Ancient Rare Objects Found Underground
Lots of rare ancient objects can be found underground. Let's take a look at some of the rarest underground discoveries ever.History
Archeologists and amateurs have made some incredible discoveries which can either reveal valuable information about the past or create entirely new mysteries. From 10 million-year-old teeth to thousands of baffling golden spirals, here are some of the most interesting ancient rare objects found underground.
10. Egyptian Sphinx
Everyone’s seen the Great Sphinx of Giza – the giant limestone statue depicting a mythical creature which combines the strength of a lion with the worldly might of a king – but Egyptian archeologists made a surprising new discovery in September 2018.
While draining groundwater from the Pharaonic temple of Kom Ombo near the southern city of Aswan, a team of archeologists uncovered an intact hidden Sphinx sculpture.
This statue is made of softer sandstone and is a far cry from the giant sphinx we are familiar with as it stands just 15 inches tall and 11 inches wide, but careful excavation has restored it to its original mythical prowess.
The statue probably dates back to the Greco-Macedonian Ptolemaic dynasty which ruled over Egypt from 305BC until 30BC, and the antiquities ministry has vowed to carry out further studies into its purpose.
As the temple of Kom Ombo was built during the reign of Ptolemy VI, this lavish statue was most likely created to adorn the Pharaoh and please the Egyptian gods. Either way, this incredible find is lucky to have been rescued from floodwater and many millennia spent indoors.
9. Danish Spirals
Archeologists in Denmark were truly baffled by the discovery of some bizarre Bronze Age objects during a series of digs in the area of Beoslunde in 2015. This nicknamed ‘golden enigma’ came in the form of 2,000 tiny spirals of tightly wound gold wires each no more than an inch in length, which if combined would make up ½ a pound of solid gold.
Finding gold in Beoslunde is not uncommon as the area is famed for its Bronze Age buried treasure, but these intriguing objects were a real head-scratcher for the team who discovered them. The spirals had been buried in a fur-lined wooden box which had since decomposed, and researchers estimated the objects to date back to around 900 BC.
Because no such discovery has been made before, their true purpose is unknown, but the curator of the Danish National Museum – where the artifacts are now held – has speculated that they may have been decorations designed to imitate the sun.
The priest-king may have adorned his cloak and hat with these unique objects so that their golden glow reflected the sun’s rays, which was a highly sacred symbol during the Bronze Age. The find has encouraged archeologists to begin more digs hoping to unravel the mystery behind this extravagant display of wealth and power.
8. 10 Million-Year-Old-Teeth
The next highly controversial discovery was made in September 2016 at a fossil site in Eppelsheim in Germany, sparking a hotly debated conversation about the origin story of mankind. The unusual objects in the image below may look like dinosaur claws or insects fossilized in amber, but it is in fact two teeth believed to be around 9.7 million years old.
The well-preserved teeth were recovered from sediments, and their incredibly close resemblance to teeth belonging to a fossil of an early human ancestor known as Australopithecus Afarensis or ‘Lucy’ posed important questions about human history.
National Geographic has warned that although the teeth do bear striking similarities to our upper molars, they could well belong to an extinct hominoid primate or ruminant animal. More research is definitely needed, but these ancient teeth prove that we can never know enough about where we came from.
7. Medieval Ring
It’s not always seasoned archeologists who make surprising underground finds, as proven by a 34-year-old man who made an astounding discovery after taking up amateur metal detecting as a hobby.
Mark Thompson had been scouring Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire for just 20 minutes in 2016 when a signal indicated that there was a hidden treasure below the dirt.
Mr Thompson could hardly believe his eyes when he unearthed an ornate gold ring. The ring, which has since been examined by experts, dates back to the 14th century and is set with a sapphire stone similar to one found in the tomb of former Archbishop of Canterbury William Wytlesey who died in 1374.
A ring of such extravagance would have been an incredible show of wealth at the time, and its sides even showed intricate engravings of a female saint and an infant Jesus.
The medieval artifact has since been referred to a coroner to determine whether it should be considered a national treasure, and its burial site right in the heart of Robin Hood’s famous haunt might even suggest some truth behind the legend.
6. Alien Aluminum
Back in 1974, builders working on the shores of the Mures River near the town of Aiud in Communist Romania happened across a strange object buried 33 feet underground, but the discovery was not made public until 1995 when it became the center of a controversial conspiracy.
The chunk of lightweight metal is just 7 inches in length and 5 inches in width with a thickness of 3 inches, but when testing revealed it was made from 90% aluminum, alarm bells sounded.
The unrecognizable object was estimated to be a staggering 250,000 years old, but as metallic aluminum was not produced by mankind until just 200 years ago, this discovery became one baffling mystery.
The ‘Auid Aluminium Wedge’ has remained unidentified over the years, but its distinct concavities seem to suggest it had been manufactured possibly as part of some larger piece of machinery.
Unsurprisingly, conspiracy theorists have claimed that the object is concrete evidence of some ancient alien species which was far more technologically advanced than humankind. Others have tried to reason that the wedge was part of a WW2 German aircraft, but that still doesn’t account for its age.
Nowadays, it is displayed at the History Museum of Cluj-Napoca in Transylvania with a sign that reads ‘origin still unknown’… so your guess is as good as mine.
5. Thracian Chariot
Karanovo in Bulgaria was the site of an exciting find for a team of archeologists who uncovered this rare find back in 2008. The image below reveals a 2000-year-old chariot from the Thracian era.
The wooden chariot was covered in bronze and would have been decorated with scenes from Thracian mythology which are now difficult to see in its decomposing state. Alongside the chariot were two complete horse skeletons as the animals which pulled the chariot would’ve been ceremoniously killed before the burial.
