Archaeology is the study of human history through excavation and analysis. Archaeology gives people everywhere an insight into how people, of all times periods, lived. Archaeologists have exhumed sites all over the globe and have learned about the lifestyles of various cultures. However, during these excavations, archaeologists were baffled by what they found.
The Roman & Byzantine Sewers Filled With Baby Bones
Having bathhouses was a common practice in the Roman and Byzantine empires. However, it was what lied below that made this discovery so puzzling. In 2014, in the middle east, in the sewers below the ruins of a bathhouse, archaeologists discovered the remains of 100 babies. After studying the remains, researchers learned these babies were actually healthy at the time of death. Therefore, it is still not clear as to why these babies were killed.
The Rosetta Stone
The Rosetta Stone was discovered by a French soldier, in Egypt, in 1799. The stone was a decree issued by King Ptolemy V somewhere in approximately 200 BC. The decree is written in 3 languages: Egyptian hieroglyphics, Ancient Greek and Demotic Script. This stone is where the language learning software (Rosetta Stone) got its name.
Rapa Nui, better known as Easter Island, is a remote island located in the Chilean territories. Easter Island is considered the most remote island on the planet. Therefore, when scientists reached the island, they were shocked to find 887 tribal statues. It is believed that Polynesian people most likely settled on Easter Island sometime between 700 and 1100 CE. Unfortunately, the original settlers were wiped out by disease when the Europeans discovered the islands, taking their history with them.
Piri Reis Map
The Piri Reis map was compiled and created by the cartographer, Piri Reis. The map accurately shows coasts of Europe, North Africa and parts of South America. There are also various islands depicted such as the Azores and Canary Islands as well as the mythical Antillia. What made this map so astounding was the accuracy and extent it covered. It is also believed that this may be the map the Christopher Columbus used when he sailed to the Americas.
Dead Sea Scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in caves near the Dead Sea. The scrolls are made from 981 different manuscripts. The scrolls have strong religious ties. According to the Israel Antiquities Society “They [the scrolls] consist of two types: ‘biblical’ manuscripts—books found in today’s Hebrew Bible, and ‘non-biblical’ manuscripts—other religious writings circulating during the Second Temple era, often related to the texts now in the Hebrew Bible.”
Sacsayhuaman is a fortified area on the outskirts of Cusco, Peru. The foundation of the wall was likely created by the Killke tribe, then later added to by the Incas in the 13th century. The craftsmanship is mind blowing. Both peoples were able to make the stone fit perfectly together without mortar. There is no space in between each slab, therefore, ancient engineers must have created the most perfect designs.
The Baghdad battery consists of a ceramic pot, a tub of one metal and a rod of another metal. It was originally hypothesized that these 3 items together worked as a battery. The famous debunking show “Mythbusters” once put that hypothesis to the test. They recreated the Baghdad battery and found that using lemon juice as an electrolyte, the “battery” can create 4 volts of energy. This is a very little amount compared to today’s batteries. Although it is widely accepted as a battery, the actual origin and purpose is unknown.
Pompeii was an ancient Roman city that was destroyed and buried by volcanic ash after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. The city was lost to mankind for 1,500 years. It was rediscovered in 1748. During the excavation, plaster was filled in the ash tombs that covered the city residents who were unable to flee the eruption in time. Visitors are now able to see the exact position in which many people perished.
Cave Of Altamira
The Cave of Altamira is located near Santillana del Mar in Spain. It is best known for the parietal cave paintings found on the walls. The paintings depict local fauna and human hands. It is believed the earliest painting in the cave were created around 35,00 years ago. What is so marvelous about these paintings is the immense detail. It gave archaeologists a great insight into that time period.
The Shroud Of Turin
The Shroud Of Turin is a linen cloth that has an image resembling Jesus of Nazareth. Many claim the cloth is part of the shroud that was used to wrap Jesus in his burial after his crucifixion. However, radiocarbon dating found the cloth actually dates back to the Middle Ages. The actually origins of the shroud are still highly debated by both theologists and scientists.
The Nazca Lines are ancient geoglyphs found in the Nazca Desert in Peru. The large lines are believed to have been created between 500 BCE and 500 CE. The lines create various shapes such as animals, trees and flowers. The lines were made by removing the reddish pebble surface to uncover the white ground that lies beneath. There are various hypotheses about what the lines were used for, but many agree they most likely have a religious significance to them.
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England. Archaeologists believe the circle of stones was created from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. Scientists also believe Stonehenge was used as a burial ground, as scientists have found deposits containing human bone that date from as early as 3000 BC. Unfortunately, the culture that built Stonehenge left no written record as to what the area was really for.
The stone spheres of Costa Rica are a collection of 300 rock spheres located on the Diquís Delta, on Isla del Caño. It is said the spheres were created by the extinct Diquís culture. Archaeologists believe the stones were used to mark the approaching of a chief’s house. However, their exact significance is still a mystery.
