With the Gregorian year drawing to a close, I figured we'd have a look at the most important or simply stunning achaeological discoveries in 2015, in sequence.

Scientists read Herculaneum papyri for the very first time (January)
The Herculaneum papyri are more than 1,800 scrolls found in the ancient Italian village Herculaneum in the 18th century, carbonized by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. After various attempts of manipulation, a method was found so that scientists were able to read them.

Ancient coin collection resurfaces at University Buffalo after 80 years (March)
University Buffalo faculty member Philip Kiernan heard a rumour from a UB alumnus in 2010 that the UB Libraries housed a collection of rare coins. Three years later, Kiernan, an assistant professor of classics, channelled his inner Indiana Jones and journeyed to the depths of the UB archives to find them. The collection, he was shocked to learn, was real: 40 silver Greek coins, three gold Greek coins and a dozen gold Roman coins.

2,000-year-old mask of Pan found in Israel (April)
A team of researchers from the University of Haifa’s Zinman Institute of Archaeology in northern Israel discovered the mask during a one-day dig at the Hippos-Sussita excavation site, just over a mile east of northern Israel’s Sea of Galilee and near what was once the ancient city of Paneas.

Skeletal remains confirmed to belong to Philip II (July)
Analysis confirms that a skeleton found forty years ago in the royal tombs of Vergina belongs to Philip II, father of Alexander the Great. The tombs became internationally famous in 1977, when the Greek archaeologist Manolis Andronikos unearthed the burial site of the kings of Macedon.

Marble statue (probably) of Silenus unearthed at Pella (August)
A marble statue of Silenus, dating to the Hellenistic era, has been unearthed in the Agora of Ancient Pella. The statue was found in the North Portico of the Agora, in an area which appears to have been reserved for cult purposes.

Important finds reported at two excavations in Laconia (August)
A new Mycenaean palace has been found on the Sparta plain during the archaeological surveys which have been going on since 2009 at the Aghios Vassilios Hill near the village of Xirokambi in Laconia. Among the finds were Linear B tablets, a very valuable discovery considering the fact that they come from a Protohistoric period of the Helladic area where written sources are scarce.

Ancient well identified as Apollon divination site in Athens (September)
Keramikos (Greek: Κεραμεικός), formerly known by its Latinized form Ceramicus, is an area of Athens, Greece, located to the northwest of the Acropolis, which includes an extensive area both within and outside the ancient city walls, on both sides of the Dipylon (Δίπυλον) Gate and by the banks of the Eridanos River.

22 shipwrecks located near Fourni (November)
During the very first dive of the expedition at Fourni, a Greek archipelago close to Turkey in the eastern Aegean Sea, the team found the remains of a late Roman-period wreck strewn with sea grass in shallow water. By day 5, the researchers had discovered evidence of nine more sunken ships. The next day, they found another six. By the time the 13-day survey was finished, the divers had located 22 shipwrecks--some more than 2,500 years old--that had never been scientifically documented before.

Ancient Hellenic fortress found in Jerusalem parking lot (November)
The remnants of the Acra, a fortress built by the Hellenic King Antiochus IV more than 2,000 years ago and sought for over 100 years, has emerged from a parking lot in Jerusalem. Mentioned in Jewish biblical sources and by historians like Josephus Flavius, the fortress was unearthed after 10 years of excavations under the parking lot.The discovery solved one of Jerusalem’s greatest archaeological mysteries.

Ruins of ancient Hellenic city found on Mount Pindos (November)
Archaeologists were stunned to find the ruins of an unknown ancient city which dates back to the 4th century BC, at an altitude of 1,200 meters on the Hellenic mountain of Pindos. It is believed to be the highest archaeological excavation in Greece.

Here is to hoping for another succesful year of archeological discoveries in 2016!