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Archaeology News For 2022

Archaeology isn’t just about sifting through dirt in search of artifacts. It also happens in labs and in offices, with researchers analyzing objects to better understand humankind’s past.

Long-lost tombs discovered during renovations at Notre Dame in Paris, the inscription found on a tiny ivory comb that may have been written by Neanderthals, and other exciting archaeological finds make up this week’s news.

Discoveries In 2022

Whether it’s evidence of archaeology news animation or one of the earliest known Buddhist temples, there were plenty of archaeological discoveries that captured people’s imagination in 2021. But what will archaeologists uncover in 2022? Here’s a look at what’s in store.

The year started off with a bang when researchers announced the discovery of a “lost golden city.” This Bronze Age settlement, complete with a palace and sprawling fort, emerged in Iraq after extreme drought lowered water levels at the Mosul Dam. Researchers hope to continue excavating the site and find more treasures. Such findings could help solve long-standing mysteries, including why Amenhotep III’s son, Akhenaten, tried to focus Egyptian religion on the sun god instead of the traditional pantheon of gods.

Another exciting discovery came in the form of a pair of mummy portraits — the first to be found in over a century. These realistic-looking drawings were unearthed at Egypt’s Gerza village excavation site in early December. It’s been more than 110 years since English archaeologist Flinders Petrie discovered 146 Fayum-style portraits at an ancient tomb in 1912.

Other noteworthy archaeological finds in 2022 include a stash of tools used for embalming dead bodies, which was found in the ruins of an old tomb near Alexandria, and an important find that helps fill in gaps in our knowledge about how humans lived 11,000 years ago. Read more about these exciting discoveries here.

Other interesting finds of 2022 include a set of marble slabs that tell the story of the ancient Assyrian capital of Nineveh. These detailed carvings depict palm trees, pomegranates and figs, and were part of the walls built by King Sennacherib around 700 BC. They were only rediscovered this year during reconstruction work on the site after it was ripped apart by ISIS militants in 2014.

A 31,000-Year-Old Leg Amputation

Archaeologists unearthing a 31,000-year-old grave in the rainforests of Indonesia’s Borneo found evidence that one of its inhabitants underwent a medical procedure—the oldest known limb amputation. The researchers discovered that the lower left leg of this hunter-gatherer was severed with a stone tool, a feat the scientists say required precise skill and careful execution. The fact that the amputation didn’t result in fatal infection, as well as signs of growth and healing on the skeleton, suggests that this person survived the operation. The findings are detailed in a study published this month in Nature.

The skeleton was found in Liang Tebo Cave in a remote region of eastern Borneo that has some of the world’s earliest rock art. The scientists used radioisotopes to date the bones and palaeopathological analysis to reveal that the lower left leg had been surgically removed when this individual was a child. Bone growths and a healed stump indicate the amputation was successful, and that the person survived for 6 to 9 years afterward. This survival is an important discovery because it shows that surgery existed in foraging communities long before the transition to agriculture and permanent settlements.

It’s not clear whether the amputation was caused by injury or illness, but it could have been an accident resulting from an animal attack or perhaps an infection that was causing pain and weakness in the leg, says lead researcher Tim Maloney. The skeleton also had a healed neck bone fracture, but it’s hard to link that to the leg surgery because bone remodelling occurs at different rates in different parts of the body.

While the new findings are exciting, they’re also a bit macabre. “The skeletal remains are a reminder of the brutality and violence of life in early humans,” a coauthor of the study tells NPR.

The discovery of the amputation skeleton, along with other ancient medical finds like bones that have been preserved in mummies, is changing the way researchers think about the history of human medicine. It’s no longer accepted that medical knowledge only advanced with the transition to farming societies.

New Research Into Ancient Poop

Although bones and stone tools are the mainstays of archaeological discovery, sometimes a bit of poop can be just as valuable. That’s because ancient feces can provide a wealth of clues on the past, from what people ate to how they lived. Researchers have been looking at these relics for some time, but now a new method of scanning for them could reveal even more.

