Archaeology’s "Top Ten" of 2008 Includes Shipwrecked Coins


Archaeology Magazine’s top 10 discoveries of 2008 include a variety of spectacular finds from the oldest oil paintings to the first Europeans to the 500-year old shipwreck of gold coins off the Namibia, African coast

Creating a top ten list is no easy feat, and is sure to spark some debate. The discoveries are those that "really excited" the folks over at the magazine. And for that, it is hard to argue against their selections.

Sacred Maya Blue Chichén Itzá, Mexico – Maya blue, the brilliant and long-lasting paint that graces scores of Maya sites, is one of just a handful of man-made pigments known to the ancient world.

Wari Masked Mummy Lima, Peru – Not all big discoveries come from out-of-the-way places. In August, Peruvian archaeologists announced they had found an intact mummy from the Wari culture in a burial mound beneath a busy Lima neighborhood.

Kuttamuwa’s Soul Zincirli, Turkey – Digging at ancient Sam’al, capital of an Iron Age kingdom in southeastern Turkey, they [Archaeologists] were thrilled when they excavated an extremely well-preserved eighth-century B.C. funerary stele depicting a high official named Kuttamuwa.

American Genes North America – The remarkable discovery of 14,300-year-old feces in eastern Oregon’s Paisley Cave provided the earliest direct evidence of human colonization of the Americas.

Oldest Oil Paintings Bamiyan, Afghanistan – An international team of conservators and archaeologists found the world’s oldest-known oil paintings in a maze of caves in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan Valley.

First European Atapuerca, Spain – Ancient hominin bones found in northern Spain’s Atapuerca Mountains have pushed back the arrival of humans in Europe to roughly 1.2 million years ago.

Earliest Shoes Tianyuan Cave, China – The toes of East Asia’s oldest modern human show that our ancestors first began wearing shoes around 40,000 years ago.

Portuguese Indiaman Namibia – On April Fools’ Day, a geologist at the Namdeb Diamond Corporation photographed something strange along newly exposed seabed off the coast of Namibia: mangled bronze pipes and heavy copper ingots.

Imperial Colossi Sagalassos, Turkey – Legendary emperors are coming out of the earth at Sagalassos, a classical metropolis in central Turkey. After the assassination of Domitian in A.D. 96, a new Roman dynasty arose–the Antonines.

Origins of Whaling Chukotka Peninsula, Russia – In the 1950s, Alaskan archaeologists found large whale bones in a cluster of 3,000-year-old semi-subterranean houses at the site of Cape Krusenstern on the Bering Sea.

For other notable mentions, visit Archaeology Magazine’s top 10 discoveries of 2008.

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