Top 10 Coolest Excavations and Finds in Human History

Lets see what we can dig up. Anthropologists and Archeologists have been unearthing fascinating remains and relics from our past for hundreds of years. No less exciting, Paleontologists have fell right in line, digging up fossils to our amazement. What's the coolest things we have found? Add any you like or can find, there's some big ones left out there. Please, only add scientifically supported finds, no potatoes shaped like Elvis, or "My cousin Gus heard a big booming voice from the sky". Thanks.
The Top Ten
1 Chicxulub Crater

After years of debate in the scientific community, in 1978, the smoking gun was found. Prior to the discovery of the Chicxulub impact crater, most scientists in the field believed that some catastrophic event led to the extinction of the dinosaurs some 66 million years ago. Why? The K/T boundary, which clearly shows an abundance of dinosaur fossils, and then the sudden disappearance of said fossils. In 1978, enhanced imagery from satellites discovered the Chicxulub Crater. Researchers on the ground found cenotes consistent with the crater, and as the area was mapped out, it was determined that a massive 6-10 mile wide asteroid impacted the Chicxulub region in present day Mexico. Its explosive force was beyond belief. It was also determined its age was 65-66 million years ago. Further studies have put its age closer to 66 million years. It of course did not take long to connect this to the sudden disappearance of the dinosaurs. It's a widely accepted theory now, and as new evidence arrives, it only enhances the likelihood that this catastrophic event did indeed happen. And in a blink of an eye, the age of the non-avian dinosaurs ended (the Mesozoic, with its 3 sub periods, the Triassic, the Jurassic, and the Cretaceous) and the age of the mammals (the Cenozoic) began.

2 Lucy (Australopithecus)

For those contending that Lucy was proved false, where is the scientific evidence of that? Now, its true that the scientific community has long since stopped referring to any find as the "Missing Link", but that is because it would be almost certainly impossible to define the exact moment man's lineage began. The changes are so subtle, and over a great deal of time from our perspective, that the exact moment will probably never be locked down, and maybe doesn't exist. The term is no longer used in the scientific community, and is barely alive in the population at large.

However, to label the find false is a ridiculous claim, it is a remarkable find, most prominently for the suggested bipedal implications. That it is false is a claim made without any scientific evidence.

I like to think I don't want to stifle any opinions, but every once in awhile someone comes along that is so far removed from reality that I find it offensive to not just me, but literally millions that accept facts as the only real science.

Witness: I worked with a struggling Theologian, having just been in a seminary in Washington state, and struggling with what he had been taught there vs. what the outside world was showing him. We didn't debate these teachings for long, as I found his claims so baseless and unsupported (the earth is only 6,000 years old, carbon dating is unreliable at about 1,000 years, etc.) But also, I wanted to let him believe whatever he wanted to believe. He was intelligent and I so wanted to just live and let live. But every once in awhile, as the debate apparently still raged on in his mind, he would make some other ridiculous claims and present it as facts. As respect would demand, I avoided debating him on these issues, we just had two very different views on what is fact. Sadly, and I realize unrelated, he sunk into gambling and alcohol addictions, and died of brain cancer a couple years later. It later became obvious he had stolen from me and... more

3 Terracotta Warriors

8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots, and 520 horses. These life size terracotta warriors lie at the foot of a large man made hill that is believed to be the extravagant burial chamber of China's 1st Emperor, Qin Shi Huang. I once read that each warrior was individually crafted, and each is unique, so they were not produced by a single or small number of casts. Leading researchers to believe that the hill holds the tomb of Qin Shi Huang is an extraordinarily high mercury count in the area, and writings that claim the emperor's tomb holds untold riches, and lakes of mercury. Ironically, poisonous mercury was thought to be a magical elixir at the time, and may have lead to the emperor's death. The warriors are a symbolic army, meant to protect the emperor in the afterlife. The Chinese government has halted efforts to excavate the burial chamber, possibly due to the mercury. The warriors were discovered in 1974, and the site dates to the 3rd century BC.

4 The Dead Sea Scrolls

Whether you are a believer or not, the Dead Sea Scrolls are a fascinating find. Stumbled upon by teenage Bedouin goat herders in late 1946 or early 1947, the scrolls and other various relics are estimated to be 2,000 years old, and contain remnants of almost every book of the Old Testament. Mostly written in Hebrew, but there are writings of different languages of the area, and even some in Greek.

This is interesting, I wonder how old the bible really is.

5 Cave of Altamira

Discovered in 1880 in Spain, it was the first-ever discovery of its kind. A brilliant display of cave paintings, it totally changed our understanding of prehistoric humans, as it was previously thought that we lacked the complex higher brain functions to artistically express ourselves at this time. These paintings date back 14,000 - 20,000 years ago, giving us a glimpse of our very distant past. Check them out.

