There are many who believe that modern civilization is suffering a human race-wide case of amnesia. We’ve come to accept certain facts about our past that dictate how long we’ve been here, when we began to advance out of caves, when we developed language, when we developed tools, and when other species that we shared this planet with died off and went extinct. We accept these earmarks of history as absolute fact. But some of those facts began as just stories until they were later proven correct.
There are still many myths and legends that go against what history tells us and are believed wholeheartedly by indigenous peoples of certain regions. Science tells us these myths are just that; however, every now and again a discovery is made that makes a myth into a historical fact. For example, the Chinese stories of the great “white bear” that lived high in the mountains? That was accepted as pure myth by science until a French missionary brought back a complete skin and then, boom, we have giant pandas. Then they tell us that with an established fossil record they know with 100% certainty that certain species are extinct and gone. Then in 1938, a living coelacanth was found, a species of fish that science tells us went extinct 66 million years ago.
New discoveries are being made all the time that force historians to take note and scientists to change their theories of the world. Even now, researchers are uncovering evidence from across the world, like unexplained artifacts and structures, which threatens to upend currently held beliefs. So far, mainstream science is skeptical and cautious on making any history-altering declarations. What do you think? Take a look at 15 astonishing discoveries that history so far can’t explain.
15. The Indus Valley Civilization
At first, it was simply stories of an unknown ancient civilization having once existing in modern-day Pakistan. Then an explorer, in 1842, said he discovered ruins. There was no still interest until 1856, when while laying railroad tracks, ruins of an as-yet undiscovered civilization were found. Now, after extensive archaeological research we know quite a bit about the Indus. Artifacts have been uncovered that detailed a highly advanced civilization for having lived around 3300 BCE, in the Bronze Age.
Where science is stumped is that we can’t decipher their language. Indus script is incomprehensive but researchers agree they did have a language, and evidence does point to it being a written one. This is a disputed point, because if they did, then that means the Indus developed writing skills 1,000 years before the rest of region. Also, artifacts appear to point to the Indus using a printing system, which, if true, would put them 1,500 years ahead of the Chinese. This is astounding, if proven. Unfortunately, most of the artifacts uncovered with Indus writing rarely have more than five unique characters, a point some researchers use to deny that it constitutes a genuine language. Most experts disagree, but without the ability to understand what it is that they have written, we just won’t know for sure.
14. The Story of the Olmecs
The mysterious Olmecs are believed to have lived in parts of what is now Mexico around 1100 BCE. This makes their civilization the earliest known civilization in Mexico. We didn’t know a whole about them until the early 1990s. That’s when a group of Veracruz villagers dug up a great stone block that ended up being covered in ancient writing, older than anything else ever seen in the region. It was one of archaeology’s greatest finds. Researchers combed over the block examining the writings and were able to make some startling discoveries. First, it belonged to the mythic Olmecs. Then, experts believe that the writing is so structured that it has all the hallmarks of distinct sentences, even error corrections, and what might be poetic couplets. They further believe that the script indicated that the stone slab was someone’s private “copy” of the writing. If true, that would mean, there must be other “documents,” records, trading routes, or possibly ancient literature, still waiting to be discovered!
The only downside is that we can’t decipher their language. It’s the earliest known writing system in the Americas, and it’s like nothing else we’ve ever seen. Without its own Rosetta Stone, it has so far proved virtually impossible to understand the Olmecs. As puzzling as the Indus Valley script is to researchers, the Olmec language is worse. Besides being the first script on the continent, experts agree that it looks like they were able to write complex stories, detailed records, and even chronicle their religious traditions. We’ve yet to uncover any evidence of the Olmecs after 300 BCE; where they went or what happened to them is unknown. What could possibly be one of the greatest cultural discoveries in history lies just outside our grasp.
13. The Sword in the Stone
You’ve heard of the Arthurian legend. It’s the tale of the once and future king, Arthur, who pulled the stone from the stone when no one else could. Some die-hard romantics believe that Arthur was a real person, and for all we know, he might have been. What we do know, is that there really is a sword in the stone. It could be the source of the legend.
