Top 10 Archaeological Discoveries of 2013

With the year winding down, I thought it might be fun to share this Heritage Daily article featuring their opinion of the top 10 archaeological discoveries of this past year. Some of them I have covered in previous blog posts and some I haven’t – but all are interesting and worth a quick review. Also a great opportunity to catch up on recent findings in the archaeological community if you haven’t been in tune all year. Enjoy!

1 : University of Leicester Announces Discovery of King Richard III

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The University of Leicester today confirms (Monday, Feb 4) that it has discovered the remains of King Richard III.

At a specially convened media conference, experts from across the University unanimously identified the remains discovered in Leicester city centre as being those of the last Plantagenet king who died in 1485.

Rigorous scientific investigations confirmed the strong circumstantial evidence that the skeleton found at the site of the Grey Friars church in Leicester was indeed that of King Richard III. Find out more

2 : Pristine Roman Sculp​ture Discovered by ​Archaeologists​

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Archaeologists have discovered an extraordinary Roman sculpture in the form of an eagle firmly grasping a writhing serpent in its beak.

The find was uncovered on a site in the City of London, ahead of development of a 16 storey 291 bed hotel by Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP) and its development partners Endurance Land. The team from MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) were at first hesitant to announce the discovery and to proclaim its Roman origins, owing to its almost unbelievable condition. Find out more

3 : Archaeologists Discover Largest, Oldest Palatial Wine Cellar

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3,700 year-old store room held 2,000 liters of strong, sweet wine. Would you drink wine flavored with mint, honey and a dash of psychotropic resins? Ancient Canaanites did more than 3,000 years ago.

Archaeologists have unearthed what may be the oldest — and largest — ancient wine cellar in the Near East, containing forty jars, each of which would have held fifty liters of strong, sweet wine. The cellar was discovered in the ruined palace of a sprawling Canaanite city in northern Israel, called Tel Kabri. The site dates to about 1,700 B.C. and isn’t far from many of Israel’s modern-day wineries. Find out more

4 : The Discovery of an Early Henge at Norton, Hertfordshire by Local Archaeologists

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The story begins in 1936. Major Allen, a pioneer of aerial photography in Britain, flew over a field to the east of the young Letchworth Garden City and spotted a large ring in the crop, which he duly photographed.

Like so many such cropmarks in North Hertfordshire, it was long assumed to be the traces of a ditch that would have formed a quarry for material to make an earlier Bronze Age burial mound. Excavations by community archaeologists have now revealed an early henge monument in North Hertfordshire, England. Find out more

5 : Early Roman Period Mansion Discovered by Archaeologists

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In excavating sites in a long-inhabited urban area like Jerusalem, archaeologists are accustomed to noting complexity in their finds — how various occupying civilizations layer over one another during the site’s continuous use over millennia.

But when an area has also been abandoned for intermittent periods, paradoxically there may be even richer finds uncovered, as some layers have been buried and remain undisturbed by development.

Such appears be the case at an archaeological dig on Jerusalem’s Mount Zion, conducted by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where the 2013 excavations have revealed the well-preserved lower levels of what the archaeological team believes is an Early Roman period mansion (first century CE), possibly belonging to a member of the Jewish ruling priestly caste. Find out more

6 : Archaeologists Discover the 4,000 Year Old Tomb of a Doctor at Abusir

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Czech Archaeologists excavating at Abusir have discovered a 4,000 year old tomb of what is believed to be a high status doctor to the Pharaohs.

Abusir is an extensive necropolis from the old Kingdom close to the vicinity of modern Cairo. Found several kilometers north of Saqqara, it severed as one of the main elite cemeteries for the ancient capital city of Memphis. Find out more

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7 : Archaeologists Discover 6000-Year-Old ‘Halls of the Dead’ in UK

The remains of two large 6000-year-old halls, each buried within a prehistoric burial mound, have been discovered by archaeologists from The University of Manchester and Herefordshire Council – in a UK first. Find out more

8 : 14th Century Burial Ground Discovered in Central London

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Archaeologists working on the UK’s largest infrastructure project, Crossrail, have discovered an historical burial ground in central London.

Thirteen skeletons have been uncovered lying in two carefully laid out rows on the edge of Charterhouse Square at Farringdon, and are believed to be up to 660 years old.

Historical records reference a burial ground in the Farringdon area that opened during the Black Death Plague in 1348. The limited written records suggest up to 50,000 people may have been buried in less than three years in the hastily established cemetery, with the burial ground used up until the 1500s. Find out more

9 : 1,500 Year Old Mosaic Discovered At Kibbutz Bet Qama

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A spectacular colorful mosaic dating to the Byzantine period (4th–6th centuries CE) was exposed in recent weeks in the fields of Kibbutz Bet Qama, in the B’nei Shimon regional council.

The mosaic was discovered within the framework of an archaeological excavation the Israel Antiquities Authority is carrying out prior to the construction of an interchange between Ma’ahaz and Devira Junction, undertaken and funded by the Cross-Israel Highway Company. Find out more

10 : Archaeologists Unearth more than 300 Prehistoric Clay Figurines in Greece.

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Archaeologists from the University of Southampton studying a Neolithic archaeological site in central Greece have helped unearth over 300 clay figurines, one of the highest density for such finds in south-eastern Europe. Find out more

Read the full article here.

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5 responses to “Top 10 Archaeological Discoveries of 2013

  1. Interesting but very Old-World centered…not that I can point to any news-making finds in the Americas off the top of my head other than the Mayan queen tomb.

    • You know, this article is very old-world heavy, but there were some pretty significant new world finds this year that didn’t make it into this article. I’m thinking specifically of some new interpretations of Cahokia, the settlement discovered in Lake George, the cave paintings in the Burgos region of Mexico, etc.

      • Sad then that they couldn’t make it into a top 10 list. The other top 10 arch finds list I saw also completely neglected the Americas. Obviously, though, I’m not up to the task of making one…

  2. Pingback: Thoughts on Academic Archaeology | These Bones Of Mine·

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