Britain’s Pompeii: Archaeologists excavate Bronze Age settlement

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Archaeologists and metal detectorists alike have helped to uncover some of the world’s most revered wonders of the past. Tutankhamun’s tomb, Machu Pichu, China’s terracotta warriors, the list is endless. To help celebrate archaeology’s rise to public attention in the past week, takes a look at five of the best discoveries to have ever been made in Europe.

For centuries archaeologists have been searching all over the continent to make the next big discovery.

From the cold north of Scandinavia to the Greek archipelago in the south, monumental hauls have been made within all four corners of Europe.

What exactly are viewed as some of Europe’s greatest archaeological finds?

Here, we take a look at five of the best and their historical significance.

The lost city of Tenea

In 2018, Greek archaeologist, Eleni Korka, made one of the most celebrated finds in recent memory when they discovered the lost city of Tenea.

Tenea was a city founded by the Trojans following the Trojan War and was built by prisoners of war.

The search for the city had spanned 34 years and eventually culminated with its discovery in the Peloponnese region of southern Greece.

Cave of Altamira

In 1868 the Cave of Altamira was first discovered by a Spanish hunter named Modesto Cubillas.

Located in northern Spain, the Palaeolithic cave contains well preserved prehistoric paintings and charcoal drawings of human hands and animals.

It was eventually designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 and today can be toured by fans of ancient human history.

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The Staffordshire Hoard

In 2009, more than 4,500 fragments of war gear and religious objects, dating back to the seventh century, were found in Staffordshire.

In total, the haul amounted to 4kg of gold and 1.5kg of silver.

At the time, the discovery shone new light on the Anglo-Saxon period and garnered public attention for the craftsmanship of some of the objects.

1.8 million-year-old skull

Between 2000 and 2005 two parts that formed a complete skull – that was later found to be 1.8 million years old – were discovered in Georgia.

To date, it is the oldest completely preserved skull ever found in the world and confirmed to scientists that the species it belonged to ‘Homo erectus’ was far more variable in appearance than originally thought.

Consequently, the finding also suggested that the evolution path of ancient humans was more simple than had previously been assumed.

Skara Brae

During 1850, in Scotland, a severe storm stripped the earth of what would eventually be recognised as one of the best-preserved Neolithic settlements within Europe.

The settlement dates back more than 5,000 years in age and presents a remarkable picture of how human life would have existed within that period.

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