Table of contents:
- 1. The Dead Sea Scrolls
- 2. Stonehenge 2.0
- 3. New Nazca geoglyph in the form of a cat
- 4. Excavation by radar: ancient Roman city and the longest white road
- 5. "Tower of Skulls" in Mexico
- 6. Amazonia - one of the ancestral homelands of agriculture
- 7. Finds in the Cheops pyramid
- 8. Egyptian sarcophagi
- 9. Artifacts from glaciers
- 10. Construction of mammoth bones near Voronezh
Despite the fact that many of us are actively interested in technologies and trends that shape the future, humanity does not forget about the past either. Throughout 2020, despite the difficult situation in the world, archaeologists continued to conduct a number of expeditions and excavations, hoping to find answers to unsolved questions.
And many of their finds were indeed significant, and sometimes sensational. We would like to bring to your attention a dozen of archaeological finds made in 2020.
1. The Dead Sea Scrolls
Throughout the past year, news about the Dead Sea Scrolls has shaken the information space more than once. So, in March 2020, it suddenly turned out that the entire collection of fragments of the sixteen Dead Sea scrolls, which were acquired in 2017 for display at the Museum of the Bible in Washington (USA), turned out to be fakes.
At the same time, experts unequivocally noted that the identification of falsified scrolls does not mean at all that other tens of thousands of similar memos are the same. Therefore, the research continued, and very soon they gave a result.
Last May, British scientists, who were also studying the materials from which the scrolls were made, suddenly found a secret text on empty fragments. It was possible to see it after using multispectral survey.
And a month later, in June, news broke about the start of a new method for classifying scrolls - using DNA extraction. With the help of appropriate analysis, scientists look for fragments written on parchment made from the skin of the same animal or animal relatives.
Thus, the likelihood that such scrolls would be written in one place becomes almost one hundred percent. The new method has already begun to give positive results, and some of the relics really turned out to be "related".
2. Stonehenge 2.0
It would seem that the legendary Stonehenge itself is still not letting go of archaeologists, and its secrets are still not fully unraveled. But 2020 brought an even larger discovery associated with it.
During a survey of the surrounding area using radar, a much larger ring was discovered, consisting of twenty man-made pits. Its diameter is at least two kilometers.
The size of the holes is also impressive: ten meters in diameter and about five meters deep. And this despite the fact that for many centuries they underwent a natural process of falling asleep. And these pits have existed for quite a long time - about 4500 years.
If you look at the plan of the location of this ring, it turns out that in relation to it, the famous Stonehenge is located approximately 3, 2 kilometers southwest of the center. But the purpose of these pits is still unclear. So, scientists at the moment are putting forward a version that they were something like pointers to sacred places or a warning about them.
3. New Nazca geoglyph in the form of a cat
Peru is famous for its huge drawings. And many of us already thought that modern technologies - from satellite photos to filming with drones - no longer have those parts of the famous desert that would not have been explored. But last year proved to humanity that this is not so.
It was in 2020 that a new, previously unknown geoglyph depicting a cat was found.
It turned out to be difficult to find it, because the original lines were almost worn out. And only after the restoration work did the drawing appear clearly and in detail. The geoglyph found is approximately 37 meters long.Scientists date the image of a cat to the 2nd century BC, like most of the similar objects already studied.
4. Excavation by radar: ancient Roman city and the longest white road
The use of radar technology during archaeological research has been practiced for more than one year, but it was in 2020 that it proved its worth as successfully as possible. It was last year, near Rome, that researchers found the ancient Roman city of Faleri Novi with the help of georadars. And this despite the fact that up to that moment it was already considered well studied.
In fact, Faleri Novi began to be explored back in the nineteenth century, but the resources for large-scale excavations were not available until recently. It was the geodetic radar survey that made it possible to discover the architectural complexes of the city previously unknown to archaeologists - frames, an amphitheater, a bath complex and others.
