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07 June 2024 ( 144 views )
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People Are Sharing Curious Archaeological Finds, Here Are The 76 Most Intriguing

The idea that human civilization has been around for thousands of years can seem pretty abstract until you come face to face with material evidence of something made a millennium before you were born.

So to help give you a little perspective, we have gathered a collection of interesting, fascinating, and downright cool archeological discoveries from around the world. So get comfortable as you scroll through this list of museum-worthy discoveries, be sure to upvote your favorite posts and share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below. We also got in touch with archeologist Arie Amaya-Akkermans to learn more.

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#1 This Is A 3200-Year-Old Attendance Sheet Found In Deir El-Medina, Egypt. Reasons For Worker Absence Include “Embalming Brother”, “Brewing Beer” And “Bitten By Scorpion”

Image credits: Alison Fisk

#2 This Is A 2000-Year-Old Dog Paw Print

This is an approximately 2000-year-old Roman roof tile with a dog paw print on it. After being formed it was left to dry on the ground and a dog stepped on it while the material was still wet.

Found this in the Roman bathhouse museum in Heerlen, The Netherlands, while on holiday.

It’s a museum built around the excavation site of the oldest building on Dutch soil. A bathhouse was used by the wealthy to enjoy hot and cold baths, pools, saunas, steam rooms, and massages. This particular one was discovered about 150 years ago in the Southern part of The Netherlands. The south part (up until the river the Rhine) was occupied by the Romans during the time of the Roman Empire.

Image credits: tthirzaa

#3 Some Of The Numerous Handprints That Were Carved Into The Soft Sandstone Surface Of The White Mountain, In Wyoming, By The Ancestral Eastern Shoshone, 1000-1800 CE

Bored Panda got in touch with archeologist Arie Amaya-Akkermans and he was kind enough to answer some of our questions. First and foremost, we were curious to hear what common misconceptions laypeople like myself often have about archeology. 

“First of all, archaeologists do not excavate dinosaur fossils! That’s the work of Paleontologists. And secondly, the myth that archaeologists are Indiana Jones types. It is true that some kinds of archaeologists, like physical and zooarchaeologists, deal with bones, but the information they gather from them, although fascinating, doesn’t lead to the kind of spectacular answers people in pop culture expect.”

#4 Letter By A Woman To Her Deceased Husband, Discovered In The Man’s Grave Along With A Lock Of Her Hair. Korea, 1586

The letter says: “You used to always say to me, ‘Let’s live together until our hair turns white and die on the same day.’ So how could you go ahead and leave me behind?” 

Image credits: Andong National Univerisity Museum

#5 Archaeologists Have Made A Rare Find In Nördlingen, Bavaria: During Excavations, Experts Discovered A Bronze Sword More Than 3,000 Years Old

 This is so well preserved “that it almost still shines”.

It is estimated to belong to the late 14th century BC and thus to the Middle Bronze Age.

The sword now discovered came from a grave provided with rich bronze objects. A man, a woman, and a youth were buried in it. It is still unclear what relationship the people may have had with one another.

Image credits: arkeofili

#6 A Roman Bead That Was Recently Found By The Vindolanda Trust At The Ruins Of Vindolanda Fort In Northern England

Image credits: VindolandaTrust

“Bones give a lot of information about a person’s (or an animal’s) nutrition, the economic history of their societies, their pathologies, circumstances of death, and the environments they lived in, but the question of human origins is still far away from resolution, especially because it cannot be solved — insofar as our complex origins are composed of many different beginnings, and given that we created ourselves, we have many origins. About Indiana Jones: It is a caricature of colonial archaeology,” he shared with Bored Panda. 

#7 A Mammoth Tusk Just Found In The Arctic

Image credits: taykaybo

#8 A 1,700-Year-Old Roman-Era “Good Shepard” Gold Ring Bearing An Engraving Of A Boy Holding A Sheep On His Shoulders, An Image Used By Early Christians To Symbolise Jesus

Image credits: Israel Antiquities Authority

#9 A Ceramic Jar Filled With Thousands Of Bronze Coins Was Unearthed At The Site Of A 15th-Century Samurai’s Residence Just North Of Tokyo, Japan

Image credits: Saitama Cultural Deposits Research Corporation

“The cliche of white men with fedora hats and servants. Not all archaeologists are excavating; some are in museums, others are working in archives, or work as cultural theorists, heritage experts, or processing data for survey technologies. But most importantly, since the appearance of “Ancient Aliens” on Netflix, there’s the idea that archaeologists are busy with the question of extraterrestrial life, but that’s far from the truth.”

