10 Ancient Artifacts That Hint At Lost Advanced Civilizations

We only have a partial picture of the origins of human civilization based on bits and pieces of evidence, oral histories, and other forms of folklore. Possibly long-gone are entire cultures, including some that were technologically advanced in their day. At the very least, human culture goes back considerably further in time than is commonly believed. While our ancient past is shrouded in mystery, relics such as lost cities, crumbling buildings, mysterious hieroglyphics, and priceless works of art may hold the keys to unlocking these mysteries.

1. Antikythera Mechanism

The enormous achievements of the ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Celts, and other once-great civilizations without the aid of contemporary science and technology excite modern minds in part because much of their knowledge and understanding has been lost to the passage of time. Now, the mysteries surrounding these ancient cultures hold great allure for us.

2. Pumapunku

One of the four different architectural plans for ancient Tiwanaku (the Pre-Inca metropolis of South America), Puma Punku is particularly well-known. Since their discovery, the megalithic ruins have been looted, and experts are convinced that this has contaminated them in every way. An age of 15,000 to 20,000 years has been proposed for them, making them significantly older than the pyramids. Even the Incas were baffled as to where it came from. All of the massive stones used in the construction of the structure were precisely chiseled so that they would fit snugly together. Many of the stones were cut so precisely, indicating that the builders had a solid understanding of stone cutting, engineering, and geometry.

3. Baghdad Battery

When batteries were first invented, there was no reason for ancient people to have them. However, batteries were apparently manufactured at that time. The Baghdad Battery, discovered in 1936 near Baghdad, Iraq, is a tiny clay jar with an iron rod hanging inside a copper cylinder that has been soldered shut and sealed with asphalt. Since then, replicas have been made that are able to generate moderate amounts of electricity, proving the battery’s potential; nonetheless, the question of the battery’s actual application remains unanswered.

4. Gobleki Tepe

The freshly discovered temple complex in southeastern Turkey has been called the most perplexing archaeological find in modern times. It dates back to the end of the last ice age, 12,000 years ago. Buildings like this one, which predate such Neolithic innovations as pottery, writing, the wheel, and metalworking, imply a level of skill and complexity not previously associated with Palaeolithic societies. Twenty round structures and intricately carved pillars, each standing 18 feet tall and weighing 15 tons, can be seen there. No one knows for sure who constructed the monument or why, but how did the purported hunter-gatherers acquire such advanced skills in construction and stonework if they were the first civilization?

5. Nimrud Lens

This Nimrud lens dates back three thousand years to the Nimrud palace in Iraq. Since its discovery more than a century ago, scientists and historians have debated the lens’s use. One prominent Italian academic proposed that the lens was used by the ancient Assyrians as part of a telescope, which would account for their advanced knowledge of astronomy. It is made of genuine rock crystals and is shaped slightly oval. There was great debate over the first time the Nimrud lens was used. Many people think it was a magnifying glass or burning glass used to start fires by focusing sunlight via a lens, while others think it was a telescope.

6. Coso Artifact

Pseudoarchaeologists and others have theorized that the spark plug found in a 500,000-year-old lump of hard rock in Coso is proof of an advanced ancient civilization like Atlantis, alien visits to prehistoric Earth, or even time travelers from the future. All of the hypotheses put forth by specialists are, to put it mildly, far-fetched, but they have been unable to provide anything more plausible because the Coso Artifact has mysteriously disappeared.

7. Phaistos Disc

We know very little about the Phaistos Disc, and its existence is shrouded in mystery. It’s built with clay. In all likelihood, it predates the first century B.C.E. Yet, its history, meaning, and function continue to be shrouded in obscurity. The disc, which was found on the Greek island of Crete, is covered with 45 distinct symbols, 241 of which are impressions of person, tool, plant, and animal figures. No additional artifacts from the same time period have been found, so archaeologists have been unable to provide a significant assessment of its content.

8. Nan Madol

Off the coast of Pohnpei island in Micronesia is the sunken city of Nan Madol. Built atop a coral reef from nothing but massive basalt boulders, the city is intricately interconnected by a network of canals and tunnels beneath the surface (some weighing up to 50 tons). Nobody seems to know when or why the city was formed, and no documentation exists to indicate who constructed it. According to carbon-14 testing, construction began approximately 200 BCE. Neither the source nor the means used to transport and stack the basalt boulders that make up the city’s 50-foot height and 17-foot thickness are known. Human skeletons unearthed by archaeologists in the region are notably larger than those of modern Micronesians.

9. Saqqara Bird

During the excavation of the Pa-di-Imen tomb in Saqqara, Egypt, in 1898, a bird-shaped artifact made from the wood of a sycamore tree was uncovered. It has a wingspan of almost 7 inches and dates back to between 200 BC and 2200 years ago. People have made assumptions regarding its function due to a lack of documentation and other information. Although ancient Egyptians had a solid grasp of aeronautical theory, it is not entirely obvious how that knowledge was applied to the artifact in question.

10. Stone Spheres of Costa Rica

The gigantic stone balls, which have been around since 600 A.D. and can be found in Costa Rica, are quite impressive. The natives call them “Las Bolas,” which means “The Ball.” Gabbro, a rock formed from molten magma, makes up the vast majority of these rocks. They were developed before the Spanish conquest. Researchers speculate that ancient people created perfect circles out of pebbles. However, some laypeople think these globes were used for astronomy. Many people think the rocks were used as landmarks. To say this is the real reason would be a stretch.

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