Earth can be a tedious and depressing place to reside. After all, the news only seems to cover the grim realities of wars in foreign lands, political ineptitude within our governments and if things couldn't get any worse, a man with a funny hairdo is president. But as these twenty exciting and mysterious discoveries prove, Earth can still spring up some incredible stories.
Here are twenty findings that remind us how fascinating Earth still is.
1. The Voynich Manuscript
An illustrated manuscript, known as 'The Voynich Manuscript,' remains a mystery to historians. In part, this is because the text has no known origin, thus rendering it almost impossible to track.
Still, that hasn't stopped linguists and scholars attempting to solve the writing's meaning. In fact, two people came forward in 2014, with one attributing the text to an ancient dialect, while the other believed it was a coded Asian language. However, through assessing the paper's material, historians have at least managed to date the document to the early 15th century.
2. The Mount Owen Moa Claw
Dating back over 3,000 years, this freaky relic was found in the caves of Mount Owen, New Zealand. The claw belonged to an extinct flightless bird known as the 'Moa,' which became extinct around 500 years ago.
However, with the claw relatively preserved, scientists have since questioned that figure.
3. Costa Rica's Stone Spheres
Around 300 stone spheres appear around the nation of Costa Rica located on the Diquís Delta and on Isla del Caño. Thought to be from the now-extinct Diquis culture, the spheres date from around 600AD. The best-known theory for their existence is that they lined the way to houses of chiefs, but this is not a certainty by any means.
Ranging in size and weight, there are many local myths about these rocks, but none are particularly forthcoming with evidence.
4. Gate of The Sun - Tiahuanaco, Bolivia
Sculpted by the Tiwanaku culture some 1500 years ago, the Gate of The Sun was rediscovered by European explorers during the 19th century. A carved stone gateway that apparently opens up to something that is no longer there, it has been left where it was found although there is some debate as to whether this was its original location.
Upon the archway are carvings of winged effigies, condors, and humans that appear beneath rays of the sun. These are thought to be linked to astrological beliefs of the time and are extremely similar to Incan symbols found across South America although their exact significance is yet to be discovered.
5. Stone Age Tunnels - Europe
Underground tunnels dating back to a time period pre-Christianity in Europe have been found in various places across the continent, and one expert has speculated that their construction may be linked in some way.
With hundreds of these tunnels found under neolithic structures, Dr. Heinrich Kusch sees this as evidence of a larger network possibly used to travel in times of war and unrest although each individual area does not link to the next, construction may have been around the same time and no one is quite sure as to why our ancestors across a whole continent all would have had the same idea around a similar time.
6. Lost Treasure
Britain's SS Gairsoppa was the victim of numerous Nazi Torpedo strikes in 1941. Though, aside from human fatalities and the drowning of the ship, 240 tonnes of pure silver bullion also plunged to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
However, in 2012, the Odyssey Marine Exploration of Tampa, Florida recovered forty-eight tonnes of the solid silver blocks, as the photo above illustrates. It's believed the find's value was $38m!
7. Mohenjo-daro - Sindh, Pakistan
The ancient city of Mohen-daro lies in the desert and is one of the world's earliest major urban settlements. Built around 2500 BC, it was only re-discovered in the 1920s.
With signs of city planning, social organization, and a drainage system it was an incredibly advanced city for its time, and no one is quite sure why it was abandoned although many point to the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization.
8. L'anse aux Meadows - Newfoundland, Canada
Thought to be around 1000 years old, these mounds found in a small fishing village in Canada confirm that Viking Settlers made it to North America some 500 years before Christopher Columbus did. Only discovered to be of Nordic origin in 1960, they were originally thought to belong to an Indigenous peoples but excavation found them to be workshops and dwellings of the Norse.
Because of their fairly recent discovery, little is still known about what happened to the settlers here and how or why they came to the region.
9. Yonaguni Monument - Yonaguni, Japan
Submerged off the coast of the Southernmost Ryukyu Island in Japan are a series of stepped flat steps in a structure so angular and flat, it would suggest man-made intervention although debate within scientific communities continue as to whether it is completely natural, is a natural site that has been modified, or is a man-made artifact.
Only discovered in 1987 by divers looking for hammerhead sharks, Supposed to be around 10,000 years old, neither the regional or national governments of Japan consider it to be of cultural or historical importance, and so significant research has not been put into dating the structure or why it is under the sea.
10. Unfinished Obelisk - Aswan, Egypt
Obelisks dot ancient sites across Egypt, and the globe, as sort of monuments or adornments to temples but why this one was ordered has never been discovered. What is the largest known ancient obelisk, it sits partially carved directly from the bedrock of Aswan and was ordered by the Pharoh Hatshepsut and is nearly one-third larger than any ancient Egyptian obelisk ever erected.
Abandoned due to cracks appearing in the structure, the reasoning behind its original conception have never been discovered.
11. Gobekli Tepe - Orencik, Turkey
Dating to around 8BC, the site consists of buildings thought to be sanctuaries and places of worship and stone pillars. Not linked to any of the major religions, the use and relevance of the stone pillars remain unknown, and research into the archaeological site remains ongoing.
