10 Strange & Bizarre Archaeological Discoveries

#10. The Bog People

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In Northern Europe peat farmers discovered something terrifying. Accidentally unearthed in the bog were unusual preserved bodies that were remarkably well preserved.

The pictures are, unfortunately, exactly what they look like: murdered bodies offered up as part of some freaky bog people ritual. One corpse in particular, the “Grauballe Man,” tells the story pretty clearly: He was put to death the winter after a bad harvest, there’s evidence of stubble on his jaw (indicating he had been detained and not allowed to shave in the days before he was put to death) and his burial pit was right in the middle of a consecrated area.

#9. Pompeii

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Pompeii, the ancient Roman city, was buried during a volcanic eruption in 79 AD when Mount Vesuvius exploded. It was lost for nearly 1700 years and the damage done to the city was so severe that even the name of the city vanished from memory. In 1738 Herculaneum – a nearby city also lost – was discovered and then ten years later military engineer Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre discovered Pompeii. Whilst digging in later excavations, Giuseppe Fiorelli discovered that some of the large bubbles in the volcanic mud were perfectly formed molds of the men who had died there. He injected plaster into the bubbles and gave the modern world the first look at real Ancient Roman people. Interestingly the city was full of erotic art and objects (many of which were hidden until 2000 AD) and graffiti found on a wall in Pompeii called the city “Sodom and Gomorrah” leading many Christians to believe that the city was destroyed by God in retribution for its sexual perversities.

#8. Teotihuacan Sacrifice

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In 2004, a grisly discovery was made outside of modern day Mexico City. Although it has been known for years that the Aztecs performed bloody sacrificial festivals, numerous decapitated and mutilated bodies of both humans and animals shed some light on just how horrific the rituals could get.

#7. Mount Owen Moa

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In 1986, an expedition was exploring the cave system of Mount Owen in New Zealand when it came across the huge claw you’re now looking at. It was so well preserved that it almost seemed like whatever it belonged to had just died recently. Upon excavation and inspection, however, it was determined to belong to an Upland Moa, a large prehistoric bird that apparently came with a nasty set of claws.

#6. The Mass Grave of the Headless Vikings

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Archaeologists were digging up the side of a boring old roadway in Dorset when they unearthed  a mass grave containing the headless remains of 54 Viking warriors. Researchers began to notice something unusual about the placement of the bones. The leg and arm bones, heads and torsos were all neatly arranged into their own separate piles. So what happened? The Vikings may have been sacrificed in a ritualistic manner not consistent with the surrounding culture of the time.

#5. Ancient Chemical Warfare

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In 1933, archaeologist Robert du Mesnil du Buisson was conducting a dig in the area of Dura-Europos, where ancient Persians laid siege to their longtime enemies, the Romans. During the excavation, du Mesnil found several tunnels, which is pretty much par for the course in a siege situation. A little out of the ordinary, however, was the haphazard pile of 19 Roman soldiers he found in one of those tunnels, all looking as though they died while fleeing something. So what was at other end of the tunnel that could terrify and ultimately murder 19 Roman soldiers so quickly?

A single Persian soldier, found clutching desperately at his armor, forever preserved in that panicked moment. Add to the strangeness the fact that there were traces of sulfur and bitumen all along the walls, and the implication is clear: one terrified Persian who died clawing frantically at his own body, 19 Romans who died fleeing from his direction, sulfurous emanations in the walls? This indicates that the deaths were actually due to one of the earliest attempts at chemical warfare.

The story may have happened like this:

“The Romans heard the Persians working beneath the ground and steered their tunnel to intercept their enemies. The Roman tunnel was shallower than the Persian one, so the Romans planned to break in on the Persians from above. But there was no element of surprise for either side: The Persians could also hear the Romans coming.

“So the Persians set a trap. Just as the Romans broke, through, James said, they lit a fire in their own tunnel. Perhaps they had a bellows to direct the smoke, or perhaps they relied on the natural chimney effect of the shaft between the two tunnels. Either way, they threw sulfur and bitumen on the flames. One of the Persian soldiers was overcome and died, a victim of his own side’s weapon. The Romans met with the choking gas, which turned to sulfuric acid in their lungs.”

#4. The Screaming Mummies

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In 1886, Gaston Maspero, then head of the Egyptian Antiquities Service, was cataloging mummies when he came across an unusually plain burial box. Unlike the kings and queens he’d been working with for most of his career, this particular box didn’t give any information as to the identity of the individual inside. Even stranger, the body was wrapped in sheepskin, which was considered unclean by ancient Egyptians. And then, as he slowly unwrapped the mummy & gazed upon the face — as if in a horror movie– he found this screaming, mummy face looking back at him!

When he finally uncovered it, Gaston also found that the corpse’s hands and feet had been bound for some unspeakable reason.  Because of the strange coverings and the bound hands & feet with a seemingly tortured expression, experts theorized that the body (creatively named Unknown Man E) had been poisoned, buried alive or otherwise tortured before his untimely death.

#3. The Tomb of the Sunken Skulls

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In 2009, archaeologists were excavating the bottom of a prehistoric dry lake bed in Motala, Sweden, when they stumbled upon the foundations of a mysterious stone structure sealed at the bottom of an ancient lake. They eventually unearthed the exact kind of stuff one expects from primitive mystery structures: animal bones, stone tools and, oh yeah — the 8,000-year-old skulls of 10 people, ranging in age from small children to the elderly. And then they found an 11th skull buried deep within the ancient mud of the lake bottom. Fragments of one of the other skulls were deliberately lodged inside the cranium of the 11th skull.

For reasons that are unclear to us, some ancient society probably butchered 11 people in a stone hut and then put the pieces of one dead person’s skull inside the brain space of another person.

But the horror doesn’t end there: Not only had somebody perhaps bashed one person’s skull in with another person’s skull, but, before being interred inside the tomb, several of the bodies had stakes driven through them and were then set on fire. Two of the skulls were found with the stakes still embedded.

#2. Vampire? 

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Bulgaria archaeologists may have ‘stumbled’ upon new evidence of vampires. The evidence for this is that there was a burial of a man with an iron stake through his chest and trauma indicative of stab wounds to the heart. Since the burial dates to the 15th century, they argue that it was likely meant to prevent the individual from rising as a vampire. This brings the total number of potential vampires found in Bulgaria from this period to 100 cases. The current pattern shows that they are all men, likely wealthier individuals who would be suspected of evil in life, and were found with injuries indicative of being stabbed after death or were pinned down by metal stakes.

This isn’t the first time that an archaeologist has cried ‘vampire’, although it does represent one of the larger cases. A female skeleton recovered from Venice dating to the 16th century was found with a brick in her mouth. She was part of a larger mass grave that contained the bodies of plague victims. Stories of the time period talk of these mass burials being reopened and finding individuals within who looked fresh and were vampires. It is possible that her lack of decomposition of the body and breakdown of the shroud was thought to be a sign of vampirism and the brick in the mouth was a method to prevent her feeding on the living or deceased.

Reference: Archaeology 2012 Archaeologists Stumble Upon ‘Vampire’ Skeleton in Bulgaria. Novinite. http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=139940

#1. An Italian Witch or a Vampire?

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There’s another strange burial from a Medieval cemetery at Piombino in Tuscany, Italy. Two female bodies in particular interested the excavators.  One was found buried with 17 dice and since women were not allowed to play dice games at the time, they interpreted her as a having been a prostitute.

The second body was far more interesting … Seven nails were placed in her mouth. Presumably this was an attempt to stop the women rising and returning from the dead. Yet in addition, in this Italian burial, the woman’s clothes were nailed to the ground by 13 nails, to further ‘hold’ her down.

Because of these highly unusual nails, the woman was identified initially as a witch. She died around AD 1300, aged 25 to 30, and was buried in the church yard amongst other citizens of Piombino who had been buried normally. Most of the other burials had a shroud and / or a simple coffin, but the ‘prostitute’ and the ‘witch’ had neither. The excavator, Prof Alfonso Forgione, of L’Aquila University, said he had never seen anything similar, and felt that the pinning down by nails was an attempt to stop her from ‘rising’ from the dead by those who buried her and who believed she had some sort of magical powers, making her a witch.

The fact that the two women were buried in the church graveyard, in consecrated ground, has been an issue, and led some to question whether a witch would be buried in this way. The Irish ‘zombies’ were certainly buried in a consecrated graveyard, as were many of the Bohemian and Moravian ‘vampires’ so I’m not sure why this should be an issue. It has however led at least one archaeologist to revise his opinion of the ‘witch’ burial and re-label her an ‘adulteress’  … seven nails through the jaw and another 13 pinning her clothes down seem to be to be over-kill for an adulteress, but then again it was a pretty serious sin in the Medieval period. Or maybe she was a vampire after all…

If you want more info, then I recommend UNC anthropologist Krista Killgrove’s blog post on the burials (here), since she links to all the Italian coverage.

  www.AARONJUDKINS.com 

 

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America BC?
We all know the story of Christopher Columbus who set sail in 1492 & discovered America. That’s what we’ve all been told. But have we got our history wrong?  Was Columbus the first to discover the Americas? We know that the Vikings were here some 500 yrs before. But were they the only ones?

10. The Ancient Egyptians

Ancient+Egyptian+ArmourIn the early ’90s, scientists discovered trace amounts of nicotine and cocaine in several Egyptian mummies, including pharaoh Ramesses II. These were only native to the New World. But how could this be? The pyramids and mummies of the Egyptians and Meso-Americans are separated by thousands of years, and while Egyptian pyramids were mainly used as tombs, Meso-American pyramids were primarily places of worship. This could be explained by contamination, but it could also mean that the Egyptians got around more than we realized. After all, the similarities between Egyptian and Meso-American culture have long been noted.

However, despite these links, there’s been little to no archaeological evidence connecting the Egyptians and Meso-Americans.  However, in 1914, a few Egyptian statuettes were uncovered among Mayan ruins, but since they were not accurately documented, it’s difficult to confirm their authenticity.

9. Siberians0

Where did Native Americans come from? New evidence suggests East Asia, specifically Siberia.  http://www.news-journal.com/news/nation/siberian-boy-s-ancient-dna-holds-surprises/article_3910729b-70bb-5aa7-80f9-0fdea34c26f1.html

It is thought they the Siberians may have migrated to northern North America around 11,000 years ago. It’s widely believed that the Siberians traveled to America across the frozen Bering Strait during an ice age, but they also may have crossed the Bering Strait by boat.

Though this remains a mystery, this theory has been supported by genetic testing. In 2012, a team of anthropologists from the University of Pennsylvania released a study that showed a unique shared mutation between the southern Altai people of Siberia and Native Americans. It seems credible that the Siberians were in the Americas long before Columbus ever was born.

8. Malians

Mansa_MusaThe ancient empire of Mali was a West African superpower in the late Middle Ages. Mali was very wealthy, and its leader, Mansa Musa, was the richest man during that time. So mighty was his economic power that when he visited Egypt in 1324, it is said that he crashed the Egyptian gold market!

Musa told the story of his predecessor, Mansa Abubakari II who supposedly commissioned a voyage to the end of the Atlantic Ocean. He sent a fleet of 200 ships across the Atlantic  but after a lengthy waiting period, only one returned. Its sailors told Abubakari about a giant whirlpool that had swallowed the other ships. Abubakari was intrigued led a monstrous fleet of 2,000 ships to again set sail.

The fleet never returned, and some speculated that he landed in Brazil in 1312. When Columbus arrived over 100 years later, he allegedly encountered African traders and spears tipped in African gold. The giant stone carvings of heads found in southern Mexico, called the Olmec Heads, have also been cited as evidence of Africans in pre-Columbian America displaying African facial features. The Olmec are regarded as one of the first civilizations in Mexico, preceding other Meso-American empires.

7. The Knights Templar

Knights-Templar-17The Knights Templar were dissolved in the 14th century on charges of heresy, though many historians believe the real reason for the persecution was jealousy. Thanks to their banking system, the order of warrior monks was remarkably well off. Of course, being burned at the stake does tend to put a damper on business.

During the fight against persecution, some knights supposedly escaped to Scotland, where they received help from Henry Sinclair, Prince of Orkney Islands. In 1393, Sinclair had carried out a survey of Greenland through a Venetian admiral. Now, in 1398, he was ready to lead an expedition to the New World by following old Viking routes. Twelve ships carried Sinclair and hundreds of Templar refugees to Nova Scotia, Canada, where the knights allegedly hid their treasure. Sinclair is then said to have explored as far south as present-day Massachusetts.