In a study published Friday in Parasitology, scientists analyzed partially fossilized feces known as coprolites from the Durrington Walls settlement near Stonehenge. These remains show that the people who worked on building the prehistoric monument feasted on internal animal organs during lavish celebrations to mark the construction of the ring of stones. “This is the first evidence that the builders of Stonehenge consumed raw meat,” says a researcher who was not involved in the new research.

Scientists gathered the coprolites from samples that had been excavated from human latrines in the site, which date back to 4,500 years ago. The researchers performed in-depth microscopic, metagenomic and proteomic analysis of these relics to figure out the microbes, DNA and proteins they contained. They also looked at other traces left behind by people in the area, including butchery marks on bones and the dung of dogs and other animals that lived in the vicinity.

The resulting information was impressive. The team was able to identify a large number of organisms, including bacteria and parasitic worms, in the coprolites. They were also able to determine the age of the poo using a technique called carbon dating. They found that the poop dated to around 14,000 years ago, which matches other archaeological finds from the same area.

But it was a mystery at the outset whether the poop actually came from humans or dogs. Coprolites are prone to contamination, and it’s easy for genetic material from one pile of feces to get leached onto another.

But a team led by University of Newcastle archaeologists Lisa-Marie Shillito and John Blong solved the riddle by zeroing in on lipids—organic substances like bile acids and sterols that are far less likely to change over time—that make it clear whether a piece of poop belongs to a person or a dog. This method, which they call coproID, could help advance fields like forensics and studies of the gut microbiome.

A Shipwreck In The Mediterranean

Archaeologists in Turkey have discovered the world’s oldest shipwreck, an incredible discovery that dates back 3,600 years. The team, which included Akdeniz University Underwater Research Center teams, made the find near Antalya in southeastern Turkey. The researchers say the discovery will shed new light on ancient marine history. The shipwreck was carrying copper ingots. AU Underwater Research Center director associate professor Hakan Oniz compared the finding to Gobeklitepe, the earliest known temple site that recently upended what we know about early human civilizations.

The artifacts found on the shipwreck show a diverse collection from various cultures that crisscrossed the Mediterranean sea thousands of years ago. These items include Ming porcelain bowls, glazed jars with peppercorns from India, and twelve Ibrik copper coffee pots likely from Egypt or Turkey. The team also retrieved 10 tons of Cypriotic copper bars and ingots, and tin.

Interestingly, these finds reveal that there was an active maritime silk and spice trade in the Mediterranean around this time. This is likely to have been the result of the discovery of a trade route between China and the Middle East, which was later extended to the Red Sea and into the eastern Mediterranean. The team also notes that the ship was a commercial one, as the cargo was clearly labeled as such.

These findings will help us understand the complexity of the Mediterranean’s maritime trading culture, and provide important insights for future archaeological work on the seabed. In a positive development, the area where the wreck was found will now be designated as a protected zone, which should help to protect its treasures from illegal looting and other activities.

As technology advances, it’s becoming easier for researchers to study the underwater world. This year alone, archaeologists have unearthed a significant palace door threshold in the ancient city of Nimrud, a 2,700-year-old shipwreck in the Mediterranean, and much more.


In conclusion, archaeology continues to be a captivating field that uncovers humanity’s past and enriches our understanding of ancient civilizations. With new technological advancements and global collaborations, researchers are making significant discoveries that shed light on our shared heritage and cultural evolution, deepening our appreciation for the diverse tapestry of human history.


  1. What is archaeology? Archaeology is the scientific study of past human cultures through the examination, analysis, and interpretation of material remains like artifacts, structures, and ecofacts. By excavating and analyzing these remnants, archaeologists seek to reconstruct ancient societies, their behaviors, and the historical contexts in which they lived.
  2. How are archaeological sites protected? The protection of archaeological sites involves various measures, including legal designations, site monitoring, and public awareness campaigns. Governments often designate significant sites as protected areas, restricting construction and development. Archaeologists and heritage organizations work together to raise awareness about the importance of preserving these sites, engaging local communities and authorities to ensure their safeguarding for future generations.