Rare Discoveries That Changed History
We keep learning more and more about our history on earth, and whenever scientists and archeologists come up with new evidence, it almost always means we are in for a treat. Our ancestors' way of life is still largely unknown to us, and we are fascinated by their buildings, clothes, food, or inventions. Recently, archeologists and scientists have made even more astounding discoveries, and we have some of the best and strangest ones for you.
The Sandals Of King Tutankhamun
Thinking of Ancient Egypt, we might be tricked into only remembering the pyramids and mummies, but there is so much more to the ancient civilization. Recently, archaeologists uncovered a pair of sandals that belonged to King Tut, and it was a worldwide sensation. What was so shocking is that the sandals looked pretty modern, and proved that Tut must have been quite a fashionable person in his own time.
The World’s Oldest Intact Shipwreck
There are thousands of shipwrecks all over the world, buried deep under our seas and oceans, but the world's oldest intact shipwreck is located in the Black Sea! It is more than 2,400 years old and is one of the many wrecks in the same area. The research team had to use sonar and deep-diving robots to learn more about the ship, and it still took them three years to get closer to the whole story.
World War II Breakfast Rations
We might not understand the hardships of WWII, especially when it comes to food. Many people were malnourished, as there was not enough food to feed the hungry in these difficult times. That is why the food ration system was developed. Scientists recently discovered that cigarettes and gum were among the rations for soldiers, which is something that offers us a glimpse into their daily life.
A Gift For Marie Antoinette
A one-of-a-kind watch was recently discovered, and the story behind it is intriguing. It was to be gifted to the Queen of France- Marie Antoinette, and it was commissioned by one of her suitors. The Queen was known for her lavish tastes, so this solid gold watch fitted perfectly. The watch is one of the most complicated watches ever built and cost a whopping $30 million. Unfortunately, Antoinette never received the watch, as it was completed after her passing.
Archeologists recently came across a surprising discovery while examining a large stone that went previously unnoticed. One of its sides was scribbled on by the many tourists that come to the site, but when the researchers turned the stone around, they notice some much older ‘graffiti’. The big stone slab was inscribed with intricate circles and appeared to be a part of a high altar created by medieval Crusaders in the early 12th century.
Recently, a pair of armored gloves were discovered, having belonged to the Holy Roman Emperor Maximillian I, who wore the pair all his life. These gloves were the type used for battle by knights and soldiers all throughout the Middle Ages and were meant for protection rather than style. However, this piece was so intricate and beautiful that it must have attracted a lot of attention, even on the battlefield.
Serpentine Stone Mask
In 2011, this mysterious serpentine stone mask was discovered at the base of a pyramid in Mexico. It turned out that the mask was 2,000 years old, and archeologists believe that it was placed under the pyramid as an offering to the gods. Other artifacts were found in the same spot, right next to mask, further convincing researchers that this was indeed an offering place of the ancient civilization.
An Ottoman Supply Train
Lawrence of Arabia is a well-known movie, and this discovery is connected to him. In 1917 Lawrence was serving in the Middle East when he and a troupe of Arab followers started attacking trains of the Ottomans. One such train, ambushed by Lawrence, still lays where it was toppled, and it is an extraordinary reminder of the adventures and legends of war, where all of us could go and see with our own eyes.
The Lost Trojan City
Legendary cities are no longer just myths. Archeologists are working hard to prove that most kingdoms and civilizations did really exist, and they have the evidence to prove it. The lost city of Troy - Tenea, was recently found in Greece! The city was founded by a group of Trojan prisoners after the Trojan War, and it is also thought that it might be the childhood home of Oedipus. Tenea is currently being excavated and is offering us new evidence every day.
A Sorceress’ Kit
Pompeii seems to be an inexhaustible treasure trove, revealing to us bits of the Ancient Roman life, and in 2019, archeologists stumbled upon something extraordinary. A full sorcerers’ kit! The wooden box holding the small trinkets has already rotten away, but the contents remain intact. It was filled with around 100 little objects, such as buttons made of bone, carved scarab beetles, crystals, and little dolls. They might have been used for fortune-telling 2,000 years ago!
This jar was discovered by archeologists in London, right after WWII, and it has been dated to Roman times. However, one strange feature perplexes everyone - the jar is full of little holes. There is a lot of speculation as to the original use of the jar, which clearly couldn't have been used for storage. Some argue it was meant to be a lamp or even some kind of animal cage. So far, these guesses are just that - guesses.
The discovery of Sanxingdui was made in China’s Sichuan province by an ordinary person, as he stumbled upon a treasure trove of jade artifacts. It is believed that the artifacts were created by the Sanxingdui civilization, who left the area suddenly, burying their riches. The history of the Sanxingdui treasure remains unclear, and since its initial discovery, more treasure pits have been unearthed in the area, containing elephant tusks, bronze sculptures, and many more.
Ancient libraries are true treasure troves, offering us a glimpse into the world of our ancestors, and stunning us with its richness. One of these libraries - Ashurbanipal's, was found in modern-day Mosul in Iraq and is one of the most important archeological finds ever. The library was a center for learning, collecting all the written books of Mesopotamia. Over 30,000 tablets have been found here, shedding unprecedented light on ancient society.