Sinclair and the refugees may have assimilated with the natives instead of returning to Scotland. One outlandish claim is that the alleged gnostic beliefs of the Templar had a massive influence on Native American religion, while another states that the founding fathers were influenced by Templar teachings. The cited evidence includes a portrait of a medieval knight on a stone in Westford, Massachusetts and an old tower in Newport, Rhode Island that looks fairly European. The remains of an old castle, a cannon, and a stone wall in Nova Scotia are supposedly further evidence of the theory.

6. Romans 

index_romans_largeThe Tucson artifacts, sometimes called the Tucson Lead Crosses, Tucson Crosses, Silverbell Road artifacts, or Silverbell artifacts, are thirty-one lead objects that Charles E. Manier and his family found in 1924 near Picture Rocks, Arizona.  These objects consisted of crosses, swords, and religious/ceremonial paraphernalia, most of which contained Hebrew or Latin engraved inscriptions, pictures of temples, leaders’ portraits, angels, and even a diplodocus style dinosaur. engraved on one of the swords!  One contained the phrase “Calalus, the unknown land” which was used by believers as the name of the settlement. The objects also have Roman numerals ranging from 790 to 900 inscribed on them which were sometimes interpreted to represent the date of their creation because the numerals were followed by the letters AD. In 1933, archaeologists stumbled upon a genuine miniature Roman bust on a dig in Mexico. How or why it was there has yet to be fully explained, but the bust seems to predate the arrival of Cortes, eliminating the possibility that the Spanish brought it with them on an expedition. Roman coins have also been found at several dig sites in the United States.

The Romans may have learned how to navigate the oceans from the ancient Greeks. Many Greek city-states, like Athens, excelled in seafaring, and the Greeks knew that the world was round. Italian physicist Lucio Russo has suggested that a map by Ptolemy includes the Antilles, and Greek-Canadian scientist Dr. Minas Tsikritsis has suggested that a document by Plutarch describes in detail a journey from Carthage to Canada in A.D. 86.

The Carthage-Canada journey was not just a one-time thing, according to Tsikritsis. Greeks (and Carthaginians) visited Canada as part of a Cronus worship ritual and to get some sweet copper from Lake Superior and Royale Island. About 50,000 tons of copper may have been mined from these areas between 2400 and 1200 B.C.

 

5. The Irish

colorriot-j2201One of the first tribes Spanish explorers encountered in the New World was the Duhare. Right away, the Spanish noted that the Duhare were different from other Native Americans. Physically, they were much lighter-skinned and taller, and they were also more open to cooperating with the Spanish. In 2011, it was revealed that the Duhare language shared numerous similarities with Gaelic. Some cultural ties existed between the Irish and Duhare as well. An ancient Irish lullaby about being reared on deer’s milk was lived out by the Duhare, who bred and herded deer.

This belief is supported by the legend of Irish monk Saint Brendan, who was reputed to have gone on a lengthy sea voyage in the fifth century. Many believe his ultimate destination was North America, and one adventurer named Tim Severin even demonstrated that the journey would have been possible. Similarly, according to an old Welsh legend, a prince named Madoc was forced to flee his country due to conflicts caused by his father’s death in 1169. He sailed west and eventually made landfall in the Americas. He returned to entice more people to come with him, after which he and his company settled near modern-day Mobile, Alabama. Intriguingly, some ancient structures found on Lookout Mountain do resemble medieval Welsh constructions.

4. The Phoenicians

phoThere are multiple theories that ancient Phoenicians visited the Americas. One formerly popular theory suggests that the Phoenicians were responsible for establishing the major pre-Columbian Native American empires. This theory is heavily associated with the legend of Votan, a mythological figure who allegedly founded the first city of the New World in 1000 B.C. Curiously, this critically important figure is referenced only in European texts. There is growing archaeological evidence in support of the Phoenician theory including an intriguing Carthaginian coin that may feature a map of the world. The Carthaginians were descendants of the Phoenicians, so their knowledge of the New World would support the theory.

A more widespread theory concerns the Israelites. According to the Book of Mormon, three Israelite groups—the Nephites, Lamanites, and Mulekites—settled the Americas with a non-Israelite group called the Jaredites. They established major cities, wrote extensively in Hebrew and Egyptian, and imported flora and fauna from the Old World. These groups together were also said to be the ancestors of the Native Americans.

3. The Japanese

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Anthropologist Nancy Yaw Davis has suggested that the Zuni Native Americans are evidence of pre-Columbian Japanese influence in the Americas. She has theorized that in medieval Japan, natural disasters and shifting social structures compelled unsatisfied sailors to leave the nation for a new home. In 1350, Davis suggests, a group of Buddhist monks traveled to California. Once there, they moved east in search of the center of the universe, inviting natives into their tribe as they went. The large group ultimately settled in New Mexico and adopted the name “Zuni.”

The Zuni people of New Mexico have an unusually different language, culture, and DNA from the tribes around them. They actually have much more in common with the Japanese, with whom they share common words, activities, and religious symbolism. They even share genetic links, including a rare kidney ailment.

 

2. The Chinese

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From 1368–1644, China was ruled by the Ming Dynasty. As Europe was becoming dominated by ships and sails, China was also encouraging naval exploration, and one expedition may have led to America. The theory—which has been dubbed the “1421 theory,” the year the Chinese supposedly made landfall prior to Columbus in 1492—was popularized by British amateur historian Gavin Menzies, who noted similarities between Chinese and Native American culture. Menzies posits that during the 70 years before Columbus reached the New World, the Chinese were ruling major American tribes and interbreeding with the natives.

There’s not much evidence to support the 1421 theory, but what does exist includes old Chinese coins that were found scattered throughout the Pacific Northwest, an old Nez Pierce garment made of Chinese beads, a Chinese horseman painted in a Colombian cave, and a Chinese jade found in California, all of which allegedly date back to before Columbus’s arrival. The most compelling evidence comes from a Chinese map that was supposedly drawn in 1408 and depicts the entire world, including the American supercontinent. Many historians have dismissed this map as a Chinese copy of a 17th-century Jesuit map, mostly because China itself is so poorly detailed.

In the end, there’s no real way of confirming or dismissing the 1421 theory. The Qing Dynasty, which succeeded the Ming Dynasty, destroyed numerous Ming documents as a means of enforcing its rule.

 

1. Polynesians

Before Columbus arrived in the New World, the Polynesians somehow had access to sweet potatoes, which are native to South America. Sweet potatoes don’t reproduce by seed but by tuber, meaning that it would be almost impossible for the crop to make its way to the Polynesian islands without some sort of human help. Polynesians may have raided the coast of Peru and taken sweet potatoes back with them, or perhaps Peruvians brought them over on a hypothetical sea voyage. Either way, it’s unlikely that the tubers would have remained fresh over long distance voyages, so Hawaii may have been used as a middle ground. After all, the Maori and and Peruvian words for sweet potato are remarkably similar—kumara and kumar, respectively.

There is evidence suggesting that they reached Peru and appears to show through forensic analysis that Peruvians also may have a Polynesian link. http://www.nature.com/news/dna-study-links-indigenous-brazilians-to-polynesians-1.12710

There is also genetic evidence to suggest that Polynesians and Native Americans interbred, and this is especially true regarding the population of Easter Island. This group was made up of Polynesians and Native Americans but also Europeans, meaning that interbreeding may have only occurred after Columbus reached the New World.

As always, please visit www.AARONJUDKINS.com for the latest!

Image  —  Posted: August 27, 2014 in Archaeology
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10 Mysterious Lost Treasures of the World

by Jeff Kelly

As a kid, everyone, at some point or another, dreams of being Indiana Jones. Wouldn’t it be great to go on adventures and find lost treasures? Unfortunately, for starters, that’s not how archaeology works. And in addition, there are probably not many hidden treasures left, especially in this day and age when so much of the world has been explored and populated. But what if there are hidden treasures out there, just waiting to be found? Here’s a list of some long lost treasures that you could go out and find today.

 

10. The Alamo Treasure

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The Alamo is remembered for many things, including the famous battle cry reminding Texans they should remember it. The old Franciscan mission is located in San Antonio, and was the sight of one of the most famous battles in American history, when 188 men, including Jim Bowie and Davey Crockett, tried to fight off the powerful Mexican army of Santa Ana. What most people probably do not know is the legend of a massive treasure of gold and silver said to be buried somewhere on the grounds of the Alamo.

Many people, such as historical researcher and fortune hunter Frank Buschbacher, believe that in an effort to wage a revolution against Mexico and declare Texas independence, men like Bowie and Crockett had actually brought millions of dollars worth of treasure to the Alamo. The money was meant to raise an army and pay for their oncoming war. The treasure was called the San Saba treasure and it was lost when all 188 men lost their lives in that famous battle. Those who believe the treasure exists think the men buried it beneath the compound. Buschbacher has actually excavated areas around the Alamo, but not a trace of gold or silver has ever been found.

 

9. Dutch Schultz Treasure

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Dutch Schultz is one of the most famous mobsters in American history. He was a prohibition era gangster who ran in the same circles as guys like Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky. He was said to have amassed a massive fortune from his wicked deeds. His fortune vanished without a trace after he began to feel the heat of federal prosecution. It is believed that he decided to hide away his treasure somewhere in the Catskill Mountain range. When Schultz was gunned down in 1935, the location of his vast fortune died with him.

There are different opinions about what happened to his treasure, or even how much there actually was. Most estimates put his fortune anywhere between five to ten million dollars, which he stashed away in an iron box somewhere in the heavily forested area of Phoenicia, New York. Some believe his treasure was hidden close to Esopus Creek, which could explain why it has never been found. Over the decades since Schultz hid away his fortune, the area has had numerous floods, which in all likelihood would have washed away the treasure. Still, it’s interesting to think that a leisurely hike through that area of the Catskills could make you a millionaire.

 

8. Victorio Peak Treasure

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Victorio Peak is a part of the southern Rocky Mountains, located in New Mexico. Over the years, it has been used extensively by the United States government as it lies within the White Sands Missile Range where the government once tested nuclear weapons. Before it was taken over by the government, however, the area was open to the public. That is when—in 1937—Doc and Babe Noss entered the scene.

As the story goes, they were with friends deer hunting when Doc discovered an old shaft in the side of Victorio Peak. He and Babe returned later and explored the shaft finding skeletons, gold, jewels, and historical artifacts awaiting them. In 1938 the Noss’s established legal ownership of the find, and stories began to float that Doc had found either Casa del Cueva de Oro or the treasure of Don Juan de Onate, the man who founded New Mexico as a Spanish colony. In 1939, in an attempt to expand the passageway, Doc was advised to use dynamite, which went about as poorly as it could have, collapsing the shaft altogether. Noss was never able to regain entry into the mine, and was killed in 1949 by a would-be partner after he and Babe had divorced. To this day the Noss family continues to try to regain entrance to the shaft, but no gold has ever been found. There are some rumors that the government expanded the missile range to include Victorio Peak and took the gold to Fort Knox, but there is no documentation supporting this claim.

 

7. Montezuma’s Treasure

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Apparently if you want to find a lost treasure in the United States, your best bet is to check out the Rocky Mountains and the southwest, as this next treasure brings us to the town of Kanab, Utah, which is said to be the home of the Montezuma Treasure. Montezuma, the legendary leader of the Aztecs, was a man in possession of an incredible fortune. It was taken after he was killed during a battle with the Spanish led by Cortez. Millions of dollars worth of jewels and gold were removed from Montezuma’s treasure room by his own people in order to keep it away from Cortez.

So why do people think the massive treasure of an Aztec leader wound up in Utah? It turns out in 1914, a prospector found an etching made on the side of a cliff that matched a marking on an old treasure map that was said to lead to Montezuma’s treasure. The prospector—a man named Freddy Crystal—tracked down a descendent of Montezuma to interpret the map, and it was determined the topography did in fact match Kanab. Crystal actually convinced the townspeople to help him secretly search for the gold with the promise of sharing any findings, and eventually they did manage to find a system of caves and tunnels running through the mountain. It was laced with booby traps, but no gold was ever found, leading to the common belief that if the treasure had ever been there to begin with, it had either been moved by the Aztecs or discovered by some absurdly fortunate spelunker.

