Ancient Mysteries That Challenge Everything We Thought We Knew

Each and every year, archeologists seem to uncover new incredible artifacts that challenge everything we thought we knew about ancient civilizations. These new discoveries can be mysterious artifacts or awe-inspiring monuments, and some of these continue to baffle the experts.

Most of the time, these new discoveries seem to fit into the timeline of what scientists already knew. However, some are more mysterious, and even after research, the experts still have no idea how or why some of these objects were created. Still, these breathtaking artifacts continue to help us all learn more about the ancient world, and some reveal just how advanced these ancient cultures were. So let’s take look at the most awesome ancient mysteries that continue to bamboozle scientists.

Baghdad Battery

In 1838, a German archeologist unearthed a collection of ancient clay jars that seem to be the world’s first batteries. The ancient collection was found in the area now known as Iraq, and dated back to 200 BCE. The scientific world was abuzz, as this was way before the world even knew about electricity.


Inside each jar, he found an iron word wrapped in a copper cylinder. So, a college professor and their class made replicas of the clay jars. To everyone’s amazement, these Bagdad batteries managed to produce electricity. So the clay jars really were the world’s first batteries. Just wow!

Sumerian King List

When archeologists stumbled on this ancient clay tablet, they understood that it listed all the Kings of the ancient Sumerians. The list dated back to the third millennium BCE and showed everyone who had been in power. The intriguing thing about this list is just how long some had been in power.


On the tablet, some rulers had managed to reign for hundreds and others for thousands of years. Was this a tablet typo? Or proof of their divinity? We always thought they were so accurate with tablet time-keeping. This is one time-defying mystery that continues to baffle us all.

The Devil’s Bible

The Devil’s Bible is no ordinary Bible. It’s actually a giant medieval bible. According to the legend, it was written by a 13th-century monk in one day and one night. The monk was trying to avoid being convicted so he made a deal with the monastery that he would write one thought-provoking giant book containing all the knowledge in the world.


The monk achieved the near-impossible feat of hand-writing the 310-page book, dubbed the Devil’s bible, which is three feet in length. Inside is a Latin translation of the Bible, other works, medical formulas, exorcism notes and a scary drawing of the Devil. The book is still around today, except with 12 pages missing, which is even more intriguing.

Japan’s Atlantis

Just off the coast of Japan, in the waters of Yonaguni Jima, there are ruins of an ancient city. Some archeologists believe the city dates back to the ancient Jomon culture. However, others believe that the giant stones are too right-angled. So it could be a natural phenomenon, or it’s the real version of the fabled city of Atlantis that fell into the ocean in one day.


The ruins were found by a diver in 1995, and some believe that it was nothing more than natural rock formations. However, some scientists believe that the Yonaguni Jima site was a sophisticated coastal city, with arched entries and stone staircases. It was swallowed by rising sea levels in a cataclysmic event, just like the legend of Atlantis.

Rongorongo Writing

In 1864, a researcher named Eugene Eyraud discovered some wooden planks on Easter Island, which contain a mysterious language. Dubbed the Rongorongo writings, the language is indecipherable and features odd symbols called glyphs, instead of letters.

Source: Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images

The language dates back to the 1200s and has been carved on to the wood with a shark tooth. It features some unique symbols and to this date, no one has been able to translate it. Some believe it contains some religious symbols, but researchers are still baffled as the Rongorongo writings were developed with no influence from the outside world.

Saksaywaman Fortress Walls

In Cuzco Peru, archeologists are still stumped by the Saksaywaman Fortress. The awe-inspiring 200-ton fortress has been crafted to perfection and actually predates the Incan empire. While no one has been able to date the structure, the boulders look as though they were fitted together by an ancient machine.


According to the Peruvian legend, the structure was made by first extracting a liquid from a native plant, and this made the stones lighter. Then the rocks were heated at a high temperature, which made them more malleable to mold together. Archeologists are still baffled, but they do know the fortress was an ancient temple.

The Stone Spheres of Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, in the Istho-Colombian region, there are hundreds of mysterious giant stone sculptures. The giant spheres area all perfectly round and have been carved out of igneous rock with amazing precision. The stones weigh as much as 16 tons and date back to the now extinct Diquis tribes.