Ridgeway Hill Viking Burial Pit
The Ridgeway Hill Viking burial pit is a mass grave in Dorset, England that contained 54 skeletons and 51 heads of Scandinavian men. It is believed these men were Vikings who were captured by the Anglo-Saxons. It has been hypothesized that these Vikings were attempting to raid Anglo-Saxon territory, but failed, and were captured and executed. However, the exact circumstances of their death is still unknown.
The Cooper Scroll was discovered in a cave near the Dead Sea. It is considered one of the Dead Sea Scrolls. However, it has unique amongst the others. The obvious is that the scroll is made of a metal that is composed of mainly copper with 1% tin. It is also not a literary work but rather a list of locations where it is said various items of gold and silver are buried or hidden. Unfortunately, this locations are written in riddle form and no one has been able to find the treasure.
The Voynich manuscript is a a book full of hand-written passages and illustrations. However, the writing system is unknown and no one has been able to decode it. It is believed the book was written in Northern Italy during the Italian Renaissance, in the early 15h century. The text is written from left to right with both pictures and diagrams.
Sanxingdui, which translates to “three stars mound” is the archeological site that was discovered in the current city of Sichuan, China. The site was home to a Bronze Age culture that dates back to the 12th-11th centuries BCE. The artifacts found there challenge the narrative that the Chinese civilization spread from the central plain of the Yellow River. Now scientists believe that there were actually multiple centers of innovation in ancient China.
The Mayan People
The Mayan people thrived for 6 centuries in Southern and Central America. They had technological advancements that still stun archaeologists. However, what makes this civilizations so interesting is not just their life but also their disappearance. With such a thriving population it is hard to believe that they were completely wiped out. Scientists theorize it was most likely a combination of drought, deforestation and disease.
Ancient stone circles were recently photographed in Syria and Jordan. Archaeologists took aerial images of the phenomena. The 11 circles, measure around 1,312 feet in diameter, with a similar design of a low wall. Unfortunately, it is still not known as to what these circles were used for.
The Cochno Stone dates back to the Bronze Age and measures 42 feet by 26 feet. The stone, found in Scotland, is covered in 90 large cup and ring markings. It is considered one of the finest sets of petroglyphs found in the region. In the 1960s, it is was covered in order to prevent vandalism, however, parts were uncovered in 2015 to do more study on the stone. It is still not clear as to what the stone was for.
Archaeologists find ceramics of past civilizations all the time. However, what makes this jar unique is all the holes. Clearly it was not used to transport water, so what was it used for? Archaeologists hypothesize that it would have possibly been a candle holder or even a cage for small animals. This jar dates back to the Roman times, but there have been no artifacts found like it.
Metal From Atlantis
In 2015, divers were exploring a shipwreck off the coast of Sicily. The wreck is from a ship that sunk close to 2,600 years ago. However, it wasn’t the wreck that was fascinating but rather its cargo. Amongst the destruction, divers found 40 metal ingots made of orichalcum. Orichalcum, according to Ancient Greeks, is said to have been made in the mystical city of Atlantis.
Medieval Sword With Cryptic Code
In 2015, the British museum displayed a double-edged sword that was found in the River Witham in July 1825. The sword is so dense and sharp that with enough force it could easily slice open a man’s head. However, what makes this sword so intriguing is the inscription that is engraved on the front. The inscription is some type of code and it has yet to be deciphered.
Stone Structure In The Sea
In 2003, using sonar technology, archaeologists discovered a massive stone structure below the Sea of Galilee. The cone-shaped structure is made of basalt cobbles and boulders, weighs approximately 60,000 tons, and has a diameter of about 230 feet. Structures like this have been found in other places around the world and were normally used to mark burials. However, the exact purpose of this structure is still unknown.
The Yonaguni Monument is a submerged rock formation located off the coast of Yonaguni, Japan. Unfortunately, the Japanese government has not recognized this feature as an important cultural artifact. Therefore, not much research has been done. Some believe the rock formation was man-made, while others believe it is a natural formation. As there is no preservation work being done on the formation, it is possibly scientists may never know what it is.
Stone Age Tunnels
Across Europe, from Scotland to Turkey, scientists have discovered a network of tunnel below ground, underneath neolithic settlements. The tunnels, which are around 12,000 years old, connect various places. However, archaeologists are still unsure as to why these tunnels were originally created. Some believe it was for travelers to avoid predators while others believe it was protection from wars or weather above ground.
Two men were searching a field in Denmark with metal detectors. Upon being alerted of metal, they dug and found 4 large gold rings. After the discovery, experts began canvassing the field. They continued to find more gold that dated back to 700 BC. One thing they found was 2,000 of gold spirals as thin as hair and approximately 1 inch long. Experts still do not know what these curls were used for.
Below The Durrington Walls
The Durrington Walls is 2 miles from Stonehenge and is a site where a large Neolithic settlement was once located. However, its not the settlement that has stunned archaeologists but rather what lies below it. In 2016, an excavation revealed enormous pot holes below the ground that were later filled in with chalk rubble. Researches still do not know what exactly was meant to be built there and why construction was cancelled.