 

6. The Lufthansa Heist

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Anyone who has seen the movie Goodfellas is familiar with the Lufthansa heist, which is believed to have been the biggest cash robbery in United States history. It happened on December 11, 1978 at JFK International Airport, where an estimated five million in cash and $875,000 in jewels were taken. To put that in perspective, adjusting for inflation that’s a robbery worth over twenty million dollars today. The heist was carried out by mobsters including Henry Hill, who would later be portrayed by Ray Liotta, and to this day no jewels or currency have ever been recovered.

One of the reasons it has never been recovered, of course, is due to the very violent ends many of the men who participated in the heist met. These deaths were ordered by Jimmy Burke, who orchestrated the crime and realized the theft would generate a massive federal investigation. As part of his plan to clean up, he had almost every member of his crew murdered to keep them quiet. Some of the money from the heist was believed to have been spent and used in drug deals, but the vast majority was never found.

 

5. The Amber Room

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At first you might think something called the Amber Room is a high class gentleman’s club. It’s actually one of the most sought after lost treasures in history. The room, which is a small space created entirely out of amber panels with gold leaf and mirrors, was built in the 18th century for Friedrich I, the first king of Prussia. It was eventually gifted to Peter the Great, and remained in the possession of Russia until World War II. People who saw the Amber Room often referred to it as the Eighth Wonder of the World.

And then, it vanished. As it turns out, the curators in charge of protecting the Amber Room during the war attempted to hide it under wallpaper due to its fragile state, but that did not stop the Nazis from looting this nearly priceless treasure. It was then brought to Konigsberg Castle in Germany, but in 1944 Allied forces destroyed the city and left the castle in ruin—the Amber Room was lost forever. To this day, no one is entirely sure what happened to the room, though utter destruction seems the likeliest explanation. Still, it has become the subject of popular mythology. It also carries with it a supposed curse, as several people who either possessed or hunted for the Amber Room have met with untimely and very curious deaths.

 

4. Flor do Mar

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In 1502, a Portuguese ship called the Flor do Mar, or Flower of the Sea, was constructed. Commanded by Vasco de Gamma’s brother Estavao, the ship was part of a Portuguese voyage to India in 1505. The ship took part in several sea battles over the next six years until, in 1511, it was lost in a storm.

Now, the idea of a warship with such a storied history alone would make for this being an intriguing lost treasure, but of course there is more to the story. Most notably the fact that the Flor do Mar was carrying a boatload of spoils from a recent victory. The fortune on board was said to be enormous, making the Flor do Mar the most sought after lost shipwreck in history. The ship is said to have carried the treasure of the Melaka kingdom, located in modern day Malaysia, which reportedly included more than sixty tons of gold.

 

3. Leon Trabuco’s Gold

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Back in the early 1930s, a Mexican millionaire named Leon Trabuco arranged several secret and mysterious flights in the desert of New Mexico. At the time, the United States was in the midst of the Great Depression, and with the value of the dollar about to plunge, the price of gold was about to explode. So Trabuco and a few business partners were said to have secretly bought up as much gold as they could and smuggled it into the US, waiting for the gold prices to soar so that they could sell it and make an insanely large profit.

All told, it’s believed they accumulated more than sixteen tons of gold and hid it in that New Mexico desert. Rather than taking advantage and selling their gold, Trabuco and his partners held onto their bounty with the hopes the prices would continue to go up. However, they gravely miscalculated the impact of the Gold Act, as it carried with it the stipulation that private ownership of gold would be illegal, leaving Trabuco stuck. Like so many other treasures, this one supposedly carried with it a curse. Three of Trabuco’s partners were dead within five years, and when Trabuco himself died, the knowledge of the location of the giant stash of gold died with him.

 

2. Blackbeard’s Treasure

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In 1996, archaeologists discovered a shipwreck off the coast of North Carolina, less than a mile and a half from the shore and sitting a mere twenty-five feet (7.6 meters) below sea level. It is not particularly uncommon to find a shipwreck, but this is possibly one of the biggest nautical finds in the history of treasure hunting. That’s because many people believe the ship was the Queen Anne’s Revenge, also known as the flagship of the infamous pirate Blackbeard. In 1718, the Queen Anne’s Revenge blockaded the port of Charleston and soon after it ran aground on a sandbar.

So what’s the big deal? Well, for starters, Blackbeard was a wildly successful and rich pirate, and the location of his largest and most prized ship, some believe, means his vast fortune must have been located nearby on the North Carolina coast. Since the wreck was found—and it should be noted, it has not yet been confirmed to have been the Queen Anne’s Revenge—not an ounce of gold has been found near or on the ship. Before he died, Blackbeard was questioned about the location of his gold, leading him to say, “Only I and the devil know.”

 

1. Treasure of the Knights Templar

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In recent years, the Knights Templar and its treasure has been made famous in both Hollywood and in numerous books. It is one of the most famous and mysterious treasures in history. The Knights Templar formed in A.D. 1114, and over the following years accumulated a massive fortune, which has never been found.

In the early 14th century, the Templars were ordered to be arrested, and those who escaped this capture and torture reportedly gathered the remaining treasure and loaded it onto ships to unknown destinations. A common belief is that the remaining Templars took their treasure to Scotland, and from there, it eventually found its way to Nova Scotia. Rumors persist of a vast money pit on Oak Island in that province of Canada, where it is believed by some that the Templars hid their money amidst booby traps. The search has continued on Oak Island over the years, and in fact originally the treasure in the Money Pit was apparently believed to have belonged to the infamous Captain Kidd. But as more of Kidd’s treasure has been found, it is now believed that the Pit contains the Templar riches.

Jeff is a freelance writer from Texas.

Aside  —  Posted: June 27, 2014 in Archaeology
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Repost from s8int.com

PUEBLO PEOPLES ANCIENT DINOSAUR PETROGLYPH PHOTOGRAPHED IN NEW MEXICO?

Posted by  | Aug 27, 2013
Pueblo Peoples Ancient Dinosaur Petroglyph Photographed in New Mexico?


A few days ago I received a note from Jeremy Springfield who was in New Mexico on a kind of archaeological mission when he came across an apparently “ancient” petroglyph of a long necked dinosaur. His note follows but I was curious as to whether or not the fossils of long necked sauropods or similar dinosaurs had been found in New Mexico.

As it turns out New Mexico is one of the geographical areas in the U.S. where the highest number and diversity of dinosaur fossils is found, no doubt due to the desert like climate and lack of anything else to do but to dig. Sauropod fossils including some of the largest ever found have been discovered in New Mexico.

Coincidentally perhaps, one of the first images I came across with respect to New Mexico Dinosaurs was a depiction on the New Museum of Natural History and Science’s website depicting seismosaurus- in a pose that looks quite similar to the petroglyph. That comparison is shown below within Jeremy’s note-but first a bit on sauropods in New Mexico…. s8int.com

From About.com

“Any state with as many dinosaur fossils as New Mexico is sure to yield the remains of at least a few sauropods (giant, long-necked, elephant-legged plant eaters). Diplodocus and Camarasaurus were first identified elsewhere in the U.S., but the first specimen of the 30-ton Alamosaurus was discovered in New Mexico and named after this state’s Ojo Alamo formation.”

 

From New Mexico Museum of Natural History

New Mexico Super Giants – part of Dinosaur Century only at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – April 12, 2012 -In the small village of San Ysidro, near Cuba, NM, one of the longest dinosaurs that ever walked the Earth was discovered. His name is Camarasaurus, he measures 55 feet long and is April’s featured dinosaur as part of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science Dinosaur Century Exhibit.

THE DISCOVERIES:

1979—Seismosaurus discovered

In 1979, Arthur Loy and Jan Cummings were hiking in the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) area called the Ojito, northwest of Albuquerque. Loy spotted the large bones first and casually called to his friend, “Come see what you make of this.” Cummings recalls the event: “I instantly recognized from thirty feet the obvious vertebrae of a large dinosaur. The articulated vertebral column looked like a huge chicken neck laying half in and half out of sandstone.”

For fear of the precious fossils being vandalized, Cummings and Loy kept their find secret, only sharing it with a small group of friends. In 1985, with increased recreational activity in the Ojito, they reported their awesome find to the BLM and the newly-established New Mexico Museum of Natural History. Excavation by a Museum crew led by then Curator of Paleontology David Gillette uncovered the partial skeleton of a huge new sauropod, later named Seismosaurus (“[earth]-shaking lizard”), one of the longest dinosaurs in the world, with a full body length of 110 feet.’

Possible Pueblo Culture Dinosaur Petroglyph Photographed in New MexicoCopy Right 2012 by Jeremy Springfield

Photo: Jeremy Springfield’s cropped photo compared with drawing of Seismosauras from New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science

On a trip to Hidden Mountain, just outside of Los Lunas, New Mexico, on October 20th, 2012, I took pictures of what is possibly a dinosaur figure petroglyph. This is found on a mesa about 16 miles west of Los Lunas, and requires more than a mile’s hike just to reach the foot of the mesa. The mesa contains scattered Native American art, contemporary defacements from the rare inconsiderate visitors, as well as evidence of ancient Hebrew visitation (definitely non-Mormon, FYI), and ancient scattered ruins / shelters on the summit.

The attached photos were taken on the south-facing ridge of the mesa’s summit, about 20 feet down from the ridge itself. The stone itself is quite protected from defacements and contemporary “tags” due to its difficult to reach location, which is only accessible by a perilous ledge some 14 inches wide that drops to a steep and deadly slope to the foothills some 400+ feet below.

I went for a day’s trip to photograph and film the area due to the ancient Hebrew decalogue stone that is on the mesa, and an apparant “star chart” dating to B.C. that is also found on the northern face of the summit. I was not expecting to see anything saurian in nature by way of petraglyphs. 

I do not know if that is indeed the case, but please consider the animal depicted to the left of the saurian-like creature.

It definitely does not look saurian in nature, providing a great contrast. On a stone just to the right of the one with the saurian-like image is found the very deer-like animal — which was the reason for my initial decision to brave the very dangerous ledge to photograph it. I could not see the saurian image from my original vantage point, so I was surprised when I got out to the deer-image and looked to the left.

This is near the Isleta Indian Reservation, home of the Tewa Indians. I have no idea if they have any art or mythology concerning any creatures that could be considered saurian in nature.

Anyhow, I present these to you for consideration. Thanks for your time and may your efforts to promote the truth find favor with God and man. Jeremy Springfield Oct. 23, 2012

Other Native American Dinosaur Petroglyphs

Thanks Jeremy for sending that along to us. Very Interesting! of course we have had quite a number of prior posts indicating that the indigenous people of the Americas were familair with dinosaurs including:

Did Ancient Americans Ride the Parasaurolophus Dinosaur or Did They Just Exaggerate the Size of Their Sheep? featuring a petroglyph from the Annual report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the secretary…..1886.

This petroglyph clearly shows the ancient men riding the backs of huge animals and the glyph apparently includes a ladder for the purposes of climbing aboard.

 Be sure to visit www.AARONJUDKINS.com to see the new Man vs Archaeology film, “Hidden Mt. & the Los Lunas Mystery Stone” DVD.

http://www.christianapologeticsalliance.com/2014/05/07/convince-me-theres-a-god-archaeology-11/

Convince Me There’s A God- Archaeological Evidence? 

Link  —  Posted: May 7, 2014 in Christianity, Philosophy, Religion
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During the growth of the ancient civilizations, ancient technology was the result of incredible advances in engineering in ancient times.  These advances in the history of technology stimulated societies to adopt new ways of living and governance. However, many ancient inventions were forgotten, lost to the pages of history, only to be re-invented millennia later. Here we feature ten of the best examples of ancient technology and inventions that demonstrate the ingenuity of our ancient ancestors.

