When they aren't digging up ancient graves or unearthing the body parts of early human ancestors, archaeologists are combing the Earth for clues about how the people who came before us worked, played, and died.
This year, researchers across the globe have found evidence of everything from the earliest humans to walk the planet to the lavish tomb of an ancient Greek warrior — and even a set of mysterious, giant earthworks only visible from space.
Here's a look at some of the most monumental findings of 2015:
Signs of a new tomb hidden deep inside the Great Pyramid of Giza.
As part of a larger project using drones to analyze the ancient Egyptian pyramids, scientists working in November uncovered surprising "thermal anomalies" along the eastern side of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
While scanning the lower level of the pyramid, researchers noticed a temperature variance that hinted that instead of a solid row of limestone blocks, they were looking at a gap of air (air doesn't hold heat as well as solid rock). The team isn't sure what the gap is yet, but they've theorized that it could be a passage, a tomb, or simply a gash in the rock.
The house where Jesus may have grown up.
Archaeologists working in Nazareth in modern-day Israel uncovered a house dating to the first century that they believe may have belonged to Mary and Joseph, who allegedly raised Jesus.
The structure was first discovered in the 1880s, but wasn't dated or identified as Jesus' potential home until 2006, and a feature story in the Biblical Archaeology Review in March 2015 brought the most recent work on the site to light.
A massive underground ritual arena where the predecessors of Stonehenge likely feasted.
During a cursory underground radar scan of the infamous Stonehenge site, researchers suddenly noticed the signs of huge, rigid, underground features.
Looking more closely, the researchers found that the features — which they now suspect to be the perimeter of a 4,500-year old ritual arena — formed a rough C-shape. The site is 2 miles northeast of Stonehenge, buried beneath the already-famous site Durrington Walls.
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