Ever since the discovery of the largest known Greek tomb was announced in August, archaeology buffs around the world have been eagerly awaiting each successive bit of news from the site.
The Amphipolis tomb, which dates to the time of Alexander the Great, is a prime example of how archaeology can captivate the public imagination and easily earned a spot on our list of the Top 10 Discoveries of 2014, says the editorial team.
This year’s finds span the globe and tens of thousands of years, but are united in demonstrating archaeology’s ability to uncover hidden truths. What better example than the revelation via remote-sensing technologies that Stonehenge is surrounded by thousands of yet-to-be-interpreted Neolithic archaeological features?
Other top discoveries for 2014 include:
An unprecedented digital survey—involving aerial laser scanning, ground-penetrating radar, and other geophysical and remote-sensing technologies—has revealed that the iconic 5,000-year-old standing stones were part of a much broader Neolithic ceremonial landscape. Unveiled at the British Science Festival in September, the research has revealed 17 new monuments and thousands of as-yet-uninterpreted archaeological features, including small shrines, burial mounds, and massive pits, across nearly five square miles of the Salisbury Plain.
Mummification before the Pharaohs
Analysis of funerary wrappings that have been stored in Britain’s Bolton Museum since the 1930s has established that Egyptians cooked up recipes to mummify the dead as early as 4300 B.C.—1,500 years earlier than previously thought. The linen wrappings came from cemeteries in the Badari region of Upper Egypt and date to well before the beginning of rule by pharaohs.
Canada Finds Erebus
Rare is the archaeological discovery that gets announced by a head of state. But the discovery of a shipwreck in frigid Arctic waters got just that treatment in September from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. “I am delighted to announce that this year’s Victoria Strait Expedition has solved one of Canada’s greatest mysteries,” Harper’s statement reads, “with the discovery of one of the two ships belonging to the Franklin Expedition lost in 1846.”