THIS year has been a big one for archeological finds – from golden mummy tongues to insanely old dinosaur bones.
As the new year approaches, The Sun looks back at some of the most incredible archeological discoveries of 2022.
Rare Ancient Egyptian faces
Earlier this December, the portraits of two mummies were uncovered, according to the Egyptian Government.
Egyptian archeologists made the discovery at the Gerza excavation site in Fayoum, Egypt, which is around 75 miles southwest of Cairo.
The two full-color artworks, also known as “Fayoum portraits,” are the first of their kind to be discovered in over a century.
Because of this, they are among the “most important archaeological discoveries that were found during the current season,” the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said in a translated statement.
Adel Okasha, head of Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, noted that the team found the portraits in a funerary house “with a floor made of colored lime mortar and decorated with interchangeable tiles.”
Pink sarcophagus from ‘City of the Dead’
In September, a rare pink sarcophagus was discovered by archaeologists in Cairo’s famed Saqqara necropolis.
Most read in Tech
It was found near the pyramid of King Unas in the Saqqara necropolis – otherwise known as the ‘City of the Dead’ – near Cairo.
Dating back 3,300 years, the granite coffin is said to have belonged to a prominent politician who lived during the reign of King Ramses II.
The discovery was announced by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in a statement, which noted that the body of the “high-ranking official” inside was taken by grave robbers hundreds or even thousands of years ago.
Found on the sarcophagus were carvings made from pink granite that spelled the name of its owner, “Ptah-M-Wiah.”
According to the hieroglyphs inscribed on it, he managed a temple that Ramesses II had built in the ancient city of Thebes.
Golden mummy tongues
In late November, researchers uncovered ancient mummies with golden tongues placed in their mouths.
The discovery was made at the Quweisna necropolis, located at Menoufiya governorate in the central Nile Delta northwest of Cairo.
Funerary stony amulets, scarabs, and vessels from the late ancient Egyptian, Ptolemaic, and Roman periods were also unearthed.
“The mummies with golden tongues are in a bad conservation condition,” said Mustafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
Mummies with golden tongues have been uncovered before, but they still remain puzzling to researchers.
The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities speculated in 2021 that embalmers crafted gold tongues to help the dead navigate the afterlife.
Experts also suspect that golden tongues were used by ancient Egyptians to help them get on the good side of Osiris, lord of the underworld.
Oldest African dinosaur fossils
The oldest African dinosaur ever discovered was unveiled in Zimbabwe this past September.
Dubbed Mbiresaurus raathi, a team of international researchers unearthed the dinosaur at the Pebbly Arkose Formation in northern Zimbabwe.
Their research was published in the journal Nature that same week.
The dinosaur’s first name “Mbire” takes inspiration from the Shona dynasty that once ruled the region.
Meanwhile, the dinosaur’s last name honors Michael Raath, a man who helped discover the first fossils in the area, Live Science reported.
Mbiresaurus raathi is classified as a sauropodomorph, making it a predecessor of the long-necked sauropods, according to the study.
Standing roughly 6ft tall, the dinosaur featured a long neck and weighed anywhere from 20-65lb.
Rare dinosaur fossil with preserved meal
Earlier this month, researchers discovered the remains of a small mammal in the fossil of a Microraptor.
Microraptors are small four-winged dinosaurs that roamed Earth during the early Cretaceous Jiufotang Formation, around 125 to 120 million years ago.
While researchers have discovered fossils and samples from Microraptors before, this new discovery shed light on their diet.
Vertebrate paleontologist Hans Larsson from McGill University said the discovery came as a real surprise.
“At first, I couldn’t believe it,” Larsson explained in the published study.
“There was a tiny rodent-like mammal foot about a centimeter long perfectly preserved inside a Microraptor skeleton.”
“These finds are the only solid evidence we have about the food consumption of these long-extinct animals – and they are exceptionally rare,” he continued.