The Greatest Archaeological Discoveries Of All Time [Infographic]

Claire Collins 4m 1,006 #discoveries

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Greatest Archaeological Discoveries

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Over the decades, there have been innumerable prehistoric discoveries that allow us to peek into the lives of our forefathers. In many ways, archaeology changes our perception of the past. The more primitive artefacts and grounds that are discovered, the more myths unfold – from the Baghdad battery to the Voynich manuscript, Sacsayhuaman to the tomb of the sunken skulls. Archaeological discoveries help us to understand our ancestors’ ancient customs and traditions so that we can appreciate their way of life. Archaeological finds that interweave science with legend have helped us to bond the past with our present. Scholars, excavators and archaeologists have discovered prehistoric artefacts, hidden cities and even sanctified burial lands.

Claire from Caherconnell Stone Fort sent us this stunning infographic that features ten of the most momentous archaeological finds in recent times. It unshrouds the mystery around the discovery of the Voynich manuscript, which is known to many as the world’s most mysterious manuscript. It is believed that the majority of the manuscript’s pages are filled with herbal recipes. However, the plants mentioned in the manuscript have been matched to any known species. In addition to this, to this day the language used within the manuscript remains incomprehensible. For more details on the miraculous finds, let’s check out the infographic below to learn more!

The Greatest Archaeological Discoveries Of All Time [Infographic]

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Over the centuries, there have been lots of great discoveries. Let’s take a look at some of the greatest!

1. Headless Vikings of Dorset

Type: Burial Pit

Dated: 910 – 1030 AD

Location: Ridgeway Hill, Weymouth, Dorset, UK

Year Discovered: 2009

  • While digging a railroad in Dorset workers came across a small contingent of Viking warriors buried in the ground, all missing their heads.
  • The men are believed to have been Vikings executed by local Anglo-Saxons.
  • The beheadings looked too clean and seemed to have been done from the front rather than the back.
  • They are still not sure what happened.


2. Baghdad Battery

Type: Ancient Artefacts

Dated: 250 BC – 224 AD

Location: Khujut Rabu, Baghdad, Iraq

Year Discovered: 1938

  • In the mid 1930’s several plain looking jars were discovered near Baghdad, Iraq.
  • No one paid any notice to them until not long after when a German museum curator published a paper claiming that the jars may have been used as galvanic cells, or batteries.
  • Although it may seem farfetched at first, scholars and researches confirmed that it was indeed a good possibility.


3. Dead Sea Scrolls

Type: Parchment


Dated: 408 BC – 318 AD

Location: Khirbet Qumran, West Bank, Israel

Year Discovered: 1946

  • The Dead Sea Scrolls are one of the major archaeological finds of the last century.
  • The texts are of great historical, religious, and linguistic significance because they include the third oldest known surviving manuscripts.
  • Most of the texts are written in Hebrew, with some in Aramaic and Greek.


4. Sacsayhuamane

Type: Fortification

Dated: 1100 AD

Location: Cusco, Cusco Reigion, Peru

  • This walled complex just outside of Cusco, Peru is part of what used to be the capital of the Inca Empire.
  • The rock slabs fit together so tightly that it would be impossible to slide even a hair between them.
  • It is one of the best examples of the precision of ancient architecture.


5. Gobekli Tepe

Type: Sanctuary

Dated: 10,000 – 8,000 BC

Location: Orencik, Sanhurfa Province, Turkey

Year Discovered: 1994

  • This ancient settlement is currently one of the oldest examples of complex/monumental architecture in the world, predating the pyramids by thousands of years.
  • To this day, less than 5% of the site has been excavated.
  • The purpose of the structures is not yet clear.


6. Voynich Manuscript

Type: Codex

Dated: 1404 – 1438 AD

Location: Northern Italty

Year Discovered: 1666

Described as the world’s most mysterious manuscript.

  • With most of its pages filled with what seems to be herbal recipes, none of the plants match known species and the language remains undecipherable.
  • None of the many hypotheses proposed by professional cryptographers over the last hundred years have been independently verified.


7. Mount Own Moa

Species: Megalapteryx Didinus

Dated: Before 1500 AD

Location: Mount Owen, New Zealand

Year Discovered: 1986

  • In 1986, an expedition was making its way deeper and deeper into the cave system of Mount Owen in New Zealand when it came across a huge claw.
  • It was so well preserved that it almost seemed like whatever it belonged to had just died recently.
  • Upon excavation and inspection, however, it was determined to belong to an Upland Moa, a large prehistoric bird that apparently came with a nasty set of claws.


8. Rosetta Stone

Dated: 196 BC

Location: Rashid (Rosetta), Nile Delta, Egypt

Year Discovered: 1799

  • Discovered by French soldier shifting through the Egyptian sand, the Rosetta Stone has been one of archaeology’s greatest discoveries to date and the primary source for modern understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphs.
  • The stone is a fragment of a larger stone that contained a decree issued by King Ptolemy V around 200 BC.
  • The decree was inscribed in three languages – Egyptian hieroglyphs, Demotic scripts, and Ancient Greek.


9. Antikythera Mechanism

Type: Analogue Computer

Dated: 65 BC

Location: Off the coast of Antkythera, Greece

Year Discovered: 1900

  • Discovered in a shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera, this 2000 year old device has often been touted as the world’s first scientific calculator.
  • With dozens of gears, it can precisely measure the position of the sun, moon, and planets simply by inputting a date.

Although there is debate over its exact use it certainly shows that even 2000 years ago civilization was already accomplishing advanced feats of mechanical engineering.


10. The Tomb of the Sunk Skulls

Type: Burial Ground

Dated: 8000 – 7000 BC

Location: Motala, Sweden

Year Discovered: 2009

  • While excavating a dry lake bed, archaeologists came across a mysterious stone structure sealed at the bottom of the lake.
  • They uncovered ten skulls that had stakes driven directly through their craniums and another skull that had pieces of the other skulls crammed inside of it.
  • DNA testing is still being carried out to determine what happened to these people.






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