Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here
Start your day in a beautiful way: Subscribe to Aleteia's daily newsletter here.
Sign me up!

Not Prepared to Donate?

Here are 5 ways you can still help Aleteia:

  1. Pray for our team and the success of our mission
  2. Talk about Aleteia in your parish
  3. Share Aleteia content with friends and family
  4. Turn off your ad blockers when you visit
  5. Subscribe to our free newsletter and read us daily
Thank you!
Team Aleteia

Subscribe

Aleteia

5 Top archaeological discoveries of 2017

Holy Sepulchre
Share

This year was a big one for unearthing secrets from the past.

In 2017 archaeologists made a number of exciting discoveries that helped advance our understanding of how people lived in the past. These intriguing finds serve to flesh out what we already know about ancient cultures and provide concrete evidence of the activities of peoples whose lives have been obscured by the passage of time.

1. The lost home of Jesus’ apostles

NEWLY DISCOVERED BIBLICAL SITE
Menahem Kahana | AFP

Archaeologists discovered the site of the ancient fishing village of Bethsaida, home to the apostles Peter, Andrew and Philip. The excavation site is located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee

2. The oldest depiction of the Virgin Mary

Old Mary Painting
Tony De Camillo | Yale University Art Gallery

In a 3rd-century church in Syria, a fresco was determined to be the oldest depiction of the Mary ever found. It has always been considered a depiction of the Samaritan woman who speaks with Jesus beside Jacob’s well (John 4:1–42).

3. The age of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Holy Sepulchre

New scientific evidence dates Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sephulchre to the time of Roman emperor Constantine. History tells us that first Christian leader built a temple over Jesus’ burial site. The find is significant because until now the earliest architectural evidence found in and around the tomb dated only to the Crusader period.

4. The tomb of Saint Nicholas

SAINT NICHOLAS CHURCH
Alexander Van Loon | CC BY-SA 2.0

The burial site of Saint Nicholas, a.k.a. Santa Claus, is believed to have been discovered in Southern Turkey. The saint’s remains were thought to have been smuggled to the Italian city of Bari by merchants in the year 1087. Because of the discovery of this tomb, Turkish experts now believe that the wrong bones were taken to Italy, and that St. Nicholas’s remains are in Turkey.

5. Alexander the Great’s lost city

QALATGA DARBAND,IRAQ
Courtesy of The British Museum
DCIM101MEDIADJI_0121.JPG

Archaeologists in Iraq discovered the once-lost city of Qalatga Darband, once a great trading post during the time of Alexander the Great. Pictures taken by the drones were processed to exaggerate color contrast. This process helped discover the outlines of a large rectangular building hidden beneath fields of wheat and barley. “Where there are walls underground the wheat and barley don’t grow so well, so there are color differences in the crop growth,” explained John McGinnis, director of the Iraqi Emergency Heritage Program.

 

Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.
Aleteia offers you this space to comment on articles. This space should always reflect Aleteia values.
[See Comment Policy]
Readers like you contribute to Aleteia's Mission.

Since our inception in 2012, Aleteia’s readership has grown rapidly worldwide. Our team is committed to a mission of providing articles that enrich, inspire and inform a Catholic life. That's why we want our articles to be freely accessible to everyone, but we need your help to do that. Quality journalism has a cost (more than selling ads on Aleteia can cover). That's why readers like you make a major difference by donating as little as $3 a month.