Where Were These Objects Found?

Put your archaeological knowledge to the test

By Google Arts & Culture

Alphons Stübel at the Portal of the Sun, Tiahuanaco (1877) by Georges B. Von GrumbkowMALI, Museo de Arte de Lima

The history of art and archaeology might not be as exciting as Indiana Jones, but it's full of fascinating finds and awe-inspiring objects. Scroll on to test your knowledge. Do you know where these famous lost things were discovered?

The Rosetta Stone (-196/-196)British Museum

1. The Rosetta Stone

The Rosetta Stone was the key that unlocked the secrets of Egyptian hieroglyphs. The stone features three translations of the same of text, each written in a different script. 

Because experts were already able to read and understand Ancient Greek, it allowed them to finally decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs, something that Egyptologists had been attempting for generations.

So where was this iconic piece of literary history discovered?

Tombs of Great Arab Saints to be seen in the Neighborhood of Rosetta, Egypt (ca. 1800) by Luigi MayerThe Metropolitan Museum of Art

Rosetta, Egypt

As the name suggests, the stone was discovered in Rosetta, Egypt. Now known as El Rashid, the port town lies close to the mouth of the Nile, on the Mediterranean Sea. The stone was found in 1799 by the invading soldiers of Napoleon’s army, who uncovered the artefact while building fortifications. 

Click and drag to see the stone in its current location at the British Museum

Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, known as "Monna Lisa, la Gioconda" or "Mona Lisa", 1503-1519 (1503/1519) by Leonardo di ser Piero DA VINCI, dit Léonard de Vinci (1452 - 1519), Paris, musée du LouvreOriginal Source: Paris, Louvre Museum

2. The Mona Lisa

In 1911, The Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in a theft that’s been called the greatest art heist of all time. The perpetrator was Vincenzo Peruggia, an Italian man who had previously worked at the museum. 

According to Peruggia, he simply walked into the Louvre, removed the painting from the wall and walked out with it under his smock. For two years, it seemed as though the work was gone for good.

However, in 1913, it was finally recovered. Can you guess where? 

City rooftops and the Duomo Santa Maria Del Fiore, Florence, Italy (2007-08-01) by Tetra ImagesGetty Images

Florence, Italy

After stealing The Mona Lisa, Peruggia had hidden the masterpiece in his Paris apartment for two years. He then returned with the painting to Italy, apparently in an effort to return the work to its homeland. 

Mona Lisa (1962) by John LeongardLIFE Photo Collection

Peruggia contacted a local gallery owner in Florence in an attempt to sell The Mona Lisa. The owner tipped off the police and the work was recovered and returned to the Louvre, where it’s now viewed by over 10 million people a year. 

The Commentary on Habakkuk Scroll (1QpHab) Written in Hebrew (1st century CE) by UnknownThe Israel Museum, Jerusalem

3. The Dead Sea Scrolls

The Dead Sea Scrolls are some of the most important religious, historical and cultural documents ever discovered. The content of the scrolls is incredibly varied. Some feature text from the Hebrew bible, while others show text from the Old Testament and related extra-biblical works.

Dating from 408 BCE to 318 CE, these ancient documents have helped to aid understanding of early religion and the development of some of the world’s most important religious texts.

So where were these groundbreaking manuscripts found?

In a cave

Though now considered priceless artefacts, the scrolls had a very humble beginning. Discovered by a Bedouin shepherd in a cave in 1946, they had been hidden in clay pots under the Judean Desert for almost two thousand years. 

The Great Isaiah Scroll MS A (1QIsa)1st century BCE (Late 1st century BCE - early 1st century CE) by UnknownThe Israel Museum, Jerusalem

In fact, the scrolls weren’t discovered in just one location, but were found in a number of caves spread across the area, with the final scrolls only unearthed in 1956.

Learn more about the secrets of the Dead Sea Scrolls here.

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