archeology

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…
At the Beginning was a Bet – Georg Friedrich Grotefend and the Cuneiform

At the Beginning was a Bet – Georg Friedrich Grotefend and the Cuneiform

Georg Friedrich Grotefend (1775-1853) On June 9, 1775, German epigraphist and philologist Georg Friedrich Grotefend was born. Although most of you will probably never heard of him, he is well known for his contributions toward the decipherment of cuneiform. Do you know cuneiform? It is the name of the old writing of Mesopotamia and its roots date back to the time of the origins of civilization, when also Egyptian hieroglyphs were…
The Salvage of the Vasa

The Salvage of the Vasa

The Vasa by Javier Kohen On the morning of 24 April, 1961, the Swedish warship Vasa was salvaged with a largely intact hull after it had sunk after sailing less than a nautical mile (ca 2 km) into its maiden voyage on 10 August 1628 at Stockholm harbour. While Sweden counted rather as a poor and small country before the 17th century, the government established one of the most militarized…
Carsten Niebuhr and the Decipherment of Cuneiform

Carsten Niebuhr and the Decipherment of Cuneiform

Carsten Niebuhr (1733 – 1815) On March 17, 1733, German mathematician, cartographer, and explorer in the service of Denmark, Carsten Niebuhr was born. He is best known for his role in the decipherment of ancient cuneiform inscriptions, which up to Niebuhr’s publications was considered to be merely decorations and embellishment. Nobody really expected that Carsten Niebuhr would travel to the Red Sea, to Yemen and Persepolis, making the findings of…
Heinrich Schliemann and his Dream of Troy

Heinrich Schliemann and his Dream of Troy

Heinrich Schliemann (1822-1890) On December 26, 1890, Heinrich Schliemann, German businessman and amateur archaeologist, and livelong advocate of the historical reality of places mentioned in the works of ancient Greek poet Homer passed away. His dreams came true when he succeeded in excavating Hissarlik, now presumed to be the site of Troy, along with the Mycenaean sites Mycenae and Tiryns. Without Schliemann, the world of ancient Greek history and the…
The Discovery of Nefertiti

The Discovery of Nefertiti

Picture of the Nefertiti bust in Neues Museum, Berlin. On December 6, 1912, German archeologist Ludwig Borchardt and his team discovered the famous bust of Nefertiti at excavations in Thutmose’s workshop in Amarna, Egypt. Ever since, the iconic bust of Nefertiti has become one of the most famous relics of the ancient world, and an icon of feminine beauty. The name Nefertiti means nothing less than ‘the beauty has come’.…
The Archeological Discovery of the Century – Tutankhamun’s Tomb

The Archeological Discovery of the Century – Tutankhamun’s Tomb

Tutankhamun’s famous burial mask © Bjørn Christian Tørrissen On November 26, 1922, Archeologist Howard Carter together with the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, opened the unharmed tomb of pharao Tutankhamun, one of the most important archeological discoveries of the 20th century. King Tut, as the Egyptian pharaoh of the ‘New Kingdom’ was called in popular culture, ruled between 1332 BC and 1323 BC. When the prince, back then called Tutankhaten became…
The Lost Inca City of Machu Picchu

The Lost Inca City of Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu While he was looking for a city called Vilcamba, Hiram Bingham discovered one of the most mysterious towns of all times today 101 years ago. The lost city of Machu Picchu was built in the 15th century by the Inca near Cusco and was declared as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. The city of Machu Picchu was built 7,000 feet above sea level in between the…
Cracking the Code – Champollion and the Rosetta Stone

Cracking the Code – Champollion and the Rosetta Stone

The Rosetta Stone in the British Museum. © Hans Hillewaert / CC-BY-SA-3.0 On July 15, 1799 in the Egyptian village of Rosetta  Pierre-François Bouchard, Captain of the French expedition army on Napoleon‘s Egyptian Campaign discovered an unimpressive black stone with some written inscriptions on it. But this black stone, later referred to as the Rosetta Stone, should become the central key to deciphering the long lost secret of the Egyptian hieroglyphics.…
Pompeii – Conquered, Buried, Rediscovered

Pompeii – Conquered, Buried, Rediscovered

Pompeii was founded by the Oscans in the 7th century BC and was conquered in the 5th century BC by the Samnites. Besieged by Sulla in 89 BC Pompeii was forced to surrender and became a Roman colony named ‘Colonia Veneria Cornelia Pompeianorum’. Because of its location, the town gained an important role in Roman trade relations, developed a modern infrastructure as well as many cultural institutions. Pompeii suffered its…
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