Contractors in England discovered a strange artifact! They found a torpedo-shaped vessel that dates back to the 19th Century and is believed to be a witch bottle, including pieces such as fish hooks, human teeth, pieces of glass, as well as unidentified liquid. The object might have been a talisman used for spells, or to ward them off, but the true purpose remains unknown to this day!
Easter Island became a world sensation when the Moai statues were discovered. The giant human head monoliths were previously believed to be bodiless, but archeologists have since found the bodies too. The monoliths were carved between 1250 and 1500 AD, and it took 9 years for researchers to uncover all the statues on the island.
Tunnels of Baiae
A strange tunnel system was discovered in the cliffs of Baiae in Italy, and the archaeologists are still investigating the true purpose of the tunnel to this day. It is believed that they are a part of a larger temple called Necromanteion, which was meant for people to come and consult the dead, but that's what we know so far.
The legendary city of Troy was long believed to be only a thing of fables, but only until Heinrich Schliemann discovered the actual site and uncovered it in 1868. Found in Hisarlik, in modern-day Turkey, ancient Troy was finally proven to be real, and is to this day one of the biggest discoveries in archeology!
16th Century Surprise Ring
When archeologists came across this ring from the 16th century, they couldn’t have predicted what was hiding within it! The ring has an intricate design, and when unfolded, it opens into an astronomical sphere. The geometrical shape and mastery of its craftsmanship that was required to make this piece of jewelry are simply mind-boggling. It must have taken weeks to construct it, and we are definitely jealous of the lucky wearer who got to keep it.
The Voynich Manuscript
The late-medieval manuscript was one of the biggest literary discoveries of the 20th Century, but no one could decipher it. It's a 250-page book filled with colorful illustrations depicting women, herbs, or Zodiac signs, but it is written in an unknown alphabet, so researchers still don’t know what it’s actually about. The mystery of the manuscript remains unsolved, as some think it is a hoax book, some that it is a code to be cracked, and some consider it written in a lost language.
Dead Sea Scrolls
Perhaps the most important religious finding of all time, the Dead Sea Scrolls, have been uncovered by accident in eleven caves near the site of Qumran, close to the Dead Sea in Israel. The scrolls are made up of thousands of fragments of parchment paper stored in ancient jars, and what is more, archeologists recently found another cave, possibly containing even more scrolls!
Chariots of Zhou
The remains of horses and wooden chariots were uncovered by archeologists in 3,000-year-old tombs located in Luoyang, China. In total five chariots and twelve horses were found, along with some bronze pieces and ceramics from the early Western Zhou period. The findings are believed to be a part of a burial ceremony, and shed some important light on the ancient procedure.
The Copper Scroll
The caves of Qumran which gave us the Dead Sea Scrolls were also hiding another priceless document - the Copper Scroll. It differs immensely from the other scrolls found next to it, a fact which puzzles archeologists to this day. The scroll contains a list of 64 locations where immense amounts of treasure can be found. However, the locations are described as if expecting the treasure hunter to have intimate knowledge of the landscape, something which we simply do not have today.
The Staffordshire Hoard discovery stunned the world as it was the largest collection of Anglo Saxon gold and silver ever uncovered. The hoard included over 3,500 pieces, and it was accidentally uncovered by a metal detectorist in Staffordshire. The hoard is valued at millions, and it offers a valuable look into the riches of Anglo Saxon England.
The Royal Tombs of Ur
The tombs of Ur helped us learn a great deal about the ancient Sumerian civilization. Excavations at Ur lasted from 1922 to 1934 and unearthed around 2100 graves. Among them were the tombs of the rich, providing us with information on the hierarchical structure of Ur back in the day when the city flourished.
This discovery is pretty extraordinary, as it is not a jar or a piece of jewelry. Rather, archeologists stumbled upon a pair of eggs dating back 1,700 years! While they are definitely not edible anymore, they are an important find, as these are the only eggs ever to be preserved for that long, they offer researchers a lot to study!
The Terracotta Army is one of the most famous archeological finds in the world and for a good reason. It consists of over 8,000 terracotta soldiers, as well as 130 chariots and 670 horses. This army was buried near Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum around 210 BC, and it was meant to provide him with protection in the afterlife.
Ancient Galilee Boat
The Ancient Galilee Boat was found on the shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel back in 1986 and was immediately dubbed the boat Jesus once used. The boat was of the fishing type from the 1st Century A.D, and it appeared after a drought pushed back the waters of the lake. To this day, there is no real evidence linking it to Jesus however.
The Palace of Knossos
The archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans famously discovered the ancient site of Knossos, belonging to the Minoan civilization. Knossos was a large palace complex which was just as much political as it was religious. Archeologists have unearthed various rooms here, such as workshops, living rooms, or even a large square, and all of them were decorated beautifully. The palace revealed to us the lives of the rich, from a long lost civilization.
Pompeii was arguably the biggest Ancient Rome discovery of all times. It provided us with a whole city, almost perfectly preserved under volcanic lava and ash. The many findings that stemmed from uncovering Pompeii brought us closer to the daily lives of the Romans, and more discoveries are being made on the site to this day.
Piri Reis Map
A priceless discovery was made by archeologists of a map made by Ottoman cartographer Piri Reis in 1513, and it shows us a map depicting continents with incredible accuracy. The map also features Antarctica, a continent that was only discovered in 1818, which puzzles researchers to this day.
One of the oldest religious sites was discovered on the island of Malta. Hagar Qim was a complex for religious purposes built around 3,600-3,200 B.C. and it is a true masterpiece of architecture. Archeologists have uncovered multiple pottery pieces and statues of deities here too, and are continuing to learn more about how our ancestors practiced their religions.
The Turin Shroud
The Turin Shroud is one of the most enigmatic and important discoveries in Christian history, as many believed it to be the burial piece of Jesus Christ. The shroud is a piece of long cloth which to this day shows traces of blood and an imprint of a face. Scientists are still trying to figure out the exact age of the shroud via carbon dating, a technology that can help us determine whether the cloth really belonged to Jesus Christ.
The Cochno Stone
The mystery of the Cochno stone lives on! It was discovered in 1887 by Rev James Harvey, and it was concluded that it represented a Bronze Age petroglyph. The stone is meant to date back to 5,000 years ago, and it is engraved with geometrical patterns and spirals which puzzle researchers even to this day.
Did you think sunglasses were a modern invention? Think again, because a pair of ancient sunglasses belonging to prehistoric Inuits was discovered. More than 4,000 years ago, they lived in snow country and had to develop ways to deal with the strong sun rays which could damage their eyes. They invented carved snow goggles with small slits in them, allowing them to look with eyes open even in the brightest conditions. Certainly an impressive piece!
The Pilate Stone
This stone was discovered in 1961 near Cesarea in Italy, during excavations of a Roman theatre, and the archeologists definitely weren’t expecting this surprise! The inscription on the stone is what gave it its name, as it referred to Pontius Pilate, the prefect of Judea at the time. This confirms that the Biblical Pontius Pilate existed, which makes this small discovery one for the books!
The Antikythera Mechanism
This extremely sophisticated treasure was found at the bottom of the ocean, in a wreck of a Greek cargo ship that is older than 2,000 years. The strange-looking object is made of bronze and contains multiple interlocking gears and hieroglyphic characters all over. Scientists used to believe this to be some sort of navigation device, but the true purpose of the mechanism remains unknown.
The famed Baghdad Battery is believed to be a primitive attempt at a battery that could generate an electrical current. Archeologists these days are leaning towards the theory that the jar was never used as a battery in the first place, but its true purpose remains unknown, making this possibly the first battery in the world!
Olmec Colossal Heads
One of the most unique archeological findings of our age - the Olmec heads are large carved boulders, made to resemble real faces. They were likely to represent local rulers of the Olmec people in Mexico, who lived around 3,000 years ago. They can weigh up to 50 tons, and their features are specific to each ruler.
An important site was discovered in Turkey, dating back to more than 11,000 years ago. The site of Gobekli Tepe is said to belong to the hunters-gatherers of the era, and it features built rooms, animal carvings, and other peculiarities. It is argued that this might be the oldest architectural structure in the world, and scientists are still trying to figure out the exact purpose of it.
Las Bolas Giant Stone Spheres
The curious-looking and massive stone spheres scattered around the Diquis Delta in southern Costa Rica still puzzle scientists and archeologists. Some of the spheres, called Las Bolas, are dating all the way back to A.D. 600, and they seem to be made out of molten magma. Experts found that the spheres were shaped by using other small stones, and they were most likely used for astronomy.
Perhaps the most important discovery of all ages - the Rosetta Stone, gave us a lot of insights on linguistic history. The multilingual inscriptions on the stone allowed linguists and archaeologists to decipher ancient languages, which is why we can now read Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, Demotic script, and Ancient Greek. It has been on display at the British Museum since its discovery, allowing visitors to come and marvel at the treasure.
There is still so much to be discovered by archeologists and scientists alike, but we are getting closer and closer to deciphering our past each day. Discoveries like these prove that we will always be astounded by the genius of our ancestors, and often surprised by their customs. Let’s hope for more stranger discoveries!
Sources: History Daily, Steemit, History, Live Science, Heritage Malta, Daily Mail, See The Holy Land, Ancient, History Collection, Easter Island, Deseret, Staffordshire Hoard, Dead Sea Scrolls, British Museum, New Yorker, China, Ancient Origins, Pompei Online, Shroud, Antikythera Mechanism, Costa Rica News, Reader’s Digest, Smithsonian Magazine, Money Inc, Wikipedia, Glasses History, The Journal, The Daily Beast, A New Post, Amusing Planet, BBC, British Museum, Washington Post, Medium, Biblical Archeology, China Highlights, Fox News, Ancient Greece, The Vintage News, Factum Foundation, National Geographic