Archaeology is a fascinating job because it's filled with mysteries of the ancient world. For years we've been enthralled with what was has been found all around the world, from mysterious relics to breathtaking structures and petroglyphs. Across America, archaeologists have uncovered unusual stone structures and artifacts which could have many explanations. Caves are also fascinating because our ancient ancestors etched glyphs on cave walls and some of them are unexplainable. Archaeologists love to develop theories to explain what the artifacts or glyphs mean. Stonehenge and the Nazca Lines are one of the most famous ancient sites in the world and surprisingly, America has similar places which are still unexplainable.
Native American culture has a lot of folklore which includes mythical creatures and bodies uncovered in caves and underneath mounds could be evidence of the myths told through the generations. The most baffling archaeological sites are found in areas with cultures and communities have vanished over the years, leaving behind pieces of their history we still can't explain. Archaeologists question some areas because the carbon date of artifacts can reveal an older age then the original one and if it's accurate, history books need to be corrected. Even though the public tends to focus on more well-known world sites, America does still have intriguing mysteries from the past.
30 Possible Unknown Race
Every ancient culture has stories of strange beings, and they sound unrealistic. However, when excavated relics or bodies reflect their folklore, it makes us wonder whether these beings were real or just part of their imagination. Many ancient Native American legends told a story about the Little People folklore. According to the story, the spirits known as fairies dwelled in the caves and small mummies have been discovered in caves in Montana and Wyoming. The public doesn't know anything about who the bodies represent because results from the examinations are kept private.
29 Cave Petroglyphs
Ancient cave sites are always exciting, primarily because of rock art from thousands of years ago. The petroglyphs frequently tell a story about the culture, but in Harrison County, West Virginia, archaeologists can't figure out the meaning of the prehistoric petroglyphs found in the caves. The colors are also strange because they're red. Archaeologists say Native Americans did do the glyphs, but they don't know which culture. Dates of the pottery found at the site suggest occupation between 500 and 1675 AD.
28 Bisons Galore
Excavations at an archaeological site in the Fincastle Grazing Reserve, north of the Montana border, revealed about 200,000 fragments of bison bones in a pit. Ancient hunters used the site as a hunting ground and dates revealed it to be about 2,500 years ago. Archaeologists say the hunters may have hunted the animals in a single event. Archaeologists can't figure out the elaborate display and placement of the bison bones, but one theory of its function is ceremonial offerings.
27 The Oldest Footprints In America
Fossil footprints are always exciting because they show the paths of ancient humans and in British Columbia on the shoreline of Calvert Island, 13,000-year-old footprints were discovered. The discovery suggests ancient humans from Asia entered America by the coastline and that they were seafarers who used boats to explore islands. The 29 prints uncovered may have been from two adults and a child. The footprints reveal that America had human occupation during the last ice age, but it doesn't explain the human activities or movement.
26 A Solar Calendar As Rock Art
Astronomy was one of the essential things in culture as our ancestors studied the night skies on a regular basis. The solar calendar found in Arizona has a spiral shape. It was unclear of what the spiral shape is, but archaeologists deciphered it in 1990. The shadows revealed that the makers used it as a mechanism to track the equinoxes and solstices for ceremonies and other purposes. However, the ancients didn't follow the summer solstice and archaeologists don't know why.
25 A Secret Code Message
One of the most significant archaeological mysteries in the U.S. is a rock that has symbols which no one can decipher. The Judaculla rock was detected in North Carolina at the Caney Fork Creek valley in Jackson County, outside of Cullowhee. The symbols consist of scribblings, markings, and spidery lines. The symbols are about 10,000 years old, and it's a mystery because no other rock in the area has the same markings. The pictographs reveal animal tracks, human figures, suns, and geometric figures.
24 Strange Carved Stone
Our ancient ancestors seem to have wanted to share something through the things they made. Carved images in stones are famous around the world, and a rock shaped like an egg was discovered in 1872 in New Hampshire, near Lake Winnipesaukee. It's still a mystery, though, since the measurements are perfect and there's still a debate who made the stone. One theory states it was made by Native Americans and used as a peace treaty between two tribes and others say it could've been a tool.
23 Strange Depictions At Sego Canyon
Ancient dweller rock art is fascinating because of the stories they revealed and the fact that the paintings have lasted all these years. The strangest depictions are life-size figures which can be challenging to decipher. The petroglyphs at Sego Canyon depict mysterious characters with peculiar body forms, hollowed, or missing eyes. Native Americans painted or carved the petroglyphs and occupied the area between 6,000 and 100 BC. There are a lot of debates about what the figures depict — extraterrestrials or shamanistic tradition.
22 Animal-Shaped Mounds
Archaeologists discovered a unique mound in Ohio and no one can explain the meaning behind its shape. The hill is in the form of a giant snake and dating reveals ancient builders built it between 2000 and 1000 AD. Archaeologists still haven't been able to decipher the culture which produced it, the exact date of production, and its usage. Scholars theorize it was either used for religious ceremonies, particularly sacrificial offerings, or it depicts a calendar. The mound does reveal an astrological alignment.