#10 I Found This Elizabeth I Penny While Metal Detecting Yesterday. It’s Only 14 Mm In Diameter

Image credits: poshjosh1999

#11 Medieval Gold Ring I Just Found

I am not 100% sure of the age but believe it to be the 15th century, although it could be a lot later.

Image credits: tombalol

#12 Viking Ice Skates, Made From Leather And Horse-Bone, Found In York

We discovered 42 pairs of Viking-age ice skates in York – the majority were made from horse leg bones although cattle leg bones were also used.

Image credits: JORVIK Viking Centre

“Archaeology in fact is heavily invested in de-bunking pseudo-archaeology because its theories are often, and not in completely transparent ways, connected with white supremacy around the belief that ancient non-Western societies couldn’t be as technologically advanced. Lastly, archaeology isn’t just about the ancient past. Archaeology could be sometimes also about the recent past, or even about the future, it could treat the 20th century as much as the Middle Ages.”

#13 This Silver Pendant I Found While Metal Detecting Is Dated 227 Years Ago Today

Image credits: Silver_Winged

#14 In 2000, Archaeologists Discovered A Long Lost Egyptian City Heracleion That Was Abandoned And Sunk Into The Sea For More Than 1200 Years

Among the underwater ruins were 64 ships, 700 anchors, a treasure trove of gold coins, statues standing at 16 feet, and most notably the remains of a massive temple to the god Amun-Gereb, and a tiny sarcophagus for an animal. 

These magnificent statues were recovered from the depths of Aboukir Bay by the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology, under the direction of Franck Goddio. With the support of the Hilti Foundation, these statues have found their rightful place.

Image credits: Christoph Gerigk

#15 A Gallic Bronze Helmet In The Shape Of A Swan, Found By Archeologists In Tintignac, France, In 2004 (4th-2nd Century BCE)

Image credits: reddit.com

“The tools and methodologies of course would change, but today as much as archaeology studies the Babylonians and the Greeks, it is also interested in the modern ruins of Detroit or Beirut, the garbage of American cities, the bombardment of Gaza, or the social landscapes of mining. Christopher Witmore, a prominent American archaeologist, correctly points out that archaeology is the only discipline that has an adjective, “archaios” (ancient), rather than a noun, as its prefix.”

“From this, we learn how unconventional its position in the sphere of modern knowledge is. Archaeology is about human duration rather than antiquity (says another archaeologist, Dan Hicks). Archaeologists today are part of a cultural wave of materialists and posthumanists, including philosophers, environmentalists, contemporary artists, and social scientists, trying to understand our time — contemporaneity, risk society, the imbalance.”

#16 Incredible Rare Roman Statues Found In HS2 Rail Construction Dig

Image credits: High Speed Two Limited

#17 This Archaeological Wall Of Engravings I Found While Hiking

Image credits: MohammadJacob

#18 Amid A Drought, The Dinosaur Valley State Park Has Discovered Dinosaur Footprints That Have Historically Been Covered By Water And Sediment. They Date Back More Than 113 Million Years

Image credits: Dinosaur Valley State Park – Friends

Naturally, we were curious to hear how he ended up in this fascinating field. “I didn’t arrive at archaeology in the traditional pathway: I was always sensitive to archaeological material and discourses, and in general, thinking about the past, because of a background in Classics, but after many years working with contemporary art, particularly in the Middle East, I was excited by the ways in which contemporary artists engaged with the remote past,” he shared with Bored Panda.

“In a way, there was this intuition that it was a part of the present, materially, politically, and intellectually. This suspicion was confirmed by archaeological theory of the last thirty years. So I began becoming more informed about extended conversations between art, archaeology, and philosophy. In the end, it wasn’t the excavations or the magnificent temples of the past that really blew me away, but a discipline that thrives in its own paradoxes, its uncertainty, and the awareness of the impossibility of many of its projects.”

#19 Mosaics Of A Roman Villa Were Found Under A Vineyard In Negrar, Italy

Image credits: Comune di Negrar di Valpolicella

#20 My Friend Just Found This Little Statue While Digging In His Own Garden

The archeologists from the museum told him that it is probably from a grave dating back to 3-4000 years ago. It has been found in Castell’ Arquato, PC, Italy. He proceeded to give it to the Museum Of Parma.

Image credits: lodeluxMeaLux

#21 17th Century Boots, Certamen Equestre

Image credits: Göran Schmidt

“Though archaeological facts are “true” and “certain” in the eyes of the public, who expects to find in them the naked truth about our past, the truth is that all facts in archaeology are interpretations, they belong in certain models, paradigms and theories about the past, but when tested against the whole of reality, they’re poor replacement for the excitement, agony and uncertainty of living with the past.”

