I have been thrilled by the boom in archaeological discoveries in recent years. As I have discussed elsewhere, this has largely been driven by the increasing sophistication of technologies, such as satellite imagery, LIDAR, and supercomputers that allow everything from environmental modeling, to the reconstruction of ancient buildings, and the AI decoding of languages.
These discoveries have been especially evident in the truly astounding revelations in the Maya world of tens of thousands of new cities with hundreds of thousands of new buildings discovered. Likewise, satellite revelations coming out of Egypt have been remarkable–especially given the longheld sigh that “everything major and important had already been discovered there.” Likewise, one of the positive notes coming out of the grim decade of Central Asian wars was the use of satellite tech to uncover ancient cities, roadways, waterways, and other long hidden structures.
Underwater discoveries have also been astounding, with submerged cities being discovered from the Mediterranean Sea to India, hundreds of shipwrecks in the Black Sea being mapped and explored, and ancient paleolithic hunting sites and megalithic structures found along the floor of the North Sea. The search has only just begun, as we start to look at submerged lands from Indonesia and Madagascar to the new continent off the coast of New Zealand.
I am so excited new books and TV specials are emerging that cover everything from the latest DNA studies of mummies to the updated studies of the impact of environmental, pandemic, and dietary/genetic health of ancient peoples (such as The Fate of Rome, by Kyle Harper.) This presents a much clearer, more rounded view of the decline and fall than was ever possible before.
Whereas before archaeological discoveries often relied on educated guesses, great hunches, and sheer luck, now we can peer beneath desert sands, jungle canopies, or even oceans, to uncover archaeological sites, so that we can focus our work. This has allowed the dawn of a whole new era of discovery. I believe this is truly a new Golden Age for archaeology.