1. The ancient invention of the steam engine by the Hero of Alexandria

The ancient invention of the steam engine by the Hero of Alexandria

Heron Alexandrinus, otherwise known as the Hero of Alexandria, was a 1st century Greek mathematician and engineer who is known as the first inventor of the steam engine.  His steam powered device was called the aeolipile, named after Aiolos, God of the winds. The aeolipile consisted of a sphere positioned in such a way that it could rotate around its axis. Nozzles opposite each other would expel steam and both of the nozzles would generate a combined thrust resulting in torque, causing the sphere to spin around its axis. The rotation force sped up the sphere up to the point where the resistance from traction and air brought it to a stable rotation speed. The steam was created by boiling water under the sphere – the boiler was connected to the rotating sphere through a pair of pipes that at the same time served as pivots for the sphere. The replica of Heron’s machine could rotate at 1,500 rounds per minute with a very low pressure of 1.8 pounds per square inch.  The remarkable device was forgotten and never used properly until 1577, when the steam engine was ‘re-invented’ by the philosopher, astronomer and engineer, Taqu al-Din.

2. Is the Assyrian Nimrud lens the oldest telescope in the world?

Assyrian Nimrud lens the oldest telescope

The Nimrud lens is a 3,000-year-old piece of rock crystal, which was unearthed by Sir John Layard in 1850 at the Assyrian palace of Nimrud, in modern-day Iraq.  The Nimrud lens (also called the Layard lens) is made from natural rock crystal and is a slightly oval in shape.  It was roughly ground, perhaps on a lapidary wheel. It has a focal point about 11 centimetres from the flat side, and a focal length of about 12 cm.  This would make it equivalent to a 3× magnifying glass (combined with another lens, it could achieve much greater magnification). The surface of the lens has twelve cavities that were opened during grinding, which would have contained naptha or some other fluid trapped in the raw crystal.  Since its discovery over a century ago, scientists and historians have debated its use, with some suggesting it was used as a magnifying glass, and others maintaining it was a burning-glass used to start fires by concentrating sunlight. However, prominent Italian professor Giovanni Pettinato proposed the lens was used by the ancient Assyrians as part of a telescope, which would explain how the Assyrians knew so much about astronomy. According to conventional perspectives, the telescope was invented by Dutch spectacle maker, Hans Lippershey in 1608 AD, and Galileo was the first to point it to the sky and use it to study the cosmos. But even Galileo himself noted that the ‘ancients’ were aware of telescopes long before him. While lenses were around before the Nimrud lens, Pettinato believes this was one of the first to be used in a telescope.

3. The Oldest Calendar in Scotland

The Oldest Calendar in Scotland

Research carried out last year on an ancient site excavated by the National Trust for Scotland in 2004 revealed that it contained a sophisticated calendar system that is approximately 10,000 years old, making it the oldest calendar ever discovered in the world. The site – at Warren Field, Crathes, Aberdeenshire – contains a 50 metre long row of twelve pits which were created by Stone Age Britons and which were in use from around 8000 BC (the early Mesolithic period) to around 4,000 BC (the early Neolithic). The pits represent the months of the year as well as the lunar phases of the moon. They were formed in a complex arc design in which each lunar month was divided into three roughly ten day weeks – representing the waxing moon, the full moon and the waning moon. It also allowed the observation of the mid-winter sunrise so that the lunar calendar could be recalibrated each year to bring it back in line with the solar year. The entire arc represents a whole year and may also reflect the movements of the moon across the sky.

4. Ancient Roman Concrete was Far Superior to Our Own

Ancient Roman Concrete

Scientists studying the composition of Roman concrete, which has been submerged under the Mediterranean Sea for the last 2,000 years, discovered that it was superior to modern-day concrete in terms of durability and being less environmentally damaging. The Romans made concrete by mixing lime and volcanic rock. For underwater structures, the combination of lime and volcanic ash with seawater instantly triggered a chemical reaction in which the lime incorporated molecules into its structure and reacted with the ash to cement the whole mixture together. Analysis of the concrete found that it produces a significantly different compound to modern day cement, which is an incredibly stable binder. In addition, the ancient concrete contains the ideal crystalline structure of Tobermorite, which has a greater strength and durability than the modern equivalent. Finally, microscopic studies identified other minerals in the ancient concrete which show potential application for high-performance concretes, including the encapsulation of hazardous wastes. “In the middle 20th century, concrete structures were designed to last 50 years,” said scientist Paulo Monteiro said. “Yet Roman harbour installations have survived 2,000 years of chemical attack and wave action underwater.”

5. 2000-year-old metal coatings superior to today’s standards

2000-year-old metal coatings superior

Research has shown that artisans and craftsmen 2,000 years ago used a form of ancient technology for applying thin films of metal to statues and other items, which was superior to today’s standards for producing DVDs, solar cells, electronic devices and other products. Fire gilding and silvering are age-old mercury-based processes used to coat the surface items such as jewels, statues and amulets with thin layers of gold or silver. From a technological point of view, what the ancient gilders achieved 2000 years ago, was to make the metal coatings incredibly thin, adherent and uniform, which saved expensive metals and improved its durability, something which has never been achieved to the same standard today.  Apparently without any knowledge about the chemical–physical processes, ancient craftsmen systematically manipulated metals to create spectacular results. They developed a variety of techniques, including using mercury like a glue to apply thin films of metals to objects. The findings demonstrate that there was a far higher level of understanding and knowledge of advanced concepts and techniques in our ancient past than what they are given credit for.

6. The incredible 2000-year-old earthquake detector

The incredible 2000-year-old earthquake detector

Although we still cannot accurately predict earthquakes, we have come a long way in detecting, recording, and measuring seismic shocks. Many don’t realise that this process began nearly 2000 years ago, with the invention of the first seismoscope in 132 AD by a Chinese astronomer, mathematician, engineer, and inventor called Zhang (‘Chang’) Heng.  The device was remarkably accurate in detecting earthquakes from afar, and did not rely on shaking or movement in the location where the device was situated.  Zhang’s seismoscope was a giant bronze vessel, resembling a samovar almost 6 feet in diameter. Eight dragons snaked face-down along the outside of the barrel, marking the primary compass directions. In each dragon’s mouth was a small bronze ball. Beneath the dragons sat eight bronze toads, with their broad mouths gaping to receive the balls. The sound of the ball striking one of the eight toads would alert observers to the earthquake and would give a rough indication of the earthquake’s direction of origin.  In 2005, scientists in Zengzhou, China (which was also Zhang’s hometown) managed to replicate Zhang’s seismoscope and used it to detect simulated earthquakes based on waves from four different real-life earthquakes in China and Vietnam. The seismoscope detected all of them. As a matter of fact, the data gathered from the tests corresponded accurately with that gathered by modern-day seismometers!

7. Mythical sunstone used as ancient navigational device

Mythical sunstone used as ancient navigational device

An ancient Norse myth described a magical gem used to navigate the seas, which could reveal the position of the sun when hidden behind clouds or even before dawn or after sunset. Now it appears the myth is in fact true. In March 2013, a team of scientists announced that a unique calcite crystal, which was found in the wreck of an Elizabethan ship sunk off the Channel Islands, contains properties consistent with the legendary Viking sunstone and that shards of the crystal can indeed act as a remarkably precise navigational aid.  According to the researchers, the principle behind the sunstone relies on its unusual property of creating a double refraction of sunlight, even when it is obscured by cloud or fog. By turning the crystal in front of the human eye until the darkness of the two shadows are equal, the sun’s position can be pinpointed with remarkable accuracy.

8. The Baghdad Battery

The Baghdad Battery

The Baghdad Battery, sometimes referred to as the Parthian Battery, is a clay pot which encapsulates a copper cylinder. Suspended in the centre of this cylinder—but not touching it—is an iron rod. Both the copper cylinder and the iron rod are held in place with an asphalt plug. These artifacts (more than one was found) were discovered during the 1936 excavations of the old village Khujut Rabu, near Baghdad. The village is considered to be about 2000 years old, and was built during the Parthian period (250BC to 224 AD). Although it is not known exactly what the use of such a device would have been, the name ‘Baghdad Battery’, comes from one of the prevailing theories established in 1938 when Wilhelm Konig, the German archaeologist who performed the excavations, examined the battery and concluded that this device was an ancient electric battery. After the Second World War, Willard Gray, an American working at the General Electric High Voltage Laboratory in Pittsfield, built replicas and, filling them with an electrolyte, found that the devices could produce 2 volts of electricity. The question remains, if it really was a battery, what was it used to power?

9. 1,600-year-old goblet shows that the Romans used nanotechnology

1,600-year-old goblet shows that the Romans used nanotechnology

The Lycurgus Cup, as it is known due to its depiction of a scene involving King Lycurgus of Thrace, is a 1,600-year-old jade green Roman chalice that changes colour depending on the direction of the light upon it. It baffled scientists ever since the glass chalice was acquired by the British Museum in the 1950s. They could not work out why the cup appeared jade green when lit from the front but blood red when lit from behind. The mystery was solved in 1990, when researchers in England scrutinized broken fragments under a microscope and discovered that the Roman artisans were nanotechnology pioneers: they had impregnated the glass with particles of silver and gold, ground down until they were as small as 50 nanometres in diameter, less than one-thousandth the size of a grain of table salt. The work was so precise that there is no way that the resulting effect was an accident. In fact, the exact mixture of the metals suggests that the Romans had perfected the use of nanoparticles.  When hit with light, electrons belonging to the metal flecks vibrate in ways that alter the colour depending on the observer’s position.

10. The ancient Antikythera mechanism

The ancient Antikythera mechanism

The Antikythera mechanism was discovered in 1900 during the recovery of a shipwreck off of the Greek island, Antikythera, in waters 60 meters deep. It is a metallic device which consists of a complex combination of gears, and dates back to the 2nd century BCE. The Antikythera mechanism is one of the most amazing mechanical devices discovered from the ancient world.  For decades, scientists have utilized the latest technology in attempts to decipher its functionality; however, due to its complexity, its true purpose and function remained elusive. But in the last few years, a number of scientists appear to have solved the mystery as to precisely how this incredible piece of technology once worked. Peter Lynch, professor of meteorology at University College Dublin, explains: “The mechanism was driven by a handle that turned a linked system of more than 30 gear wheels…The gears were coupled to pointers on the front and back of the mechanism, showing the positions of the sun, moon and planets as they moved through the zodiac. An extendable arm with a pin followed a spiral groove, like a record player stylus. A small sphere, half white and half black, indicated the phase of the moon. Even more impressive was the prediction of solar and lunar eclipses.” Amazingly, the device even included a dial to indicate which of the pan-Hellenic games would take place each year, with the Olympics occurring every fourth year.  Just one small cog out of 30 remains a mystery and it is hoped that further research can place this last piece in the puzzle.

By April Holloway

repost from Ancient Origins

Quote  —  Posted: April 27, 2014 in Archaeology
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40 Archaeological Finds of all time

(not in chronological order)

Can you guess how many of these artifacts & sites that I’ve seen or personally visited?

1. Dead Sea Scrolls

Top archaeological finds of all time

The Dead Sea Scrolls are almost 1,000 biblical manuscripts discovered in the decade after World War 2 in what is now the West Bank. The texts, mostly written on parchment but also on papyrus and bronze, are the earliest surviving copies of biblical and extra-biblical documents known to be in existence, dating over a 700-year period around the birth of Jesus. The ancient Jewish sect the Essenes is supposed to have authored the scrolls, written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, although no conclusive proof has been found to this effect.

2. Rosetta Stone

270px-Rosetta_Stone

The rediscovery of the Rosetta Stone in 1799 during the French expedition to Egypt effectively began modern Egyptology by repeating a decree issued in 196BC on behalf of King Ptolemy in Ancient Greek and Demotic as well as in hieroglyphs. The stone, a stele that was used as a building material during the Middle Ages, was captured by the British in 1801 and taken to the British Museum a year later, where it remains to this day.

 

 

 

 

3. Petra

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Before 1812, Petra was one of the ancient world’s ‘lost cities’: it was known from historical references, but the site had not been located on the ground. The Swiss traveller, explorer, and antiquarian Jean-Louis Burckhardt (1784-1817) set out on a long expedition in 1810, whose ostensible purpose was to locate the source of the River Niger. In fact, he got no further than the Sudan before contracting dysentery and dying in Cairo in 1817. In the meantime, however, he had become an accomplished Arabist and recorded a wealth of geographical, ethnographic, and archaeological data in a secret journal – secret because the dangers of the Orient were such that he was forced to travel in disguise, passing himself off as an Indian Muslim trader.

Hearing rumours about a lost city, he employed a local guide and told him that he was a pilgrim seeking the Tomb of Aaron (overlooking ancient Petra). Burckhardt managed to see some of the antiquities; but he began to attract suspicion, so his investigations had to be cut short. Nonetheless, he correctly identified the site as Petra, and the publication of Travels in Syria and the Holy Land in 1822 brought the ancient city to the attention of world scholarship.