The real sword in the stone is located at Monte Siepi Chapel in the San Galgano Abbey, in Tuscany, Italy. The story goes that Saint Galgano Guidotti began life as a cruel and vicious knight. In 1180, Guidotti encountered the Archangel Michael, who told him that he must turn his back on his life of sin and follow the path of God. At first he refused but then one day as he was riding he came upon Monte Siepi, it was just a hill with some bedrock at the time. He then heard a voice from Heaven saying that now was the time to change. He replied to the sky that to do so would be as “splitting rock with a sword.” He then attempted to demonstrate the hopelessness of what was being asked of him and plunged his sword into the bedrock. Instead of breaking, the sword went straight into the stone. He then fell to his knees and used that stone as an altar for praying from that day forth. He died about a year later, and was canonized in 1185, by Pope Lucius III. A chapel was built around his sword in the stone altar where it remains today; although it is now encased in plastic so no one tries to steal it, to, you know, try to become King of England.
12. The Sealand Skull
One of the most controversial artefacts ever discovered is the Sealand Skull. It was found in 2007, in Olstykke, Denmark, by workers replacing sewer pipes. No one paid much attention at first. Then, in 2010, the skull was taken for examination at the College of Veterinary Medicine in Denmark. Researchers were unable to determine what kind of a skull it was. It did not match any known species. It’s raised numerous questions that most scientists are not prepared to answer, and fewer still that want to accept the challenge of analyzing the mysterious artifact. They say it resembles a mammal, at first believed to be a horse, but closer examination revealed that it just didn’t fit into the Linnaean taxonomy. The skull was then sent to the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, where it was carbon dated. This test revealed that it was from between 1200 to 1280 BCE.
An excavation was undertaken at the site where the skull was found, but nothing of interest was discovered. When you compare the Sealand Skull to a normal human skull, there are some distinct differences. For example, the eye sockets are larger, deeper, and more rounded. They extend further to the sides. In a human skull, the eyes are centered. The nostrils are small and the chin is narrow, yet the skull itself is larger than an average skull of male Homo sapiens. The skull’s surface is smooth, which scientists point to it being adapted to cold weather. Based on the eye size, it was probably nocturnal. What was this creature? Was it an extraterrestrial? Is it some lost, forgotten species of ancient human? Hopefully more research will tell us.
11. UB-85, The German Sub Sunk by a Sea Monster
There was a story, from World War I, of a German submarine, a U-boat, that was said to have been attacked by a sea monster and damaged to the point that it was unable to submerge again. That U-boat was UB-85, and its commander was Captain Gunther Krech. In April 1918, a British patrol boat came upon Captain Krech and his damaged U-boat sitting on the sea’s surface. Almost immediately, the Germans surrendered. When they were being questioned, Krech told them of their incredible encounter.
The previous night he surfaced the sub to recharge its batteries. All of a sudden a strange beast attacked. Krech claimed it had a small head, with teeth that could be seen glistening in the moonlight. The size of the creature was immense and it caused the boat to list. His crew were able to drive the creature away with small arms fire, but not before the sub was damaged. He explained that was why they weren’t able to submerge and flee from the approaching British patrol. Depending on reports the sub was then either scuttled or sunk by the British patrol. The ship and its story passed into nautical folklore. That is until October 2016, when it is believed that the UB-85 has been found. Workers off the coast of Scotland were laying a new power cable under the North Sea when they came across the infamous sub. Sonar images show the U-boat to be mostly intact. Plans are being made to investigate further and we may soon finally discover what actually happened to the UB-85. Was it attacked by a sea creature of some kind?
10. The Maine Penny
It’s called the Maine Penny. It is a coin that was found on August 18, 1957, at a Native American archaeological dig site near Brooklin, Maine. An incredible 30,000 artefacts were found at the site, but remarkably one apparently did not appear to be of Native American origin – the Maine Penny. Some scientists claim it has to be a hoax. Others believe it proves that the first European explorers visited the North American continent centuries before Christopher Columbus.
There are some questions over the origin of the coin. It is agreed that is not from any Native American culture, with some researchers claiming it is a 12th century coin from England. Later analysts report it’s more likely to be a Norse coin from the 11th century. A study by the University of Oslo found that coins similar to the Maine Penny were made in a Norwegian kingdom between 1060 and 1080 BCE. The coin now resides at the Maine State Museum, where authorities have remained quiet and officially have no position on its origin or authenticity. It’s one more out-of-place artifact that captivates and intrigues scholars. Who knows how many more are out there.
