2020 has its own place in history and in every nation worldwide. Old and young, rich and poor, millions have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. And we would like everyone to take a moment to think about all those touched by this unwanted historic event.

Considering the worldwide lockdowns and restrictions it has again been a fantastic year with an abundance of discoveries and history rewritten again.

Here we look at some of our favourite Archaeological discoveries of 2020, and if you do have interest in any of the sections, please take the time to research more, as we can only offer brief descriptions that are, in some cases, a fraction of the fantastic stories behind the images and videos.

Stunning Roman Mosaic Found in England?

The discovery of an Beautifully crafted Roman mosaic might not seem wholly surprising, but archaeologists say there’s something very unusual about the design seen at Chedworth Roman Villa in Gloucestershire, England: It dates to the mid 5th century, decades after the end of Roman rule in Britain and in the midst of a period known as the Dark Ages.

Archaeologists Discover Giant Ice Age Mammoth Bone Structure

Archaeologists discovered a giant Ice Age structure built from the remains of at least 60 mammoths at the Kostenki-Borshevo archaeological complex.

The giant circular structure has a diameter of 12.5 metres and was built around 25,000 years ago during the peak of the last Ice Age, when communities were mainly mobile hunter-gatherers. This would make the monument one of the oldest known mammoth bone buildings in the world.

100+ Painted Coffins discovered at the Ancient Egyptian Necropolis of Saqqara

Egyptian antiquities officials have announced the discovery of almost 100 ancient coffins – some with mummies inside them – and around 40 golden statues from the Ancient Egyptian Necropolis of Saqqara. The wooden coffins and other objects were buried during Egypt’s Late and Ptolemaic Periods, which together lasted from 664 to 30BC.

Kayleigh from History with Kayleigh, the above YouTube link, will be a guest on our BIG Detecting show on Thursday 11th February at 8pm UK time.

Mayan monument uncovered in groundbreaking LiDar scan

Archaeologists from the University of Arizona found a huge Mayan monument underground using a Light Detection and Ranging (LiDar ) scanner.

The monument was found in Tabasco, Mexico and is 4600 foot long and at a height of 30-50 feet. It’s possibly the largest Mayan monument ever discovered using LiDar.

Large prehistoric monument discovered near Stonehenge

A team of archaeologists have discovered a major new prehistoric monument just a short distance away from Stonehenge in England.

Fieldwork and analysis have revealed evidence of 20 or more massive prehistoric shafts — more than 10 metres in diameter and five metres deep — forming a circle more than 2km in diameter around the Durrington Walls henge.

Coring of the shafts suggest the features are Neolithic and excavated more than 4,500 years ago — around the time Durrington Walls was built.

It is thought the shafts served as a boundary to a sacred area or precinct associated with the henge.

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Ground Penetrating Radar uncovers a Buried Roman City.

Ground Penetrating Radar has allowed archaeologists in Italy to map the locations of buildings, monuments, passageways, and pipes in the buried ancient Roman city of Falerii Novi.

The city, located 31 miles (50 km) north of Rome, was previously known to archaeologists, having been occupied from 241 BCE until 700 CE, when it was abandoned. Though exceptionally detailed, the map is considered preliminary, as the scientists have yet to fully analyse the 28 billion data points gathered by the GPR.

New cat geoglyph discovered in Peru

Workers in Peru accidentally stumbled upon a 120-foot-long (37-meter) cat geoglyph on Mirador Natural Hill, which looks over the Nazca Lines UNESCO site.

The  geoglyph dates back some 2,000 years to the Paracas culture. The drawing of the cat was overlooked for so long because the lines were very badly faded. Recent restoration work shows the cat in detail, with its head turned toward the lines.

Vesuvius eruption baked some people to death—and turned one brain to glass

When Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD79, the damage wreaked in nearby towns was catastrophic. Now it appears the heat was so immense it turned one victim’s brain to glass – thought to be the first time this has been seen.

Experts say they have discovered that splatters of a shiny, solid black material found inside the skull of a victim at Herculaneum appear to be the remains of human brain tissue transformed by heat.

Melting Ice Reveals a Viking Mountain Pass

A tinderbox, shoes, horse snowshoes, mittens, sleds, and the remains of a dog still attached to its collar were among the many items found in a former mountain pass in central Norway.

Located on Lomseggen Ridge, the pass was used for over 1,000 years, during the Viking Age. A melting glacier—the result of climate change—made this and similar archaeological discoveries possible.

Norway excavates a Viking longship.

 Norwegian archaeologists hope to complete their excavation of a rare, buried longship at Gjellestad, an ancient site south-east of Oslo. It is the first such excavation in Norway for about a century.

Most of the ocean-going ship has rotted away over the centuries, but archaeologist Dr Knut Paasche believes the layout of the iron nails will still enable a replica to be built eventually.

Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) revealed it to be about 19m (62ft) long and 5m (16ft) wide – putting it on a par with the well-preserved Oseberg and Gokstad Viking ships on display in Oslo

Dozens of new Roman Army sites discovered in northern Spain

The discovery of dozens of new Roman Army sites thanks to remote sensing technology has revealed more about one of the empire’s most infamous conflicts.