4. Chaco Culture

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Chaco Culture National Historical Park is a United States National Historical Park hosting the densest and most exceptional concentration of pueblos in the American Southwest. Composing a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the arid and sparsely populated Four Corners region, the park is located in northwestern New Mexico, between Albuquerque and Farmington, in a remote canyon cut by the Chaco Wash. Containing the most sweeping collection of ancient ruins north of Mexico, the park preserves one of the United States’ most important pre-Columbian cultural and historical areas.

Between AD 900 and 1150, Chaco Canyon was a major center of culture for the Ancient Pueblo Peoples. Chacoans quarried sandstone blocks and hauled timber from great distances, assembling fifteen major complexes that remained the largest buildings in North America until the 19th century. Evidence of archaeoastronomy at Chaco has been proposed, with the “Sun Dagger” petroglyph at Fajada Butte a popular example. Many Chacoan buildings may have been aligned to capture the solar and lunar cycles, requiring generations of astronomical observations and centuries of skillfully coordinated construction. Climate change is thought to have led to the emigration of Chacoans and the eventual abandonment of the canyon, beginning with a fifty-year drought commencing in 1130.

5. Tutankhamun

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Arguably one of the most famous – and spectacular – archaeological discoveries of all time, Howard Carter’s excavation at the Valley of the Kings in 1922 propelled a short-lived and perhaps rather politically unimportant pharaoh into the history books. Tutankhamun may have died while still in his teens but his tomb had been packed with beautiful objects befitting his royal status – and, unusually, had escaped detection by robbers. Howard Carter had discovered a treasure trove of ‘wonderful things’.

“At first I could see nothing, the hot air escaping from the chamber causing the candle flame to flicker, but presently, as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold – everywhere the glint of gold. For the moment – an eternity it must have seemed to the others standing by – I was struck dumb with amazement.” Those are the words of Howard Carter – the man who discovered King Tut’s tomb. They sum up far better than I can the marvelousness of this most important Egyptian discovery in modern times. The importance of this discovery to the understanding of Ancient Egyptian history is probably the greatest ever.

6. The Great Pyramid of Egypt

Sphynx Khafre Giza Pyramids Classic

The Great Pyramid of Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops) is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis bordering what is now El Giza, Egypt. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact.

7. Royal Tombs of Ur

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Leonard Woolley’s excavations at the ancient Sumerian city of Ur in southern Iraq – or Mesopotomia, ‘the land between the two rivers’, as it was then known – lasted from 1922 to 1934. At the end of the 1926 season, working on a cemetery site containing some 2,500 burials, the excavators uncovered a deep shaft, at the foot of which lay a gold dagger with a hilt of lapis lazuli, and a gold sheath, along with a hoard of copper weapons and a set of little toilet instruments. Nothing of this quality and date had ever been found before in Mesopotamian archaeology.

8. Antikythera Mechanism

Top archaeological finds of all time

In 1901 an ancient shipwreck was discovered by sponge divers off the coast of the Greek island of Antikythera. The construction has been dated to the early 1st century BC. Amongst the finds of typical trade goods such as statues and flasks was found a fused mass of metal. For almost a hundred years after its discovery, the mechanism was regarded as a simple curiosity.

It is now regarded as an early precursor to the computer. The various cogs and wheels of the mechanism are able to calculate where stars and planets should appear in the night sky. This discovery shows not only a keen understanding of the motion of the heavens but also the ability to replicate those movements on an artificial structure. It suggests a mechanistic understanding of the universe which points to the development of science as the best way to deal with the world around us.

9. The Pilate Stone

Top archaeological finds of all time

The Pilate stone (probably the least-known object on this list) was discovered in June of 1961 near Caesarea (part of Judea) by Dr. Antonio Frova while he was excavating with his team of archeologists an Ancient Roman theater built by Herod the Great in 30BC. The stone had been reused in the fourth century as part of a new staircase that had been added later. What was significant about this stone was what the archeologists found inscribed on the side: “To the Divine Augusti [this] Tiberieum … Pontius Pilate … prefect of Judea … has dedicated [this]“. This was the first time physical evidence had been found for the existence of the Biblical Pontius Pilate. Its authenticity is universally recognized by the archeological world.

10. Nimrud

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At Nimrud, Henry Layard discovered the palaces of the Assyrian kings Ashur-nasirpal (883-859 BC) and Shalmaneser III (858-824 BC). These lay within a royal city, in use for about 150 years, which comprised a roughly rectangular enclosure measuring c.350ha in total. The site lay alongside the ancient course of the River Tigris, and was surrounded by a mud-brick defensive wall. It included a citadel crowned by a 197ft-high (60m) ziggurat. Here, successive Assyrian kings built their palaces and temples. The total population of the city may have been as high as 80,000.

At nearby Nineveh, excavated during a second British Museum-funded expedition in 1849-1851, he dug two miles (3km) of bas-reliefs and cleared 70 rooms in the palace of Sennacherib. The aim was the recovery of art objects for study in their own right, as opposed to the exploration of a site by scientific excavation with recording of features and artefacts in context.

The finds recovered by Layard included objects that have since become some of the greatest treasures of the British Museum: huge winged lions and bulls, the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, and the sculptures of Ashur-nasirpal. These created a sensation in Britain in the late 1840s.

 

11. The Terracotta Army in Xi’an

Incredible Archaeological Discoveries

The funerary army of the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, dating to the third century BCE was discovered by a group of farmers in Xi’an in 1974. More than 8,000 life-sized soldiers, 130 chariots and 150 separate horses, not to mention countless officials and courtesans, have since been documented, although the majority remain buried underground near the emperor’s mausoleum. It remains one of the most spectacular man-made sites in the world.

12. Tomb of Philip II of Macedon

Incredible Archaeological Discoveries

Vergina is a small town in northern Greece, located in the peripheral unit of Imathia, Central Macedonia.  The town became internationally famous in 1977, when the Greek archaeologist Manolis Andronikos unearthed what he claimed was the burial site of the kings of Macedon, including the tomb of Philip II, who is the father of Alexander the Great.  In 1977, Andronikos undertook a six-week study near Vergina and found four buried chambers, which he identified as undisturbed tombs. Three more tombs were found in 1980.  The discovery was a defining moment in archeology, but the identification of the tomb as that of Philip II has been disputed.

13. Staffordshire hoard

Incredible Archaeological Discoveries

The largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon precious metalwork was found just four years ago in a field near Lichfield, in Staffordshire. More than 3,500 martial items made from gold or silver dated back to the kingdom of Mercia in the seventh and eighth centuries were excavated, with experts describing the hoard as of equal or more importance than the Sutton Hoo discoveries.

14. Baghdad batteries

Top archaeological finds of all time

In the ruins of Mesopotamia, jars were found containing iron cylinders and copper spikes. They were created during the dynasties of Parthian or Sassanid period (the early centuries AD), and probably discovered in 1936 in the village of Khuyut Rabbou’a, near Baghdad, Iraq. They are still a mystery, but speculation has brought some interesting theories. These jars were filled with acidic grape juice, voltage may have been produced. Modern reconstructions of the jars have shown that enough voltage would have been produced to allow electrical use – but at this stage, more evidence is needed. If correct, the artifacts would predate Alessandro Volta’s 1800 invention of the electrochemical cell by more than a millennium.

15. Roman dodecahedra

Top archaeological finds of all time

Sometimes archaeologists discover an artifact whose purpose is a complete mystery – but it is rare for a whole class of artifacts to remain unknown. All over the Roman world, small metal dodecahedra (date from the 2nd or 3rd centuries CE)  with circles cut in their faces have been discovered – yet it is unknown what they were originally used for. Some suggest they were used as candle holders (unlikely in an age where oil lamps were the norm), while others think they might have been aids for judging distance.

16. Ancient antibiotics

Top archaeological finds of all time

Scientific antibiotics are about seventy years old. But bones have been found in Nubia – dating from 550AD – which show traces of tetracycline, an antibiotic still used today.

How did people use an antibiotic more than a thousand years before it was discovered? Tetracycline is produced by yeast – and yeast can be used to produce beer. It seems that the ancient Nubians – including their infant children – drank beer as a medicine.

17. The Pool of Siloam 

siloam-pool

18. Pompeii

Pompeii

Pompeii, the ancient Roman city, was buried during a volcanic eruption in 79 AD when Mount Vesuvius exploded. It was lost for nearly 1700 years and the damage done to the city was so severe that even the name of the city vanished from memory. In 1738 Herculaneum – a nearby city also lost – was discovered and then ten years later military engineer Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre discovered Pompeii. Whilst digging in later excavations, Giuseppe Fiorelli discovered that some of the large bubbles in the volcanic mud were perfectly formed molds of the men who had died there. He injected plaster into the bubbles and gave the modern world the first look at real Ancient Roman people. Interestingly the city was full of erotic art and objects (many of which were hidden until 2000 AD) and graffiti found on a wall in Pompeii called the city “Sodom and Gomorrah” leading many Christians to believe that the city was destroyed by God in retribution for its sexual perversities.

19. Tell el-Amarna 

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The ancient site of Tell el-Amarna extends across several square kilometres of desert on the edge of the River Nile about 200 miles south of Memphis/Cairo and 250 miles north of Thebes/Luxor. Comprising monumental buildings, waterfront facilities, industrial areas, residential suburbs, and edge-of-town cemeteries, the site represents a complete ancient city of New Kingdom date (c.1550-1069 BC), preserved beneath a thin covering of desert sand – an Egyptian Pompeii of sorts. The first proper record was made by scholars of Napoleon’s Egyptian expedition in 1798-1799, and it has remained a major focus of fieldwork and scholarship ever since. Of importance was the discovery of 379 clay tablets inscribed with cuneiform script in the so-called ‘Record Office’ during the 1880s, and the yet-more spectacular discovery of the famous bust of Nefertiti in the last season of the 1907-1914 German excavations.

Tell el-Amarna was founded by the New Kingdom pharaoh Akhenaten, son of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye, husband of Nefertiti, and probable father of Tutankhamen. Akhenaten’s mission was to elevate the innovative religious ideas of his father into a comprehensive alternative to the complex theological system inherited from Egypt’s past. His aim was a form of monotheism centred on the worship of the sun-disc Aten. To break the power of traditional temple hierarchies elsewhere, he built a new capital on a virgin site, roughly midway between the historic capitals of Upper and Lower Egypt at Thebes and Memphis respectively. He called the city Akhet-Aten – ‘the horizon of Aten’. Here, a magnificent shrine could be established for the worship of Aten – with all other deities excluded from the city. But unlike other religious revolutions, which came from below, the cult of Aten was imposed from above by diktat on an essentially unchanging and resistant society. Powerful vested interests defended the old order, and the mass of the people remained indifferent. The ‘revolution’ was therefore skin-deep, and after Akhenaten’s death, the court returned to Thebes, and Akhet-Aten – Tell el-Amarna – was abandoned to the sand.

20. Mesha Stone

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About 130 years ago, a large stone slab was found in what is today Jordan, written in Moabite, a language very similar to Hebrew. Although the Arabs who found the stone decided to break it up into small pieces to increase sales, an impression of the intact stone has been made that gives us the whole text. This amazing stone tells the story of the kings of the Kingdom of Israel, called “Beth Omri” in the stone. Of course, as all nations have done throughout history—except for the Jews! —the inscribers of the stone tailor history to glorify themselves. Thus their god, Kemosh, is described as more powerful than the G-d of the Jews. But the stone confirms important details in the Bible.


 

 

 

 

 

 

21. Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

Easter-Island

Popularly known as Easter Island, this is one of the most isolated places in the world, thousands of miles off of the Chilean coast in the South Pacific. The most baffling thing about the island, however, isn’t the fact that humans even managed to find and settle it but that they then proceeded to construct enormous stone heads around the island.

 

 

22. Piri Reis Map

Incredible Archaeological Discoveries

Dating to the early 1500s this map shows the coastlines of South America, Europe, and Africa with amazing precision. Apparently it was constructed by general and cartographer Piri Reis (hence the name) from the fragments of dozens of others.

