Archaeological Discoveries of 2015

CELTIC PRINCE,  DENIS  GLIKSMAN/INRAP. This year will be also remembered for one of the most stunning Iron Age discoveries of the past century. Archaeologists in northwestern France unearthed the tomb of an Iron Age Celtic prince who was buried with his chariot at the center of a huge mound. Standing near the small village of Lavau, in northwestern France, the mound, 130 feet across, was dated to the 5th century BC. The 2,500-year-old tomb featured at its center a 150-square-foot burial chamber, housing the deceased and his chariot. 

Items found in the tomb included a large bronze-decorated wine cauldron, most likely made by Greek or Etruscans craftsmen. Measuring about 3.2 feet in diameter, the cauldron has four circular handles which are decorated with bronze heads that depict the Greek god Acheloos.


A new monument just two miles from Stonehenge stands as one of the most impressive finds of the year.

Dubbed “Superhenge,” it is one of the largest stone monuments in Europe. It consists of a row of huge stones arranged in an arena-like C-shape and dating back to 4,500 years ago. The site lies buried three feet beneath a thick, grassy bank at a Stone-Age enclosure known as Durrington Walls.

The finding show Stonehenge wasn’t standing in splendid isolation on the edge of Salisbury Plain. On the contrary, it was the center of a large and rich ceremonial landscape. ‘Superhenge’ Found Buried Near Stonehenge


Another stunning, intact tomb was found at the end of the year in Tuscany. A farmer opened a void in the earth while working with his plow in a field near Città della Pieve, a small town some 30 miles southwest of Perugia, bringing to light a rare undisturbed Etruscan tomb. 

The 2,300-year-old burial revealed a 16 square-foot rectangular chamber with two sarcophagi, four finely sculpted marble urns and various grave goods. One of the sarcophagi, made from stone, bears a long inscription.The urns contained cremains, while one male skeleton was visible in one sarcophagus.

The use of alabaster marble, the style of the burial and clues from the inscription suggest the burial belongs to an aristocratic family from the nearby Etruscan stronghold of Chiusi.

A mysterious marble head, clearly broken at the neck level, was also found. It portrays the beautiful real-size face of a young man, but its meaning remains obscure.


Biblical archaeologists made a major discovery as they solved one of Jerusalem’s greatest mysteries — the location of the biblical Greek fort known as Acra.

Built by the Greek King Antiochus IV more than 2,000 years ago and mentioned in Jewish biblical sources, the fortress has been sought for over 100 years. 

The remains were unearthed in a parking lot in Jerusalem after 10 years of excavations and included a section of a massive wall, which was the base of an imposing tower measuring 66 feet long and 13 feet wide. The wall’s outer base was coated with layers of soil, stone and plaster — a specially designed slippery slope meant to keep attackers away.

Among the ruins, the archaeologists also discovered lead slingshots, bronze arrowheads and stone catapults, all stamped with a trident, which symbolized the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes (215-164 BC).

The stronghold withstood all attempts at conquest and only in 141 BC was it conquered by the Hasmonean king Simon Maccabeus, after a long siege and the starvation of the Greek defenders.

Ancient Greek Fortress Found in Jerusalem Parking Lot.


Mummy research produced some of the most important findings for modern clinical medicine.

Researchers found the oldest case of heart failure in the 3,500-year-old mummified remains of an Egyptian dignitary named Nebiri, a “Chief of Stables” who lived under the reign of 18th Dynasty pharaoh Thutmoses III (1479-1424 BC).

Using high resolution CT scans, German researchers diagnosed the oldest case of leukemia in a 7,000-year-old skeleton. The remains belonged to a female individual who died at 30-40 years and were excavated in 1982 at an early Neolithic site near Stuttgart-Mühlhausen in south western Germany. 

A mummy in a basket helped understand the evolution of pathogens. Indeed, genes associated with antibiotic resistance were found in an 11th-century mummy’s colon and feces, long before antibiotics were introduced.

Coming from Cuzco, the ancient capital of the Inca empire, the mummy belonged to a woman who had died between 18 and 23 years of age.

The find suggests that gene mutations responsible for antibiotic resistance occurred naturally in 1,000-year-old bacteria and are not necessarily linked to the overuse of antibiotics.


Weird and odd findings in 2015 included the discovery of a 250-year-old sex toy in an ancient latrine in the Baltic city of Gdańsk and the amazingly intact remains of a meditating monk in Mongolia. Covered in animal skin, the mummified body had been sitting in the lotus position for about 200 years.

A wooden sea monster then emerged from the Baltic sea after lying on the seabed off the southern Swedish town of Ronneby for more than 500 years. The 660-pound figurehead represented a ferocious looking creature with lion ears and crocodile-like mouth. It was carved from the top of an 11-foot-long beam and stood at the prow of the Gribshunden, a 15th-century warship belonging to the Danish King Hans. 

Another unusual breakthrough was made in a small American museum when a scholar spotted a 2,500-year-old predecessor of DC Comics’ Wonder Woman super heroine on a vase painting.

Drawn on a white-ground pyxis (a lidded cylindrical box that was used for cosmetics, jewelry, or ointments) the image shows an Amazon on horseback in a battle against a Greek warrior.

Much like the fictional warrior princess of the Amazons, the horsewoman is twirling a lasso.

The drawing is the only known ancient artistic image of an Amazon using a lariat in battle.