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20 Greatest Archaeological Discoveries of 2023

Apr 17, 2024
For regular videos about ancient cultures and forgotten civilizations. Please subscribe. Every year, archaeologists make new and interesting


, and those


(every single one of them) rewrite history in some way. And for those of you who don't know, there are so many finds being made all the time that I do a monthly livestream going over some of the most interesting artifacts found in a single month. But now it's time to look back and review the entire year. That is why I have selected what I believe are the 20 best discoveries in archaeology. Of course, as I am a historian of antiquity, I have chosen only discoveries related to antiquity.
20 greatest archaeological discoveries of 2023
So there is nothing here from prehistory or medieval times. Still, there is much here to marvel at. I hope you enjoy hearing about this as much as I do. So, here we go. #20 Network of Bronze Age enclosures in Serbia More than 100 previously unknown structures have been identified in Serbia using Google Earth and aerial reconnaissance. 3,600-year-old walls and ditches (this is their Bronze Age) were found in the Pannonian Plain, an area that includes parts of Romania, Hungary and Serbia. These sites were thought to be isolated during the Bronze Age, but this discovery by archaeologists from University College Dublin reveals that the sites may have been part of a network of settlements, seasonal gatherings, ceremonies or cattle pens, which extended over 90 miles. along the Tisza River. #19 Ancient Chinese water conservancy facility Chinese researchers excavating the Qianqui Gate site in the ancient capital of Luoyang have discovered more than 80 meters of water channels dating back to the Wei and Jin dynasties (220 to 420 AD).
20 greatest archaeological discoveries of 2023

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20 greatest archaeological discoveries of 2023...

The canals display advanced water conservation techniques along with efficient resource utilization (such as rainwater harvesting). The discovery, which includes stone culverts running parallel and illustrating a unified construction plan, has not only contributed to our understanding of the layout of the royal garden of Luoyang, but has also shown technology that we did not know it had at the time. #18 Multiple new discoveries in Saqqara The tomb of Panehsy (the steward of the temple of Amun during the early Ramesside period), four well-preserved funerary chapels (one belonging to a man named Yuyu, a manufacturer of gold sheets for the pharaoh's treasury ), and two complete embalming workshops for both humans and animals were discovered in the Saqqara Necropolis.
20 greatest archaeological discoveries of 2023
The first embalming workshop dates back to 380-343 BC. C., the second from 305-30 BC. C., and the tombs date from the Old and New Kingdoms of Egypt. Panehsy's tomb looks like a free-standing temple with an entrance gate and is situated next to that of Maya, a high-ranking official during Tutankhamun's reign, which I visited last year. The walls of Panehsy's tomb are adorned with colorful reliefs and depict Panehsy, his wife Baia, priests and offering bearers. #17 The oldest shipyard in the world The largest and oldest known ancient shipyard in the world was discovered on Dana Island in the Turkish province of Mersin by the Cultural Heritage Preservation and Restoration Department of Akdeniz University.
20 greatest archaeological discoveries of 2023
The shipyard was built during the Greek Dark Ages, shortly after 1200 BC. C., and it is possible that this island was the original home of the Denyen, one of the Sea People tribes. It would later have been taken by the Greeks. The shipyard began to be discovered in 2015, but only now have its actual dimensions been determined. It includes 294 slipways, which will allow almost 300 warships to be built simultaneously. Archaeologists claim that so many ramps could have significantly influenced the political, military and commercial balances of the Mediterranean. Ships built on Dana Island played a role in several historic naval battles, including conflicts between the Greeks and Persians. #16 4,000-year-old temple in Peru Archaeologists from UNSM in Peru discovered a 4,000-year-old U-shaped temple at the Miraflores


site in western Peru.
And the temple features a chakana carved into a frieze. This chakana (an ancient cross symbol used by later Andean peoples) is the oldest complete representation found in the Andes and reinforces the long cultural and religious tradition related to this symbol in ancient Peruvian cultures, from 4000 years ago to the Period Inca! Very interesting. #15 Sunken Greek-Egyptian temples A joint Egyptian-French