23. Nazca Geoglyphs & Lines

Incredible Archaeological Discoveries

Although they were literally beneath the feet of archaeologists for hundreds of years, the Nazca Lines weren’t discovered until the early 1900′s for the simple reason that they are nearly impossible to see unless you are directly above them. While there have been numerous explanations ranging from UFO’s to technically advanced ancient civilization, the most probable explanation is that the Nazca people were excellent surveyors, although why they would construct such enormous geoglyphs remains a mystery.

24. Mount Owen Moa

Incredible Archaeological Discoveries

In 1986 an expedition was making its deeper and deeper into the cave system of Mount Owen in New Zealand when it came across the huge claw you’re now looking at. It was so well preserved that it almost seemed like whatever it belonged to had just died recently. Upon excavation and inspection, however, it was determined to belong to an Upland Moa, a large prehistoric bird that apparently came with a nasty set of claws.

25. Voynich Manuscript

Incredible Archaeological Discoveries

Described as the “world’s most mysterious manuscript” this piece of literature has been dated back to early 15th century Italy. With most of its pages filled with what seems to be herbal recipes, none of the plants match known species and the language remains undecipherable.

26. Gobekli Tepe

Incredible Archaeological Discoveries

Although at first glance it may seem like nothing more than a bunch of rocks, this ancient settlement discovered in 1994 was constructed roughly 9,000 years ago and is currently the one of the oldest examples of complex/monumental architecture in the world, predating the pyramids by thousands of years.

27. Sacsayhuaman

Incredible Archaeological Discoveries

This walled complex just outside of Cusco, Peru is part of what used to be the capital of the Inca Empire. The crazy part about this wall, however, is in the details of its construction. The rock slabs fit together so tightly that it would be impossible to slide even a hair between them. It’s a testament to the precision of ancient Incan architecture.

28. Headless Vikings of Dorset

Incredible Archaeological Discoveries

While digging a railroad in Dorset workers came across a small contingent of viking warriors buried in the ground, all missing their heads. At first archaeologists thought that maybe some villagers had survived a raid and exacted their revenge but upon closer inspection things got a little less clear. The beheadings looked too clean and seemed to have been done from the front rather than the back. They are still not sure what happened.

29. Marcahuasi

Incredible Archaeological Discoveries

Marcahuasi is a plateau in the Andes Mountains located east of Lima, Peru.  The area rises over the Rimac River.  In 1952, a man named Daniel Ruzo made a remarkable discovery in the area.  He found hundreds of stone figures that resemble human faces and animals, some 90 feet tall.  The most famous formation was called The Monument to Humanity because it purportedly shows the major human races of the world.  The mountain sized rock formations of Marcahuasi have created controversy in the scientific world.  Many educated people have claimed that the structures were formed by natural erosion.

Rare Discovery

Some of the famous rock formations at Marcahuasi include the goddess Thueris the Anfichelidia, the valley of the seals, the lion of Africa, the vicuna, and the frog.  After discovering the area, Daniel Ruzo made some bizarre accusations surrounding Marcahuasi.  He wrote that the sculptures were made ??by a culture named “Masma” or “Fourth Humanity” almost 10.000 years ago.  According to Ruzo, every 8,500 years the planet Earth suffers disruptions that threaten the existence of all living beings.  Ruzo published articles stating that Marcahuasi was the site selected to preserve the knowledge of humanity.  Man-made or not, Marcahuasi remains a remarkable archeological discovery that has become a popular tourist destination.

30.  Machu Picchu

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‘Rediscovered’ by Hiram Bingham in 1911, this monumental ‘lost’ Inca citadel was built in the mid-15th century on a dramatic mountain top. Its stunning natural surroundings and awe-inspiring standing remains make this a truly remarkable site – a vivid reminder of the technological capabilities and power of the Inca Empire at its peak. Its terraced platforms and cave cemeteries allowed a fascinating insight into the lives of the 1000 or so people who had once lived here.

31.  Sea of Galilee Boat

Incredible Archaeological Discoveries

The Sea of Galilee Boat is an ancient fishing boat from the 1st century CE (the time of Jesus Christ), discovered in 1986 on the north-west shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel.  The remains of the boat were found by brothers Moshe and Yuval Lufan, fishermen from Kibbutz Ginnosar.  The brothers are amateur archaeologists with an interest in discovering artifacts from Israel’s past.  They found the ship after a drought reduced the water-level of the lake.  The men reported their discovery to the authorities who sent out a team of archaeologists to investigate.

Rare Discovery  

Realizing that the remains of the boat was of tremendous historical importance to Jews and Christians alike, a secret archaeological dig followed, undertaken by members of Kibbutz Ginosar, the Israel Antiquities Authority, and numerous volunteers.  The boat measures at 27 feet (8.27 meters) long, 7.5 feet (2.3 meters) wide and with a maximum preserved height of 4.3 feet (1.3 meters).  Excavating the boat from the mud without damaging it was a difficult process that lasted 12 days and nights.  The boat was then submerged in a chemical bath for 7 years before it could be displayed at the Yigal Allon Museum in Kibbutz Ginosar.

The Sea of Galilee boat is made primarily of cedar planks joined together by pegged mortise-and-tenon joints and nails.  It has ten different wood types, suggesting either a wood shortage or that it was made of scrap wood.  The boat is historically important to Jews because it is an example of the type of boat used by their ancestors in the 1st century.  Previously only references made by Roman authors, the Bible and mosaics have provided archeologists insight into the construction of these types of vessels.  The boat is also important to Christians because it was the type of vessel that Jesus and his disciples used, several of whom were fishermen

32. Teotihuacan Sacrifice

Incredible Archaeological Discoveries
Although it has been known for years that the Aztecs hosted numerous bloody sacrificial festivals, in 2004 a grisly discovery was made outside of modern day Mexico City. Numerous decapitated and mutilated bodies of both humans and animals shed some light on just how horrific the rituals could get.
33. The Grauballe Man
Incredible Archaeological Discoveries
It’s not a strange occurrence for mummified bodies to be found in bogs but this body, now known as the Grauballe Man, is a bit unique. Not only is he amazingly well preserved with his hair and fingernails still intact, it is possible to reconstruct his demise from the information found on and around his body. Judging from a large wound wrapping around his neck from ear to ear it seems he was sacrificed, probably in an attempt to turn a better harvest.
34. Uluburun Shipwreck
Incredible Archaeological Discoveries

The Uluburun shipwreck is a Late Bronze Age shipwreck dated to the 14th century BCE.  It was discovered off Uluburun (Grand Cape) situated about 6 miles southeast of Ka?, in south-western Turkey.  The wreck was first discovered in the summer of 1982 by Mehmed Çakir, a local sponge diver from Yalikavak, a village near Bodrum.  Between the years of 1984 to 1994, eleven consecutive campaigns took place totaling 22,413 dives, and revealing one of the most spectacular Bronze Age treasure troves ever discovered in the Mediterranean Sea.  On its final journey, the Uluburun ship was sailing to the region west of Cyprus.  The objects aboard the ship range from northern Europe to Africa, as far west as Sicily, and as far east as Mesopotamia, exhibiting products of nine or ten different cultures.

Rare Discovery

The ship, which was about 50 feet long, was built of cedar in the ancient shell-first tradition, with pegged tenon joints securing planks to each other and to the keel.  Some of the hull planks were preserved under the cargo.  They were fastened with pegged mortise-and-tenon joints.  Upon discovery, there has been a detailed examination of Uluburun’s hull, but unfortunately no evidence of its framing.  The ship carried 24 stone anchors, which are of a type almost completely unknown in the Aegean.  The Uluburun ship’s cargo consisted mostly of raw materials and trade items.

The artifacts discovered include copper cargo totaling ten tons, approximately 175 glass ingots of cobalt blue turquoise and lavender, ivory in the form of whole and partial elephant trunks, hippopotamus teeth, Cypriot pottery, a ton of terebinthine resin in amphorae, a large collection of gold artifacts, ebony logs from Egypt, and ancient weapons.  The ship carried one ton of tin.  The tin from Uluburun is, at this time, the only pre-Roman tin with a reasonable provenance.  The Uluburun shipwreck has fed into virtually every aspect of research on trade and society in the Late Bronze Age Aegean and Levant.  It has helped historians understand the intensity of commercial trade during the Late Bronze Age.

35. Ancient Chemical Warfare

Incredible Archaeological Discoveries

In 1933 archaeologist Robert du Mesnil du Buisson was searching beneath the ruins of an ancient Roman/Persian battlefield when he came across some siege tunnels that had been dug under the city. In the tunnels he found the bodies of 19 Roman soldiers that seemingly died while trying to desperately escape from something and one Persian soldier clutching his chest. Apparently when the Romans heard the Persians digging under their walls they began digging a tunnel of their own with the idea of dropping in on the Persians from above. The trouble for them was that the Persians heard it and set a trap. As soon as the Roman soldiers dropped through they were met with burning sulfur and bitumen which has the unfortunate effect of turning to acid in your lungs.

36. Shroud of Turin

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The Shroud of Turin is a linen cloth bearing the image of a man who appears to have suffered physical trauma in a manner consistent with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  The linen is a full body portrait and measures 14 feet, 3 inches long by 3 feet, 7 inches wide.  The shroud is wrapped in red silk and has been kept in a silver chest in the Chapel of the Holy Shroud in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Turin, Italy since 1578.  The origins of the artifact and its image have been the subject of intense debate among scientists, historians, and researchers.  Believers contend that the shroud is the cloth that was placed on the body of Jesus Christ at the time of his burial, and that the face image is the Holy Face of Jesus.  Detractors contend that the shroud cloth material postdates the crucifixion of Jesus by more than a millennium.  In 1988, radiocarbon dating was done on the shroud in an attempt to determine the relic’s authenticity.  The test indicated that the cloth was woven between 1260 and 1390 A.D, much later than the time of Jesus.

These results have been challenged by peer-reviewed journals and many critics have raised questions about the original nature of the sample used in the test.  The Catholic Church has neither formally endorsed nor rejected the shroud, but in 1958 Pope Pius XII approved the image in association with the Roman Catholic devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus.  On May 28, 1898, amateur Italian photographer Secondo Pia took the first photograph of the shroud and was startled by what he discovered.  The negatives gave the appearance of a positive image, which implies that the shroud itself is a negative of some kind.  Image analysis by scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory found that rather than being like a photographic negative, the image unexpectedly has the property of decoding into a 3-D image.  This property could not be replicated by researchers.  One theory is that the image on the shroud is simply painted on.  Both skeptics and proponents tend to have very strong positions on the formation and discovery of the Shroud of Turin.  At times the controversy is pitting science versus divine formation, which makes dialogue very difficult.  The Shroud of Turin remains one of the most mysterious artifacts in the world.

37. Stonehenge

Stonehenge

Stonehenge are prehistoric 5000 year old monument can be located in Salisbury, England. This monument made up of  many small and large stones, larger one have height of 30 feet called sarsens wights up to 25 tons. The actual purpose of this stone monument still unknown.

The ancients of England brings for making Stonehenge monument from Preseli hills, a 150 miles far away location from this monument. It is estimated that 240 dead people got buried in this area, became large Neolithic burial site of Britain.

38. The Hittite Kingdom

450px-Istanbul_-_Museo_archeol._-_Trattato_di_Qadesh_fra_ittiti_ed_egizi_(1269_a.C.)_-_Foto_G._Dall'Orto_28-5-2006Egypto-Hittite Peace Treaty (c. 1258 BC) between Hattusili III and Ramesses II is the best known early written peace treaty. Istanbul Archaeology Museum

At the number 38 position is a discovery which confirms the historical accuracy of several Biblical references. The Hittites are mentioned in the books of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges and elsewhere in the Bible. Despite these numerous references, critics contended that the Hittites were a mythical people made up by the Bible writers.

These claims were based on an argument of absence. Since no evidence existed outside the Bible concerning the Hittites, then they must not be real and are nothing more than another part of a fictional tale. The critics were silenced somewhat in the 19th century when Hittite monuments were discovered. These monuments were found at Carchemish which is on the Euphrates River in Syria. This proved the Hittite people were indeed real and had some type of civilization large enough to construct monuments. This, as it turns out, was only the beginning.

In 1906 excavations were underway at Boghazkoy in Turkey. This was eventually found to be Hattusas, the capital city of the Hittite people. The city revealed a great deal concerning the Hittite people and their history. Far from being a mythical people, the Hittites were a dominate power in the region and exercised control over much of Asia Minor and the Near East. The empire at times stretched far enough to establish control over Syria as well as parts of Palestine.