Another find made last year using radar is the longest "white road". It is located in Central America, on the Yucatan Peninsula. Archaeologists believe that the road is about a thousand years old, and its construction was the initiative of the Mayan queen K'aviil Ahab.
5. "Tower of Skulls" in Mexico
In fairness, it should be clarified that the very phenomenon of the "tower of skulls" is not something new and unique. However, it was 2020 that gave archaeologists the opportunity to discover another such object. Found a new tower near the previously explored, on the territory of the Templo Mayor temple complex, which is located near Mexico City.
The diameter of the "tower of skulls" is almost five meters, and the remains of more than a hundred people have already been found there. Archaeologists determine the date of creation of this object at the end of the 15th century. The Mexican government has already reacted to the find, the Minister of Culture of Mexico Alejandra Frausto called the found object "the most impressive archaeological find in the country in recent years."
6. Amazonia - one of the ancestral homelands of agriculture
From time immemorial, it was believed that agriculture came to the territory of modern Latin America much later than to other regions. However, the complex of studies last year clearly showed the inconsistency of this opinion. So, within the framework of the study of the Amazonian lowland, it became clear that there, 10 thousand years ago, the local population was actively engaged in agriculture.
In order to study the flora of this region, the researchers mapped 6643 islets of trees in the savannas in northern Bolivia and took samples of phytoliths from some of them. It is they that make it possible to determine which plants grew or were grown in that area. Thus, it became clear that agricultural activities were carried out much earlier than it was assumed in previous years by the scientific community.
7. Finds in the Cheops pyramid
The famous pyramid of Cheops has been plundered since ancient times, so it is not surprising that only three artifacts were found on its territory, which are called Dixon's relics: a granite ball, a bronze hook and a piece of cedar. Almost sixty years ago, this piece of cedar was lost, and only in 2020 was it suddenly found. It turned out that all these years it was kept in a small metal box with the flag of Egypt in the archives of the Scottish University of Aberdeen. Now scientists have begun to actively study not only the found cedar, but also all the relics of Dixon.
8. Egyptian sarcophagi
Despite the fact that the artifacts of the ancient Egyptian period are being actively studied, in their homeland, for a long time, no progress was made from the local government and scientists in this direction. But now the difficult year of 2020 has come, and Egypt has just now begun to initiate excavations in order to increase the interest of both historians and tourists in the country.
So, they took up the study of the burial mines in Saqqara and found there more than a hundred unlooted sarcophagi, whose age is on average about two and a half thousand years. Research continues today, but such a massive find itself provides a huge platform for a new round of research into the heritage of Ancient Egypt.
9. Artifacts from glaciers
Global warming for all of humanity is certainly a wake-up call. But historians have found a way to benefit from this. So, for example, in the spring in the mountains of Norway an ancient lake melted, which for centuries remained in the form of an ice block. And the latter perfectly preserved the artifacts that once appeared there.
Researchers continue to study the territory of the melted lake, but what they have found and analyzed is capable of replenishing the expositions of the most famous museums in the world and adding previously unknown details to the existing canvas of history.
So, part of the archaeological finds belong to the period of the Viking domination on the territory of Scandinavia. The area next to the lake about a thousand years ago was part of the logistics system of the Vikings. Some of the artifacts - for example, the remains of clothing and shoes - date back to the third century AD, that is, during the Roman Iron Age (1–400), and the age of some of the finds is yet to be determined.
10. Construction of mammoth bones near Voronezh
Domestic experts did not lag behind the world community in the issue of archaeological study of the past. So, in the spring of last year, Russian archaeologists found the most ambitious structure on the territory of the complex of Kostenkovo Paleolithic sites of the Stone Age, which is located in the Voronezh region.
The material for its construction was the bones of a woolly mammoth. Research is just beginning: at the moment, assumptions are being made about the purpose of this building - at the moment it is believed that it had an exclusively ritual function.