We often like to think we know everything about our world, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. For every fact or artifact we’ve unearthed, there are millions more out there just waiting to be found.
After all, we live in a vast, potentially infinite universe that has been around for longer than we could possibly comprehend. Who’s to say that we can ever know it all?
Case in point: these discoveries were hiding in plain sight around the world for thousands, if not millions, of years, but they were only recently discovered—and they’re turning our view of the world upside-down.
1. In 1938, archaeologists reportedly discovered an ancient burial cave deep in the Himalayas. The walls were full of pictures depicting the sky and the stars, suggesting a shocking level of cosmic and scientific awareness.
Using radiocarbon analysis, scientists learned that the caves were inhabited 11 million years ago. They also found 715 stone discs, now called dropa stones, each marked with an intricate series of hieroglyphs. Their meaning, however, has remained a mystery.
At that very same site, the archaeologists also allegedly found the remains of a race of people with abnormally small bodies and large heads. They resembled no other known people and their origin remains a mystery to this day.
2. A married couple was traveling around London, Texas, in 1936 when they found this strange piece of rock connected to a smooth wooden handle. It was, in fact, an iron hammer, but scientists were still baffled. Radiocarbon analysis revealed it was roughly 500 million years old.
Not only would that mean that it predated what we thought was the time that humans first appeared, but it didn’t even show any traces of rust.
3. In 1513, Ottoman admiral and cartography lover Piri Haji Muhiddin, also known as Piri Reis, compiled a map of the world for the purposes of sea travel and military expeditions. Though only a third of it survives, it’s surprisingly accurate.
Scientists say that such a detailed map would be impossible without satellite imagery, so how did Piri Reis manage it? Who knows.
4. Anthropologists discovered the Dogon tribe, located in West Africa’s Burkina Faso, in the 1930s. They were almost completely cut off from the rest of the world, but they have a rich culture full of myths and legends.
They claim that, in ancient times, a race of extraterrestrial-like creatures visited the Earth to tell the Dogon that they actually originate from the star Sirius B, which they call Paul Tolo.
5. The Voynich Manuscript is named after Wilfred Voynich, a dealer of rare books who purchased it and brought it to the public’s attention in 1912. It appears to cover different scientific topics from herbs and cosmology, but it doesn’t appear to be written in any known human language.
Carbon dating places the artifact to be from around 1404 to 1438, but that doesn’t answer the question of where it comes from.
6. Discovered in 1900 in a shipwreck off the Greek coast, the Antikythera navigator appears to be an ancient analog computer, as it’s an intricate series of bronze discs that determine astrological cycles and track the stars in the sky.
It supposedly originated in 100 B.C.E., which is 16 centuries before Galileo’s groundbreaking discoveries, and 1,000 years before other complex devices just like it.
7. A 2012 excavation of Montana’s Dawson County revealed this triceratops horn, which was then given to the University of Georgia for radiocarbon analysis. They estimated that it was only 35,000 years old, which would be weird enough considering that dinosaurs are generally believed to have died 65 million years ago.
What’s even stranger is that, if this triceratops was alive 35,000 years ago, it could have lived alongside humans!
8. The aboriginal Zuni tribe lived in what is now New Mexico over 4,000 years ago. Their language does not resemble any local dialect, but is much closer to Japanese. Modern Japanese people can even understand their language. They also share a similar blood group.
9. Archaeologists in the Mexican Toluca valley discovered this strange statue—a head made out of baked clay—in 1933. Carbon dated between the ninth and thirteenth century B.C.E, it’s consistent with Roman architecture… but how did it end up in Mexico City?
10. The 90-ton boulder known as the Stone of the Covenant was found in 1933 on a hillside in Los Lunas, New Mexico. When the moss on the boulder was wiped away, archaeologists found Hebrew inscriptions. Studies estimate that it’s anywhere between 500 and 2,000 years old, but they have no idea how it got there.
We may never learn the truth about these historical mysteries, but in truth that really only makes them more fascinating.
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