“There are other disciplines that deal with this of course, but in my mind, only archaeology is preoccupied with how these things are experienced not only by humans, but also by our monuments, our landscapes, and even by things we cannot see, because they’ve been buried thousands of years ago, or 6 months ago after an earthquake, or forgotten in the trenches of a civil war. This paints also a picture of a science that doesn’t have clear borders or objects of study, and well, that’s true, it’s one of its strengths.”

#22 Archaeologists In Northern Spain Accidentally Uncovered A 2,000-Year-Old Roman City That Had Been Completely Lost To History

The researchers were shocked by their discovery of this “monumental” city with no known name and no mention in any historical record.

Image credits: Gobierno de Aragón

#23 2000-Year-Old Green Serpentine Stone Mask Found At The Base Of Pyramid Of The Sun, Teotihuacán, Mexico

Image credits: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia

#24 My Buddy Threw His Detector Down And Started This Wild And Crazy Dance. I Asked Him What He Found, But He Couldn’t Speak. He Had To Point To It

Image credits: Buck_Thorn

Given the host of new things found every year and the fact that the past is finite, we were curios to learn just how much there is still “out there.” “I think the answer really depends on what one believes archaeology will find or ought to find. Is there so much more to say about the Egyptian pyramids, Babylonian cities, and the Mayas? Yes, absolutely. But the modern age, although it is the birthplace of archaeology, has also been incredibly destructive for archaeological sites. On the way to knowledge, we have plundered and destroyed so much. So my belief is that we should focus on understanding not only what we have, but also what we have done.”

“Modern archaeological destruction is part of the story that archaeology will tell in the future. There are museums that hold tens of thousands of artifacts that have never been studied, there’s too much stuff, the publication is very slow, and major scientific discoveries are rare. We still don’t have a clear picture of what we have done. I’m not advocating for an end to excavations, but we could definitely excavate a lot less.”

#25 A 2000-Year-Old Glass Mosaic, Founded In The City Of Zeugma, Turkey

Image credits: zeugma.packhum.org

#26 The Mask Of Agamemnon Found In Tomb V In Mycenae By Heinrich Schliemann In 1876

Gold mask known as the “Mask of Agamemnon”. This mask depicts the imposing face of a bearded nobleman. It is made of a gold sheet with repoussé details. Two holes near the ears indicate that the mask was held in place of the deceased’s face with twine. The authenticity of the mask has been formally questioned due to the high level of detail, such as the beard and ears. No other mask of its type has a similar amount of detail.

Image credits: Xuan Che

#27 The Horned Helm Of Henry VIII. Commissioned In 1511 As Part Of A Suit Of Armor That Was Gifted To King Henry VIII By The Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I

Image credits: Geni

“Something that is fascinating right now, for example, is the application of digital archaeology and artificial intelligence to study archaeological sites and artifacts without the invasive, destructive nature of excavations. In fact, there’s an incredible amount of archaeological knowledge we have from photography, video, and aerial surveys of archaeological sites.” 

“I remember for example when David Gill and Christopher Chippindale, experts on the antiquities market, harshly criticized American curator Pat Getz-Preziosi’s writing on Cycladic art, claiming that so many secrets of the Cycladic islands are yet to be revealed. But according to Gill and Chippindale, more than 80% of the sites have been completely destroyed by looters. So the archaeological imagination (and ambition) might be infinite, but archaeological heritage is very much a limited edition. An object might look in a museum, but a destroyed site cannot be fixed.”

#28 The Earliest Swords So Far Known In The World, Found At Arslantepe Mound In Turkey

The swords, which are dated back to between 3300 and 3000 BCE, are composed of arsenic-copper alloy and among them, three swords were beautifully inlaid with silver.

Image credits: Klaus-Peter Simon

#29 A Viking Sword Found At A High Altitude

Image credits: Secrets Of The Ice

#30 I Actually Found A Medieval Silver Treasure Yesterday. 1 Penning From About 1165. It’s A Lifetime Find. I Contacted My Archaeologist About It

Image credits: reddit.com

“There are avenues that archaeology is exploring today which I feel are incredibly innovative and intellectually revolutionary. For example, the work of people like Christopher Witmore or Oliver Harris is very different from one another, and their ideas that the past is made by human and non-human things, and the implication for both theory and practice that we’re not unique in the universe (as humans), neither are so totally differentiated from other species or from our landscapes and monument.”

