New archaeological discoveries

The great thing about history is that it is always subject to change. While hordes of travellers seek out ancient archaeological sites every year, the benefits of having an interest in the ancient world is that new discoveries are quite literally being unearthed all the time. So, let’s provide some added inspiration to that already growing list of ancient sites to travel to shall we, just beneath the Great Pyramid of Giza and above Pompeii. ADAM BISHOP gets digging!


Ancient Turkey Gladiators

No, it wasn’t just the Colosseum in Rome which hosted ancient battles, we now know that at the very least there was also an arena in Turkey in the ancient town of Mastaura.

Archaeologists believe the site dates back to around 200AD and was used by the Romans during the Severan Dynasty. Experts speculate the arena would have held similar bouts of blood-thirsty entertainment like the Colosseum did in its prime, with the event often pitting men and animals in fights to the death, much to the frivolous delight of the rulers of the time.

The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism cleared archaeologists to begin excavation work in August 2020, after which a team located the full value of a site which had been hidden for close to 2,000 years by shrubs and trees. The discovery lends weight to the belief that the Romans had many satellite arenas constructed throughout the empire, in much the same way as we have major sports stadia dotted around the world today.

Terracotta Warriors’ reinforcements

In case you have already visited China and checked out the vast army of Terracotta Warriors, we have some great news for you – there’s even more now. Famously first discovered by farmers digging a well in 1974, the original find revealed the amazing army of clay figures who were charged with guarding the mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang.

Twenty more of the figures have now been uncovered, many buried alongside weapons such as crossbows, swords and spears. On the downside, many of the recent warrior finds are in pieces, so the painstaking reassembly has begun before they will be eventually displayed to tourists. Interestingly, there is very little written down by the ancient Chinese kingdoms about the Terracotta Army, perhaps because the subsequent dynasties did not want to highlight the first emperor’s achievements.


Egypt keeps on giving

Just when you think Egypt can no longer shock historians and archaeologists with its buried surprises, the country tosses up yet another ancient gem. This time an amazing Egyptian sarcophagus has been discovered underneath the sands of Cairo only a few months ago, with inscriptions confirming it is a relic of the King Ramses II era, and dedicated to the head of the treasury, Ptah-em-wisa.

Laying hidden under the ground about 32 kilometres south of Cairo’s CBD, the item was discovered thanks to the efforts of a National Geographic documentary called Lost Treasures of Egypt. The discovery of a sarcophagus still in its tombs is extremely rare, making this find stand out even in the context of amazingly valuable archaeological finds. The discovery will be studied at length to better understand the life and times of Ptah-em-wia and his surroundings before hopefully being put on display in a local museum.


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