Ancient Artifacts Claimed To Be From the Future

Lots of strange artifacts have been found over the years, but many aren't what they seem.


On December 23rd, 2015, the website Mysterious Universe posted something that left netizens scratching their heads. It was an image apparently showing an "ancient tablet" complete with rudimentary button-like keys that mysteriously resembled a 90s cell phone. The post claimed that the discovery had been made by archaeologists digging in the city of Fuschlam See in the Austrian state of Salzburg.


Although crucial details like the names of the archeologists or any official comments from the dig were nowhere to be seen, the website also bolstered a conspiracy theory that the object was concrete evidence of alien life.

The post quoted author Zecharia Sitchin, who claimed that the 800-year-old cellphone proved that an alien race known as the "Anunnaki" had come from Nibiru, the rumored planet X beyond Neptune, and introduced the Sumerian civilization of Mesopotamia to advanced technology.


It might sound totally whack, and that’s because it is. The “800-year-old cell phone” was actually just a piece of art created by a German sculptor Karl Weingärtner, who specializes in replicas of ancient art. This particular piece, nicknamed BabyloNokia, was created in 2012 to represent the evolution of information transfer from the ancient world to the present.

After posting the piece for sale on Facebook, the image started to circulate online, and the myth was born. The internet is full of hoaxes like this one, but for every fake, there’s another genuine mystery that confused the world, and this article will investigate some of the very best

2100-year-old iPhone

Let’s forget about fossilized Nokia for now and take a look at something even more mind-blowing instead: a 2,100-year-old iPhone. This might look like your beloved smartphone, but could the strange 7x3-inch object really be an early incarnation of 21st-century tech?


This extraordinary discovery was made in September 2019 by archeologists digging in an area dubbed the Russian Atlantis. The Ala-Tey necropolis in the so-called Sayan Sea is a 240-square-mile man-made reservoir located upstream of the Sayano-Shushenskaya Dam, Russia’s biggest power plant. The reservoir is usually submerged in water, but in the summer months the water level drops by nearly 60ft, giving the ground a desert-like appearance.

According to historians, the "iPhone" dates back to the ancient Xiongnu empire, a huge nation of nomads that ruled that area from the 3rd century BC to the late 1st century AD. The so-called iPhone was actually found inside the grave of an unidentified woman nicknamed Natasha, who lived before the birth of Christ.

A total of 110 burials have been discovered so far on this island in the reservoir, but the strange object commanded special attention: was Natasha an ancient time traveler? Not quite, it turns out she was just a bit of a fashionista.


According to experts, the smartphone-like block is actually just a belt buckle, and a posh one at that. The buckle is carved from black gemstone jet rock, with a regular pattern of semi-precious stones like turquoise and mother-of-pearl inlaid. Good luck taking a good selfie on that thing.

Helicopter Hieroglyphs

When you look at the 3000-year-old Egyptian hieroglyphs in the image below, which were discovered in the pharaoh Seti I’s temple in Abydos, Egypt in 2016, what do you see?


It might seem impossible, but they bear an uncanny resemblance to helicopters, airplanes, and other modern aircraft. As the mysterious writings (which became known as the helicopter hieroglyphs) baffled historians, conspiracies about how such futuristic technology ended up etched in stone spread like wildfire.

To depict these things, the Egyptians must have laid eyes on them first, right? This could mean only one thing: time travel. According to conspiracists, visitors from some far-flung advanced planet must have brought the details of the aircraft to the Egyptians. The extra-terrestrials in question were also allegedly behind the building of the pyramids, as well as other famous monuments like Stonehenge.

However, skeptics have rightly pointed out that the Egyptians recorded most events to proudly share their achievements. You’d have thought that being visited by aliens and informed about technology from the distant future would’ve been recorded somewhere other than on the roof of some forgotten tomb.