Scientists are still mystified by the amazing craftsmanship of these ancient tribesmen. No one is quite sure about the use of these unusual artifacts. Some of them were also moved from their original locations, making it even harder to unravel the mystery.

Nasca Lines

If you were walking along the desert plains of Nasca in Peru, you might think it’s just an ordinary trail. However, it’s only when you fly over the region that you see some amazing giant images and symbols, etched in the ground. The mysterious symbols are called geoglyphs and date back to the Nasca civilization, around 500 BCE to 500 CE.

Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

The actual images range from straight runway lines to giant birds, fish, monkeys, and humans. Interestingly, from the ground level, the surface stone is a noticeably different color to the undersurface stone. This means the mysterious images were designed to be viewed from above, centuries before airplanes were invented!

The Hellenikon Pyramid

If you were to think of pyramids, the ancient Egyptian pyramids would be the first ones to spring to mind. Still, archeologists have unearthed plenty of other pyramid-shaped spin-off structures around the world. Evidently, the structures were symbolic for many cultures, like the Hellenikon Pyramid, part of the Pyramids of Argolis, in Greece.


Amazingly, experts say that the Hellenikon Pyramid dates back to 2721 BCE, which was way before the Egyptian wonder Pyramids of the world. There has been some speculation over why the structure was created. Some believe it was actually a tomb for soldiers who died in the battle of Argos, though this is yet to be confirmed.

The Sajama Lines

Similar to the Nasca Lines, in Western Bolivia, there are another mysterious series of long straight lines, etched in the ground. The Sajama Lines extend for miles and were first discovered by Aime Felix Tschiffley in 1932. Interestingly, it’s only from above, that you can see just how long the network of intersecting lines are.


Incredibly, this is one of the largest archeological sites in the world, as the lines stretch along 8,700 square miles. Researchers believe that the lines date back 3,000 years and were carved by an indigenous tribe living near the Sajama volcano. They are still puzzled about the reason for the lines, but it’s safe to say this tribe made their mark in history.

Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni

It wasn’t until 1902, that Malta’s Hypogeum of Hal Salfieni was revealed to the world. The structure is an amazing elaborate underground labyrinth, dating from between 4000 to 2500 BCE. This is the only intact underground labyrinth structure in Europe and researchers are still amazed and puzzled by its complexity.


The structure has been expertly carved out of rock and features three elaborate levels. A few of the chambers have ornate designs and intriguing paintings. One of the Chambers has even been designed to amplify sounds, so if you speak at a normal sound, it amplifies a hundred times louder, which shows an advanced knowledge of acoustics.

Gobekli Tape

In 2008, Klaus Schmidt stunned the world by unearthing the oldest-known temple complex ever built by man. The structure was discovered in Gobekli Tepe in Turkey and it’s so old, it’s mind-boggling. The carved-stone structure dates back to 11,000 BCE, which is amazingly, 6000 years older than Stonehenge in the UK.


Since that amazing discovery, scientists have had a field day and uncovered an incredible amount of information about ancient societies, how they worked without metal tools and how they evolved. The structure also reminds us that there are plenty of artifacts waiting to be uncovered.

Dashka Stone

In 1999, a huge stone tablet was unearthed in Bashkorostan in Russia, which is nestled along the Ural Mountains. At first glance, it looks like a natural series of cracks and lines. However, researchers then realized it’s a detailed aerial map of the surrounding area. The map features mountains, rivers, and other geographical features.


What’s so crazy, is that how an ancient civilization had the technology to carve an aerial map. Does this mean there were ancient aircrafts? What’s even more baffling is that archeologists are still struggling to date the giant tablet. Some said a seashell embedded in the tablet dates back to 120 million years, but others think it’s around 3,000 years old.

Paracas Candelabra

In Peru, etched onto the sand, there is a strange prehistoric geoglyph design, which looks a lot like a candelabra. Aptly named the ‘Candelabra of the Andes’, for years archeologists have been baffled by the 600 feet strange design, which is on the Paracas Peninsula.


