There were a lot of archaeological discoveries in the year 2000. Evidence of prehistoric animations, one of the earliest known Buddhist temples and ancient Egyptian mummy portraits were discovered by researchers. Live Science looked at 10 of the most important archaeological stories.

One of the newfound mummy portraits, seen here, is painted on a linen shroud.

Archaeologists discovered Fayum mummy portraits at an ancient Egyptian site. This one is painted on a linen shroud. (Image credit: Courtesy Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities)

The mummies were found in a cemetery at the ancient city of Philadelphia, about 120 kilometers southwest of Cairo. Around 2,000 years ago, these portraits were created.

While mummy portraits can be seen in museums around the world, many were dug up by looters, and the new paintings are the first mummy portraits found in a scientific excavation in over a century. Modern scientific methods were used to examine the new finds, which were unearthed during an archaeological excavation.

2. Underground city

Two people who are wearing hard hats, masks and high visibility safety vests are exploring an underground cave thought to be a city. The walls are lined with large stone bricks and there are three circular holes on the floor.

Many artifacts from the second and third centuries A.D. were unearthed in an underground city in Mardin's Midyat district in Turkey, as shown in this April 16 photo. (Image credit: Photo by Halil Ibrahim Sincar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Up to 70,000 people may have lived in a hidden underground city in Turkey. Water wells, grain storage silos, the remains of houses, a Christian church and a synagogue are some of the things that have been found in the underground city. The underground city may have been used during the second and third centuries A.D., when the Roman Empire was in control.

3. Early Buddhist temple

Italian archaeologists and colleagues from Pakistan started excavations at Barikot in 1984. The Swat River can be seen here below the acropolis.

The ancient Buddhist temple was unearthed in late 2021, in Barikot in the Swat region of Pakistan. It's thought to be at least 2,100 years old. (Image credit: ISMEO/Ca' Foscari University of Venice)

One of the oldest Buddhist temples in the world was found in Pakistan and dates back to the second century B.C. The temple dates back to a few centuries after Siddhrtha Gautama's death. Found in the town of Barikot, the temple's remains include a ceremonial platform topped by a dome-shaped Buddhist monument.

The famous ancient golden Scythian breast pectiral (necklace) on a black background, it depicts the animal world of southern Ukraine and the life of ancient Scythians.

This Scythian gold necklace is safely kept in a museum in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. Scythian artifacts kept in a museum in Melitopol were reportedly stolen by Russian troops. (Image credit: Andreas Wolochow via Shutterstock)

Numerous artifacts and heritage sites have been damaged or destroyed as a result of the Russian invasion ofUkraine. The world's largest plane was destroyed in the opening days of the invasion. There are 2,300-year-old Scythian gold artifacts and 300-year-old silver coins that were taken from the Museum of Local History in Ukraine.

The dead have been ignored. The body of Grigory Potemkin, who died in 1739, was taken from his grave by Russian occupation forces before Kherson was liberated in November. Potemkin, a nobleman, served as both a governor and general. According to media reports, Putin wanted his forces to remove the corpse and bring it to Russia.

5. Prehistoric cartoons

The experiments with 3-dimensional scans of the carved plaquettes and firelight generated with computers revealed that different portraits of animals may have been animated by the flickering firelight.

The experiments with three-dimensional scans of the carved plaquettes and firelight generated with computers revealed that different portraits of animals may have been animated by the flickering firelight. (Image credit: Needham et al., 2022, PLOS ONE, CC-BY 4.0)

A research team studying a cave in southern France found that prehistoric animal carvings were positioned in such a way that light and shadows interacted with them to make them look like they were moving. "When you get this dynamic light across the surface, suddenly all these animals start to move; they start to flicker in and out of focus," Andy Needham told Live Science. The earliest moving pictures, which didn't debut until the 19th century, were pre-dated by the carvings on the site.

6. 9,000-year-old shrine discovery

photo of the newfound shrine with a large carved stone in the foreground; the stone has human-like facial features carved into it

This shrine in Jordan's eastern desert dates back to the New Stone Age and contains many artifacts and fossils. (Image credit: South Eastern Badia Archaeological Project)

At least two large stones with carvings of human facial features are part of a shrine discovered in Jordan's eastern desert. Several full-size kites, a type of trap for capturing groups of animals, were found near the shrine, and it is possible that rituals at the shrine were performed to bring about good hunting. The area may have been wet at the time of the shrine's construction.

7. Thousands of pits near Stonehenge

In this image we see a large square piece of grass that has been dug up to reveal a 10,000-year-old pit. Inside the pit are 2 archaeologists taking samples. There are 2 more archaeologists outside the pit, on opposite sides, taking measurements. Several tools are strewn about the site.

Thousands of large and small pits dotted the Stonehenge landscape in prehistoric times. (Image credit: Photo courtesy of Ghent University/University of Birmingham 2022)

Thousands of pits were discovered by researchers. The results show that there may be more than 3000 smaller pits. Stone tools that could have been used for hunting were found in the oldest excavated pit. The aurochs were one of the many animals that lived in Salisbury Plain.

A few of the pits have been excavated. The 10,000-year-old pit is one that may have been used for hunting.

8. Ancient sanctuary

A mud-caked bronze sculpture unearthed in Italy.

Two dozen well-preserved bronze sculptures depicting gods and other important figures were found at a thermal spring in Tuscany. (Image credit: Italian Ministry of Culture)

Archaeologists found the remains of an ancient sanctuary in Tuscany. The Etruscans may have used it. During the first millennium B.C., the Etruscans flourished in Italy, but their cities and territory were taken over by the Romans. There are more than two dozen well-preserved bronze statues. Archaeologists found bronze carvings of individual body parts and organs, as well as 5,000 gold, silver, and bronze coins.

Apollo, a deity venerated by both Greeks and Romans who was associated with the sun, is depicted in some of the statues. Latin or Etruscan inscriptions can be found on some of the statues.

9. Chalk sculpture

The sculpture is made of chalk and has a number of motifs engraved on it that are hard to understand.

The sculpture is made of chalk and has a number of motifs engraved on it that are hard to understand. (Image credit: The Trustees of the British Museum)

The British Museum said that it was the most important piece of prehistoric art to be found in Britain in the last 100 years. It was found in the grave of three children.

The burial is from a time when the world's most famous prehistoric monument was being built. Evidence shows that people in Britain were doing the same things at that time. The sculpture is similar to three other sculptures that were found in the same area. The chalk ball and bone pin that were found with the sculpture are very similar to pins that were found with people in the area.

10. Roman mosaic

Artisans used colorful, small stones to craft the fourth century A.D. mosaic found in Syria. Photographed on Oct. 12, 2022.

Artisans used colorful, small stones to craft the fourth century A.D. mosaic found in Syria. (Image credit: Photo by Louai Beshara/AFP via Getty Images)

Archaeologists uncovered a huge mosaic in Syria. The battle between the Greeks and the Trojans took place in the 16th century. There are depictions of Hercules and Neptune in the show. The mosaic is 20 feet wide and 6 feet tall and was found in a town near Homs. One idea is that the mosaic was used as a public bathhouse. Many of Syria's archaeological sites have been damaged or destroyed due to the civil war.