So, is there a logical explanation behind these baffling hieroglyphs? It turns out they’re just the result of an ancient typo. According to the blog RainisCool, what we’re actually looking at is two sets of hieroglyphs, which were accidentally overlapped. Construction of the tomb was started under the rule of Seti I, whose name was carved first, but when his son Ramesses II completed it, his name was then written over the top.

2500-year-old Segway

Of all the items you’d expect to turn up in a dig from 2,500 years ago, a tiny Segway is probably not one of them. Yet, the ancient object in the image below seems to defy all logical expectations.


This mind-boggling find comes from the Celtic Hillfort at Horné Orešany in the Trnava district of western Slovakia, in the Little Carpathian Mountains above the village. The hillfort was first discovered in the early part of this century by so-called treasure hunters who damaged the site with their illegal excavations.

According to archaeologists, the vast majority of the remaining hoard dates back circa 5-1 century B.C. in the early European La Tène iron-age era. Surely, even the smartest minds of this ancient civilization could not have predicted that humans would be whizzing around on a two-wheeled balance board that wasn’t even invented until 2001?


Unfortunately, the futuristic find is indeed too good to be true. The hillfort showed clear evidence of blacksmithing activities, and most of the items found there were genuine Celtic jewelry.

This so-called Segway is actually just a very, very old brooch. In fact, a total of 11 animal-and-human-headed brooches just like these were found in the hillfort, and they just so happen to resemble the modern tech thanks to their bronze, wheel-like fastenings.

2000-year-old Bike

Our ancestors didn’t secretly invent the Segway, but how do you explain a 2000-year-old carving of someone riding a bicycle, considering this method of transport wasn’t even invented until the 19th century?

The baffling carving was discovered in India’s Panchavarnaswamy Temple by Praveen Mohan, who documented the find on his YouTube channel in July 2018. Mohan and various other conspiracists initially claimed that the very existence of the carving seemed impossible, considering the temple is mentioned in a text called Tevaram, which dates back to the 7th century.


The temple may indeed be ancient, but that’s not to say it hasn’t received a helping hand over the years to keep it in good condition. In fact, some say that parts of the temple were renovated about 100 years ago when the mass-market bicycle would have been a novelty in Tiruchi.

Amateur historian Dr. R Kalaikovan explained that the sculptor may have seen someone on a bicycle and decided to have it recorded in stone. Sure, but I like to imagine the sculptor also deliberately planned this as a 100-year-old rick-roll…

Ancient Greek Laptop

Maybe it’s our obsession with the digital world that motivates us to find modern technology in ancient artifacts, but the internet was aflame with speculation over one Greek sculpture. The stele, which belongs to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, California, dates back to about 100 BC, but it first gained online attention in 2014 for its depiction of what seemed to be an ancient laptop complete with two USB ports.


Let’s get the facts straight first: what exactly is this sculpture all about? It’s actually a traditional funeral marker designed to depict the deceased individual, in this case, the reclining woman, in a vibrant way. The child in the sculpture is likely a slave judging by her clothing, while the woman being immortalized in stone was likely of noble birth, based on her ornate jewelry. And that object isn’t a laptop at all.

According to some scholars, the woman is just touching the lid of a very shallow jewelry chest. There’s an even more logical explanation though, which is that the laptop is actually a wax tablet that the ancient Greeks used to write letters and messages. This common object can be found throughout Greek artwork, and is often seen being used with a stylus; the Goddess Athena was even depicted using one.


So why the holes? Some have speculated that they may once have held perishable items or even some sort of decorative wooden façade, but exactly what graced this particular sculpture remains unclear. Besides, anyone will tell you that USB ports aren’t even round.

Futuristic Ancient Hindu Temple

Anyone gazing up at the foot of the statues in the image below will probably recognize an all-too-familiar sight: while one woman talks on the phone, the other is apparently checking her socials on an iPad, just like the 21st Century. Except, these statues date back almost 1000 years to a time when staying socially connected required actual face-to-face conversations.


