From Cleopatra's perfume to tunnel networks used by the Knights Templar, 2019 left us with some truly astonishing archaeological discoveries.
For centuries upon centuries, King Tut’s coffin sat inside its tomb, the treasure tunnels of the fabled Knights Templar sat underneath a city in present-day Israel, and the grisly remains of perhaps history’s largest-ever child sacrifice lay uncovered in what’s now Peru – until 2019.
Over the course of this banner year for archaeology, researchers made some of the most fascinating finds in recent memory. From the evidence of a giant sloth that lived 27,000 years ago to key discoveries about victims of the Irish famine in the mid-19th century, archaeologists around the world dug deep into the past throughout 2019 and came up with stunning results.
And with any luck, these finds will only lead to further revelations and future discoveries in the years to come.
But without further ado, here are 13 of the most incredible archaeological discoveries of 2019:
King Tut’s Coffin Leaves His Tomb For The First Time In Millennia
From its creation in ancient Egypt 3,300 years ago until earlier this year, King Tutankhamun’s outermost coffin had never left his tomb. But when it came time to attempt the restoration of the wooden coffin of world’s most famous Egyptian pharaoh, it finally saw the light of day for the first time in millennia.
According to The Los Angeles Times, the Getty Conservation Institute and the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities finished a decade-long restoration of the tomb earlier this year. Their next goal was to restore Tutankhamun’s outer coffin, and since the confines of the old pharaoh’s tomb would make such an attempt all but impossible, the decision was made to move it out at long last.
This is allowing experts to get a closer look at the coffin ahead of the planned 2020 opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum, an impressive building that will overlook the Pyramids of Giza. The archaeologists hope to have the outer coffin ready for an exhibit that will showcase various relics found in Tut’s tomb alongside the outermost coffin, which is made of wood and covered in both gold and semiprecious stones.
When British archaeologist Howard Carter found Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922, it was the first time a royal tomb from the time of ancient Egypt had been discovered so intact. It was filled with all manner of treasured items from the era, including a dagger made from meteorite, much of which has been on tour at different museums around the world ever since.
Tutankhamun’s two inner coffins, meanwhile, have long been on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
Egyptian officials hope to make the outer coffin a major centerpiece at the opening of the new museum, which Egyptian officials hope will attract scores of tourists looking to learn more about one of history’s most storied rulers.