Archaeological discoveries aren't particularly fascinating unless you're a major history nerd; to most regular folks, it's just a bunch of empty holes, or walls that look like the product of your niece's latest finger painting fiasco. But, this is Egypt, so things are bound to get a little interesting. When Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Dr. Khaled Al-Anani was appointed in March of this year, he promised he'd put immense effort into archeological digs – the man did not disappoint.
We weeded out most of the "we found a wall" discoveries (emphasis: most), and there were still 20 pretty cool things uncovered in Egypt throughout 2018 – there was even a dinosaur! So next time you're in Egypt, watch your step – you're standing on a slice of history.
JANUARY 17via Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities
An Egyptian team uncovered a tomb carved in stone in Alamein dating back to first century AD.
JANUARY 28via Sputnik
Researchers from Mansoura University discovered remains of a giant dinosaur species in the Sahara Desert that was around the length of a school bus, which they named Mansourasaurus shahinae. It’s estimated to have lived over 80 million years ago.
FEBRUARY 20via Egypt Tours Portal
The French-Egyptian Centre for the Study of the Temples of Karnak announced the discovery of a warehouse full of antiques, likely from the late Pharaonic period. They also finished reconstruction of the stone blocks in King Thutmose III’s ceiling in the open air museum of Karnak.
MARCH 21via Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities
The Australian mission in Minya's Bani Hassan archaeological area discovered inscriptions and paintings while recleaning the burial well of the tomb of Bakket I from the 11th ruling family of the 16th province.
APRIL 4via Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities
The Egyptian mission working 50 km east of Siwa Oasis discovered the front of a Greco-Roman temple – that is, the foundations of a stone wall and its entrance.
APRIL 11via Masrawy
In an addition to last year’s 6,400 pieces, a German-Egyptian team working in Matariya, Cairo, discovered around 4,500 more fragments belonging to the statue of 26th Dynasty ruler Psamtek I. Researchers believe the discovery could help them figure out what the statue looked like so they can actually rebuild it.
APRIL 22via Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities
Egyptian archaeologists stumbled upon a rare marble head of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius in Aswan.
MAY 8via Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities
A Cairo University archaeological team discovered a tomb in Saqqara belonging to great army general Iwrhya from the period of King Ramses II.
JULY 1via Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities
An Egyptian archaeological team discovered a bronze Osiris statue while restoring the Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara. The statue is expected to date back to the late Pharaonic period of ancient Egypt.
JULY 4via Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities
A cache of pottery vessels was discovered in Alexandria during restoration and conservation work in the Graeco-Roman Museum. They found over 100 vessels, most likely hidden there during WW II for safe keeping.
JULY 13via Masrawy
In July, Dr. Al-Anani announced a new archaeological site name Hend that was discovered in Alexandria's Moharam Bek neighbourhood by a ministry-appointed Egyptian mission The discovery is a well-preserved 5 X 4.5 m mosaic floor dating back to the Roman age, with its significance being that it's the only model for this type of floor in Egypt – the only other place that has five similar locations of the same type is in Rome.
JULY 14via Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities
The German-Egyptian mission in Gabana, Saqqara, discovered a mummification workshop, plus an ancient tomb housing a bunch of funeral furniture, some canopic jars, and measuring cups.
JULY 19via arageek
While digging for the foundations of a building in Sidi Gaber, archaeologists discovered an ancient sarcophagus from the Ptolemaic dynasty (4 BC) weighing 30 tonnes that they estimate hasn’t been opened in 2,000 years. Five meters below the sarcophagus, they discovered the statue's head, which was later transferred to the amphitheatre for reconstruction.
JULY 25via Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities
Archaeologists stumbled upon the oldest ever ancient Egyptian ceramic workshop in Aswan. The findings included a potter’s wheel made of limestone, circular holes to mix clay, and tools.
AUGUST 15via CNN
A new sphinx statue was discovered in Luxor that's expected to date back to around 380 BC.
AUGUST 17via ABC News
While working in Saqqara, archaeologists came across the world’s oldest cheese in jars, expected to date back over 3,000 years.
SEPTEMBER 5via Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities
About 300 m northeast of Senusret I’s pyramid, an Egyptian mission discovered a tomb carved in the stone side of the mountain consisting of an open yard leading to a passageway with a dome ceiling and some hieroglyphics intact, as well as a room with a small compartment decorated with inscriptions.
SEPTEMBER 30via Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities
The Egyptian archaeological team responsible for lowering the well water level in the temple of Kom Ombo, Aswan, discovered two paintings made of sandstone; the first belonged to Seti I, the second king of the 19th dynasty, while the second was Ptolemy IV. The first showed Seti I standing in front of the god Horus and the deity Sobek with the winged sun above for protection. Below it, text in hieroglyphics composed of 36 lines, mentioning King Horemheb more than once.
As for Ptolemy IV’s painting, it was a picture of him receiving a sceptre with a Horus-resembling tip, and behind him was his wife Arsinoe III and in front the temple trio “Har w Mar,” “Tasent Nafar,” and “Neb Tawy.” Above was also a winged sun model, and below 38 lines of text.
OCTOBER 29via Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities
An archaeological team from Ain Shams University discovered a royal celebration hall belonging to King Ramesses II, one of the kings of the modern state of Pharaonic Egypt. It used to house his throne during his coronation and his own festival, “Heb-Sed.” The discovery was in Arab Al-Hosn in Matareya, an area known for its historical importance during the Pharaonic era.
NOVEMBER 24via Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities
Dr. Al-Anani announced the discovery of the tomb of Amun’s scribe, as well as two sarcophaguses, in El-Assasif in Kurna, Luxor. What they found is a tomb from the “Ramaasa age” – this word is in reference to kings who bore the 'Ramesses' name. The tomb belonged to Bakhro, who was a scribe in the mummification hall of the god Amun. The tomb has over 1,000 Ushabti statues, masks, and papyrus papers.
DECEMBER 15via Amr Nabil/Associated Press
Sealing the deal on this year's discoveries is a stunning 4,400-year-old tomb discovered in Saqqara. The tomb is said to be "exceptionally well-preserved" for its age and is believed to have belonged to a royal purification priest by the name of Wahtye from the dynasty of King Nefer Ir-Ka-Re. The tomb is also colorfully painted, depicting the priest's family, creating of pottery and wine, hunting, musical performances, and other activities.