“Rather, we have all emerged together, and are constantly evolving, in relation to each other, in really complex assemblages of time, memory, space, life, death, matter, ritual, etc. To understand these relations, at the very surface of our world, so full of contradictions and paradoxes, seems to me more interesting and adventurous than excavating our way down to the magma.” You can find more of Arie Amaya-Akkermans’ work on InstagramX, and his personal page and you can find a link to the exhibition at the Sadberk Hanim Museum here

#31 The Capstone Of The Pyramid Of Amenemhat III, 1860 BC – 1814 BC

Image credits: Chirphy

#32 Some Things I Found While Metal Detecting The Mountains Of Vermont

Highlights include a musket part, a pair of 1700’s shoe buckle frames, and a 1806 Spanish silver half-reales!

Image credits: Silver_Winged

#33 At The Penn Museum Excavations At Nimrud, Iraq, Archaeologists Uncovered A Door Threshold Of The Assyrian King Adad-Nerari III (811-783 BCE) With A Well-Preserved Cuneiform Inscription

Image credits: Michael Danti

#34 First-Time Metal Detecting. Found An Over 100-Year-Old Time Capsule

Image credits: Gtclem0

#35 My 200-Year-Old House Was Used As A Hospital During The American Civil War. These Were Found In Or Around It By Myself

Image credits: Sonof_Lugh

#36 Archaeologists In Alexandria, Egypt Discovered A Tunnel That May Lead To The Long-Lost Tomb Of Cleopatra

Image credits: Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

#37 This Is Why We Love Glacial Archaeology! See How Happy We Are When We Get To Hold An Arrow, Which Has Been Lost In The Ice For 1500 Years

The arrow was discovered between the stones in the scree. It was found near the lower edge of the ice, but was probably lost in the snow further up the slope. When it later melted out, it was transported downslope by meltwater and ended up on the ground where we found it.

The arrow has probably been exposed a few times after it was lost in the snow, as the fletching is gone and the sinew and tar are not perfectly preserved. Still, the preservation is pretty awesome.

Image credits: secretsoftheice

#38 An Ancient Clay Tablet Found In Uruk (Warka), Southern Iraq

Inscribed with a Cuneiform script and 3 geometric circles containing astronomical calculations, dated to the ancient Babylonian period (2004-1595 BC). Iraqi Museum, Babylonian Gallery.

Image credits: The-Arabian-Guy

#39 Found This Fossil Today

Image credits: Im-A-Scared-Child

#40 Mosaic On The Floor Depicting The Catasterism Of Orion In The House Of Jupiter, Regio V (Late 2nd Century BC)

Image credits: Pompeii – Parco Archeologico

#41 We Found A Sword While Making A Road Next To Our Property

It was found in Slovenia where used to be the Habsburg monarchy / Illyrian provinces people have been saying there were stables on the place where the sword was found.

Image credits: KizziQ

#42 A Centuries-Old Wooden Statue Was Recently Discovered By A Group Of Dutch Shrimp Fishermen Off The Coast Of Texel

A municipal archaeologist for that region believes that the statue came from a warship, possibly during the 80 Years’ War, which stretched from the mid-1500s to mid-1600s.

Image credits: VictorAyal82

#43 Father Found This Very Unexpected Find Today In Lithuania – A 1904 Morgan Silver Dollar

Image credits: onepieceisreal100

#44 Executioner’s Sword With An Inscription That Reads “When I Raise This Sword, So I Wish That This Poor Sinner Will Receive Eternal Life”. Germany, Late 17th Century

Image credits: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John L. Severance

#45 Found An Arrowhead In A Dried-Up Stream

Many people recommended that I contact an archeologist, so I did! Here’s what he had to say about my find. The point is a variant of a Waubesa Contracting Stem. The point type was typically made during the Woodland time period (500 BC – 1700 AD).

Image credits: awkwardlytallguy

#46 A Gold Bar With Mint Marks, Recovered From The Spanish Treasure Ship “Atocha” Which Sank In 1622

Image credits: itsbissell

#47 This German-Made 12th Century Blade, Adorned In Sweden, Was Discovered In 1975 Buried Under A Tree In Siberia, Russia

It’s theorized that it could have belonged to Ivan the Terrible, and came from the royal armory as a gift at the time of the conquest of Siberia.

Image credits: TSiberian Times

#48 After More Than 20 Mosquete Bullets We Found The Silver

Spanish 1/2 real hammered coin 1600-1700. In the middle silver coin from Brazil in 1850 and in the top is a big Portuguese coin from 1809.