Analysis of the 66 camps shows the Roman army had a larger presence in the region than previously thought during the 200-year battle to conquer the Iberian Peninsula.

The discovery of camps of different sizes – used for training and shelter – has allowed experts to map how soldiers attacked indigenous groups from different directions and to learn more about the footprint of the Roman military presence in the northern fringe of the River Duero basin – the León, Palencia, Burgos and Cantabria provinces.

20 sarcophagi are found at Al-Ghoreifa, Egypt.

Egypt’s antiquities ministry unveiled tombs of ancient high priests and a sarcophagus dedicated to the sky god Horus at an archaeological site in Minya governorate.

The mission found 16 tombs containing 20 sarcophagi, some engraved with hieroglyphics, at the Al-Ghoreifa site, about 300 kilometres (186 miles) south of Cairo.

The tombs were dedicated to high priests of the god Djehuty and senior officials, from the Late Period around 3,000 years ago, the ministry said. They were from the 15th nome, an ancient Egyptian territorial division ruled over by a provincial governor.

One of the stone sarcophagi was dedicated to the god Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris, and features a depiction of the goddess Nut spreading her wings.

The ministry also unveiled 10,000 blue and green ushabti (funerary figurines), 700 amulets—including some made of pure gold—bearing scarab shapes, and one bearing the figure of a winged cobra.

Painted limestone canopic jars, which the ancient Egyptians used to store the entrails of their mummified dead, were also unearthed.

Discovery in Mexico Sheds New Light on Ancient Ballgame

Researchers have uncovered a 3,400-year-old ballcourt in the highlands of Oaxaca, Mexico, casting new light on the origins and evolution of a famous ballgame which was played across ancient Central America.

The ballgame is one of the most iconic features of pre-Columbian civilizations in the historical region of Mesoamerica—encompassing central Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and northern Costa Rica—playing a fundamental ritual and political role in the ancient societies which thrived there for more than 3,000 years.

Searchers find wreck of USS Nevada at Pearl Harbour

The sunken hulk of the USS Nevada has been found off the coast of Hawaii, where the battleship — dubbed “unsinkable” for its endurance through World War II — lay since 1948.

Two private firms working together, Search Inc. and Ocean Infinity, discovered the Nevada almost three miles underwater and about 65 nautical miles southwest of Honolulu, the firms said in a statement. Search Inc., a cultural resource management firm, specializes in archaeology; Ocean Infinity surveys the seabed with marine robotics, according to their websites.

The Angel shipwreck: A 19th-century brig named Jane discovered in Chinchorro Bank, México

One of our most interesting and memorable articles of 2020 was written for us by Octavio A. Del Río Lara and Concerns a Shipwreck in Mexico.

In Octavio’s words – Two decades after its discovery, and almost 200 years after it shipwrecked in the coral reefs of Chinchorro Bank in the Mexican Caribbean, the identity of The Ángel shipwreck emerges from the depths. It`s a sailboat that, because of the characteristics of the materials used in its construction, its naval architecture, and the cargo transported, place it as an early 19th-century merchant vessel identified as an English brig called Jean, which sailed in the area at a time of great commercial traffic. This document addresses some of the research subjects, technical processes and methodology used in its archaeological record that led in the identification of this wreck and helped to establish its origin and chronology, the navigation routes at the time, and the possible causes that generated the shipwreck.

To read the article in full visit – The Angel shipwreck: A 19th-century brig named Jane discovered in Chinchorro Bank, México by Octavio A. Del Río Lara

Marlow warlord’s remains part of ‘key archaeological site’

The discovery of a warrior warlord’s burial site could change historians’ understanding of southern Anglo-Saxon Britain, according to archaeologists.

The 6ft “Marlow Warlord” was discovered in August close to the Buckinghamshire town.

An archaeological dig of the area took place after metal detectorists discovered two bronze bowls.

An Anglo-Saxon cemetery with 200 graves in Suffolk

An Anglo-Saxon burial ground has been painstakingly uncovered in Suffolk. A total of 17 cremations and 191 burials were found at the 1,400-year-old site, which is said to be of ‘national importance’.

But due to the acidity of the soil and the poor preservation methods used upon entombment, no bones remain, just shadow-like ‘sand silhouettes’ of the skeletons and coffins that were buried there.

This form of preservation is extremely delicate but allowed archaeologists to find out the site was a burial ground for several generations of a farming community.

It is 40 miles from the Sutton Hoo, a royal burial ground where an Anglo-Saxon funerary ship was found in 1939.

Archaeologists Unearth an Ancient Roman Snack Bar in Pompeii

An ‘extraordinary’ archaeological discovery has been made at the ancient site of Pompeii.

A well-preserved ‘snack bar’ has been found at the ancient city, which was destroyed two centuries ago by a volcanic eruption.

The discovery is the Roman equivalent of a modern-day street food stall. It was found last year at the Pompeii archaeological site to the south-east of Naples in Italy and announced at the end of December 2020

So Pandemic aside. History continues to be written. We have compiled quite a few major discoveries, but this certainly isn’t all, and we have probably missed quite a few of consequence. But you would have been here for days!

This concludes 2020’s best discoveries in archaeology. You can find our other article compilation of the Best Metal Detecting finds of 2020 here.