21 An Ancient Stone Wheel
Across America, there are a few structures called a medicine wheel. The structure consists of many stones which form the shape of a wheel. In Wyoming, the Bighorn Medicine Wheel is the biggest as its 75 feet in diameter. The site predates the Crow people who first lived in the area, which makes the structure unique. An astronomer, John Eddy, studied the complex and stated the wheel's spokes point in the direction of the sunrise on the different solstices. No one knows who built it.
20 Nazca Lines In California
The famous geoglyphs found scattered across the south of Peru has left everyone baffled because of the strange designs which you can only see from the sky. Surprisingly, America has their own Nazca Lines in Blythe, California. The geoglyphs in Blythe are called the Blythe Intaglios and they include giant human figures engraved into the California desert. The geoglyphs date back between 450 and 2,000 years ago and can only be seen from the sky. Researchers suggest the Mojave people made them, but no one knows their purpose.
19 Tool Sites In The Old West
A longstanding debate is whether or not Clovis was America's first culture, but findings at Texas suggests it wasn't. The unusual finds in the north of Austin suggest Clovis isn't the primary culture because the dating reveals evidence of human occupation about 16,700 years ago, which is 3,000 years older than Clovis sites. Fragments of human teeth and over 90 uncovered stone tools are indicative of the Clovis culture, but other finds are very different, or they reminisce Clovis techniques.
18 A Town That Just Disappeared
One of the strangest archaeological sites in America is a pre-Columbian city called Cahokia. Ancient people, known as Mound Builders, built the city and inhabited the area from about A.D. 700 to 1400. Archaeologists unveiled over 120 earthen mounds and burial sites, but the mystery is no one knows what happened to the people as they vanished from the city. Theories include war, drought, diseases, and climate change. There are no records or legends from other tribes about what happened.
17 Norse Coin In America
Archaeologists are baffled by a coin uncovered in 1957 at a Native American settlement in Maine. Archaeologists identified the currency as a 12th-century British penny, but after further investigation, British researchers say the coin is Norse. It's odd as it's the only pre-Columbian Norse artifact found in America. The coin appears to be about 1000 years old, and theories suggest it shows contact between early Norse settlers and mainland Native Americans. If true, it'll change the time frame of the first contact.
16 Steep Villages
The Mesa Verde archaeological site in the southwest is odd because the Pueblo people built villages in the sides of cliffs. The culture didn't have a writing system, but archaeologists can reconstruct the past with oral stories and archaeological remains at the sites. Evidence from recent research suggests the Pueblo people had extensive knowledge of mathematics as they used the golden ratio to help construct a sun temple. Between 850 and 930 AD, the population rapidly dwindled and no one knows the cause.
15 Tools That Were Kept Hidden
A scientist in Oregon made a weird discovery on his property in the Willamette Valley. The cache of 1,000-year-old swords excavated shows they were stashed or hidden for later use. The makers made them with obsidian glass and the odd thing is, the blades were unfinished. Archaeologists suggest this depicts an ancient trade and the half-finished items were transported and swapped for other materials. It's just a theory though, and it's still unclear as to why they were unfinished and stashed away.
14 The Suspense Of Dighton Rock
Archaeologists and academics in other scholar fields can't understand the petroglyphs carved on the Dighton Rock in Massachusetts. More than 100 books and articles talk about the petroglyphs and over 35 hypothesis arose, but no one knows what they mean or who made them. Some explanations suggest Native Americans or even Chinese or Japanese people were behind them. How can that be possible, though? Some researchers say the markings reveal their visits to America, but no one knows for sure what the glyphs mean.
13 Stone Tools At Calico Site
The archaeological site, located outside of the town of Barstow in San Bernardino County is one of the most mysterious spots in America. The thousands of rocks resemble prehistoric tools embedded in the sediments of the shoreline of an ancient Pleistocene Era lake now known as Lake Manix. The exact date is still unclear, but it ranges from 20,000 to 30,000 BC which is a mystery because the age of the artifacts could reveal prehistoric tools, and the early settlement of humans is older than we thought.
12 Village Ruins Of Ancient Dwellers
In the Sonoran Desert, there's an archaeological site called Casa Grande Ruins, and it's fascinating because 2,000 people known as the Ancestral People of the Sonoran Desert built and occupied the massive compound about 1,000 years before vanishing unexpectedly in the 1400s. The dwellers were prehistoric farmers because of the irrigation canals and artifacts found at the site. There's no written language, and the only historical account is from journal entries by Padre Eusebio Kino who visited the ruins in 1694.
11 Oldest Signs Of Humanity At A Tool Site
The channels in Southern California have some of the oldest human occupation sites, and in 2016, a significant discovery was made. On Santa Cruz Island, which is the largest of the Channel Islands, archaeologists excavated three tool-making sites. What's striking is two of the sites are about 11,000 to 12,000 years old. Unusual tools unearthed at the site are traces of seafaring people. The most astonishing ancient find from the excavation is a crescent-shaped tool, but it's still a mystery about their usage in ancient times.
