King of Swamp Castle: One day, lad, all this will be yours. <br />
Prince Herbert: What, the curtains? <br />
King of Swamp Castle: No, not the curtains, lad, all that you can see stretched out over the valleys and the hills! That'll be your kingdom, lad. <br />
<br />
King of Swamp Castle: When I first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built in all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that's what you're going to get, Lad, the strongest castle in all of England.<br />
Monty Python Holy Grail

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Sometimes its a gradual event. Other times the older city was buried very quickly by volcanic ash (e.g. Pompey), or was burned/torn down by a conquering army (e.g. Carthage). There have been many cases of a new town being built on the smoldering ruins of the previous town.

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In some cases, the old one is razed to the ground to begin anew. In other cases, some of the sturdier building are renovated and integrated while newer buildings are built around them. One guess which one is more interesting to visit....

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Either demolish it or build around the existing structure

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Old civilizations did this countless times

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Yeah that's the point, but how did they accomplish it? Sometimes the older cities were left fully intact.

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When you consider that the China Wall still stands in many areas uncovered..

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