mission led by Frank Goddio and the Department of Underwater Archeology of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in the sunken city of Thonis-Heraklion (near Alexandria) discovered temples dedicated to the ancient Greeks . the goddess Aphrodite and the Egyptian god Amun.
The temple of Aphrodite contained Greek bronze and ceramic artifacts, and that of Amun contained silver ritual instruments, gold jewelry, and alabaster perfume vessels. Both discoveries were made on wooden posts and beams dating back to the 5th century BC. C. through carbon. These discoveries were made possible by new geophysical prospecting technologies that allowed teams to detect objects beneath multiple layers of clay. These finds help reinforce the importance of Thonis-Heraklion as Egypt's largest Mediterranean port before the founding of Alexandria. #14 Zapotec tunnels under the Catholic church Have you heard of the Zapotecs? They were an ancient Mesoamerican culture. Mexican researchers using cutting-edge technology to scan the terrain have found beneath the church of San Pablo Apóstol in Mitla, Oaxaca, a hidden "underworld" (consisting of a system of chambers and tunnels) that was connected to the Zapotec cult of the dead.
The Zapotecs, who prospered near Oaxaca from the late 6th century BC. C., built this complex system of chambers and tunnels. The church is on the site of what was once an important Zapotec religious center, and the finds confirm historical accounts of rituals and ceremonies performed in underground chambers associated with the dead. #13 Han Dynasty Tombs in China Tombs from the Han Dynasty were discovered in two locations in China this year. On a local hill in Laozhuangshi, Henan Province, a group of 22 ancient tombs spanning nearly 1,600 years were discovered . Two of the tombs are from the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 AD).
The others are from the Song, Ming and later Qing dynasties. Then, in Wulong District near Chongqing, a collection of tombs dating from the Han Dynasty to the Six Dynasties period (222-589 AD) was found. The most important of these tombs was one from the Western Han dynasty, which they were able to date precisely to 193 BC. More than 600 precious artifacts were found there, including lacquer items, wooden items, bamboo items, ceramics, and bronze items. This is the largest quantity of lacquered wood and bamboo items ever found in a single location in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. A more detailed study of the contents of the tomb will undoubtedly shed more light on this period. #12 Pyramids five stories high in Yucatán.
While working in the jungle of the Yucatan Peninsula, archaeologists from Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History and the University of Houston discovered an entire ancient Mayan city, known as Ocomtún, or "Column of Stone." They found the site using aerial laser scanning. This Late Classic Mayan city, containing pyramid-like structures more than 45 feet tall, was inhabited between 600 and 800 AD. (the Late Classic). #11 New fragments of the Fasti Ostienses For those who do not know, the Fasti Ostienses are inscriptions that make up a list of Roman magistrates and significant events. They were originally engraved on marble slabs and publicly displayed in Ostia, a port city near Rome.
But in later times the marble was reused for other constructions. So you can find pieces of them everywhere. Well, the Ostia Post Scriptum excavation project has discovered new fragments of the Fasti Ostienses in the Ostia Antica Archaeological Park in Italy. One of the newly recovered fasti fragments fits with another fragment found earlier, dating to 128 AD. during the reign of Emperor Hadrian, and detailing the events of that year, including Hadrian's receipt of the title pater patriae (father of the country) in January. 10, and his wife Sabina receiving the title of Augusta. These fragments also contain other important information.
This is important, because the Fasti are one of the most important sources for the chronology of the late Roman Republic and early Roman Empire. So far, all known fragments cover the period 49 BC. to 175 AD #10 City of the Shang dynasty in northern China. A complete Bronze Age city was discovered at the Zhaigou archaeological site in northern China. The city dates back to the early Shang Dynasty, more than 3,000 years ago, and is home to hundreds of artifacts such as bronze vessels, painted pottery, and jade ornaments. Covering an area of ​​more than 1.2 square miles, the Zhaigou archaeological site is one of the largest from the Shang Dynasty and provides insights into its cultural and social organization.
Archaeologists also found nine aristocratic tombs here, indicating that the site may have been the capital of a state later assimilated by the Shang dynasty. #9 The oldest known city gate in Israel Near Kiryat in Tel Erani, a 5,500-year-old city gate made of huge stones and mud bricks was discovered. The gate dates to the Bronze IB period and suggests that settlements in the area date back to 3500 BC. The director of the excavation site described the gate as an indication of the transition from a dispersed life to an urbanized urban life with fortified walls. The gate was probably a mandatory passage for everyone entering the city, and served both as a defense and a symbol of the city's importance.
This discovery surpasses the oldest known gate at Tel Arad, which dates back approximately 5,200 years. #8 2,500-year-old Tartessian stone busts Spanish archaeologists have discovered five life-size stone busts representing gods from the ancient Tartessos civilization (5th century BC) in a sealed well in southern Spain, near the Guadiana Valley. The site houses an adobe temple at Casas del Turuñuelo, and revealed two almost complete figurative reliefs, probably depicting female divinities adorned with gold earrings, and fragments of three others, one identified as a helmeted warrior. This discovery has helped change the view of scholars on Tartessian culture, which was previously understood as aniconic, that is, it only proscribed divinity through animal and plant motifs, not human figures. #7 10,000 Jiandu In Yunnan Province, southwest China, at the Hebosuo archaeological site, more than 10,000 bamboo and wood “boards” known as Jiandu were discovered.
