25 Archaeological Controversies That Have Scholars Divided

Controversies are common in the scientific world and Archaeology is no exception. From the meanings of cave paintings to the last moments of mummified ice men, archaeology has provided a vast palate of controversies by which inquisitive minds struggle to uncover truth. Today we are going to look at some of the more prominent debates and arguments in recent memory. These are 25 archaeological controversies that have divided scholars.

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Nefertiti Bust

Nefertiti BustSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikipedia.org

Since its discovery in Egypt by German archeologists in 1912 there have been numerous controversies regarding its repatriation to Egypt and even its authenticity. While the bust is kept in Berlin today, the controversies still rage on a century later.


Spanish Hill

Spanish HillSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikipedia.org

A hill located in Pennsylvania, the location has been controversial among historians and archeologists for some time. Controversies typically center on the origin of structures and embankments found on the hill. Even the origin of the name has been a source of controversy.


Tikal Temple 33

Tikal Temple 33Source: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikipedia.org

The controversy surrounding this Mayan temple wasn’t about its origin or purpose but rather the fact that archeologists had decided to dismantle the structure in order to arrive at the earlier stages of construction.


Grolier Codex

Grolier CodexSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikipedia.org

This pre-Colombian Mayan book first appeared in a New York private collection during the 20th century. Since then, however, its authenticity has been disputed by archeologists.


Repatriation and reburial of human remains

Repatriation and reburial of human remainsSource: wikipedia, Image: commons.wikipedia.org

This long running and very current controversy encompasses several present day situations (The Kennewick man, Druid human remains) where various indigenous groups have requested the repatriation of human remains from their communities for burial.

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