With only 5% of the site uncovered, the complex remains a mystery to all those looking to reveal its secrets.
12. Saksaywaman - Cusco, Peru
A citadel just beyond the limits of the capital of the Incan empire, this walled settlement was most likely built to hold up any approaching forces heading for Cusco. What is unique about its construction is that the walls are made of perfectly carved rocks that slot together without the use of mortar.
How such an ancient civilization managed to achieve such a high-level of construction remains up for debate, especially since it was so good that the walls still stand today, over 1000 years after they were put up.
13. The Antikythera Mechanism
The Antikythera mechanism was a device designed to predict astronomical positions as well as astrological eclipses. After being discovered near a shipwreck off the coast of Greece, scientists realized the ancient relic dated back to around 100BC and contained a plethora of gears and structures that scientists believe were the first of their kind, as no other evidence for such components dates back that far.
In fact, historians can only track similar objects a thousand years after the mechanisms period, which could suggest the Antikythera mechanism was one of the first ever analog computers.
14. The Baigong Pipes
It may look like a modern art installation, but this site is far from new. Located in Mount Baigong in China’s Qinghai province and thought to be 150,000 years old, the Baigong Pipes form a magnificent structure of three triangular caves and stretch right through the mountains and even the nearby salt lake.
But how can such a historic structure have been made in times where the only tools were those of your limbs? That seems to be the million dollar question....
15. The Baghdad Batteries
The Iraqi capital, Baghdad, has long been thought of as the birthplace of mathematics and was once deemed the cultural capital of the world. Perhaps one such example of the city's rich history and esteemed past are these strange artifacts. Discovered while examining 2,000-year-old ruins of a village in Baghdad, workers, by sheer chance stumbled upon three vase-like objects. But what made the discovery significant was the red copper interior- evidence of acid erosion.
From this, scientists deciphered that the acid erosion was probably the remains of a liquid which would interact with the copper to create an electrical charge. If true, the finding could be one of the world's first examples of a battery.
16. Saqqara Bird
Found in the 1898 evacuation of a tomb in Egypt, the artwork went missing until Dr. Khalil Messiha rediscovered it. From his research, Messiha believed the object, which dates back to 200 BC, represented the first signs of aviation. Since the theory, the museum of Cairo has labeled the artifact 'model airplane.'
However, the consensus among historians is that the Saqqara Bird is nothing more than a well-carved Falcon- a species of bird associated with Egyptian mythology due to the bird's significance to the gods.
17. Nazca Lines
Over 15,000 famous geoglyphs are located in the Southern Peruvian desert. The works are believed to be those of the Nazca culture, who are thought to have existed around 500 BCE- 500 CE.
Only visible by air, generations of scientists and historians continue to be baffled by how such etchings were possible when no form of aviation existed.
18. Easter Island
Famed around the world for the island's 887 headstones, as well as being one of the most remote places on Earth, (the closest inhabited neighbor to the Chilean territory is the Pitcairn Islands- over 1289 miles away) historians can credit the sculptures to the early Rapa Nui settlers.
But how they were carved remains a mystery.
19. The London Hammer
In 1936, a couple from London, Texas, came across an odd structure. it wasn't until their son cracked the rock a decade later, however, that they discovered what appeared to be an ancient hammer.
Taking it to archaeologists, scientists determined the object was crafted 400 million plus years ago during the Ordovician period. They also concluded that the hammer was 96.6% iron- a remarkable finding considering no natural object could achieve such purity without the aid of modern technology.
But it appears scientists have dismissed their initial findings. Instead, it is widely believed the hammer was simply molded in concrete.
20. Bog Body
Bocksten Man from the 14th century.
21. Pyura Chilensis
A sea creature that lives on the rocky coast of Chile and Peru.
22. Skeletons of Sexually Deviant Nuns Were Found in Oxfordshire, England
Many nuns whose actions were out of line with their church's scripture would often die with the shame of being sex-crazed and immoral and this was evident to see when a team of archaeologists from John Moore Heritage Services unearthed 92 skeletons, with at least 30 of them being women. Experts believed this was the case due to the burial being opposite the former Littlemore Priory in Oxfordshire, land which at the point of surveying the skeletons was being used for the construction of a new hotel.
According to many historians, Medieval English Nunneries were some of the worst establishments in Britain, so it wasn't too much of a shock to archaeologists when one female skeleton was found with her head faced down- a practice that was commonplace for those who had sinned.
23. The Carved Discs of Volgograd, Russia
While they could simply be massive boulders, two intrepid UFO hunters thought otherwise when they discovered over a dozen stone discs in the Volgograd region of Russia. Interestingly, though highly presumptuous, both believe the discs contain tungsten, a high-density found in military technology.
However, no conclusive evidence has been reached to prove their theories, and to this day the discs, which were discovered in a region of Russia known for its "mysterious activity," remain nothing more than a mystery themselves.
Rongorongo is a series of glyphs discovered on Easter Island in the 19th century which seem to represent writing or proto-writing of an ancient language. In incredibly good condition these like the hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt, many have tried to decipher what they say and if they have any historical knowledge that we can glean from them.
However, unlike the hieroglyphs, these glyphs have never been cracked despite objects dating back right to the 12th century with them on.