13 Unexpected Archaeological Discoveries

13 Jul 2017 11:24 1,771
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From a 2600-year old palace in Iraq, to the legendary Rosetta Stone, Here are 13 Unexpected archaeological discoveries

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Nubian Pyramids
The pyramids of Sudan are located more than 100 miles south of Khartoum (kar-TOOM), the capital of the country. The structures are found in the ancient city of Meroe (merr-oh-wee) … it was once the center of the Kush (koosh) kingdom … one of the oldest civilizations in the Nile region … and remained a power until the 4th century AD. The pyramids stand up to 100 feet tall … and the oldest buildings are thought to date back to around 720 BC. Experts note that all the the pyramids bear decorations that display the influences of ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome … and say the area’s most impressive structures are found at the necropolis of Meroe. While smaller in size than their Egyptian counterparts, the Nubian pyramids have a similar shape, rising from a foundation to a narrow point. But some of these pyramids have strange flat tops … that was a byproduct of explorers who pillaged the during the 19th century and reduced some sections to rubble.

Machu Picchu -- This famous lost city lies almost 8,000 feet above sea level in the Andes Mountains of southern Peru ... and can only be accessed by train or a four day trek. Machu Picchu was built in the 15th century, possibly as an estate for an Incan emperor. It was abandoned around the time of the Spanish conquest. Although locals were aware of the city’s existence, it remained unknown to the Spanish during that period. It remained largely unknown to the world until 1911 when US historian Hiram Bingham brought it to the world’s attention. Machu Picchu was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.

Nazca Lines
These well known ancient geoglyphs were found in the Nazca Desert of Peru … and were first referenced in print in 1553 by a Spanish conquistador. The largest figures measure up to 370 feet long … and the style ranges from simple to complex. Simple lines and geometric shapes give way to designs of humans and animals, to shapes resembling trees and flowers. While experts have determined the geoglyphs were created by the Nazca culture between 500 BC to 500 AD, there are still various theories as to what purpose the designs fulfilled. Some sources indicate the patterns may have held a religious significance of some sort. Contrary to common belief, you don’t need to be in an airplane to view the lines and figures … they can be seen from surrounding foothills.

Rosetta Stone
This famous artifact was discovered by a French soldier in 1799 during the Napoleonic Wars in Egypt. In 1801, British forces defeated the French in Egypt and took the massive stone into their possession. The stone was carved in 196 BC, with three scripts being used in Egypt at the time -- Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics used for important documents … demotic (dih-MOT-ik), which was a common script … and Ancient Greek, used by Egyptian rulers of the time. All three scripts describe a decree that was issued on behalf of King Ptolemy (TOL-uh-mee) V. It took at least 20 years before the scripts could be transliterated. The Rosetta Stone’s discovery led to the decipherment of hieroglyphics, insight to ancient Egyptian history, and the field of modern field of Egyptology. It’s been on display in the British Museum since 1802, and is the most visited artifact there.

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