Today, the existence of the Hittites is accepted and there is a great deal known concerning their culture, civilization, leadership, art and commerce. This all stands as evidence the Bible was right all along, that the writer’s of the Bible were indeed accurate historians. Only after extensive external evidence was discovered were the accounts of the Bible accepted.

39. Chichen Itza

800px-Chichen_Itza_3

Chichen Itza is a large pre-Columbian city built by the Maya people of the Post Classic. The archaeological site is located in the municipality of Tinum, in the Mexican state of Yucatán.  It was one of the largest Maya cities and it was likely to have been one of the mythical great cities, or Tollans, referred to in later Mesoamerican literature. The city may have had the most diverse population in the Maya world, a factor that could have contributed to the variety of architectural styles at the site. Chichen Itza is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico; an estimated 1.2 million tourists visit the ruins every year.

40. Royal Library of Ashurbanipal

Kinadshburn

The Royal Library of Ashurbanipal, named after Ashurbanipal, the last great king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, is a collection of thousands of clay tablets and fragments containing texts of all kinds from the 7th century BC. Among its holdings was the famous Epic of Gilgamesh. Due to the sloppy handling of the original material much of the library is irreparably jumbled, making it impossible for scholars to discern and reconstruct many of the original texts, although some have survived intact. The materials were found in the archaeological site of Kouyunjik (ancient Nineveh, capital of Assyria) in northern Mesopotamia. The site is in modern day Iraq.

Old Persian and Armenian traditions indicate that Alexander the Great, upon seeing the great library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh, was inspired to create his own library. Alexander died before he was able to create his library, but his friend and successor Ptolemy oversaw the beginnings of Alexander’s library—a project that was to grow to become the renowned Library of Alexandria.

The library is an archaeological discovery credited to Austen Henry Layard; most tablets were taken to England and can now be found in the British Museum, but a first discovery was made in late 1849 in the so-called South-West Palace, which was the Royal Palace of king Sennacherib (705 – 681 BC).

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Saksaywaman or “Falcon” is a walled complex on the northern outskirts of the city of Cuzco. Like many Inca constructions, the complex is made of large polished dry stone walls, with boulders carefully cut to fit together tightly without mortar.

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The best-known zone of Saksaywaman includes its great plaza and its adjacent three massive terrace walls. The stones used in the construction of these terraces are among the largest used in any building in prehispanic America and display a precision of fitting that is unmatched in the Americas. The stones are so closely spaced that a single piece of paper will not fit between many of the stones. This precision, combined with the rounded corners of the blocks, the variety of their interlocking shapes, and the way the walls lean inward, is thought to have helped the ruins survive devastating earthquakes in Cuzco. The longest of three walls is about 400 meters. They are about 6 meters tall. The estimated volume of stone is over 6,000 cubic meters. Estimates for the weight of the largest Andesite block vary from 128 tons to almost 200 tons!

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Clearly, the people involved in constructing Saksaywaman & Ollantaytambo possessed knowledge and a technology far superior to what is generally imagined. Civilizations do not always move in a forward direction; sometimes it regresses. And indeed, most of the time, both advanced and primitive civilizations are able to exist simultaneously in different parts of the world.

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                                                                          Ollantaytambo

The Incan culture who constructed these megaliths possessed an advanced civilization. The structures they produced show that they had a wide-ranging knowledge of mathematics and geometry; that they knew the technology needed to build monuments by calculating fixed points in hilly areas; that they used equipment (such as the compass) to determine geographical positions, and that when necessary, they could transport the materials needed for construction from many miles away. Obviously, they could not manage all this by using only primitive tools. Indeed, many experiments by researchers and archaeologists have demonstrated that it would have been impossible to construct these monuments under the conditions proposed by the theory of evolution. Researchers who have attempted to construct similar monuments by reproducing the imaginary “Stone Age” conditions postulated by evolutionists have failed dismally. These researchers have not only found it difficult to construct any similar structure, but have also experienced enormous difficulties in transporting these stones from one place to another. This shows yet again that people of that era did not lead primitive lives, as evolutionists would have us believe. They understood architecture, made expert use of construction technology and engaged in astronomical investigations. On the basis of these megaliths, therefore, it is impracticable to make interpretations about the daily lives of societies of that time. Their social relationships, beliefs, tastes and artistic understanding cannot be deduced with any measure of certainty.

Incan stonemasonry was all done more or less the same way so I’ll use Saksaywaman as an example. The stones were then dragged by rope to the construction site, a feat that required hundreds of men. The ropes were so impressive that they warranted mention by Diego de Trujillo [1571] as he inspected a room filled with building materials. The stones were then shaped into their final form at the building site and then laid in place.

The work, while supervised by Inca architects, was largely carried out by groups of individuals fulfilling their labor obligations to the state. In this system of mita or “turn” labor, each village or group provided a certain number of individuals to participate in public works projects. Although multiple regions might provide labor for a single, large-scale state project, the ethnic composition of the work-gangs remained intact, as different groups were assigned different tasks. Cieza de León who visited Saksaywaman two times in the late 1540s, mentions the quarrying of the stones, their transposition to the site, and the digging of foundation trenches. All this was conducted by rotational labor under the close supervision of Imperial architects.

Protzen, a professor of architecture, has shown how the Inca built long and complex ramps within the stone quarries near Ollantaytambo and how additional ramps were built to drag the blocks to the construction above the village. I personally saw the ramp leading up to the Temple of the Sun at Ollantaytambo. He suggests that similar ramps would have been built at Sacsayhuaman.

In regard to Incan buildings, Ancient Aliens focuses most of its attention on the curved or beveled edges of the stones. They say that it looks like the edges of these stones were melted. Notice as we listen to them build the case for this that the reason they believe this is true, is based entirely on the way the stones look.

Ancient Aliens: “There are signs in many of these stones that show very large amounts of thermal heat have been applied to mould the stones in such a way that they apply perfectly, so it really does raise a lot of questions.”

AA: “If you look at the style the Saxoman Wall was built, the blocks look as if they’ve been molded into putty. If you can mould stone into place then all of a sudden, as crazy as [it] sounds it makes more sense.”

Now melting granite or any other stone and reshaping it would leave unmistakable evidence in and on the stones themselves. In other words, if the rocks were melted, it would be easily provable, it would not be a matter of what the stones look like, it would be a simple yes or no question.

Ancient Aliens skips this step of proving or disproving their theory, instead they assume that the rocks were melted based on the look of the stones and move to the step of trying to figure out who would have had the technology to melt stones.

AA: “I have a stone torch that I use for sometimes shaping stone granite and it generates a temperature in excess of 3,000 degrees. That’s a lot.”

AA: “When we look back at the ancients and we see a technology that they couldn’t possibly know, there’s only two possibilities: either God did it, which we don’t think happened, or some high-tech civilization from another planet came and showed them how to do it, then took their materials and tools and went back home.”

I think there is at least one more possibility that Mr. Dunn may have missed.

Every shaped stone at any Incan site has what archeologists call “pit marks” or “pit scars”. They occur when stone hammers are used to quarry and shape the stone.

In addition archeologist have found a huge amount of Incan stone hammers at the quarries, and almost uniquely to the Incans, they are found at the building sites too, because the Incans only rough cut the stones at the quarries they did the finish work on site so the stones would perfectly fit with the stones around it.

Well how did the Incans accomplish these beveled edges? They used a smaller gauge stone hammer for the outer section. The evidence for this can be seen on every single stone that has these edges.

You can see that the pit scars are much more numerous and smaller on the edges, showing that more blows with a smaller stone was used to achieve the detail work.

Another reason this is no mystery to archeologists is because there are a large number of stones in various stages of construction in the ancient Incan quarries. These stones reveal that indeed the Incan stone masons were using some of the most basic tools, even for their time.

If you want to learn more about the details I will link you to some peer reviewed papers that can tell you more than you’d ever want to know. Including details of experiments done. For example a single scientist in 90 minutes accomplished similar cuts with similar tools. [Jean Pierre Protzen, “Inca Quarrying and Stone Cutting,” The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 44, No. 2 (May, 1985), pp. 161-182]

All this makes what Mike Dunn says here one of the most off the wall things ever said in the Ancient Aliens series:

AA: “I can’t help but think that whoever was behind this thought the process through from beginning to end. They didn’t quarry the rock and then decide how the heck [they] were going to transport [it]. They knew, from beginning to end, what needed to be done with whatever techniques and technology they were going to use. In industry today there is kind of an adage: ‘keep it simple, stupid.’”

AA: “Based on his experience, Mike Dunn believes the simplest way to build the great walls of Machu Pichu would have been to transport small rocks to the site then melt them and use molds to fashion the exact size and shapes needed.”

So he says it’s simpler to melt the rocks – something so complicated that we don’t know how to do it. Is that really the simplest solution he could come up with?

And then to say that they poured the melted rocks into a mold? I mean look at these walls! Can anyone look at this and say “yeah that looks like they were made from the same mold?” These are not exactly bricks of the same size and shape. Unless he wants to say that they made a new mold for every block, in which case we would go well out of the range of this being the simplest solution.

As far as how the Incans moved the stones into place, they left us a lot of evidence behind in the form of ramps. There are Incan ramps all over the place still in existence today, in the quarries and at the building sites.

The Incans had one of the most massive work forces in the all the ancient world. They were like the Roman empire of the west, and they had an absolutely huge labor force at the ready for these types of projects.

So we know these rocks were not melted and put in molds as Ancient Aliens tells us. We actually know exactly how they made these rounded edges, because of the pit marks left behind as well as the huge number of stone hammers found in the quarries. There are no mysteries that require alien input with Incan stone work.

 

Unknown

Extraterrestrial connections were first suggested by Eric von Danken and have been perpetuated by the show Ancient Aliens on the History Channel. I do believe that Tiahuanacan engineers seemed to possess advanced knowledge thousands of years ahead of other cultures. But this does mean ancient aliens built Pumapunka. Let’s examine the claims of Ancient Aliens. 

Ancient Aliens: “Pumapunku is so unique in the way it was constructed and shaped and positioned that it is the most intriguing ancient site on the planet.”

AA: “While the pyramids at Giza are an incredible feat of achieved, compared to Pumapunku, the pyramids are child’s play.”

AA: “In my opinion, the most significant piece of evidence that we have in this entire ancient alien astronaut puzzle is Pumapunku in the highland of Bolivia.”

Well, if Pumapunku is considered such good evidence for the Ancient Astronaut theory, we should probably start by looking at it. After all, it’s the one that they say was built directly by extra-terrestrials.

AA: “Pumapunku is the only site on planet Earth that, in my opinion, was built directly by extraterrestrials.”

Ancient Aliens starts off with a false dilemma by making people think that it was absolutely impossible for ancient people to construct Pumapunku, even to the point of making outright false claims.

AA: “One of the most intriguing thing there is it that the stones that were used there weren’t sandstone, they’re granite and diorite. The only stone that is harder than diorite is diamond, so the only way this could have been achieved is if the tools were tipped with diamonds.”

This is funny because it’s totally wrong, the stones are not granite or diorite at Pumapunku, they are Red Sandstone and Andesite, but this is also funny because of the way he says it.

AA: “The stones that were used there weren’t sandstone, they’re granite and diorite.”

Well yeah, actually there is sandstone & andesite. You can’t blame him though for it becomes obvious that throughout the series he often just repeats things he has heard in Eric Von Daniken’s books. Von Daniken’s books are what the Ancient Aliens series is based on. Later we see Eric Von Daniken himself make the exact same, totally wrong claim.

AA: “Of course [Pumapunku was] made out of stones found on Earth, because you don’t transport granite or diorite from another solar system.”

Von Daniken continues building up this false dilemma:

AA: “One of these platforms is 800 tons.”

That is very incorrect, the heaviest block at Pumapunku is 130 tons, and most of the stones are much smaller than that. So he is off by a whopping 670 tons! Unfortunately we will come to expect this kind of thing from Von Daniken as we progress.

Ancient Aliens spends a lot of time pointing out the various features in the stone masonry at Pumapunku before declaring it impossible to do without power tools. 

AA: “Each of these small drills holes are basically evenly spaced along this routed groove. To me it’s clear that power tools have been used on this unusual block of stone here.”

