5 archaeological “excavations” to watch in 2022
There are a number of archaeological finds and stories that we might hear about in 2022. These include the finds from the ‘lost golden city’ of Egypt, new finds from Qumran – the site where the manuscripts from the Dead Sea have been found in nearby caves – as well as finds that may shed light on what life was like 11,000 years ago, when humans began building large ceremonial sites. In this countdown, Live Science is making five archaeological predictions for 2022.
New finds from Egypt’s “lost golden city”
In 2021, archaeologists announced the discovery of a “lost golden city” near Luxor in Egypt called “The Rise of Aten”. The find made headlines around the world, but archaeologists have only excavated a small part of it. According to historical records, Pharaoh Amenhotep III (reigned 1391-1353 BC) had three palaces in the city. In 2022, we can expect to hear about other finds from this city that could include these royal palaces or others. Any new discovery could shed light on some historical mysteries, such as why the son of Amenhotep III, Akhenaten, tried to focus the Egyptian religion on the cult of Aten, the solar disk, rather than on the traditional pantheon of the gods of ancient Egypt.
Read more: Discovery of a 3000-year-old “lost golden city” in Egypt
Dig where you live
As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on and the omicron variations in variations, travel restrictions are back in effect and some governments are putting in place blockages. In addition, inflation drives up prices, making it more expensive to travel and buy equipment, especially electronics. Funding for archeology could also become scarce in 2022, with governments and universities cutting grants to cover their own expenses.
These health and economic challenges will likely mean that many overseas archaeological expeditions will be canceled or reduced, and much of the work done in 2022 will likely be done by archaeologists working in their own countries. Even archaeologists digging in their own country may choose to dig at sites close to their homes to avoid travel and hotel costs.
“Dig where you live” may become an increasingly popular trend in the field. Those who cannot do so may need to be content with analyzing the data sent in by archaeologists who can.
Excavations at Karahantepe
Excavations at Karahantepe in Turkey give us a new glimpse of life in this part of the world some 11,000 years ago. So far, archaeologists have found a complex where people have likely paraded past phallus-shaped pillars and a carved human head. It’s a large site, however, and excavation is ongoing, so we can expect more finds from the site and the people who built it in 2022.
Karahantepe is located not far from Gobekli Tepe, a massive ceremonial complex that also dates back around 11,000 years. It seems likely that those who used the Karahantepe complex were also involved with Gobekli Tepe. But who were they? How many ceremonial sites have they built? Did they also build large administrative buildings or houses? In 2022, we may discover clues to help us answer these questions.
Looting and rulings in Afghanistan
The Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August 2021, plunging the country into economic crisis. Governments around the world have suspended aid to the Afghan government, reducing its ability to do even the most basic things like buying food. With the rise of economic desperation, there is a good chance that looting will also increase as people struggle to feed themselves and their families.
Antiques stolen in Afghanistan will likely appear in the United States and other countries, forcing governments to make tough choices. Are they returning the stolen artifacts to the Taliban-led government, knowing that in the past the Taliban destroyed antiques? Or are they keeping artifacts somewhere or even ordering law enforcement to ignore artifacts stolen from Afghanistan? In 2021, government agencies such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not respond to Live Science questions on what to do with these artifacts, but in 2022 they will likely have to make a decision.
News from Qumran
Archaeologists digging near the Qumran site in the West Bank – where the Dead Sea Scrolls were buried in nearby caves – hope to be occupied by 2022. They plan to dig a previously unexplored cave and continue to investigate a series of tunnels near Qumran. The team’s previous excavations have uncovered fascinating remains, including one 12th cave which once held Dead Sea Scrolls (unfortunately only one remains), and we might hear of new finds at the site in 2022 as excavations continue.
Originally posted on Live Science.