9. Göbekli Tepe
History tells us that the first human civilizations organized into villages, began farming, and establishing religious temples around 8,000 BCE. But is this really the case? A remarkable discovery is challenging that very belief. This amazing archaeological find occurred in 1994, in a rural area of Turkey called Göbekli Tepe. At the top of a mountain ridge stand huge stone pillars, more than 200 of them, standing up to 20 feet tall and weighing about 20 tons. They are arranged in a series of twenty rings, each with carvings of animal scenes. The site dates back to about 12,000 BCE. That predates Stonehenge by thousands of years! Researchers believe this could be the oldest known place of worship.
Evidence also suggests that the people that built this structure were still nomadic hunter-gatherers, not yet having adopted farming. Current beliefs say that humans at that point in time didn’t have the ability to understand complex symbolic systems, social hierarchies, or the division of labor – all prerequisites for building such an incredible 22-acre temple. Established religion was supposed to have occurred after humans transitioned from hunter-gatherers to agriculture and farming, but this site might just prove the opposite. So this raises the question, did the need to build these religious structures give humans the reason they needed to then settle down, organize, and secure a stable food source, basically inventing agriculture? If so, how did nomadic, Neolithic humans accomplish this? Why were they able to do it thousands of years before anyone else? Finally, who were they and where did they go? Archaeologists still have no answers.
8. Did Man Walk with Dinosaurs?
Dinosaurs died out approximately 65 million years ago, millions of years before humans first walked this planet. If that’s the case then why do archaeologists keep unearthing artifacts that depict what appear to be living dinosaurs, depictions that are remarkably accurate, as if the artists had seen a living one first-hand? The temple at Angkor Wat, in Cambodia, was built in the 12th century. On one of the walls there has a detailed image of what looks like a stegosaurus. The first confirmed fossil discovery of a stegosaurus wasn’t made until the early 19th century. So how did they get this drawing correct?
Another example that has scientists asking questions is the Ica Stones. They reportedly originated from a cave near Ica, Peru. In 1961, a Peruvian doctor Javier Cabrera received as a gift. When he looked closely at it, he saw what appeared to an engraving of an extinct type of fish, one that supposedly died out millions of years ago. He was fascinated and tried to learn more about the stone. It was primarily andesite, a grayish to black volcanic rock. Andesite is very hard and very difficult to engrave, especially with primitive tools. German labs have determined the engravings on the rock, and others like it, are very ancient. Fossils that were found nearby suggest that all the artifacts from the area are millions of years old. Cabrera collected several hundred of these Ica Stones and found that some have etchings of living brachiosaurs, tyrannosaurs, and a triceratops. One stone depicts a carnivorous dinosaur eating a tribesman. Carbon dating is not an exact science and basically fossilized dinosaur bones are just too old to be definitively aged. Is it possible that humans existed alongside dinosaurs as these artifacts suggest?
7. The Crimean Pyramids
A series of formations dubbed the Crimean Pyramids were discovered in 1999 by Vitalij Gokh, who retired from the Soviet military after thirty years. He had embarked on a new career as a researcher which led him to Crimean peninsula where he made this unbelievable find. Gokh suspected that just as there were submerged villages in the Black Sea, so too must there be other megalithic structures. The region is well-known as an archaeological treasure-trove for different cultures, such as the Greeks, Romans, and the Ottoman Turks.
As a former engineer, he understood magnetic resonance instruments and decided to use them to test his theory. He was correct. Gokh discovered a series of seven underwater limestone pyramids along the southern coast of the peninsula. The largest one measured 45 meters in height, with a length of about 72 meters, with a truncated top, similar to Mayan pyramids. Those seven are in a straight line running northwest to southeast along the coastline. Gokh claims that there could be as many as thirty-nine of these pyramids submerged in the area. He believes they could be the oldest structures on Earth, possibly built when dinosaurs supposedly ruled the planet. There is still much research and documenting that must be done before scientists are ready to append history. Many researchers find the discovery to be too outlandish to possibly be true. Hopefully, Gokh will be able to raise funding for a team to seriously investigate this immense archaeological discovery.