10 America's Stonehenge
For years there've been debates about the use of these rock formations. The Stonehenge found in New Hampshire, outside of Salem, is said to be an ancient settlement. The structure isn't like England's Stonehenge because it has numerous human-made stone chambers. The site also includes walls and other stone structures. There are many debates as to what it is, but the most popular states that Native Americans built it around 2,500 years ago and used it for religious ceremonies.
9 Mysterious Ancient Stone Walls
The Berkeley Mystery Walls stretch for over 50 miles along the hills from Berkeley to San Jose. The structure is a series of stones in place together, and it's a big mystery because no one knows who built them. According to reports, the walls were already there when the Spanish settlers arrived in the area. The arrangement appears to be of prehistoric origin, but no one knows its purpose since they're not high enough to serve as an enclosure or for defence. 4
8 Enormous Complexes In The Desert
Chaco Canyon in New Mexico is one of the most critical pre-Columbian areas in America. The site has a lot of culture and history since the Ancestral Puebloans used the complex as a center of cultural happenings between 850 and 1250 AD. The buildings also align with solar, lunar, and cardinal directions which means the builders knew astronomy. Many of the structures are massive and there are even underground structures. The big mystery his how and why the culture vanished.
7 A Really Old Ancient Mound
The Poverty Point mounds in northeast Louisiana is a puzzle because it's a giant C-shape, and it's older than the Great Wall of China and the Colosseum in Rome. Local hunter-gatherers of the Poverty Point culture constructed the mound which implies a pre-agricultural society. A few archaeoastronomers detected solar alignments and suggested it's the world’s most significant ancient solstice marker. Some scholars say the site had evidence of a social, political, and economic society, but no one knows for sure.
6 Stone Chambers
In the hills in Boston, Massachusetts, there are stone chambers, but the Upton Stone Chamber is more famous because of its shape. It has a 14-foot entrance tunnel and a dome which rises about 12 feet. The ancient dome-like structures are known as “beehive tombs,” but archaeologists haven't uncovered burial remains. No one in the academic field can decipher who built the chamber, but it's astronomically aligned. It was most likely made to observe the setting solstice sun and the Pleiades star system.
5 Conflict At Limestone Cliff Dwelling
In Arizona, there's an ancient site known as Montezuma Castle National Monument. It's 900 years old, and centuries ago, the area was suddenly abandoned by its occupants. Archaeologists couldn't figure out the reasons, but Native American oral histories reveal the occupants left the area because of conflict and death. Archaeologists aren't ruling out this theory, but more evidence is needed. Another argument is burning due to evidence of a massive fire and remains do show blunt trauma before burning.
4 Ancient Egyptians And Africans Possibly Visited America
Ancient cultures visiting international countries sounds far-fetched because they would've had to travel vast distances, but some artifacts reveal ancient cultures could've possibly visited one another. The Davenport Stele suggest ancient Egyptians and Africans may have visited America. The Stele unearthed in a burial mound in Iowa show Egyptian, Iberian-Punic, and Libyan languages. There are also Egyptian carvings, a pyramid, and animals found in Africa. More research needs to be done to decipher the Stele, but imagine what it could uncover.
3 Rock Shelter Has No Age
In Avella, Pennsylvania, a farmer discovered an ancient Native American rock shelter. The site is called Meadowcroft, and it's intriguing because no one can give the place a date yet. In 1973, an archaeologist excavated the site for the first time and concluded the age of the site somewhere between 16,000 and 19,000 years old. There's an ongoing debate as some scholars say Meadowcroft is older than any other Native American place, but studies reveal it could be younger than 16,000 years.
2 Giants Found In Burial Mounds
Ancient people mainly used mounds as burial sites, as archaeologists have discovered old human skeletons underneath the formations. In America, there are many mysterious hills with huge skeletons buried in the dirt. In Arkansas, at the Chichasawba Mound, archaeologists uncovered giant bones and what makes it so unique is the story behind the discovery. The hillock got its name after the chief of the Shawnee tribe who's ancestors say was a giant with astounding strength. Many believe the skeletal remains are of a giant race.
1 Mysterious Petroglyphs
There are ancient petroglyphs on a wide range of boulders near the dry Winnemucca Lake in Nevada. The analysis suggests they're the oldest petroglyphs found in America. The designs are different, some are circular shapes, and others are diamond-like. Archaeologists call the site unique because it has more petroglyphs than anywhere else in the U.S., so far. The glyphs are also about 10,000 years old and the origins and meaning of the designs are still unknown and may remain a mystery.
References: Listverse.com, Westerndigs.org, New York Times.com, Ancientorigins.net, Legends of America.com, Newengland.com, Ancientpages.com, Gaia.com,