Image credits: EstablishmentNo9815

#49 Found This 100-Year-Old Coca-Cola Bottle Dated December 25, 1923

Image credits: Truthoftitan

#50 Today, I Found A 1893 Wedding Ring In Virginia

Image credits: dcraun

#51 Not Exactly Metal Detecting, But I Figured You All Would Appreciate It. More Than 120-Year-Old Rum Jug I Found In A Sunken Ship

Image credits: princepolecat

#52 I Found This Arrowhead While Digging A Hole In My Backyard

Image credits: Jonahw8

#53 This Silver Pin I Found While Metal Detecting Is Called A Luckenbooth Brooch. Scottish Tradition But Likely Traded With Native Americans 300 Years Ago

Image credits: Silver_Winged

#54 I Found A Roman Coin While Out Walking

Image credits: Demongeeks8

#55 Ukrainian Soldiers Dug Trenches And Discovered Ancient Amphoras Dated To Around 4-5 Centuries BC. Artifacts Were Transferred To The Odessa Archaeological Museum

Image credits: 126brigadatro

#56 Back In 2014, The Secrets Of The Ice Program Found An Exceptional Pre-Viking Ski, 1300 Years Old, At The Digervarden Ice Patch In Norway

The ski was complete, including the binding – one of only two skis from prehistory in this condition. Ever since, we have monitored the ice patch, hoping and praying for the second ski of the pair to melt out. Now it has happened! The new ski is even better preserved than the first one! It is an unbelievable find.

Image credits: secretsoftheice

#57 Migration Period Ring Sword, IV-VII AD

Image credits: G.Garitan

#58 500-Year-Old Vistula Punt Found In A Pond In Czersk, Poland In 2009

It was 98 ft long and used for transporting grain. The punt was excavated in 2018 and is now being conserved in the National Museum of Archaeology.

Image credits: Snoo_90160

#59 Found At Karahan Tepe, Near Gobekli Tepe (Believed To Be Roughly 11,000 Years Old)

Image credits: TasTepeler

#60 British Archaeologist Leonard Woolley And His Wife Catherine At The Moment Of The Discovery Of Pottery Pipes

The pottery pipes were used as a sewage and rainwater network in what is considered the first water drainage system in history before about 4000 BC.

Within the archaeological excavations of the ancient city of Ur (Mesopotamia) in 1930.

Image credits: Take The History Pill

#61 I Found This American Coin Far Away From Its Country, In A Quiet Field While Metal Detecting In Scotland

Image credits: randomWIGHT9000

#62 I Found this Roman Coin In France While Metal Detecting (Bronze, ~AD 306-337). Emperor Constantine I, Minted In Trier (Treveri), Germany

Image credits: reddit.com

#63 Found This In My Backyard While Metal Detecting

Image credits: Mslay36

#64 This Brooch I Found While Metal Detecting

Image credits: NormIslandRandom

#65 This Penny I Found From 1902

Image credits: The_Jonah

#66 Found My First Gold Coin Whilst Metal Detecting (George III, 1776, Half Guinea)

I’ve been metal detecting a lot in the evenings lately. Today I was going to head to a different field today but their gates were locked. So I went to my usual field where I’ve found some decent things in the last few weeks. Only about 30 minutes in, I find this. I had to go home shortly after because I just couldn’t concentrate after finding this. It’s a rare date too. It was made in the year of America’s independence.

Image credits: RSD_2001

#67 While Digging Up The Road, Construction Workers Found A Piece Of A 16th Century City Wall

It was found in Doetinchem. Which is a small city in Eastern Netherlands.

Image credits: steveneijg25

#68 Medieval Ax With A Preserved Wooden Handle Was Discovered On The Island Of Ledniczka In Poland

Image credits: bigmeat

#69 Doll Head And Marble Found While Digging At A Tavern Built In 1850

Image credits: bloomautomatic

#70 15-Gram Gold Nugget I Found While Metal Detecting On A Vermont Dirt Road

Image credits: Silver_Winged

#71 This Rusty Sword We’ve Found. Most Likely A Polish WWI Officer’s Sword

Probably the most striking thing about this is, that we’ve found it buried deep in the ground in the middle of a small town in the north-western part of Germany.

Image credits: Megawoopi

#72 My Mom Just Found An Old Shoe And A Bottle While Digging In Our Yard

Image credits: strando749

#73 Middle Bronze Age Spearhead (C. 1500 BC To C. 1150 BC). I Found It Whilst Metal Detecting In Wales Yesterday Afternoon

Image credits: RSD_2001

#74 A James 1st Silver Shilling. Over 400-Years-Old. Found While Metal Detecting

Image credits: coolgirlonthetrain

#75 A Bone Carved, Household Idol To Venus. Found On An Archaeological Dig I Was On In Israel

Image credits: macoure

#76 I Found A 100-Year-Old Bottle While Digging In My Backyard

Image credits: Chef_de_Stein

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