Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Wednesday 24 April |
Saint of the Day: St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen
Aleteia logo
Art & Culture
separateurCreated with Sketch.

10 Exciting archaeological finds from 2020


MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP | Alex Wiegmann, Israel Antiquities Authority | Archäologischer Dienst Graubünden

J-P Mauro - published on 12/28/20

Some thrilling discoveries reveal more about biblical and Christian history.

The year 2020 was a hard one for archaeologists, as excavations around the globe were halted due to the world pandemic. Be that as it may, there were still several significant discoveries this year.

Biblical archaeology is an important field of study, because it identifies tangible connections between biblical accounts and historical records.

We’ve scoured our records to bring you some of the most exciting archaeological reports of 2020.

1. Jerusalem excavation uncovers marketplace from Jesus’ time


Experts believe they have found the 2,000-year-old market center in Jerusalem. They came to this conclusion after discovering an ancient table designed for the measurement of liquids. The site is located 5 meters below ground over an area known as the Stepped Street, which stretches from the Siloam Pool to the Temple Mount.

2. Science resurrects ancient date trees from seeds found in archaeological sites

Kolomenskaya Kseniya | Shutterstock

Incredibly, 2,000-year-old date-palm seeds found at the site of Masada and elsewhere were discovered to be still viable, and date trees—a variety of which no longer existed—have been sprouted and grown. One of the trees is now beginning to produce fruit.

3. Early Jesuit mission site unearthed in Florida Keys

San Antón de Carlos MOUND KEY MAP
Image by Victor Thompson in Historical Archaeology | Florida Museum of Natural History

An archaeological team has announced the discovery of Fort San Antón de Carlos, a 16th-century Spanish colonial settlement containing the site of one of the earliest Jesuit missions in North America. The site had long been rumored to exist, but the seven-year archaeological effort proved that it did.

4. Incredible digital facial reconstruction shows image of 900-year-old priest

Photo Courtesy of Hew Morrison

In 2019, England’s storied Lincoln Cathedral unearthed the remains of more than 50 individuals who had been interred under the church during the building’s nearly 950-year history. In 2020, thanks to the incredible digital editing skills of forensic artist Hew Morrison, we got a much closer look a how one priest may have looked.

5. Swiss dig reveals 1,000-year-old Christian jewelry mold

Archäologischer Dienst Graubünden

Archaeologists working to uncover a site in Switzerland have discovered an ancient concrete mold. The artifact, used for making jewelry, is emblazoned with Christian symbols, leading experts to suggest that it was a tool for making early Christian decorative adornments.

6. Archaeologists discover 1,300-year-old church near Jesus’ Mount of Transfiguration

Israel Antiquities Authority
Alex Wiegmann, Israel Antiquities Authority

Archaeologists have unearthed a 1,300-year-old Byzantine church at the foot of Mount Tabor, which, according to the New Testament, is the site of Jesus’ Transfiguration.

7. Archaeologist claims location of long-lost city of Bethsaida

El Greco | Public Domain

An American archaeologist has claimed to have found the location of the ancient city of Bethsaida. Rami Arav, a professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, says that the Et-Tell archaeological site in northern Israel, where he has been leading a dig, is the location of of the lost biblical town.

8. Medieval monastery found under English garage

medieval friary
Cotswold Archaeology | Twitter | Fair Use

Experts believe they have located the last of the five great monasteries of Gloucester. The site is believed to have been the home to the Whitefriars, a monastic community that arose from the Carmelites in the 13th century.

9. Early Christian church found at site where Jesus handed Peter the keys

Banias Nature Reserve
Alla Khananashvili | Shutterstock

Archaeologists have uncovered what appears to be a church built on top of that temple and dedicated to the profession of St. Peter. It is believed to be connected to a key moment in the life of Christ,when the Apostle Peter professed his belief that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of the Living God.

10. British archaeologist confident he has found Jesus’ childhood home

Copyright K.R.Dark

Five years of intensive research on archaeological data has consolidated evidence that a 1st-century house in Nazareth belonged to the Holy Family, a British researcher has concluded.

Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.