Archaeology is one of the most interesting and fascinating scientific fields because it is always associated with mysteries. And of particular interest to scientists and non-specialists are ancient constructions. Temple complexes, ancient castles and mysterious geoglyphs – everything can tell scientists about the whole historical period.
Ten mysterious ancient objects that baffle modern scientists
1. Gegharoth occult center
Ancient people believed in divination and performed a variety of religious rituals. In 2003-2011, archaeologists excavated three 3,300-year-old sanctuaries inside a fortress in Gegharot (present-day Armenia). Each consisted of a room with a clay pool in the center. Scientists have suggested that occultism was once practiced in Gegharot.
Many bones of cows, goats, and sheep have been found in the shrines, which have been burnt and also show traces of artificial processing. They were probably used in osteomancy – bone divination, in which bones are thrown and watched to see how they fall. They also found signs of lithomancy, in which stones were used instead of bones.
Perhaps the strangest was the reading of the future by flour. This divination, called aleuromancy, may also have been practiced in the shrine, as tools for grinding grain, and a hearth was found there. But it seems that divination was of no use to the inhabitants of Hegaroth. This and all the other fortresses in the area were burned during the mass conflict.
2. The Castle under Lake Van
The explorer Tahsin Ceylan wanted to catch the monster that is said to live in the depths of Lake Van in Turkey. After hearing about underwater ruins previously seen in the area, he consulted experts, but everyone told Ceylan it was just a rumor. Scientists unanimously agreed that there was nothing of interest in the Middle East’s second-largest lake. But Ceylan and his team decided to investigate the lake after all.
Ten years later, the monster has never been found, but divers have stumbled upon the remains of a forgotten city. In 2016, they discovered 1,000-year-old tombstones and stalagmites forming a square field about 4 kilometers long. In early 2017, the remains of a Russian ship that sank seven decades ago were added to the finds. It would seem that there is nothing else of interest here, but persistent divers managed to hit the real jackpot.
At great depths, they discovered a huge castle. It was built of large blocks and stretched for a kilometer in length. The walls were also perfectly preserved 3-4 meters high, despite the fact that they were 3,000 years old. Scientists think that the castle was built by the extinct civilization of Urartu. In those times (IX-VI centuries BC) the water level in the lake was lower, but in time the waters of the lake absorbed the castle.
3. Orca from Palpa
In the Palpa Desert of Peru, thousands of ancient images adorn the land. But one of these geoglyphs has been lost for half a century. German archaeologists described the orca image they found back in the 1960s but were unable to locate it correctly. Because of this, the Peruvian scientists, having learned about the existence of this image after viewing the catalog of geoglyphs in the German institute, more than half a century could not find this image.
After a long search on Google Earth and in the hills of the Palpa Valley, archaeologists finally found a 70-meter orca image engraved on the hillside in 2015. Incredibly, tests showed it to be older than 2,000 years — that is, older than the famous Nazca lines in the neighboring region.
Most likely, the orca was “painted” by members of the Paracas culture (800-200 BC), which was older than the culture living on the Nazca Plateau. There is still no clear answer as to why both civilizations “painted” over 450 square kilometers with large geoglyphs.
4. Steppe geoglyphs
In 2007 Dmitry Day from Kazakhstan was very interested in the program about pyramids, which he saw on TV. He began to check with Google Earth to see if there were any pyramids in his country. Although Dey was never able to find the pyramids, he found more than 260 man-made structures, the largest of which was larger in area than the base of the Great Pyramid of Cheops. When experts learned about Day’s discovery, they were stunned.
NASA confirmed the originality of the mysterious forms on their satellite images. You cannot see these images from the ground, but you can see the colossal crosses, squares, lines, rings and mounds from high up in the steppe. Whoever their creator was, this has fundamentally changed the view of the Neolithic nomads. Most likely, the structures were created by the Mahanjar culture (7000-5000 BC).
5. Nazca Pyramid
The city of Cahuachi was once the home of the Nazca people of Peru. The place was abandoned as far back as between 300-350 AD. All the structures were buried under the sands of the desert. In Cahuachi, about 40 similar mounds have been found. They could not be discovered until the 21st century because most of the buried structures are earthen structures, and scanners simply could not distinguish them from the Earth of the mound.
A seven-level step pyramid with an area of 9000 square meters (its dimensions are 91 x 100 meters) was recently discovered thanks to satellite imaging. It is very similar to another, previously discovered in Cahuachi, massive asymmetric Great Pyramid. During previous excavations, anthropologists found human skulls stacked inside the Great Pyramid.
6. The Cavity in the Great Pyramid
In 2017, scientists announced that they had discovered a huge cavity in the Great Pyramid of Giza. Nothing more sensational has been found in Egypt since the 1800s. The cavity runs almost 30 meters above the Great Gallery, the main corridor of the monument. In 2015, Egyptologists tried a non-invasive technique called muon radiography.
Muons are cosmic particles that constantly pass through everything on Earth. By tracking their speed (the particles travel faster in empty spaces and slower in solids, scientists can recreate the interior of a building. Muon detectors remained inside the pyramid for months.
When the data was analyzed in 2016, the unusual cavity stunned everyone. The muons showed that the cross-section of the void corresponded to the Great Gallery. Unlike the latter, which leads to the tomb of Pharaoh Khufu, this cavity appears to be completely sealed. No one knows what it is.
7. Nero’s vanity project
Archaeologists have been looking closely at British Silchester since Victorian times. Two Roman temples had previously been discovered on a local farm, but how Silchester was connected to Rome remained a mystery. When archaeologists returned to the site in 2017, they discovered an interesting find: confirmation that Emperor Nero (54-68 AD) wanted the locals to know about him.
Scientists identified the ruins of a third temple and found tiles with Nero’s name inside. At that time, Silchester was the Roman city of Calleva, and the earliest buildings there were temples 15 meters high (their foundations averaged 15 x 17 meters). It is believed that Nero erected the magnificent structures at Calleva in order to make himself famous before the locals.
8. Theater under the walls of Jerusalem
In 2017 excavations attempted to establish the age of Wilson’s Arch in Jerusalem. This ancient stone bridge was once used to climb the Temple Mount. During the excavations, astonished archaeologists discovered a small theater under the arch, capable of holding an audience of 200 people. This was the first public Roman building excavated in the city.
The exact purpose of the structure is unknown, but the theater was most likely a music hall or a “buleuterium,” a meeting room for the city council. Tests have shown that the building was built in the second century AD. During this period Jerusalem was under Roman rule.
9. “Saudi Gate”
In a world where new discoveries are mostly limited to single objects or artifacts, the Saudi Gate is an exception. Using a satellite, about 400 megaliths were found in Saudi Arabia in 2017. They are not actually doorways at all, but most of the structures resemble old soccer gates from the air.
At a glance, it is obvious that these are not natural structures – someone went to great lengths to build these stone walls. The structures clearly served some purpose, but no one knows what. More research is needed, but some of the gates may have been built as early as 7,000 years ago.
10. Lost Castle of Singleton
A few years ago, part of the dense forest on Mount Stewart Manor, Northern Ireland, fell into the hands of the National Trust. To see what was in this forest, archaeologists searched the area with radar. When the scan showed some sort of structure, the site was photographed from the air, and a circular structure was found towering among the trees on the ground.
It took more than 800 hours of tree-cutting to get to this spot. In 2017, they finally cleared a path to the mysterious structure. It was a Norman-era castle built eight centuries ago on the Ards Peninsula. It was possible to identify one of its owners, a Norman named Robert de Singleton, who lived there in 1333. The castle was built in the XII century on a 23-meter mound.