archeology

Jacques de Perthes and European Archaeology

Jacques de Perthes and European Archaeology

Jacques de Perthes (1788 – 1868) On September 10, 1788, French archeologist Jacques Boucher de Crèvecœur de Perthes was born. He was the first to establish that Europe had been populated by early man. Further, his discovery of whole handaxes, tools and fragments embedded in and scattered about the fossilized bones of prehistoric mammals in the high banks of the Somme River showed that man existed at least as early as the…
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Ernst Curtius and the Excavation of Olympia

Ernst Curtius and the Excavation of Olympia

Olympia, draft by Friedrich Thiersch, 1879 On September 2, 1814, German archaeologist and historian Ernst Curtius was born, who directed the excavation of Olympia from 1875–1881, the most opulent and sacred religious shrine of ancient Greece and site of the original Olympic Games. Ernst Curtius was born in Lübeck, Germany, and entered the University of Bonn in the 1830s. In this period, it is assumed, that Curtius discovered his interest in the…
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A. E. Douglass and the Dendrochronology

A. E. Douglass and the Dendrochronology

Drill to take samples for dendrochronology from trees Image by Wikimedia User Hannes Grobe On July 5, 1867, American astronomer and archeologist A. E. (Andrew Ellicott) Douglass was born. He coined the name dendrochronology for tree-ring dating, a field he originated while working at the Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, Arizona, by his discovery a correlation between tree rings and the sunspot cycle. A. E. Douglass was not the first, who suggested that a tree’s…
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Adolf Furtwängler and Photographic Archeology

Adolf Furtwängler and Photographic Archeology

Adolf Furtwängler (1853 – 1907) On June 30, 1853, German archaeologist and historian Adolf Furtwängler was born. He revolutionized archeological science with his use of photography for documentation. His use of photography in research supplanted the use of drawings because a camera gives objective reproduction with more accuracy, which enabled fragments to be scrutinized, even when they were miles apart. Adolf Furtwängler grew up in a very educated family. His father was…
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Gerald Hawkins and the Secret of Stonehenge

Gerald Hawkins and the Secret of Stonehenge

On June 20, 1928, English astronomer and author Gerald Stanley Hawkins was born. He is best known for his work in the field of archaeoastronomy. In 1965 he published an analysis of Stonehenge in which he was the first to propose its purpose as an ancient astronomical observatory used to predict movements of sun and stars. Gerald Hawkins was born in Great Yarmouth and studied physics and mathematics at the University of…
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Giovanni Battista Belzoni and the Egyptian Adventure

Giovanni Battista Belzoni and the Egyptian Adventure

On March 2, 1818, Prolific Italian explorer Giovanni Battista Belzoni – also known as ‘The Great Belzoni‘ – discovered the burial chamber of Pharaoh Khafra in the 2nd of the large pyramid‘s of Giza. But, like in all the other burial chambers in the great pyramids, the sarcophagus was empty. Belzoni was born in Padua, Italy, as the son of a barber. At the age of 16, he moved to Rome in…
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The Sky Disc of Nebra

The Sky Disc of Nebra

On February 23, 2002, the state archaeologist Harald Meller succeeded to acquire the now famous Nebra Sky Disc in a police-led sting operation in Basel, Switzerland. The Nebra Sky Disc is a Bronze age artifact shaped like a disk with a blue-green patina and inlaid with gold symbols, representing a map of the sky. The disk weighs about 2,3 kg and consists of bronze as well as an alloy made of copper…
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The Prophet of Modern Archeology – Joachim Winckelmann

The Prophet of Modern Archeology – Joachim Winckelmann

Johann Joachim Winckelmann against a classical landscape On December 9, 1717, German art historian and archaeologist Johann Joachim Winckelmann was born. Winckelmann was one of the founders of scientific archaeology and first applied the categories of style on a large, systematic basis to the history of art. Joachim Winckelmann grew up in a poor family, but was highly supported by his blind school teacher, who let the young boy live with him.…
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Robert Koldewey and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Robert Koldewey and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Robert Koldewey(1855 – 1925) On September 10, 1855, famous German architect and self-trained archeologal historian Robert Johann Koldewey was born. He is best known for his discovery of the ancient city of Babylon in modern day Iraq, where he excavated the foundations of the ziggurat Marduk, and the famous Ishtar Gate. Robert Koldewey studied architecture, archeology, and art history in Berlin, Munich and Vienna but dropped out without graduating. Koldewey left for…
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Johann Ludwig Burckhardt and the discovery of Petra

Johann Ludwig Burckhardt and the discovery of Petra

Facade of Al Khazneh, Petra, JordanImage: Bernard Gagnon On August 22, 1812, Swiss traveller and orientalist Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, in the disguise of an arab traveller discovered the ruins of the ancient city of Petra, one of the most compelling archaeological sites in existence, in today’s Jordan. Petra is located east of the Arabah, half way between the Gulf of Aqaba and the Dead Sea. Its location caused several religious rumors, fact…
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