6. The Salzburg Cube
The Salzburg Cube is not really a cube, with it sometimes being referred to as the Wolfsegg Iron. It is an intriguing little artifact that was discovered in 1885, near Wolfsegg am Hausruck, Austria. The story is that a foundry worker found this interesting egg-shaped object when he was working in a coal mine. The object was pitted and had a deep groove encircling it. It weighed almost 800 grams, with sharp, straight edges, measuring 3.8 cm by about 4.5 cm. Testing revealed it was composed of hard steel with nickel and carbon, but no sulfur which proved it wasn’t pyrite. It had all the earmarks of being manufactured artificially. It was carved from a single piece of iron ore, which is not that big of a deal, except that the coal in which this artefact was found was anywhere from 20 to 60 million years old. Now this is a mystery!
How could a piece of iron have been intricately carved millions of years before humans reportedly walked the Earth? Scientists have been working on this one for over a hundred years. Some theorize it must be a hoax, others that is the work of extraterrestrials, and others say that it is part of a meteorite. Over the years, the Salzburg Cube has passed around through different research institutes but it currently resides at the Heimathaus Museum of Vöcklabruck, Austria. It remains an enigma.
5. What is the Abominable Snowman?
It is Bigfoot’s more cold-natured cousin, the Abominable Snowman, or Yeti. It’s one of the more enduring cryptozoological mysteries out there. Numerous eyewitness accounts, large footprints, and blurry video footage have many thinking there has got to be something out there. Well, now it looks like one British geneticist might have answered the question. His name is Dr. Bryan Sykes, a genetics professor at Oxford University. In 2013, he completed a DNA study on a set of hair samples that were believed to be from Yetis. One hair in particular was from the western Himalayan region of Ladakh, and another was from Bhutan, 800 miles away. The Ladakh sample came from the mummified remains of a creature killed by a hunter about 40 years ago. The Bhutan sample was just a single hair found in a bamboo forest by a film-making expedition about 10 years ago. Sykes compared the samples to known DNA markers in GenBank, the international repository of gene sequences of known species, living or extinct. Sykes figured he’d get a match with something but the result he found left him shocked and puzzled.
The analysis revealed, with a 100% match, that both samples were from an ancient polar bear, whose jawbone was found in Norway. That jawbone dates back between 40,000 and 120,000 years ago. Sykes says that this was around the time that the polar bear and the brown bear separated into two distinct species. He believes that the Yeti is most likely a sub-species of these brown bears that are descended from those ancient polar bears! Has the Abominable Snowman finally been identified? Sykes is sure that both samples, from two ends of the Himalayas, were from the same animal. Confirming it’s the source of the Yeti legend will need more research and expeditions.
4. How Did the Ancient Egyptians Get Cocaine?
When Christopher Columbus discovered the New World, he found many new plants and animals that were never before seen in Europe. Columbus was introduced to tobacco and a strange little narcotic made from the coca leaf. He brought these discoveries back with him to Europe. That’s the story, at least. But if that’s true, then why are scientists finding ancient Egyptian mummies with traces of cocaine in their bodies? In 1992, German scientists were testing mummies when they discovered remnants of hashish, tobacco, and cocaine in their hair, skin, and bones. Hashish is from Asia, so it’s possible an ancient could acquire some, sure. But tobacco and coca were strictly New World plants back when these Egyptians got mummified.
Not wanting to risk their reputations on their “cocaine discovery,” the scientists had an independent laboratory conduct the same tests on the mummies. The results were the same – these mummies were chocked full of cocaine and tobacco. So the Germans began testing more mummies, and found about a third of them had nicotine in their system. In the body of Ramses II (you know him, the Ten Commandments, Moses, “Let my people go!”) they found actual tobacco leaves and a fossilized tobacco beetle, inside him, really. Ramses II was a serious tobacco guy! How did they ancient Egyptians get these products? There is no record that has been yet found depicting any Egyptian journeys to an undiscovered land. There are no records of them using tobacco or cocaine, either. It is a conundrum that will likely not have an answer anytime soon.
