Archaeology Magazine has just released their list of the top ten discoveries in 2010. Among the findings was a room under the El Diablo pyramid in Maya city of El Zotz in Guatemala. The room had been partially damaged by looters, but researchers dug deeper and discovered a “bizarre cache” of severed fingers and other artifacts that they believe were the remnants of a dynastic leader. In Canada, a research team found the abandoned ship Investigator right where its crew had left it in 1853 when it became stuck in the ice of Mercy Bay. The ship was the first to have completed the westernmost part of the Northwest Passage, and the crew spent three winters in the region before they were rescued. The ship was rumored to have been destroyed, and archaeologists had planned to spend two weeks searching for it, but they actually found it in minutes. And a research team in Jamestown, Virginia uncovered the footprint of the earliest Protestant church in North America, which was built in 1608 and is believed to be the site of Pocahontas’s 1614 marriage to tobacco farmer John Rolfe.
The magazine also listed their threatened sites of the year, which include prehistoric Native American geoglyphs in southeast California, and the neolithic rock art in Egypt’s Cave of the Swimmers. The rock art, which was popularized in the film The English Patient, is being “admired to death by tourists who feel compelled to touch the 10,000-year-old paintings,” the magazine reports. But Egypt’s council on antiquities is working on an outreach effort aiming to educate drivers who transport tourists to these sites. Their hope is that the drivers will encourage good behavior and teach tourists how to behave appropriately when viewing the art.
For more archaeological discoveries, check out National Geographic News’s most viewed archaeology stories of 2010.
Photo: Archaeology Magazine via Flickr