>Top 10 Archaeological Discoveries for 2008

>Archaeology Magazine has selected what the magazine’s editors consider to be the most important archaeological discoveries of 2008:

1. The secret of Maya Blue: A study of the sacred blue pigment used by the Mayans during human sacrifices and other religious ceremonies.

2. Masked mummy of Peru: The intact 1,700-year-old mummy of a master weaver from Peru’s Wari culture. The mummy had a wooden mask with seashell eyes. Some of the items found with the mummy included knitting needles and balls of yarn.

3. The stone with soul: The Kuttamuwa Stele, a funerary monument discovered in southeastern Turkey. The stele has a 13-line inscription in which a high official refers to food offerings that were made “for my soul that is in this stele.”

4. Brown gold from Oregon: The brown gold is the 14,300-year-old preserved feces found in eastern Oregon’s cave. The feces provide the best evidence yet that humans lived in the Americas that long ago.

5. Oldest oil paintings: The world’s oldest-known paintings was discovered in a maze of caves in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan Valley. This is site where the Taliban blew up two giant statues of Buddha in 2001.

6. The remains of the first European: Archaeologists discovered ancient hominin bones in northern Spain that has been dated back to 1.3 million years ago. The discovery suggests that the ancestors of modern humans made their way into Europe about 500,000 years earlier than previously thought.

7. The earliest shoes: The discovery of toe bones in China provides evidence that humans first began wearing shoes around 40,000 years ago.

8. Pristine Portuguese shipwreck: Archaeologists discovered a 16th-century Portuguese cargo ship off the coast of Namibia with a precious cargo: 50 pounds of gold coins, plus navigational instruments, elephant tusks and other treasures.

9. The colossal heads of the Roman Empire: Archaeologists discovered the monumental marble heads of Roman emperors in central Turkey. Among the findings were Hadrian’s head and the statues of Marcus Aurelius and Faustina the Elder, the wife of the emperor Antoninus Pius.

10. The origins of whaling: At an archaeological site in Russia, archaeologists found the carvings of a seal, a bear and a boatful of people hunting a whale from a boat. The tusk dates back about 3,000 years. The discover is considered the earliest evidence for whaling.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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