3. The Codex Gigas
The Codex Gigas, translated basically means “Giant Book,” is the largest ancient manuscript found in the world. It was believed to be written around the 13th century CE in a Benedictine monastery in Bohemia. The Swedish seized it in 1648 during the Thirty Years’ War and it now resides at the National Library in Stockholm. This massive tome is made of more than 160 animal skins and takes two people to lift. The book consists of the full Vulgate Bible, with several other works all written in Latin, including Antiquities of the Jews by Flavius Josephus, a collection of medical works by Hippocrates, The Chronicles of Bohemia by Cosmas of Prague, the Encyclopedia Etymologiae by Isidore of Seville, with texts on exorcism, magical formulas, and a depiction of a heavenly city. Of course, then there’s the full-page illustration of the Devil himself. Because of this image the book has most famously been referred to as “The Devil’s Bible.”
Legend tells that the monk who wrote the book made a deal with the Devil after being sentenced to death by being walled in alive. With the Devil’s help, the monk wrote the book in a single night, with the Devil himself painting his image. Researchers who’ve examined the book say the handwriting is even and stable throughout, evidence of having been written in a short period of time. However, this is impossible as it would have taken an estimated five years of nonstop writing to finish the book. As it is, most scholars believe it was written over thirty years. It must be remembered that some monks would spend all their time confined to a desk writing as a form of penance, devoting their lives to copying important works. The discipline and craftsmanship it took to complete this book is a skill that is rarely seen today. Or, he had help from the Devil…
2. The Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun
The discovery of the Bosnian Pyramids might be one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in Europe. According to Dr. Semir Osmanagić, Chairman of Anthropology at the American University in Bosnia-Herzegovina, these newly found pyramids could be the oldest man-made pyramids on the planet (he might have to fight it out with the Crimean Pyramids for that title). Dr. Osmanagić first noticed the odd geometric shapes in 2005, when he traveled to the town of Visoko, where the anomalous hills captured his intrigue. They clearly stood out from the rest of the landscape.
They call it the Pyramid of the Sun; it is 220 meters in height, taller than the Great Pyramid of Giza. What is most astonishing is that the Bosnian Pyramid is oriented to the North accurate with an error of 0 degrees, 0 minutes, and 12 seconds; too precise to be coincidence and a trait shared with Great Pyramid of Giza. The Egyptian Great Pyramid lies at the intersection of the longest line of latitude and the longest line of longitude, being the exact center of all the land mass in the world, with each of the four sides aligning with the four points of the compass. That is precision that is too hard to ignore and then to find it again in Bosnia. How can this be? Were these two ancient civilizations connected somehow? This discovery will take years to examine fully but it could be one that will rewrite history.
1. The Fuente Magna Bowl
The Fuente Magna Bowl is a large stone container, like a bowl, that was discovered in 1958 by a farmer near Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. The artifact was taken to the Museo de los Metales Preciosos where it sat for almost forty years before two researchers attempted to examine the object. It had beautiful engravings of zoological motifs all around the bowl, along with what appeared to be Sumerian cuneiform script. That raised many questions. How did an artifact from the Andes come to have Sumerian script on it? These are ancient civilizations thousands of miles away from each other. Archaeologists attempted to decipher the script but were unable to do so because they couldn’t grasp the type of cuneiform it was.
A linear script expert was brought it, Dr. Clyde Winters, and he determined the bowl was probably Proto-Sumerian, similar to objects recovered from Mesopotamia. Dr. Winters likens the cuneiform script to writing used in the Sahara 5,000 years ago, which was used by Proto-Dravidians, Proto-Elamites, as well as Proto-Sumerians. All these civilizations began in Middle Africa, until the desertification occurred after 3500 BCE. Dr. Winters deciphered part of the script and what they show is incredible. The bowl was reportedly used to make drink offerings, libations, to the Goddess Nia to request fertility. Nia is the Linear A term for Neith, which is the Greek name for the Egyptian Goddess Neit, who is very popular among the ancient civilizations that began in Libya and parts of Middle Africa. The bowl’s discovery opens the door to new theories on the never-before thought-of trans-Atlantic crossings between the ancient peoples of Sumeria and those of Bolivia.