AA: “This surface is as smooth as a table top, like in your kitchen. There’s no wave to it. This was machined.”

The sandstone and andesite stones at Pumapunku would have been easily worked with the most basic stone working tools, the idea that diamond tipped power saws were needed is ridiculous. The red sandstone was relatively soft and easy to work with, and even though andesite is pretty hard, because of the way it cooled it could be easily flaked off using stones as soft as 5.5 on the Mohs scale. Such pounding stones were found all over andesite quarries in the area.

Contrary to Ancient Aliens’ claims that archeologists are baffled by Pumapunku, Archeologists know the basics about how Pumapunku’s stones were cut and shaped. This is partly because there is evidence for this all over the site itself.

They actually used a method that almost all ancient stone workers used. They used hard -pounding stones to pound out troth like depressions; later on they used flat stones and sand to grind the stone to make a polished surface. This is also how the Egyptians, 1000’s of years before this, made their flat surfaced granite monuments like obelisks.

Sand has extremely hard particles in it and, if placed between a flat surface and a rock, can polish even the hardest stones known to man. In fact, the harder the stone is the better it can be polished using sand. We know that’s how sand can turn a piece of copper into a very efficient granite saw or drill- a method the Egyptians utilized well. 

Some stones at Pumapunku that Ancient Aliens would never show the cameras are the ones that were in the middle of this process. They show that at the same time a stone was being pounded by stone hammers, which created these troth like depressions, the grinding and polishing was taking place on the other end of the stone. Unfinished stones clearly show how they were shaped – and it wasn’t with lasers.

There is also unmistakable evidence of stone hammers having been used in the places that were never meant to be visible, like where certain stones would be connected with one another. And because of that, it’s hard for me to believe Eric Von Daniken’s next claim, because it would mean that the alien tool box had a laser gun right next to a stone hammer.

AA: “Extraterrestrials arrive; the spaceship stands in orbit. Only a small spaceship can stand, like a space shuttle. So, to protect their instruments they (the aliens) make, overnight, with their technology, what we call a base camp. Of course [this was] made out of stones found on Earth, because you don’t transport granite or diorite from another solar system. Then they disappeared, but the wall of their base camp is still there.”

It is true that stone tools would not be enough to construct Pumapunku, especially for some of the finer points. For those they would need metal chisels, and the equivalent of a carpenter’s square. Entire studies have detailed how these cuts were made and nothing spectacular is required except some metal tools like chisels. The arguments against this are usually either that a particular culture did not yet know how to cast metals or that copper chisels would have been too weak. 

On the first point, we know that the Pre-Incan Andean culture was very skilled at fashioning metals and creating metal alloys. In fact, the people who built Pumapunku were even pouring copper alloys into molds right on site, showing that they had more than enough capability to form all kinds of metal tools. The question then becomes: what about the tools strength? 

Even if they were pouring pure copper into the mold it would still work, but it would need sharpening often but, because archeologist actually found a few of these metal cramps used by them on site, we now know that they were using a very strong copper arsenic nickel alloy, which made a much stronger final product. Arsenic acts as a de-oxidant preventing the metal from becoming too brittle, and nickel was used in copper alloys specifically to make stronger chisels. Once you understand that they had the ability to make strong metal tools in a huge variety of shapes, there is no part of Pumapunku’s stone work that would have been too difficult for them. 

Notable features at Puma Punku are I-shaped architectural cramps, which are composed of the unique copper-arsenic-nickel bronze alloy. These I-shaped cramps were also used on a section of canal found at the base of the Akapana pyramid at Tiwanaku. These cramps were used to hold the blocks comprising the walls and bottom of stone-line canals that drain sunken courts. In the south canal of the Puma Punku, the I-shaped cramps were cast in place. The unique copper-arsenic-nickel bronze alloy is also found in metal artifacts within the region. Here’s one that our team found still holding one of the stone blocks in place! 

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Well what about these 90-degree right angles that Ancient Aliens’ makes such a fuss about?

AA: “One of the amazing things here at Pumapunku is the precision of the blocks. You can see with this block of granite that it’s really been cut at very accurate 90-degree angles.”

To make flat surfaces with right angles you don’t need alien technology, you only need a square or a simple equivalent. It’s important to keep in mind that Pumapunku would have been built 1000’s of years after the Egyptians, who had all kinds of squares and plumb bobs and levels and so on, it’s a pretty basic stone working tool.

That being said, despite what Ancient Aliens says, Pumapunku is not all perfect right angles. You can even see this, ironically enough, as the Ancient Aliens crew goes around with carpenters squares. You can see some of them simply are not square.

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Also they make claims like all the H blocks are the same dimensions, which they say suggest they were made by a big machine, but not only would that not be the only conclusion if it were true, it’s not even true. The dimensions of the H blocks are not all the same, though they are close. It is probably the case that there were made using the same plans. Another thing that astonished me was their height. I was initially looking for 7-8 ft. H blocks. Anciet Aliens depicts these blocks as huge. It was then I realized that they are only about waist-high! 

 

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Speaking of plans…

AA: “Mainstream archaeologists say that Pumapunku was built by Amara Indians. [However] we would all have to agree that, in order to build something like Pumapunku, you need writing; you need planning, and you also need some sort of idea where which piece goes and how it ultimately all fits together. But there is one thing that mainstream archaeologists agree upon [and that is] that the Amara didn’t have any writing. How is it possible that the Amara built all this without any plans?”

The builders of Pumapunku may not have had an alphabet, but they did use the common iconography or artwork of their culture called Yaya Mama. All the icons on the site are Yaya Mama, not secret alien code, and this is but one of the many indications of the culture and time that it was built.

But my point is that, like many cultures, they used pictures instead of an alphabet and, like most building plans, they used pictures like blueprints. So saying that no alphabet means no planning is, in my opinion, pretty ridiculous.

Well, what about moving the stones and lifting them into place? Surely that would have required levitation…

AA: “How these massive blocks of granite were moved from their quarries and brought here to Pumapunku would have required some kind of super technology. Levitation; anti-gravity, huge lifting vehicles…something that ancient aliens would have had.”

If they did know how to levitate these stones then they put far too much effort in creating places in the stones to attach ropes to. Many stones have grooves several centimeters in width and depth on two adjacent faces for holding ropes. They even had special places cut into the stones that Pumapunku scholars call “hoisting grips”. These are all very strange things to do if they could simply levitate these blocks of stone. 

To make matters worse for the Ancient Astronaut theory, according to archeologist Jean-Pierre Protzen, an expert on Pumapunku, there is almost no stone at the Pumapunku site that does not have what he calls “drag marks” on one of its faces, where it has been…well dragged to the site.

Ancient Aliens throws another false dilemma here:

AA: “What nobody talks about is the irrefutable fact that we are at an altitude of 12,800 feet which means we are above the natural tree line. No trees ever grew in that area, meaning that no trees were cut down in order to use wooden rollers. The wooden roller theory falls by the wayside.”

This is like saying that there is no way that the Egyptians used wood because trees didn’t grow in Egypt. The difference is that while the Egyptians had to import wood from places like Lebanon, it would have been far easier for those at Pumapunku to solve this problem for all they would have had to do is walk down the hill a little bit.

Ok well what about this claim:

AA: “Logic does not exist at Pumapunku because there we have megalithic structures which just lie around this entire site as if ripped apart by some great force.”

I propose that logic still exists at Pumapunku, and that the scattered state of the complex can be easily explained. To quote from archeologist Alexi Vranich: “the high quality of the stones made it attractive building material for houses, churches, plazas, bridges, even railways.”

In other words, the stones were pulled down and hauled off by locals for building material. In fact, we even have the 400 year old writings of a visitor to Pumapunku who said that the looting was in full swing even back then. He wrote that if the site was closer to town, he didn’t think there would have been any stones left at all.

Ancient Aliens says that Pumapunku is 17,000 years old!

This is what Vranich said of this claim:

“The idea that Tiwanaku is 14,000 years old is based on a rather faulty study done in 1926. Since then, there has been a huge quantity of work both on the archaeology and geology of the area, and all data indicates that Tiwanaku existed from around A.D. 300-500.”

For more information on the faulty study he is referring to here I will quote at length from Jason Colavito, who has been debunking ancient astronaut theories for years in his books and blogs. He said the following about this claim.

“Tiwanaku is not 17,000 years old. This date derives from the work of Arthur Posnansky, who tried to apply archaeoastronomy to the site but did so in ways that modern scholars do not recognize as legitimate. Posnansky proposed a date of 15,000 B.P. (before present, i.e. 13,000 BCE), which the geniuses on Ancient Aliens misread as 15,000 BCE, adding an extra 2,000 years to Posnansky’s already flawed dates.

Here’s what he did wrong. Posnansky assumed that the Kalasasaya temple at Tiwanaku was laid out with perfect accuracy to align to the equinoxes and solstices that he felt (but could not prove) were important to the Tiwanaku people.

Thus, on a certain day the sun was supposed to rise above one rock at the temple and set behind another – ah, but which rock should we choose? Since the current ruins do not align with these celestial events accurately, he concluded that the ruins must have been built at a time when they would have aligned with that event.

Since the sun and sky change positions at a predictable rate due to gradual changes in the angle of the earth’s axis, he concluded that Kalasasaya was built in 13,000 BCE as a solar observatory, despite no other evidence of solar astronomy at the site.

The long and short of it is that Posnansky assumed celestial alignments and assumed flawless construction and then used his assumptions to “prove” that his assumptions were correct.

Colavito also has this picture of the site with the caption: “Pick a rock, any rock. One of them must align with something”.

This site has been dated using a huge variety of methods. Things like carbon dating; the type of metals they used, the debris found in certain places, the type of iconography they used. Literally every kind of dating method applied comes to the same conclusion: It was constructed in the early middle ages.

Before I conclude this entry on Pumapunku there are two other claims I wanted to address:

AA: “The Spanish asked the Inca, the people living there, including the king of the Inca ‘What is this Pumapunku?’ and they all said ‘It’s not us. It’s not our forefathers that made this. This was made by the gods in one, single night.’ Usually a king is proud of what his people did, about the precision. [However] in this case the chief of the people said ‘No. It was not us. It was the gods who made it’.

If you understand a little about the Incan imperial system and religion, you will understand why the Incans didn’t claim the site and why they claimed that it had a supernatural origin.

Part of the Incan state religion was that the Incan empire was the first civilization and was created by God himself. It was a very convenient idea for bolstering the Incan case for the right to rule everyone else.

When the Incans arrived at Pumapunku the site had already been abandoned for at least 100 years. Admitting that there was a pre-Incan culture at all, let alone one with more skill than them, would have been detrimental to the whole scheme.

So they slightly modified their already existing mythology to include Pumapunku. So, instead of Virachoca creating the Incan capital, he also created Pumapunku. Just like that the Incans were still the oldest and greatest civilization, even though everyone probably knew it wasn’t true.

Finally, Ancient Aliens says the following about what the ancient local people believed regarding who constructed Pumapunku:

AA: “Local legend suggests that Tianaka was built as a site of religious pilgrimage to celebrate the arrival of sky gods.”

This is a total lie. According to their legend, Viracocha came from the sea- not the sky! This is a very sneaky move by Ancient Aliens in my opinion.

In conclusion, the stones are not made of Granite and Diorite. It is Andesite; an extrusive igneous rock named after the Andes mountains where it is very abundant. The stones were workable with the tools available to the Andean culture- tools which were know included high-quality metal-alloyed chisels. 

These tools would have been more than sufficient to make the angles seen at Pumapunku. The faces of the rocks have been finished using a polishing technique after being rough cut using stone hammers – evidenced by the unfinished stones and hidden areas of the finished stones.

The moving of the stones was not as difficult as Ancient Aliens makes it seem, especially when you take into account they are telling people that the stones weigh 600 tons more than they actually do. The stones have tell-tale drag marks and hoisting holes for ropes, all showing that they were not levitated as Ancient Aliens would have us believe.

We know the culture which built this monument, and all the iconography and sculptures are consistent with that culture. The various methods of dating that scientist use all point to the same time period. The idea that Pumapunku was from Atlantean times we now know is based on a very transparently flawed presupposition which, with modern equipment, can be easily demonstrated to be false. And I know personally from visiting this site. 

Dr. Aaron Judkins