Valuable Discoveries

(The Unicorn Seal)

The Smithsonian Magazine article about Gobekli Tepe, one of the oldest man-made place of worship yet discovered had the following anecdote.

Gobekli Tepe was first examined–and dismissed–by University of Chicago and Istanbul University anthropologists in the 1960s. As part of a sweeping survey of the region, they visited the hill, saw some broken slabs of limestone and assumed the mound was nothing more than an abandoned medieval cemetery. In 1994, Schmidt was working on his own survey of prehistoric sites in the region. After reading a brief mention of the stone-littered hilltop in the University of Chicago researchers’ report, he decided to go there himself. From the moment he first saw it, he knew the place was extraordinary.[Gobekli Tepe: The World’s First Temple? | History & Archaeology | Smithsonian Magazine]

The July 2008 edition of Calliope, a world history magazine for kids, has a similar anecdote about Sir Alexander Cunningham. This British archaeologist, who was the founder of ASI, was digging around in Harappa in 1853 and 1856 and found the unicorn seal. He did not make much of the seal and before he died in 1893, thought that his work was a failure.
On the contrary, this proved to be one of the most valuable archaeological discoveries ever made in India. Till then it was believed that the oldest cities in India dated to 700 BCE, but later work in Harappa pushed the antiquity of Indian civilization much farther in time and now we know that the Indus civilization peaked around 2500 BCE.