Some researchers believe that the three-pronged design is actually a symbol of the trident carried by the Incan creator god, Viracocha. Others few believe it represents the hallucinogenic plant, Jimson weed. While the design still remains a mystery, there were also some shards of pottery and other artifacts nearby, which date back to 200 BCE.


In Japan, around 15,000 little clay figurines have been discovered. The dogu figures look a lot like human-animal hybrids. Some have almond-shaped eyes, others have elongated heads and most are wearing helmets and goggles. The figures are ornately decorated and date back to the Neolithic Jomon period, between 2,300 and 10,000 years ago.


There has been much speculation about the reason for the mysterious ancient clay dogu figures. Some believe they were created to ward off evil spirits, or as a symbol of fertility. Amazingly, other people believe they showcase ancient humanoid figures and a few are convinced that these are god-like figurines that were used in shaman ceremonies.

White Shaman Rock

In the deep south of Texas, the ancient Huichol tribe of Native Americans used to engage in cave and canyon drawing. It took a while for European settlers to discover the drawings, as they were located in a remote area in the Sierra Madre Mountains. However, once they explored the area, they found some mysterious cave paintings.


One of the paintings, now known as White Shaman Rock dates back to 4,000 years ago. It’s actually a giant 24-foot tall depiction of a white figure. Since the Europeans only arrived in the 1400s, it led to questions. Did other Caucasian people visit America in ancient times? Or is it just an ancient ghost?

Phaistos Disc

In 1908, a round clay disc was unearthed in a Minoan palace, called Phaistos in Crete. The ancient clay artifact features 241 intricate symbols that were pressed in a spiral pattern. Archeologists have been baffled by what the symbols mean.


The coin dates back to the Minoan Bronze age, between 1850 and 1600 BC, and there have been numerous theories about the meaning behind them. Some researchers claim that the disc contains a song, prayer, or religious script.

Dropa Stones

In 1938, Dr. Chi Pu Tei and his team stumbled upon hundreds of stone disks in the unexplored caves of the Bayan-Kara-Ula Mountains in China. The Dropa stone discs were scattered around the caves and looked mysteriously like modern-day music records or phonographs.


The Dropa Stones are around 12,000 old, and when they looked under the microscope, they noticed tiny hieroglyphic symbols carved into the grooves. This led some to believe that the symbols tell a story of a spaceship that crashed. In any case, now no-one knows where the discs are today, which is even more mysterious.

Panxian Cave

In China, archeologists believed that the Panxian Dadong Caves date as far back as 30,000 years. The caves are 5,000 feet above sea level, and the evidence shows that humans used to live there. What’s strange, is that they also found other bones of giant animals in the cave.


The animals included rhinoceros and stegodons, and the caves are way too high for them to trek all the way up there. Some of the bones also have cut marks, so it seems like they were hunted. Still, how on earth did they manage to carry a rhinoceros up 5,000 feet?

Lady of The Spiked Throne

Deep in the Indus Valley, archeologists discovered a strange artifact, which has been dubbed the Lady of The Spiked Throne. The artifact has been intricately crafted and looks like a boat-like vessel with figures inside, including a female figurine on a spiked throne.


The vessel also features the head of a bull at the front and is said to date back to 2,700 BC. Experts are still amazed by the sculpture as it is unlike anything they had ever seen before.

Mount Owen Moa Claw

In 1986, a team of explorers were stunned when they discovered a mummified claw of an extinct animal, with the flesh on it. The discovery was unearthed around a cave on New Zealand’s Mount Owen, and they believed it was a claw of a dinosaur.


After some more digging, they realized it was the claw of an extinct Moa bird. The huge New Zealand native bird stood at an amazing 12 feet tall and went extinct around the time of 1000 BCE. So it’s incredible that the claw was able to stay in shape for thousands of years.

Longyou Caves

These elaborate Longyou caved in China didn’t just appear naturally. They were actually carved over 2,200 years ago in 212 BCE during the Qin Dynasty. The caves weren’t just simple caves either, they were an impressive network of soft sandstone caves that stretched over 320,000 square feet.


