Humanity is fascinated about its past, as well as mysteries. Archaeology blends them two, and tries to find answers to these mysteries and questions by discovering artifacts, documents, and more. Moreover, some of the most remarkable archaeological discoveries have changed the world; probably ancient artefacts, leaving the history books vulnerable to a rewrite at anytime are being discovered as we speak. So, why not list the most influential discoveries in the world?
10. Hissarlik (1800’s)
Hissarlik, also known as Ilion, is located in Turkey and is famous for being the place where the ancient civilization of Troy thrived. The famous location in Homer’s “The Iliad” was nothing more than myth with no proof of existence; until the 1850’s, when digging started and reveled evidence of the Troy from the late Bronze Age. Incredible, isn’t it?
9. Megalosaurus (1824)
Megalosaurus was the first dinosaur to be discovered and scientifically described. Some believe it was the discovery of these ancient bones that led to the stories of mythological creatures we know today as dragons and giants, as well as to a boom in popularity for the practice of archaeology and a fascination with dinosaurs. Ross might get a kick out of this.
8. Sutton Hoo (1939)
Sutton Hoo is considered to be one of Britain’s most prized treasures. It is a burial chamber for a 7th century King, containing treasures, lyre, drinking horns, swords, helmets, masks, and more. Surrounding the burial chamber are 19 mounds that also contain burials for others, and Sutton Hoo is still being excavated to this day; it’s a wonder it survived untouched for such a long time.
7. Dmanisi (2005)
Ancient man and the creatures that homosapiens have evolved from have been closely studied for hundreds of years – well, not by Christians, but that’s a different subject. The discovery of a 1.8 million year old skull found at the archaeological site in Dmanisi, Georgia has opened Pandora’s box and forced scientists and historians to reopen the books. This has reset all theories, so wait for a ripple in the history books.
6. Gobekli Tepe (2008)
It was thought that Stonehenge was the oldest temple-like structure in the world, but in the 1960’s this mountaintop in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey was cited as potentially even older than Stonehenge, but in 2008, Klaus Schmidt discovered large stones around 11,000 years old that were clearly carved by man and designed by prehistoric people who hadn’t developed pottery or metal tools yet. Who knew?
5. Headless Vikings of Dorset (2009)
In 2009, road workers discovered remains while on the job; it turns out they’d discovered a mass grave of about 51-54 bodies with decapitated heads nearby. After careful examination, scientist realized there was a mass slaying of Vikings in the area, between the years of 960-1016. The skeletons belonged to men barely in their twenties, killed by the Anglo-Saxon people that they tried to invade. The group was stripped down and humiliated before the vikings were decapitated and tossed in a pit.
4. Cashel Man (2011)
The discovery of “bog bodies” in Europe is something that isn’t entirely new, but these perfectly mummified corpses have been able to tell historians a lot about the past. A bog body dating back 4,000 years has been discovered in Ireland, and it seems the body suffered an extremely violent death. Cashel Man is the oldest bog body to be discovered and gives scientists and historians a new perspective on time.
3. Richard III (2013)
In August of 2012, the University of Leicester collaborated with the Leicester City Council and the Richard III Society in an archaeological dig which lead to the discovery of the lost remains of one of England’s most famous monarchs. The details aren’t that important, but the University of Leicester has announced that they will be initiating a project to sequence the entire genome of Richard, making him the first ancient figure in history to have their genome sequenced. Interesting!
2. Jamestown (2013)
Despite historical accounts of cannibalism during the earliest settlements in Jamestown, historians and archaeologists never had any leads as to why this practice came about. History tells us that many of the early settlers met a very grim and harsh end, especially in winter. William Kelso and his team discovered a butchered skull of a 14-year old girl found in a trash heap, with the remains of horses and other animals that settlers consumed to avoid starvation; it seems the remains of the girl, named Jane, were consumed for survival. I suddenly lost my appetite.
1. Stonehenge (2013/2014)
Stonehenge still remains a mystery to historians and archaeologists. With its remote location, it’s been difficult to explain what these large stones were used for and how they even got there. Stonehenge was a puzzle that needed to be solved; so, in October, archaeologist David Jacques conducted a dig that led to the discovery of auroch bones. By using carbon dating, it was established that the surrounding area has been inhabited since 8820 BCE and that Stonehenge wasn’t intended to be a remote location. So, new theories are being developed as we speak.