Slide 1 of 49
Amazing archaeologyLove archaeology but hate dust, dirt and human remains? You're in luck. The following list of amazing archaeological finds will take you on a trip through time and across the globe, but without all the mess (or the jetlag).
From the great, lost library of King Ashurbanipal to the toxic tomb guarded by the terracotta warriors of Shaanxi, here are the 24 most incredible archaeological findings of all time.
Rosetta StoneSlide 2 of 49
In 1799, a group of French soldiers rebuilding a military fort in the port city of el-Rashid (or Rosetta), Egypt, accidentally uncovered what was to become one of the most famous artifacts in the world — the Rosetta Stone. The ancient slab was carved in 196 B.C. and bears a royal decree issued by priests on behalf of Ptolemy V, then ruler of the Ptolemaic Empire in Egypt.
But the stone's message isn't what makes it famous; it's how that message is written. The decree on the Rosetta stone is inscribed in three scripts: ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, Egyptian demotic script and ancient Greek. In 1822, Egyptologist Jean-François Champollion deciphered the hieroglyphs on the stone, enabling future translations of other texts written in the ancient Egyptian language and reviving the lost history and culture of ancient Egypt.
Since 1802, the Rosetta Stone has resided at the British Museum in London.Slide 3 of 49
The Library of AshurbanipalSlide 4 of 49
The Library of Ashurbanipal
Bookworms, get ready to swoon. In the 1850s, archaeologists in Kuyunjik, Iraq, uncovered a treasure trove of clay tablets inscribed with text from the seventh century B.C. The ancient "books" belonged to Ashurbanipal, who ruled the ancient kingdom of Assyria from 668 B.C. to around 630 B.C. Among the more than 30,000 pieces of writing were historical texts, administrative and legal documents, medical treatises, "magical" manuscripts and literary works, including the "Epic of Gilgamesh" (shown here).
The texts have "unparalleled importance" in the study of ancient cultures of the Near East, according to the British Museum, where many pieces from the Library of Ashurbanipal are currently housed.Slide 5 of 49
TroySlide 6 of 49
Few archaeological sites are as hotly debated as Troy, the ancient city where, according to Homer's "Illiad," the Trojan War between the kingdoms of Troy and Mycenaean Greece took place. Scholars disagree on whether this legendary war actually occurred and, if it did, if it took place at the site that many people now identify as the ancient city of Troy.
The city is believed to have stood on a site known as Hisarlik on the northwest coast of Turkey. The notion that this particular site was once the city of Troy is rooted in thousands of years of history and mythology. But in the early 19th century, an archaeologist named Heinrich Schliemann popularized the idea worldwide after a series of excavations at Hisarlik unearthed treasures that Schliemann claimed belonged to King Priam, the ruler of Troy at the time of the Trojan War.
While archaeologists cannot be completely certain that Hisarlik is the Troy of legend, they do know that the site was inhabited for thousands of years (from 3,000 B.C. to A.D. 500). In fact, Hisarlik was the location of at least 13 different cities, each one built upon the ruins of the city that came before it, according to archaeologists.Slide 7 of 49
King Tut's TombSlide 8 of 49