10 Incredible Discoveries That Changed Ancient Archaeology

There is nothing quite like finding the first bone or brick of ancient remains. While such discoveries can take mere moments, understanding the whole story behind ruins, lost kingdoms, and old familiars can take decades. Archaeological sites can grind to a standstill, only moving forward again with the “story” when the next find falls into place like a lost puzzle piece. These additional discoveries can change long-held beliefs, open new mysteries, and even change the entire purpose of an ancient site.

10. De Palomares Tomb

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Miguel de Palomares was one of the first Catholic Priests to arrive in Mexico after the Spanish conquest in 1521. His grave was discovered by accident when, in 2016, workers dug a pit for a lamp post. When archaeologists widened the space, they discovered a large slab with the name de Palomares carved on it. The two-meter-long gravestone marks an unusual burial placefor a Catholic priest—beneath the floor of an Aztec temple.

For a long time, scholars were aware that the Spaniards erected churches over native religious sites. The behavior was labeled as a dominant display of whose god was better, in effect, a symbolic replacement of the local deities by Christianity. Now, it would appear that the Spaniards were a little more practical-minded. The Aztec temples had solid foundations and sturdy walls, all ready to be used. To save time, de Palomares’s particular temple’s floor was simply whitewashed and otherwise left untouched when it was turned into Mexico City’s first cathedral in 1524.

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