After all the “paleontologist” jokes in Friends, you may think archaeology is pretty dull, but I assure you, it’s not all that boring… most of the time. There are times, however, when the archeologists, after spending weeks digging up dirt, and using those tiny brushes to dust off bone fragments and pottery shards of pottery, they find something extraordinary! Forgotten temples, lost cities – you name it. It’s all just sitting there somewhere under a thick layer of dirt, waiting to be uncovered.
1. The Griffin And The Dragon
4 years ago, in 2013, archaeologists exploring Mokhnataya mountain (“furry mountain”) in Siberia, found some unique granite monuments. Well, it’s either that ,or our pareidolia is to blame. There are these 2 huge creatures, resembling a dragon and a griffin. The dragon consists of 6 parts and weighs over 120 tons. The other beast is 5.9 meters (19.4 ft) long and 2.5 meters (8.2 ft) tall. The Scythian monuments could easily be older than 10,000 years, but nobody really know who made these monsters and why.
2. Desert Wine
This one’s fairly recent. Sometime in 2017 a few archeologists found a desert winery in Israel. The site dated back to the Byzantine era (around 400 AD) and was pretty huge. The building was made of stone and had a wine press inside. When archaeologists were shocked when they realized what they were looking at. Believe it or not, wine presses in buildings were a pretty rare thing in the ancient Nabataean city of Avdat. Most importantly, the big wine press proves that people had mastered this craft hundreds of years before Israel even formed. Everybody needs some wine once in a while.
3. Little Pompeii
This year a French team discovered something amazing, while digging outside of the city of Vienne. An entire luxury Roman neighborhood was unearthed, with beautiful homes, mosaic floors displaying mythical scenes, shops, and a large building that might have included a philosophy school. The oldest houses were built during the first century AD, then, after several deadly fires, the people were forced to pack their bags and run, and that gave these ruins the name “Little Pompeii”, because, you know Pompei was buried alive by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. That old chestnut.
4. Great Wall Of Siberia
It’s not everyday you see someone else copying China. Somewhere in Sybiria , the north of the Altai mountains was protected by a network of man-made walls. Six sturdy lines of walls running parallel to each other sure look like they could stop an entire horde. Each wall was 10 meters wide (33 ft) and 8 meters tall (26 ft). But that’s not all! To the East, there were 9 more walls. The hypothetical intruders were forced into a very uncomfortable position: proceed and get an arrow in the face, or run like hell. And to think that we’ve only discovered these walls in 2017!
5. City From Egypt’s Early Days
When I say Egypt, you’re probably imagining the pyramids, the Sphinx, and a bunch of people worshiping cats. I know I do, but what did it look like when it was just a settlement? To unearth a whole lost city is pretty much any archaeologist’s wet (dry?) dream. Recently archeologists found something very curious in Sohag, a southern province in Upper Egypt. It was a truly ancient city, dating way back to at least 5000 BC. The ruins included buildings, houses, pottery, and a plethora of tools. There were also 15 gigantic tombs, which were clearly meant for the more valued members of society. Scientists believe that this unnamed city was full of officials and tomb builders, responsible for the royal crypts in Abydos, an ancient Egyptian capital. It appears that almost 2 kilometers (1 mi) behind this city lies the necropolis with the royal tombs. While we can identify some rulers from that era, the earliest-laid graves belong to a time when Egyptian history was just beginning.