The 10 Most Exciting and Extraordinary Artifact Finds Of 2021
2021 was a bumper year for the discovery of obscure, odd and unexpected artifacts all around the world – and even beyond! From the golden tongued mummies of Egypt, a bullet-shaped metal anomaly in a 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite, a Fenris runestone, Roman battering rams dragged from the Med, intact 2,400-year-old fruit baskets and more… Here is our list of popular artifact finds from 2021. This is our top ten from 2021, but there are plenty more extraordinary artifact stories to be found in our Artifacts Category page.
Mummy With Golden Tongue Found At Possible Site Of Cleopatra’s Tomb
The mummy with the golden tongue and other recent finds from the Taposiris Magna site. ( Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities )
During recent explorations at an ancient Egyptian temple near Alexandria, archaeologists found something startling and unique. While searching inside a newly discovered burial shaft, they found a 2,000-year-old mummy with a golden tongue. This isn’t to suggest that the mummy suddenly came to life and began impressing them with its powers of oratory persuasion. It means that the mummy had an actual golden tongue - a replica made from precisely shaped, shiny golden foil. This glittering discovery was made by a joint team of archaeologists from the Dominican Republic and Egypt, headed by trailblazing archaeologist Kathleen Martinez.
Long-Lost Runestone From Viking Monument Recovered In Sweden
The incredible runestone that was used for a bridge foundation, which has been proven to be part of the famous Hunnestad Monument in southern Sweden. It depicts a powerful, ferocious wolf, which is known as Fenris (or Fenrir) in Norse mythology. (Annika Knarrström / Arkeologerna)
Performing excavations in an area where new sewer lines were being installed, Swedish archaeologists announced a remarkable and borderline miraculous find. While digging in half-frozen soil near the city of Ystad in December 2020, they unearthed a large oblong-shaped runestone that featured an intricate carving of a powerful, ferocious wolf, which is known as Fenris (or Fenrir) in Norse mythology.
Drone Footage Reveals Sunken Ancient Logboat in Ireland’s River Boyne
Logboat image, Boyne River, Ireland Source: Anthony Murphy / Mythical Ireland
A short video clip taken by citizen archaeologist and Ancient Origins’ guest author, Anthony Murphy, flying his drone high above the River Boyne in Ireland revealed an unusual rectangular object sunken into the riverbed. According to Irish Central, the size and shape of the object led archaeologists to tentatively identify it as a logboat, a type of simple, but sturdy, watercraft made from hollowed-out tree trunks.
Anomalous Metallic Object Discovered Inside a 4.5 Billion-Year-Old Meteorite
This NWA 869 meteorite was like nothing the writer had seen before. (David Bryant)
Meteorite dealers, David Bryant and his wife Linda contacted Ancient Origins with an extraordinary find that they had spotted in their regular delivery of meteorite fragments. In April 2020, David received a parcel of meteorites ordered from a dependable regular source. These were twenty examples of a very well-known and popular common chondrite known as NWA 869. But one of them was different and appeared to contain a manufactured metallic object inside. The meteorite was 4.5 billion years old, so what of the object?
1300-year-old Prehistoric Ski Found in Norway Completes a Pair!
Runar Hole holding the Digervarden prehistoric ski found in Norway. (Aud Hole / secretsoftheice.com)
After several years on the hunt, a team in Norway finally found another prehistoric ski on Mount Digervarden. Whilst not the oldest ski ever found, it is still prehistoric and certainly the best-preserved of its kind. What makes the find even more exciting is the prehistoric ski is one of a pair. The first half of the pair of ancient skis was discovered near the same spot in 2014! Other super-old ski pairs have been found elsewhere but none in such a high state of preservation.
Divers Find Four Naval Roman Battering Rams From the 241 BC Punic War
One of the naval Roman battering rams being hoisted from the sea near Ustica Island, Italy. ( RPM Nautical Foundation )
Four ancient bronze Roman battering rams, the kind used at the front of a battleship, were discovered by divers near Ustica Island, north of Palermo, Italy. These rare artifacts of ancient naval warfare are perfect examples of Roman engineering skills and one of the reasons why they beat the Carthaginians in 3rd century BC battles.
800-Year-Old Boomerang Discovered in Australian Creek
Dave Johnston, Professor of Archaeology from the Australian National University analyzing one of six boomerangs discovered recently in Australia. (Jamie Kidston / Australian National University )
A family in Australia noticed a “glowing object” lying beside a remote river. They crossed the river and examined the v-shaped item which turned out to be a boomerang. But not just any old-boomerang: this one’s a really old boomerang, with archaeologists in Australia claiming its 800 years old.
2,400-Year-Old Fruit Baskets Found Underwater at Thonis-Heracleion, Egypt!
A fragment of one of the fruit baskets brought to the surface by the French underwater archaeology team at Thonis-Heracleion. (Christoph Gerigk / Franck Goddio / Hilti Foundation )
While research work was underway at Thonis-Heracleion in the bay of Abu Qir, intact fruit baskets were discovered that were dated to the 4th century BC! "They have lain untouched underwater (for) 2,400 years, maybe because they were once placed within an underground room or were buried soon after being offered."
Near Perfect 800-Year-Old Norman Chain Mail Discovered In Ireland
The chainmail vest or hauberk at the Granard Knights & Conquests Heritage Center, Longford. ( Longford Leader )
A rare and complete, 800-year-old Norman chainmail vest was discovered in County Longford, thought to date to when the Normans arrived there in 1172. Some doubted its authenticity.
8 Jars Of Colombian Emeralds, Gold, and Silver Unearthed Near Bogotá
A closeup look at the treasure as it was found in one of the 8 jars: a mixture of gold and silver Muisca craftwork and many big Colombian emeralds. ( Francisco Correa )
And finally, who doesn’t love a treasure find? There were plenty in 2021. One of the most interesting was this vast treasure hoard discovered by archaeologists in Colombia. Although it was inevitably related to El Dorado by reporters, these offerings of gold, silver and Colombian emeralds have nothing to do with the legendary City of Gold, which was a creation of 16th-century conquistador folklore.
This is just a round up of some of the latest finds from 2021. There are hundreds more artifact finds on our Artifact Category page.
By Ancient Origins
It was a banner year for archaeology. What great finds.