Reading Atlas of Lost Cities made me think it’s by uncovering the unseen that you can better learn from the past as well as from cultures that have been transformed, reconfigured or destroyed.
Whether it’s surfacing ancient civilisations that didn’t withstand the survival of the fittest, like Carthage or Teotihuacán or bubbles that burst like the cities built for the goldrush like Calico or the Wild West towns, or cities subsumed by nature like Kolmannskuppe by sand or Centralia by asphalt or Epecuen by salt or a change in climate, like the Mayan city of Tikal, or abandoned due to famine or by an earthquake.
In some cases, it’s humans that have destroyed cities like Hiroshima due to nuclear bombing, Tignes due to flooding to build a dam or Tchernobyl due to contamination.
As you visit these abandoned cities, you need to activate your curiosity, using the remaining fragments to imagine what life would have been like.
For some old cities like Masada, civilisation after civilisation have found value in it for the same reason, to find refuge. In other cases, they get turned into strange experiments.