|Photo credit: Reuters|
Without archaeological puzzles, researchers wouldn’t have much of a career. Luckily for archaeologists, known objects turn up where they shouldn’t while unknown objects sometimes surface as one-of-a-kind, enormous structures built with dedication but no clear purpose. Civilizations may abandon advanced cities for no reason, and sometimes, there are even unusual treasures of gold.
10. The Riddled Jar
A clay vase at a Canadian museum holds more questions than its 180 pieces. Once restored, the true novelty of the pot surfaced—it was created with holes.
Storing food or fluids in something like this would be a bad idea. A hole piercing the bottom also ruled out its usage as a type of lamp, and it doesn’t resemble any known ancient animal containers.
Archaeologists from the Museum of Ontario Archaeology consulted Roman pottery experts, but nobody recognized it. Another mystery is how the vessel arrived at the museum. It may have been dug up in the 1950s from a London World War II crater in an area that was Roman territory 1,800 years ago.
The storage room in which it was found also contained items from Iraq’s ancient city of Ur dating back 5,000 years. Whether from Britain or Iraq, there is no other object like it.
9. The Alaska Artifact
In 2011, a team from the University of Colorado was researching prehistoric climate change when they stumbled upon an unusual artifact. The focus site was a 1,000-year-old Eskimo settlement at Cape Espenberg, Alaska.
Centuries older than the house in which it was found, the bronze object resembled a tiny belt buckle. Remarkably, it appears to have been made in a mold. If so, it’s the only ancient artifact of cast bronze to come from Alaska.
The item, a broken ring fastened to a rectangular frame, had a leather strap attached. Radiocarbon dating placed the leather at around AD 600 but doesn’t necessarily reflect the metal’s age. Since bronze wasn’t worked in Alaska, it had to have come from somewhere else.
Most likely manufactured in East Asia, the bronze could have reached the Inupiat Eskimos through trading and been passed down through the generations as a valuable heirloom. Researchers still can’t figure out what either continent supposedly used it for.