Jiandu represents a form of book created before the invention of paper. Most jiandu found at the site are administrative, containing names of counties and people within Yizhou Prefecture, established by Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty (although some contain analects of Confucius). Also found at the site were official seals from 20 of the 24 counties ruled by the ancient kingdom of Dian, a non-Han culture known for agriculture and advanced metallurgical work, which was annexed by Emperor Wu in 109 BC. This indicates a well-designed social administrative system and suggests that the Han government established special political roles. The discovery is now considered evidence of this period of China as a unified country of multi-ethnic cultures. #6 3,400-year-old pyramid in Kazakhstan In the Karagada region of Kazakhstan, a pyramid from the Begazy-Dandybai culture (from the last phase of the Andronovo period in the late Bronze Age) was discovered.
The excavation was carried out by archaeologists from Karaganda University on a hilltop overlooking the Taldy River in the Shet district of Karaganda and revealed through carbon-14 analysis that the construction of the pyramids dates back to between the 14th and 12th centuries BC. Decorated ceramic vessels were found inside the pyramid's burial chamber, one with markings that could represent proto-writing, an arrowhead with bronze and gold rings, and a skull. The people who lived here may be Proto-Scythians or ancestors of the Turks. #5 New chambers in the Sahura pyramid in Abusir Egyptian and German archaeologists from the University of Würzburg have discovered eight warehouses in the Sahura pyramid that were not documented until now.
Sahara was the second king of the Fifth Dynasty of Egypt, who reigned in the 25th century BC. The interior of the pyramid was so damaged that in the past it was very difficult to explore it further. But times have changed. The discovery was made during conservation and restoration work, which involved a three-dimensional study of the pyramid's corridors and chambers. During this study, the team found a passage thatIt led to at least eight damaged warehouses, of which only remnants of the original walls and parts of the floor remained. This discovery should help researchers learn more about the structure of the pyramids at this time and their development. #4 Roman forts in Syria and Iraq.
Declassified photographs from Cold War-era U.S. spy satellites recently revealed hundreds of previously unknown Roman-era forts in Iraq and Syria. The discovery challenges the previous belief that these forts were primarily defensive structures. The images, from the Corona and Hexagon satellite programs, show that, instead, they appear to have been built to protect routes frequented by caravans and travelers. Now that we know where they are, it's just a matter of digging. #3 Hidden Structures in the Amazon Rainforest Lidar mapping has recently revealed structures in the Amazon rainforest including geoglyphs, ponds, ditches and wells dating back 1,500 years. 900 earthworks and 24 ceremonial sites and fortified villages have been discovered so far, and these scans only covered 0.1% of the Amazon!
Researchers estimate there could be as many as 16,187 earthwork sites left to discover! The suggestion that the Amazon was a virgin forest is rapidly deteriorating. #2 Clapboard Assyrian Administrative Building In a combined Italian and Iraqi effort, two cultural layers of Assyrian settlements have been discovered in Nineveh, Iraq. The first belongs to the ancient Assyrian period, dated using an ancient adobe administrative building spanning the 20th to 7th centuries BC. Inside the building, 120 clay tablets covered with literary texts were found. These texts will help researchers understand even more about Assyrian culture, language, literature, administrative practices, and their way of life.
The second layer belongs to the more modern period of Assyria and hints that there may be more to discover at the site. And now we come to number 1! Near present-day Tello, in southern Iraq, is the Sumerian site of Girsu, which was discovered in the 19th century, but new excavations are being carried out by the British Museum, under the direction of the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities. over there. Several incredible new finds were announced this year. In 2022, using remote sensing technology, a complex of structures beneath Tablet Hill was identified at the site, and some adobe walls, believed to be part of a palace, and more than 200 tablets were later discovered. cuneiform This year the main sanctuary of the great Sumerian god, Ningirsu, was discovered.
The temple is known from Sumerian texts. It was known as Eninnu and revered as one of the most important temples in Mesopotamia. Archaeologists have long wanted to find this temple. And now they have done it! In addition, a water channel was discovered that will "save civilization." The ancient waterway or “water channel” was designed to combat droughts by transporting water to distant agricultural areas using the “Venturi” effect and predates similar Western technologies by thousands of years. (Western versions appeared in the 19th century). And there you have it. My top 20 picks for the best archaeological finds of


. If you think I missed something, let me know in the comment below.
And don't forget to check out my monthly live streams to stay up to date with the latest archeology news. You might like my little e-leaflet, Why Ancient History Matters. It is designed to persuade people that the issue is important, even in the modern world. You may also want to use it to help spread the word, so feel free to share it with someone you know. It's free for anyone who wants it. I left a link in the description box below the video so you can get a copy.

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