From a 13,000-year-old brewery to a long-lost ancient city supposedly built by Trojan War captives, it was an eventful year for historical discoveries. As the year comes to a close, take a look back at some of the ways history made news this year.
1. A human jawbone becomes the earliest evidence for humans outside Africa
Before this year, the oldest Homo sapiens fossil found outside Africa were estimated to be between 90,000 and 120,000 years old. But in January, a team of researchers revealed their discovery of an upper jawbone fossil at least 50,000 years older than that in a mountain cave in Israel, suggesting modern humans may have migrated out of Africa far earlier than once thought.
2. “Graffiti stone” found to be part of a Crusader-era altar
Researchers at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem’s Old City got a big surprise in February when they examined the reverse side of a previously unremarkable large stone propped against a wall in the corner, where it had been scribbled on by tourists. In fact, the two-ton block was inscribed with intricate circles, and appeared to be part of a high altar created by medieval Crusaders in the early 12th century.