Amazingly, there were twenty-four different caves and featured carved pillars, bridges, pools and steps. There were also a series of chiseled symbols etched in the walls and ceilings. Experts are still puzzled by who built these caves and why!

The Big Circles

In Jordan, there are a series of giant stone circles that stretch to 1490 feet wide. Similar circles have also been discovered in Syria, and this is another mystery that still bamboozles archeologists.

Photo by Miao Jian/VCG via Getty Images

Some believed that since the stone circles had walls, they were actually livestock pens. However, there were no doors for the animals to enter. While it remains a mystery to this day, one thing they have deciphered is that the structures are over 2,000 years old.

Roman Dodecahedrons

Throughout the years, many explorers have uncovered ancient dodecahedron artifacts. Roman dodecahedrons are hollow twelve-sided devices with circles. Over 100 have been discovered so far, so they are not such a mysterious find. Still, each one is different and there has been plenty of speculation over their use.


Some dodecahedrons have been created out of bronze, and others out of gold and a few have been discovered on sunken ships. This has led to theories that they were used as a nautical navigation tool. Others believe they were either a religious artifact, an astrological marker, a tool for agriculture or a water pipe feature.

Laos’ Plain of Jars

Across northern Laos, around the Xieng Khuang province, you can find plenty of mysterious, super-sized stone jars. Actually, there are around 90 giant jars, which are over 2,000 years old. The jars are carved from sandstone and each contains around 400 individual jars.

Source: Jars in sandstone in the archaeological site of the Plain of Jars, plateau of Xiangkhoang, Laos

In the 1930s, Madeleine Colani, a researcher claimed that the jars were part of an ancient, prehistoric funeral ritual, and they later found evidence to support the claim. However, the region was later plagued by wars, which left land mines, so it’s difficult to do further research.

Mystery Hill

In Salem, there is a mysterious ancient structure that’s known as Mystery Hill or America’s Stonehenge. The structure was carved entirely out of stone, and some believe it represents the Native American megalithic astronomical system, which is 4,000 years old.


There has been a little confusion over the origins of the structure. Some claim it’s the remains of a former monastery and others believe it dates back to the 18th century. In any case, the structure has been elaborately created, with walls and underground chambers and is considered the oldest archeological site in America.

The Shroud of Turin

For some people, the Shroud of Turin might look like a simple cloth with the image of a wounded man. However, the Shroud of Turin is believed to be the burial cloth of Christ and is wrapped in religious symbolism.

Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

What makes it even more special, is because it’s considered to be the proof that Chris resurrected. The cloth is still shrouded in mystery as we’ll never know the real origins of it. I guess we’ll never find out, so we’ll leave this one up in the air.

Antikythera Mechanism

This awesome artifact was discovered on an ancient Greek shipwreck and is said to be the world’s first ancient computer. The wind-up mechanism is 2000 years old and is designed to track the Sun, Moon and five planets.

Photo credit should read LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images

There is some confusion over the origins of the device. While some experts are amazing and wonder if the Greek’s were really just ahead of their time, others believe that it landed on the planet with some aliens. I guess we’ll never ever really find out if the alien theory is true either.

The Voynich Manuscript

When the Voynich Manuscript was discovered in Central Europe, researchers believed that it is around 600 hundred years old. Over time, many scholars have tried to decipher the ancient language and symbols, but are still puzzled.

Photo credit should read CESAR MANSO/AFP/Getty Images

In recent years, some scholars used artificial intelligence to try to decode the text. They were able to connect the manuscript with the Hebrew language. Still, they were still confused when they delved further into the text.


In ancient Egypt, around 2,700 years ago, there was an ancient port city, called Thonis-Heracleion. The port was famously known as the gateway to the Mediterranean. However, the port city was then mysteriously wiped away from the earth without leaving a trace.


In recent years, some archeologists have managed to unravel a few artifacts, including 16-foot tall statues, animal sarcophagi, and entire bridges. However, this only confirmed that the city was larger than they realized, so what exactly made the huge city wipe out is still a mystery.

Linear A And B

Linear A and Linear B are both ancient tablets that look a little similar. However, they both contain a mysterious and unique collection symbol and texts, and so have continued to confuse scientists.