The statues in question can be found near the town of Palitana in Gujarat, India, where some 860 ancient Jain temples grace the top of a solitary, rocky hill called Shatrunjaya. The temples can only be reached by pilgrims willing to climb nearly 4,000 steps to pay homage at the many tuks (or temples) which are adorned with statues of deities and tirthankaras, which are like the buddhas of the Jain faith.


By now you should know that things are rarely as they seem when it comes to ancient artifacts wielding modern tech, and aliens are not involved. Although we can’t be sure, it’s likely that what looks like an iPad is really just a stone tablet that is being used to write a letter, much like the woman on the Greek stele.

As for the mobile phone, many of the other statues like these show musicians with rudimentary instruments, which is what the smartphone-wielding woman might actually be doing, especially considering the drum-like object in her other hand.

Ancient Handbags

One of the more convincing conspiracy theories which support the whole time-traveling alien idea focuses on an unusual symbol that has cropped up in ancient artifacts from all over the world: the designer handbag. This modern fashion symbol can be identified in artwork, sculptures, and carvings from Mesopotamia to Mexico, and there are even depictions of Egyptian Gods sporting the accessory.

Perhaps the earliest incarnation of the handbag can be found at Turkey’s Gobleki Tepe, the oldest known temple on Earth which dates back to 11,000 BC, where one of the many stone carvings situated there depicts a row of three bags with obvious straps.


Considering the earliest handbag as we know it didn’t really appear until the early 1900s, it seems inconceivable that these ancient civilizations secretly invented the object independent of each other. Conspiracy theorists have been quick to link the motif to the Annunaki, the fabled race responsible for bestowing our ancestors with such advanced knowledge, but perhaps there’s a more logical explanation.

Although it may not be certain, it seems there is another explanation for the mysteriously recurring symbol that doesn’t directly involve extra-terrestrials or time travel. The most popular theory is that the handbag is not a fashion accessory at all, but a straightforward representation of the cosmos. In this instance, the semicircle or handle represents the hemisphere of the sky, while the solid square base represents the Earth.


This actually makes a lot of sense, considering these ancient handbags are usually pictured in the hands of deities and Gods, who would be responsible for the unification of the Earth and sky, and the material and non-material elements of existence. Either that or the gods were seriously ahead of their time when it comes to the latest trends.

Ancient Astronaut Of Salamanca

The Cathedral of Salamanca in Spain is adorned with a vast array of traditional stone carvings, among which visitors will find the mysterious likeness of a tethered astronaut floating above their heads, on the northern façade. It’s enough to make anyone do a double-take, especially considering the cathedral was built between 1513 and 1733, long before humankind sent anyone into space wearing a now-iconic spacesuit.


Of course, as more people noticed the Salamanca astronaut, its unexplained existence fuelled endless speculation about ancient space travel and apparent interventions from advanced alien races. Baffled tourists gathered beneath the stone carvings to marvel about how ancient stonemasons could’ve possibly predicted man’s great venture into outer space. Spoiler alert: they didn’t.

As it turns out, the astronaut is not thousands of years old as it might appear; it’s actually been around for less than 30. As with many old and crumbling buildings, parts of the Cathedral were due for a restoration back in 1992. Apparently, it’s a tradition of cathedral builders and restorers to make their own additions or carvings to the façade they’re working on as a sort of signature, and that’s exactly what quarry man Jeronimo Garcia did.

After receiving the go-ahead, Garcia added a number of vibrant carvings including a dragon eating an ice cream, a dog, a crayfish, and an astronaut floating among the vines.


Considering space travel was one of the most historically significant things to happen since the church was built, it made sense to immortalize it in stone. And it was a clever way to confuse future tourists, too!

If you were amazed at these ancient artifacts claimed to be from the future, you might want to read our articles about architecture mysteries and about artifacts that prove past advanced civilizations existed. Thanks for reading!

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