Quiz on discoveries

Joy Bhattacharjya | Updated on February 15, 2019 Published on February 14, 2019

On February 16, 1923, Howard Carter first opened the doorway to King Tutankhamun’s burial chamber. This quiz, therefore, is all about discoveries.


1 Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen named this island after the auspicious day on which he first made landfall in 1722. It is a World Heritage Site thanks to the almost 1000 ‘moai’ made by the locals known as the Rapa Nui. What is the name of the island?

2 What did Lieutenant Pierre-François Bouchard discover in July 1799 while on an expedition with Napoleon in Egypt that changed the understanding of ancient African history?

3 What local fishing catch off the coast of South Africa was brought to the attention of museum curator Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer in 1938, who immediately flagged off the possible existence of a “living fossil”?

4 James Nicolson made the first observations from Jirol with his theodolite in 1849, but it was Radhanath Sikdar, working in Dehradun, who made the final calculations. What were they calculating?

5 Though a German — JM von Hassel — probably got there earlier, the first man to bring the world’s attention to this amazing site was American Hiram Bingham. What did Hiram Bingham discover in 1911, mainly thanks to a local named Melchor Arteaga?

6 In 1868, which ancient city did German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann claim to have discovered after excavations at a place called Hisarlik?

7 The Ethiopian name for this is ‘Dinknesh’ meaning “You are marvellous”, but this discovery is known worldwide by a different name in the archaeological world thanks to the song the members of the expedition were listening to in 1974 when they first excavated it. What was the discovery or the song?

8 When this creature was first encountered by Europeans, a pelt was sent back to the UK in 1798 with Captain John Hunter. Scientists thought it was a hoax and it was only when live specimens were found that they believed it was a real animal. Which animal is this, one of only two mammals to lay eggs?

9 Komodo dragons were first documented by the Dutch in 1910. In 1926, an expedition was mounted to get live specimens. What work did this voyage inspire?

10 Fiction. Rendezvous with ____ is a science fiction novel by Arthur C Clarke published in 1973, which tells the story of a 50-km long alien spaceship that enters the solar system. What did Clarke name the starship?


1 Easter Island, known for its huge statues

2 The Rosetta Stone, which was the key in deciphering the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic-based language

3 A living Coelacanth, a species which was believed to have been extinct for millions of years

4 The height of Mount Everest, which became the highest peak in the world. Interestingly, while the height was calculated to be exactly 29,000 ft, it was publicly declared to be 29,002 ft so that people would not feel the figure was rounded off

5 Machu Picchu, the ancient Inca citadel in Peru

6 The city of Troy, the setting of the Trojan war and the epic, The Iliad

7 The hominid skeleton Lucy, one of the earliest hominid remains. Named after the Beatles song, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

8 The duck-billed platypus

9 The film King Kong was inspired by Douglas Burden’s expedition to catch and bring back live specimens of Komodo dragons

10 Rama. The probe to photograph it was named Sita


Joy Bhattacharjya is a quizmaster;

Twitter: @joybhattacharj

Published on February 14, 2019
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor