Archaeology might not be a fun job, but what they discover is truly interesting. If you want to be an archaeologist, you need to have a strong heart because the things that you might find can be pretty intense and bizarre.
The Earth is 4.5 billion years old, dinosaurs existed 65 million years ago and our ancestor apes walked the land 14 million years ago. Our race, Homo Sapiens evolved 200 thousand years ago. It is unbelievable to think that the land we are walking on right now was once inhabited by creatures who existed millions of years ago.
The Earth is a dark box filled with years of mystery, cannibalism, vampires, witches, and skeletons of innocent children. The deeper you go, the more difficult it would be for you to accept such heinous things that happened in the past. On the brighter side, discoveries of artifacts such as manuscripts, swords, earthen utensils, and inscribed stones have given us a peek into how ancient humans lived and what washed them off the Earth.
The puzzle will never be solved because every layer of this planet is filled with buried stories. No matter how deep you dig, you’ll always want to go deeper.
Here are 15 archaeological finds that will shock you.
15. Prehistoric paintings of the Cave of Altamira
The cave of Altamira located in Spain features some of the most prehistorically relevant black and red paintings that date back to 14,000 to 18,500 years ago. Multi-coloured paintings cover the entire 1 km stretch of the cave. It was discovered by Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola in 1879 while exploring the wild with his eight-year old daughter.
Most of the paintings are of animals such as bisons, horses, deer, and some other mysterious animals. It seems like the people who lived in this cave had mastered the art of preserving paintings. Illustrations of their culture are also beautifully engraved and coloured on the walls.
14. Mass grave of naughty nuns in Oxford
A burial ground was found near the Oxford United football stadium with 92 skeletons, out of which 35 were of nuns who were accused of being obsessed with sex. There were 28 male skeletons and gender of 29 of them couldn’t be identified. One of the skeletons was buried face down indicating that she had committed a severe sin.
All these skeletons are 600 to 900 years old. One of the last women to be buried was Katherine Wells, who was an illegitimate daughter of a priest. Some of the skeletons, especially those of small children, depicted that they suffered from some serious disease and died.
13. Carved discs in Russia
Around a dozen carved discs, containing tungsten, were found near Volgograd, Russia in September 2015. Scientists are still studying these discs to determine when they were made and how they were made (man-made or due to the process of erosion). The biggest disc is four meters in diameter while the smallest is one meter in diameter.
A source from UFO Daily Sightings revealed that these disks resemble those that are found on the surface of Mars. He also said that the disks were at least a million years old. Could these discs be something that aliens left behind?
12. Double burial of two children in Germany
A medieval double grave of two children – one of the royal Merovingian heritage and other Scandinavian descent, was found in 1995. The children were thought to be honoured several years after their death by placing a royal chapel around their grave. Bear bones were buried closely with the children, which tells a lot about the closeness between the Germans and north European tribes.
After scientific examination, it was found that the bodies were buried somewhere between 700 to 730 AD. It could be possible that the children were promised to marry each other, but it is very unlikely. The reason for their death and burial is still unknown.
11. Gobekli Tepe
Gobekli Tepe is an ancient temple that existed 12,000 years ago and was discovered in 1955. Located in Southeastern Turkey, the Gobekli Tepe is thought to have belonged to the pre-pottery neolithic period. There are a series of circular and oval-shaped structures on top of a hill, each weighing about 15 to 22 tons.
There are many T-shaped pillars of varying sizes that have different animals such as foxes, snakes, and wild ducks carved on them. The temple complex also has a few three-dimensional lion structures. It is also believed that animals were worshipped back then.
10. Moai Statues
The Easter Island is famous for the Moai statues made by the ancient people of Rapa Nui. They depict the advanced skills of the ancient Polynesian people. Each of the 887 head and torso figures are 4 meters tall and weigh 14 tons. They were made using lightweight and porous tuff rock and placed on top of religious stones called ahus.
Researchers feel that the people of Rapa Nui made these statues to show respect to the chief, ancestors, and other important people of the clan. It is estimated that these statues were made during 1400 to 1650 AD and were restored in the 1990s by Chilean archaeologist Claudio Cristino.
9. Tutankhamun’s Tomb
Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered by Howard Carter and George Herbert in 1922 and his mummified body was found in 1923. The pharaoh’s body was perfectly preserved since ancient Egyptians considered their kings as gods. The tomb was small in size but contained at least 2,000 pieces of antiques including many gold jewellery. In the tomb there were three coffins, and the one made in gold was of Tutankhamun.
King Tutankhamun ruled from 1332 to 1323 BC and died as a teenager at the age of 19, so there’s not much known about him. In the past 10 years, two more rooms were found – a storage for coffins and other supplies, and a mummified body of a female singer of the Temple of Karnak.
8. Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone is a 196 BC stone inscribed in three scripts – Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, Demotic script, and Ancient Greek. Discovered in 1799, the Rosetta Stone was found by French soldiers while rebuilding a fort in Rosetta, Egypt. The text was written by priests to honor the pharaoh and enlists the good and kind things their king did for the priests and people of Egypt.
7. Richard III’s Grave
The last Plantagenet King of England was popularly known as a prince killer and chauvinist and one of the most terrorizing characters of English folklore. His skeletal remains were found in 2012 after an extensive search through the Looking for Richard project along with University of Leicester. He was the last English king to have died in a battle on home ground when he fought against Henry Tudor in the Battle of Bosworth Field. Richard was succeeded by Henry VII.
6. Encoded Crusader Sword
The Encoded Crusader Sword is a 13th century sword with 18-letter cryptic code written in the middle. It was discovered in the 19th century near River Witham, Lincoln, North England. The sword is currently on display at the British Library. Researchers believe that it would have been used by knights to defend the church.
A recent statement was released by the British Library stating that the sword might be of Viking origin. Currently, it’s believed that the blade is of German origin whereas the sword is of English origin. The cryptic code written on it has made the sword even more mysterious.
5. Oldest use of the F-word
British historians believe that the F-word has an Anglo-Saxon origin. It was found by Dr Paul Booth, a historian at Keele University, England in a legal document that belonged to 1311. The document belonged to a man called Roger Fuckebythenavel. It wasn’t his last name but a derogatory title that was given to him.
Booth suggests that it could mean an attempt of copulation by an inexperienced youth as described by his girlfriend. Roger was at court thrice in a period of nine months and every time his surname was spelled differently.
4. Fetus found beneath a 17th century mummified body
A tiny 5-6 months old fetus was tucked below a mummified bishop’s feet. Researchers speculate it might have been an illegitimate child, but the real reason behind the weird burial is still unknown. Since the fetus was illegitimate, it could have been buried with him to clean off the child’s sin. The Scandinavian bishop died around 350 years ago and the fetus was found there after doing a CT scan.
3. 33,500 year old Triceratops’ horn
Everyone knows that dinosaurs existed 65 million years ago, but were washed off after a large meteor hit the earth. However, a 33,500-year old Triceratops’ horn was found in Dawson County, Montana in May 2012. This means that ancient humans walked the Earth with dinosaurs.
Triceratops were dinosaurs with three horns which first appeared in North America 68 million years ago. There are several other artifacts that depict dinosaurs, which clearly means prehistoric man knew about dinosaurs and probably lived with them. Researchers now believe that dinosaur species didn’t clear out millions of years ago but existed until 23,000 years ago.
2. Hand of Glory
A mummified hand found in England is probably the last Hand of Glory ever made. Hand of Glory is a process in which usually the left hand of a man who was hung, was dried and pickled. It was found by a local historian in 1935 in the village of Castleton. It is thought that the Hand of Glory was waxed by a candle made using the criminal’s body fat.
The hand currently is at display in Whitby Museum and it inspired many short stories and poems of the 19th century. You may have seen this talisman in Hellboy comics, Harry Potter movies, and Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.
1. Olduvai Gorge
Olduvai Gorge located in Tanzania’s Rift Valley, Africa is often called as the cradle of humanity. The skeletal remains found at Olduvai Gorge are a proof that humans existed 1.7 million years ago. One of the first remains found was the skull of a nutcracker man.
In 1974, 2.3 million years old remains of a human relative, homo erectus, was found in the same place. Many stone tools were also found at the evacuation site, which were made using lava and quartz. However, modern humans started living there only 17,000 years ago.
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