (the 2002–2003 list adds the World Trade Center as a 101st site). Following are Archaeology Odyssey’s 10 Most Endangered Sites from the ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern world, in the order that the editors have ranked them—though you may think differently.
1. Catal Hoyuk
The World’s First Town
Early 8th millennium B.C.
Some 9,000 years ago, in a grassy region of south-central Turkey, a group of hunter-gatherers discovered a new means of survival: farming. They then established a settlement that over the next millennium would grow to 32 acres and house up to 10,000 people.