I found myself standing in Tahrir Square in Cairo this week, looking over at the world renowned “Egyptian Museum” wondering.. how many of the world’s greatest archeological discoveries are in there? The quest to find this answer let to this top ten list of the greatest archaeological discoveries in the world.
10. Bulla of Baruch – Baruch ben Neriah was a scribe in the bible and he is well loved in the Jewish and Christian religions. Amazingly in 1975 a clay seal was in the antiquities world that had Baruch’s signature and finger print!
9. Rosetta Stone – Discovered in 1799, long before the language learning software that adopted its name, the Rosetta Stone was a decree written in stone by King Ptolemy V. It was written in Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics, Demotic, and Ancient Greek. Once it was deciphered, the text contributed greatly to understanding ancient Egyptian and Demotic.
8. Nag Hammadi Library – Discovered in 1945 in a small town in Egypt, these scrolls were found in a jar and tell us almost the only things we know about a Christian sect known as the Gnostics (their texts were mostly destroyed in 367AD).
7. Pompeii – The ancient roman city was buried in a volcanic eruption in 79AD. Amazingly it was only discovered 1700 years later.
6. The Pilate Stone – A stone that was part of a theater built around 30BC, it is considered the first accepted piece of evidence of the existence of the well known biblical figure Pontious Pilate.
5. Dead Sea Scrolls – Discovered in a cave off the Dead Sea in 1946-47, these 972 documents are very famous and important for biblical scholars in understanding how the text has changed over time and translation.
4. Dinosaur Fossils – Somehow only #4 on the list but who doesn’t love dinosaur fossils!
3. The Cave of Altamira – These cave paintings found in Spain forever changed how we understand prehistorical life. Plus, they’re beautiful.
2. Tutankhamun – I could tell you of the beauty and importance of it.. but you already know the Ancient Egyptian culture is always amazing and fascinating on so many levels.
1. Olduvai Gorge – You may have never heard of it but its considered the most important regions in the world in terms of discoveries. Home to 1.9 million year-old humans, evidence suggestions that with the amount of activity that once took place here, it could possibly have been the first ever city.
Photo: The Laird of Oldham / flickr