The best archaeological discoveries made in 2021
December 31, 2021 - The world’s most notable archaeological discoveries in 2021 include Egypt’s lost golden city, the oldest human footprints in North America, the world's oldest artwork found in Tibet and the oldest map ever to be found in Europe.
Archaeological highlights of the year features the following finds:
1. CANADA: Analysis of wood samples from the Norse settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, shows that Vikings occupied the Americas as early as 1021 – exactly 1,000 years ago. This is the earliest known record of humans crossing from Europe to the New World.
2. FRANCE: A freshly-unearthed Bronze Age stone known as the Saint-Bélec Slab, may be the oldest 3D map in Europe. Archaeologists believe the patterns engraved on the 4,000-year-old slab depict an area of western Brittany.
3. EGYPT: The discovery of a 3,000-year-old city near Luxor known as Aten – is hailed as one of the most important finds since Tutankhamun’s tomb. The “lost golden city” was founded by Tutankhamun’s grandfather Amenhotep III
(1391-1353 BC), one of ancient Egypt’s most powerful rulers.
4. U.S.: Radiocarbon dating of fossilised footprints found in New Mexico show that people were living in North America more than 20,000 years ago – about 5,000 years earlier than previously thought. The previous theory was that ice sheets had prevented human migration to the region during the ice age.
5. LEBANON: The remains of at least 25 soldiers, killed defending Christian-held Sidon during the Crusades, are uncovered in the moat of the Saint Louis Castle. This is one of only two archaeologically documented mass burials of Crusaders.
6. MOROCCO: Artefacts unearthed in a cave in Morocco, dating back 120,000 years, indicate that humans used bone tools to render animal skins for fur and leather. The discovery provides the oldest-known evidence for clothing in the archaeological record.
7. SAUDI ARABIA: A series of camel sculptures carved into rock faces are believed to be the oldest large-scale animal reliefs in the world. A fresh study puts the camels at between 7,000 and 8,000 years old – older than Stonehenge (5,000 years old) or the Pyramids at Giza (4,500 years old).
8. TIBET: A pattern of hand and footprints made by children more than 220,000 years ago is the oldest artwork ever found. The youngsters, probably Neanderthals or members of the related Denisovan species, pressed their hands and feet into soft limestone, which later hardened.