archaeology

Marc Aurel Stein and the Dunhuang Caves

Marc Aurel Stein and the Dunhuang Caves

On November 26, 1862, Hungarian-British archaeologist Sir Marc Aurel Stein was born. Stein is primarily known for his explorations and archaeological discoveries in Central Asia. Stein was also an ethnographer, geographer, linguist and surveyor. His collection of books and manuscripts taken from Dunhuang caves is important for the study of the history of Central Asia and the art and literature of Buddhism. When the Dunhuang Caves, China, closed for centuries, were reopened,…
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Flinders Petrie and his Excavations in Egypt and Palestine

Flinders Petrie and his Excavations in Egypt and Palestine

On June 3, 1853, English egyptologist Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie was born. Petrie was a pioneer of systematic methodology in archaeology and preservation of artefacts. He held the first chair of Egyptology in the United Kingdom, and excavated many of the most important archaeological sites in Egypt in conjunction with his wife, Hilda Petrie. Moreover, Petrie also developed the system of dating layers based on pottery and ceramic findings. “The man…
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Augustus Pitt Rivers – the Father of British Archaeology

Augustus Pitt Rivers – the Father of British Archaeology

On April 14, 1832, English army officer, ethnologist, and archaeologist Augustus Henry Lane-Fox Pitt Rivers was born. He is often called the “father of British archaeology”, who stressed the need for total excavation of sites, through stratigraphic observation and recording, and prompt and complete publication. Like Sir Flinders Petrie, Pitt-Rivers adopted a sociological approach to the study of excavated objects and emphasized the instructional value of common artifacts.[4] “Tedious as it may…
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Auguste Mariette and the Discovery of the Serapeum

Auguste Mariette and the Discovery of the Serapeum

On January 19, 1881, French scholar, archaeologist and Egyptologist François Auguste Ferdinand Mariette passed away. Mariette conducted major excavations throughout Egypt, revealing much about the earlier periods of Egyptian history. Sent by the Louvre, in 1850, to purchase papyruses, at Saqqara he discovered the Serapeum, the burial place of the Apis bulls, living manifestations of the god Ptah. “The Egyptian duck is a dangerous animal: one snap of its beak and you are infected…
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Christian Jürgensen Thomsen and the Three-Age System

Christian Jürgensen Thomsen and the Three-Age System

On December 29, 1788, Danish antiquarian Christian Jürgensen Thomsen was born. He is best known for the development of early archaeological techniques and methods. He also introduced the Three-age system, i.e. the periodization of human prehistory into three consecutive time periods, named for their respective tool-making technologies, the Stone Ages, Iron Ages and Bronze Ages. “…nothing is more important than to point out that hitherto we have not paid enough attention to what was…
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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. Early Years Belzoni was born in Padua, Italy, as the son of a barber. At the age of 16, he moved to…
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Agatha Christie – Explorer, Archaeologist, and World Famous Author of Detective Stories

Agatha Christie – Explorer, Archaeologist, and World Famous Author of Detective Stories

On September 15, 1890, English writer Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan, known as Agatha Christie, was born. Agatha Christie is known for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections, particularly those revolving around her fictional detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Christie also wrote the world’s longest-running play, a murder mystery, The Mousetrap. The Guinness World Records lists Christie as the best-selling novelist of all time. Her novels…
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Jules Quicherat – the Father of French Archaeology

Jules Quicherat – the Father of French Archaeology

On October 13, 1814, French archaeologist and historian Jules Étienne Joseph Quicherat was born. Quicherat was one of the founders of archaeology in France. In 1847, he inaugurated a course of archaeological lectures at the École des Chartes. His students circulated his principles throughout France, recognizing him as the “founder of national archaeology”. He wrote on the history of medieval France, and also edited texts of the trial and rehabilitation of Joan…
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Harriet Boyd Hawes and the Minoan Culture

Harriet Boyd Hawes and the Minoan Culture

On October 11, 1871, American archaeologist, nurse, and relief worker Harriet Boyd Hawes was born. Hawes is best known as the discoverer and first director of Gournia, one of the first archaeological excavations to uncover a Minoan settlement and palace on the Aegean. Harriet Boyd Hawes – Early Years Harriet Ann Boyd Hawes was the daughter of leather merchant Alexander Boyd and had four older brothers. Her mother Harriet Fay Wheeler Boyd died when…
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Louis Laurent Gabriel de Mortillet and Man’s Prehistoric Cultural Development

Louis Laurent Gabriel de Mortillet and Man’s Prehistoric Cultural Development

On August 29, 1821, French archaeologist and anthropologist Louis Laurent Gabriel de Mortillet was born. De Morillet was the first to organize man’s prehistoric cultural developments into a sequence of epochs. Based on the idea that older specimens of man were more primitive structurally and culturally, he created a ladder-like model of the evolution of man. This model was the basis for the idea of linear evolution of men. A Revolutionary Freethinker…
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