In 1952, experts were able to crack the meaning of Linear B, when they realized it contains syllables instead of letters. However, they are still struggling to unravel the meaning behind Linear A. What they do know is that it was used between 1450 BC and 1800

The Copper Scroll Treasure

The Dead Sea Scrolls are a world-famous Jewish manuscript, discovered in the Qumran Caves near the Dead Sea. Within the bucket of Dead Sea scrolls, they also found The Copper Scroll. This scroll was even more unique as it is made of metal, rather than parchment.


Researchers later discovered that the Copper Scrolls are actually a secret treasure map. The map contains invaluable information about the location of these hidden treasures, so the person who succeeds in finding it could find billions.

Puma Punku in Bolivia

In Bolivia, experts stumbled upon one of the most ancient and mysterious sites in the world. The site was actually part of a temple from around the time of 536 AD and scholars are still amazed at how the stones were cut with such precision.


Experts are still confused about how the site was created at that time without advanced tools, especially as they are perfectly shaped. There is still some mystery over what the purpose of this part of the temple was too.

The Bolshoi Zayatsky

Another stony mystery on our list is the Bolshoi Zayatsky. The site is a stone labyrinth that dates back to 2,500 years ago. Scholars are still stumped as to why they were created and what their purpose was.


Some experts believe that the stone labyrinths were part of an ancient ritual. Others were a little more mystical and believe that are seen as a portal to an underworld. A few have claimed it’s a religious altar and others are convinced it’s a cage for evil spirits.

Qin Shi Huang’s Tomb

In 1974 in China, a farmer accidentally unearthed a life-sized terracotta army. The mysterious artifact is said to represent the army of the Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Some believe they placed the terracotta army near his grave to defend him in the afterlife.


However, scholars still have no idea where the emperor is actually buried, and the real reason the army was buried in that spot. So some have even surmised that it may be a clue to the emperor’s hidden treasures.

The Cochno Stone

When explorers discovered the Cochno Stone, it soon became considered as the best example of the Bronze Age Cup. The giant stone is at 42 feet by 26 feet and was unearthed in West Dunbartonshire in Scotland.


Scholars believe the carvings on the stone date back to 5,000 years ago. There has also been some mystery over what the carvings actually mean. They could be simply decorative markings, or others are convinced they are a form of ancient writing, religious signing or star maps.

The Genetic Disc

Archeologists are still baffled by the Genetic Disc. The artifact was uncovered in Columbia and seems to offer a detailed and symbolic depiction of the human reproductive system.


The disc is said to date back hundreds of years, way before the invention of the microscope. So, when it depicts the fertilization process between the sperm and the egg, scientists are still trying to find out how they knew about it. The disc is also made of such a robust material, and experts are still trying to find out how they produced it.

Incan Gold Figurines

The Incas left some pretty puzzling trinkets behind, which are still confusing experts today. One of these mysteries are their gold figurine statues. Amazingly, the statues look like model planes, with fighter plane wings, stabilizing tails and even landing gears.


The Incas really thought of everything to do with aerodynamics. So in 1996 some aircraft constructors Algund Eeboom and Beltling created model plane replicas of the statues, and they flew. This has led some people to believe that the Incas came into contact with extraterrestrial people. Or the Incas were just really advanced for their time.

The Ancient Ruins of Sayhuite

In Peru, you can find the ancient ruins of Sayhuite. Within the Incan ruins, there is an awesome sculpture, the Sayhuite monolith, which features more than 200 mysterious geometric figures.


The figures range from reptiles and felines to frogs, but there is also some debate over why the monument was sculpted. Some experts believe the images map the water features in the area, from ponds and irrigation channels to rivers and tunnels. However, it still remains a mystery.

The Goseck Circle

The Goseck circle is another stony mystery that continues to intrigue experts. The circular monument resembles Stonehenge and was only spotted in 1991 during an aerial survey of Germany.


Experts believe that the mysterious moment dates back to 4,900 BC, which is even before the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids. The circle is, therefore, one of the oldest monuments experts have ever discovered. It is believed to be used as a solar observatory, and experts are still trying to uncover more about this ancient mystery.

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