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Top 10 Discoveries By Archaeologists In 2018

Recent archeological discoveries offer a huge variety of eye-opening findings that deepen our understanding of history. Some of these findings change the way we understand history completely.

For example, it turns out that there was another massive plague outbreak around 3800 BC. On a more positive note, scientists also learned that humans knew how to bake bread and make beer over 13,000 years ago! More on these and other amazing discoveries below.

1. The Original Black Death Thousands of Years Ago

Location of the expedition: Steppes of Eastern Europe
Date of the findings: 3800 BCE

The largest pandemic recorded in history is the infamous 14th century Black Death that took nearly 50 million lives and wiped out most of the population of Europe, or so we thought… A recent excavation found skeletons from 3800 BC harboring traces of the bacteria that cause bubonic plague, Yersinia pestis.

Top 10 Discoveries By Archaeologists In 2018

Aнтон Чёрный, nature

The skeletons were found in the steppes of Eastern Europe, which is a crucial clue, as historical data suggests that around 3500 BC a mass relocation of people began from the East to Western Europe.

Until now, no one could explain why so many people suddenly moved so far from home, but it becomes clear that a terrible plague outbreak must have urged them to relocate.

2. A Silver-Masked Mummy Found in Egypt

Location of the expedition: Egypt
Date of the findings: 664 to 404 BCE

Just when you thought we learned everything we could about Egyptian mummies, archeologists surprised us with a new finding: they discovered a mummy workshop. The building stored hundreds of ceramic bowls with various oils and other substances used for mummification.

A hidden 100-feet-long tunnel near the building led to burial chambers with dozens of mummies.

Top 10 Discoveries By Archaeologists In 2018science alert/ University of Tubingen

Among those mummies was a sarcophagus belonging to Tadihor, a woman in a silver mask. Her sarcophagus was surrounded by numerous protective figurines with her name on them. According to Egyptian religious texts, the bones of gods are made of silver and gold, so a mummy wearing a silver mask meant that Tadihor will become a god after her death.

3. Archeologists Found the Oldest Human Footprints

Location of the expedition: Canada
Age of the findings: 13,000 years

A Canadian expedition on Calvert Island found what are believed to be the oldest human footprints. The footprints belonged to 3 people: a child and two adults.

The scientists managed to estimate the date of the footprints thanks to a piece of wood found right next to them. Radiocarbon dating revealed that the footprints were between 13,300 and 13,000 years old.

Top 10 Discoveries By Archaeologists In 2018livescience/ Duncan McLaren

4. Arrows Found in Texas May Reinterpret Native American Origins

Location of the expedition: Texas
Age of the findings: at least 16,000 years

The working hypothesis for the origins of Native Americans was that they moved to North America from Siberia around 13,000 years ago.

Archeological work in Texas undermines this hypothesis, as tools, arrowheads, and blades as old as 16,000-20,000 years were found during this expedition.

The more plausible hypothesis now is that the first Native Americans were European travelers that crossed the Atlantic ocean via Arctic ice sheets that existed during the Pleistocene Epoch, which ended only around 11,700 years ago.

Top 10 Discoveries By Archaeologists In 2018scienceamerican

5. Humans Knew How to Prepare Bread and Beer Much Earlier Than We Thought

Location of the expedition: Israel and northeastern Jordan

Age of the findings: 13,000 years

We grouped these 2 separate archeological excavations in one due to their culinary nature. The first discovery was that humans knew how to make bread significantly earlier than they started growing crops, about 4,000 years earlier, to be more precise.

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen who focused on the Natufian civilization found that they baked bread in stone ovens from wild wheat and barley grains.

Top 10 Discoveries By Archaeologists In 2018pnas, livescience/ Eric Christensen

This Israel-based research team also discovered remnants of beer in stone pits found in Raqefet Cave, which must have been the first known alcohol-brewing grounds in history. It is now clear that the same people, Natufians, knew how to brew beer and make bread as far back as 13,000 years ago.

6. Archeologists Found a New Puzzle Piece to Explain the Origin of the Pyramids

Location of the expedition: Egypt
Age of the findings: 4,500 years

Researchers might be another step closer to solving the mystery of how the pyramids were built. Research conducted at a site in Hatnub, an ancient Egyptian quarry, found a 4,500-year-old ramp system that would let workers raise stone blocks using a sled and ropes even on very steep slopes.

Several ropes were attached to each sled. They acted as force multipliers and made it much easier to pull the heavy stone-laden sled up the ramp.

Top 10 Discoveries By Archaeologists In 2018livescience/ Yannis Gourdon

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