6 Archaeopteryx

Otherwise known by its German name, Urvogel, this winged dinosaur proved that some earlier dinosaurs had feathers. Combined with a unique hip bone that modern birds also share, this led to wide speculation that birds are directly descended from dinosaurs. This also is now a widely accepted theory, although more evidence is needed to convince a number of holdout scientists. Some holdouts believe that birds are a separate species unrelated to dinos, but a growing number believe that birds ARE dinosaurs. That's an interesting take. Urvogel lived between 150.8 and 125.45 million years ago, and was firstly discovered in 1861 or 1862, a single feather fossil, which of course led that days scientists to believe that birds were much older than previously thought, but as more complete fossils have been unearthed, it was established that Urvogel had much more in common with dinosaurs. by the way, feathers suggest warm-bloodedness, another controversial theory still being explored.

7 Jebel Irhoud Skulls

Considered the oldest remains of "anatomically correct" modern humans, these skulls and bones are an estimated 300,000 years old. Found in 1960 in Morocco, they were initially thought to be Neanderthals, but researchers have long since identified them as early homo sapiens. The find led to the belief that modern humans occupied nearly the entire continent of Africa some 300,000 to 330,000 years ago, a full 100,000 years earlier than previously thought.

8 Easter Island Moai

Comparatively recent in terms of age, the stone figures (Moai) on Easter Island present a mystery. How were they moved across the island? The Rapa Nu peoples have legends that give divine power credit for allowing the statues to walk. The statues date back from 1250 to 1500 AD.

9 L'anse aux Meadows

Among the many stunning ship and artifact finds associated to the Vikings, this find tops them all.

Why would a simple site find of 8 Viking wood and peat lodgings be so significant? Because this site dates to roughly 500 years before Columbus supposedly "discovered" America, and is found in North America, on the present day island of Newfoundland, Canada. The Vikings, searching for new lands to settle, found the New World long before Columbus' much more heralded expedition. Carbon dating sets the site at between 990-1050 AD, and among the artifacts found there are bone needles and spindles, which suggests the presence of women among its inhabitants, which in turn suggests an attempt at settlement. However, a lack of burial mounds has led to the belief the Vikings were not there very long, and either moved on to find land more suitable for settlement, or were even forced out by "skraelings', a term the Vikings used to describe the indigenous peoples encountered somewhere on their voyages westward. The inset is a photograph of rebuilt structures at the site, which included a forge.

10 Pompeii
The Contenders
11 Tomb of King Tutankhamun

Probably the 2nd most famous excavation site of all time, it rates 10 on the initial list. Found in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt in 1922, it took the world by storm on its discovery, as it appeared the site had been almost totally undisturbed, a rarity for ancient Egyptian antiquities (thieves, graverobbers, or looters did breach the site during the era of its completion, but it was resealed, and lay undisturbed until 1922). Check this one out online as well, as words cannot do justice to the wonderful antiquities unearthed, including the sarcophagus and mummy of King Tut himself.

12 The Rosetta Stone
13 Machu Picchu Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca citadel situated on a mountain ridge 2,430 metres above sea level. It is located in the Eastern Cordillera of southern Peru. It is a symbolism of the Incan Empire. It was designated by UNESCO World Heritage in 1983. It was named as the one of the New Seven Wonders... read more
14 Petra Petra, originally known to the Nabataeans as Raqmu, is a historical and archaeological city in southern Jordan.
15 Stonehenge
16 Timbuktu Manuscripts

A lot of interesting details have been found here such as the discovery of galaxies, meteor shower and the first mosquito malaria theory. This when only 1% of the manuscripts has been translated. Who knows the shocking details we are yet to see.

Nice addition. And it's news to me, thank you for adding... I will go read up on this.

17 The Roman Forum
18 Richard III's Grave

It is generally considered among the greatest finds, so thank you for adding. I've never really dove that deeply into the particulars of this find, so I should read more on it soon.

19 Staffordshire Hoard
20 The Tomb of King Philip of Macedon

Discovered on Nov.8, 1977. After nearly 40 years of excavations in the area, the tomb of Philip II, King of Macedonia and his 4th wife Olympia, was discovered in the northern Greek village of Vergina. Philip II, conquerer of all of Greece, and father to Alexander the Great, was buried with elaborate workings of iron, bronze and precious metals gold and silver. It is considered one of the most important finds in the history of mankind.

21 Wreck of the Titanic

Thank you for adding. It has been some time since I had revisited this list so I was pleasantly surprised to find this item. On Sept.1,1985 the wreck of the RMS Titanic was discovered some 12,000+ feet below the surface of the North Atlantic. It too took the world by storm, as deep sea search technology reached a level of proficiency that allowed this to happen, and to sate the world's curiosity to find Titanic. 73 years after she sank, human eyes gazed upon Titanic again.

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