The Khatt Shebib is a 93-mile-long ancient wall that lies in Jordan. Today, the wall is in ruins. But lead researchers on the wall say “even in its original state, it cannot have been much more than a meter [3.3 feet] high and perhaps half a meter [1.6 feet] wide.” Along the wall, researchers have also found ruins of small towers with remnants of pottery inside. The pottery dates back to some time between 312 B.C.–A.D. 106 and A.D. 661–750. Unfortunately, this is all that is known about the wall. Scientists are still trying to figure out the exact date it was built and why it was built.
Roman Coins In Japan
In 2016, scientists uncovered 10 coins during the excavation of the Japanese castle, the Katsuren Castle. After washing the coins, archaeologists discovered the coins were actually ancient Roman coins. Until that point, Archaeologists believed there was no contact between the Katsuren Castle and the Roman Empire. Therefore, experts still have no clue as to why or how the coins ended up in Okinawa.
King Tut’s Tomb
Since the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922, archaeologists have been fascinated with his life. King Tut was an Egyptian Pharaoh that took over the throne around age 9 or 10, and unfortunately died at the young age of 19. However, it is not his life that archaeologists are puzzled with, but something that happened after death. While sealed in his tomb, his body caught fire. Researchers believe it may have been to issues with the embalming. However, no exact reason has been concluded.
The Longyou Caves are man-made caves located in the Zhejiang providence of China. It is believed these caves were created during the Qin Dynasty in 212 BCE. Twenty-four caves have been found since their discovery, in 1992, and all are still structurally intact. However, no record of their existence has been found. Therefore, the exact use of these caves is still a mystery.
Gate Of The Sun
The Gate of the Sun is a solid stone arch that was found near Lake Titicaca close to La Paz, Bolivia. The archway is 9.8 feet tall and 13 feet wide. It was constructed from a single stone and features various inscriptions. There are many hypotheses as to what all the inscriptions mean. Many believe it had astronomical and/or astrological significance. Unfortunately, the true exact purpose is unknown.
In the early 20th century, British pilots discovered various walls in Israel, Jordan and Syria. After doing research on the walls, scientist discovered these lines were actually ancient animal traps. The large walls, that were built about 2,300 years ago, would form a funnel and direct gazelles and other large game into a killing pit. What made this discovery so astonishing is the sophisticated knowledge and advanced hunting intelligence needed to create something of this stature. It was more sophisticated that any scientists ever imagined.
In 1991, archaeologists found a a cemetery of 35 bodies buried facedown in modern day Northamptonshire. The facedown burial is not uncommon. However, one of the bodies had its tongue amputated which was then replaced by stone. There are no records as to why this was done. But, experts believe it was either put in his mouth to complete the body or keep him from ever being whole.
L’Anse Aux Meadows
L’Anse aux Meadows is a Viking settlement that was found in southern Newfoundland, Canada. This discovery shocked archaeologists as exploration to the New World was believed to have been started by Christopher Columbus. This settlement proved that theory wrong, as it was determined the settlement was created in the year 1000 (500 years before Columbus’ exploration). It is the most famous Viking settlement in North America.
The initial discovery of this fleshy and scale-covered claw frightened archaeologists. The claw was discovered nearly 30 years ago while archaeologists were doing research inside a cave system on Mount Owen, in New Zealand. They took the claw to the lab and discovered the animal they believed that must have recently died, had actually been dead for over 3,000 years. What they found was the mummified remains of the upland moa, a large prehistoric bird.
This massive skull was discovered by Roy Chapman Andrews, an American explorer and Director of the American Museum of Natural History, in 1923. It is the only skull discovered of its kind, therefore, it still remains a large mystery as to what the animal actually was. However, one researcher studying the skull believes it may have been the largest terrestrial mammalian carnivore ever.
Göbekli Tepe is an archaeological site on top a mountain ridge in the southeastern Anatolia region of Turkey. The area has 2 phases of ritual use. The first consists of massive t-shaped stone pillars that are aligned in circles. The second also contains pillars but these pillars are placed in rectangular rooms that had floors of polished lime. It is still unknown as to what these pillars were exactly used for.
In 2003, a team of archaeologists were exploring the Indonesia island of Flores to look for evidence on the migration of homo sapiens from Asia to Australia. However, that’s not what they found. They found the skeleton of a new species. The skeleton of the newly discovered hominin was dubbed LB1, as it was found in the Liang Bua Cave. This skeleton depicted an individual with both primitive and modern features that stood at 3 feet 7 inches tall. The species was named Homo floresiensis which was later nicknamed “hobbit”.
The Terracotta Army is a large grouping of terracotta sculptures that depict the armies of the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. The sculptures were created to protect the Emperor in his afterlife. This life size army sits close by to the Emperor’s tomb, however, the tomb has yet to be excavated.
The Antikythera Mechanism is believed to be the first analogue computer ever created. The ancient Greek mechanism was used predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendrical and astrological purpose. After studying the mechanism, researchers found the machine was created somewhere between 150-100 BC and had 37 gear wheels.
In 2015, a team of investigators found a dozen stone discs in the Volgograd region of Russia. The discs are made from tungsten, a high density metal which is normally used in military technology. It is still a mystery as to the origin or the use of these discs. The investigators were caravanning the area as it region is known to have ‘mystical phenomena’.