I always wonder how a place becomes a “ruin”. Over thousands of years everything gets covered with dirt.
Either that or the Romans cover it in dirt, and more dirt piles up over the centuries.
In the Middle East especially--with wind and dust--ruins disappear very quickly, literally almost in no time. I had an archeology professor who told us how a dig he worked on, was shut down for the season and when they came back to work on it again 6 months later, it was already half-buried again in dust and dirt. The Middle East is generally a very dry, dusty, windy place....
Wars would happen, palaces burnt or torn down...vacant for a while, covered over in blown in dust & dirt, then someone else comes along, and builds on top of these structures--over and over. One can have 6 or more subsequent layers--and since height is an advantage, new builders never bother to dig out the old underlying structures. This is how the famous "tels" (hills where towns were rebuilt...over and over) in the Middle East are formed.
Jerusalem has literally thousands of years of rebuilding layers over and over each other. Herod the Great's (infamous king of Jesus birth) building projects are still all over--(he was an amazing builder) and 2nd to that, are the Crusader structures from the 1100s. Getting down through all the layers to David's time (3000 years ago) is quite an archeological feat--especially in Jerusalem.
“I always wonder how a place becomes a ruin. Over thousands of years everything gets covered with dirt.”
Faster if the empires that overrun your nation are intent on erasing any memory of your ever having been there.
That is what the Assyrians, Babylonians, Medes, Persians, Greeks and Romans did: they would raze whole cities to the ground and either rebuild on top of them or let nature bury them.
Often we hear the line today, “We should just nuke _________ and build a parking lot over it.” That’s essentially what happened to conquered nations thousands of years ago.
A quick visit to Detroit will answer many of your questions.
Every great (in terms of material achievement) civilization rises, peaks, becomes indolent and allows corruption to flourish, decays, and falls. To restart the process a thorough scouring and culling is required. This can come through a natural process such as a plague, or something man made like revolution and civil war or conquest and destruction by outsiders. This is why the popular photographic comparisons between Detroit and Hiroshima in 1945 and 2013 is extremely instructive.
Japan and Europe (especially Germany) had their slates cleaned. The latter is in the process of allowing, against the wishes of the vast majority of its native people ... you know, the ones whose ancestors actually built the place ... the gates open to a barbarian race who hate the host civilization and are working feverishly on its downfall even as it feeds and clothes their litters of offspring.