For archaeologist, historians and the millions of people who are fascinated by the excavations that tell us about our ancestors and how they lived, 2022 has been a good year – feels sort of like winning the Thunderbolt Casino Bonuses. Around the world archaeologists have enjoyed findings ranging from the pre-homoid era to the European settling of North America.
Check out some of the most incredible archaeological finds of the last year.
Coffin of Ptmh-em-wia in Saqqara in Egypt
In a discovery that Egyptologists hailed as a “dream discovery, archaeologists digging in the Saqqara necropolis discovered a sarcophagus of an ancient Egyptian official. The discovery of the coffin of Ptah-M-Wia who lived approximately 2500 years ago will, researchers say, give them valuable information about the reign of Ramses II, the Pharoah who ruled at that time.
Lead researcher Ola El Aquizy displayed the sarcophagus in Giza. He described Ptah-M-Wia as a government official who served during the reign of Ramesses the 2nd, roughly between 1279 and 1213 BCE. The tomb was at the end of a 23-foot-long entrance shaft which led into 3 rooms, one of which had an opening in the floor where stairs led to the burial chamber.
On the lid of the sarcophagus were engravings of the goddess Nut and the four sons of Horus. The deceased Ptah-M-Wia was depicted with a beard, arms crossed. He was holding the Tyet symbol of Isis and the Djed symbol of Osiris.
Ptah-M-Wia was the head of the treasury under Ramses II. He was also in charge of the sacrifices to the deities at Ramses II temple in Thebes, the royal scribe and in charge of cattle. The discovery of the coffin is notable because its decorations tell researchers more about Egyptian tomb art, the purpose of which was to create a pleasant afterlife for the deceased.
Tomb art paintings generally depict deities who provide protection, themes of the journey to the afterlife, etc. Paintings were generally done in red, blue, black, green, gold and yellow.
Going back further in human history, excavations at Karahantepe in Turkey are providing valuable informabiont about life in this part of the world 11,000 years ago.. Archaeologists have excavated a complex which includes phallus-shaped pillars and a carved human head.
The site is located near Gobekli Tepe, a ceremonial complex that dates back to the same period so it is likely the people who lived at the Karahantepe complex were involved in the sect at Gobekli Tepe. Gobekli Tepe is an important archaeologiccal site in the region so the discovery of a sister-site is intriguing to researachers.
Jamestown, United States
The Jamestown settlement in the Colony of Virginia was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. The discovery team that is excavating the site believes that it’s found the “flag” shown on the Zuñiga map of 1608 and is now convinced that it’s not simply a flag, as was once believed, but represents a ditch and possible enclosure.
This, along with other discoveries that date back to the beginning of the 1600s, including a brick-lined well, a mud hut, a belfry and flora and fauna samples promise to provide valuable information about North America’s early settlers.
Oldest Hebrew Text, Israel
The earliest Hebrew text to date may has been uncovered during excavations on Mount Ebal, located near Biblical Shechem (modern-day Nabulus). Mt. Ebal is mentioned in the Old Testament, in the Book of Deuteronomy 11:29 as the place where God declared the blessings and the curses for the Israelites, depending on their behavior.
The finding was on a lead tablet and appears to be inscribed with 40 Hebrew letters.
Roman Ballistics, Israel
In another Israel discovery, Roman Ballista stones uncovered in Jerusalem underneath the Russian Compound seems to affirm the Jewish-Roman historian’s account of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
Archarologists mapped the exact location of each ballista uncovered. They used computer modeling to take into account the way that the city was laid out 2000 years ago and calculated launching angles and throwing distances to determine the accuracy of Josephus’s description of the positions and distances of the Roman siege engines.
Josephus was a controversial figure i that era. He had been a Jewish general in the revolt against the Romans but after being captured, switched sides. He moved to Rome where he wrote an extensive book about the Land of Israel during the Roman era called War of the Jews.
Although his reputation was tarnished in Jewish circles by his betrayal, his historical accounts of what took place in the Land of Israel during the first century of the common era have been shown to be accurate time and time again.
City Game, Shiloah, Israel
The final recent major archaeological discovery was also found in Israel where the remains of a city gate were unearthed in excavations at Shiloah.
Shiloah was the site where the Ark of the Covenant was placed when the Israelites entered the Land of Israel, before it was moved to Jerusalem when the Temple was built by King Solomon. Shiloah’s gates were mentioned in the Old Testament in an account of the priest Eli’s death upon hearing that the Ark had been captured in battle.
During excavations an entire gate system was identified based on the glacis, or defensive embankment’s construction. Once they found that a gap which ended along the northern perimeter wall corresponded with the city’s entrance, it was possible to find the gate’s piers and socket stones. This would correspond with the location of the main spring for the city which was located just north of the gate.