And in 2009 the team made a further discovery. A brick tomb containing the remains of a man dressed in armor with several items like gold coins and a silver cup suggested that the body was a nobleman or ruler who was deliberately buried nearby.
Representing prestige, power and authority, it was common for ceremonious chariot burials to take place in ancient Thrace, but the near-complete condition is rare. Looters often attempt to uncover these burial sites to sell the precious artifacts on the black market, so finding and excavating this chariot before it could be pillaged is incredibly lucky.
4. Viking Sword
The Viking age is shrouded in legend and folklore, so any evidence of the lives of these ancient Scandinavian warriors is highly valued by archeologists. Surprisingly, a metal-detecting hobbyist from Loppi in Finland uncovered an astounding Viking sword on his own farmstead in September 2017.
Tuomas Pietilä happened upon the sword alongside part of an axe blade, pottery and various burned bone fragments which suggested the site of a crematory burial. Pietilä immediately contacted the National Board of Antiquities who carefully removed the objects and dated the sword itself to the end of the Viking Era around the year 1000.
The rare discovery gives insight into Iron Age life in the region of Loppi, and collaborative efforts between its finder and the national board have provided archeologists with a well-preserved specimen.
In the same month, a second Viking sword was found in the mountains of Oppland County in Norway by a pair of Reindeer hunters who noticed the hilt sticking out from the rocks.
The sword had been almost perfectly maintained by the high altitude at over 5000 feet above sea level, and even an isolated find like this can take us one step closer to a better understanding of Iron-Age life.
3. Scottish Stone Balls
For more than 200 years, the bizarre objects in the image below have been puzzling archeologists from Ireland to Norway.
Over 500 of these extra-terrestrial-looking stone balls have turned up, with the most prolific area of discovery being the Orkney Islands and mainland Scotland, where the Scottish National Museum in Edinburgh houses the world’s largest collection.
Researchers have summarized that the stone balls were made by Neolithic communities across the northeast of Scotland; however, their exact purpose still remains a mystery. Various functions have been proposed over the years with the most plausible being that these palm-sized enigmatic balls were used as weapons or simply owned as markers of social status.
The objects are not standardized in size or shape and each ball has its own unique style and characteristics such as knobs and spikes or intricately carved patterns, making them an impressive form of Neolithic art.
We may not know why they exist, but painstaking 3D renderings by the National Museums Scotland allow you to examine these strange artifacts in detail to speculate for yourself.
Happening upon the biggest treasure trove in the history of Japan isn’t something archeologists can expect every day, but one team literally hit the jackpot in March 2018 when they made the incredible discovery in the image below.
This giant clay pitcher was unearthed in the city of Hasuda during excavations of the medieval epoch of the warring kingdoms during the second half of the 15th or 16th centuries and is thought to belong to a former Samurai.
The 27-inch pot contained 260,000 copper coins which would have been connected by a rope through the characteristic hole in the middle of each coin at the time of burial sometime after the XV century.
Rough estimations have valued the hoard at the equivalent of around $25,000 at the time, and it is likely the owner of this treasure trove was in the upper ranks of permanent employment under the Shōgun.
Archeologists have theorized that the collection of savings was buried either as an offering to the deity of the Earth or as a means of safekeeping during troubled times – but take this as a reminder to crack open your piggy bank before it’s too late!
Before we investigate the most amazing rare object, here’s an honorable mention: the Roman Dodecahedrons. If you thought the Scottish stone balls were baffling, these interesting ancient objects will blow your mind.
Around 100 of these strange artifacts dating back to the 2nd or 3rd century AD have been found over the years anywhere from Wales, Hungary, Spain, Italy, Germany and France. The Roman Dodecahedron can be identified by its 12 bronze or stone pentagonal faces each with a circular hole of varying size and knobs on each corner – but what does it all mean?
As there is no mention of such an object in contemporary accounts or imagery, speculation has varied from candlestick holders, dice, knitting aid or even measuring tools – although the latter is unlikely as the dodecahedron is not standardized in size, ranging from 4-11cm.
Their discovery in coin hoards has also suggested they were of some value, but their existence continues to pose more questions than answers.
1. Ancient Boulders
In May 2015, German granite supplier VGB Natursteine made an incredibly rare discovery near the Bavarian Forest in the form of some seriously impressive buried stones. These giant ‘woolsack-weathered boulders’ range in size and shape with heights of almost 20 feet, the biggest of which weighed 72 tonnes and is over 1500 cubic feet in size.
Each boulder carefully removed from the quarry originated around 300 million years ago and was formed when a section of the planet's crust known as a ‘granite massif’ was displaced. Rainwater then penetrated the surface strata of this huge section of rock, decomposing the edges and corners of the topmost layers through a process of ‘spheroidal weathering’.
Over time, this chemical weathering process resulted in the formation of spherical layers of decayed rock which then peel or ‘spall’ off as concentric shells like layers of a peeled onion, creating rounded boulders known as Woolsack stones.
These uniformly rounded boulders have a solid granite core and a slightly rough surface, and their discovery demonstrates one mean feat of mother nature. VGB Natursteine is now listing these huge boulders for sale on their site, with the intention of decorating parks, kindergartens and swimming pools.
Landscape boulders of this size can cost anywhere between $100-$600 per ton on average, so that rock is likely tens of thousands of dollars. But can you imagine the shipping costs?
If you were amazed at these ancient rare objects found underground, you might want to read this article about incredible metal detector finds and this article about underground discoveries that changed History! Thanks for reading!