Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ancient Archaeological Mysteries That We May Never Solve

Our ancestors left a lot of traces in this world, and not all of them were ever meant to be understood by other cultures. Despite our best efforts, they remain mysteries to this day.

The Paracas Candelabra

The Paracas Candelabra measures about 180 meters (600 ft) across. Despite the close proximity to the Nazca Lines, this geoglyph was likely not built by the Nazca people. Ancient pottery found at the site dates to 200 B.C., which means that the Paracas culture is most likely responsible. But while we have some idea who built the candelabra and when, the question of why leaves archaeologists baffled.

The Uffington Whith Horse

The White Horse in Uffington, a 115-meter (374 ft) hill figure, was created by digging deep trenches filled with crushed chalk. This animal appears to be a horse, and similar depictions appear on ancient coins dated to the Bronze Age. Near the figure are burial mounds from the Neolithic period. These graves were reused up until the Saxon period, leading some to claim that the White Horse is not as old as previously thought.

The Liber Linteus Zagrabiensis

The Linen Book of Zagreb is the longest text written in the Etruscan language. The language had a huge impact on the world since it heavily influenced Latin, but nowadays, it is mostly lost. Only a few ancient documents feature it, so large chunks of the Liber Linteus are still untranslated to this day. From what can be gathered from the book, it appears to be a ritual calendar, although it was initially thought to detail funeral rituals.

White Shaman Rock

The ancient cultures of the Americas still hold many secrets, and one way to decode them is by studying rock paintings. Near the Pecos River in Texas’s Lower Pecos Canyon is one of the oldest and most significant of these paintings—the White Shaman. A 7-meter (24 ft) artwork dated to over 4,000 years ago, the White Shaman is thought to offer information regarding an ancient lost religion.

The Sajama Lines

Sajama has thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of different lines that range from 1–3 meters (3–10 ft) in width and can be up to 18 kilometers (11 mi) in length. The lines cover an area of almost 7,500 square meters (70,000 sq ft)—roughly 15 times larger than the famous Nazca Lines. Despite their giant scale, very little research has been done regarding the Sajama Lines. The true size of the network had been very difficult to gauge until recently, when satellite imagery became available.

The Tartaria Tablets

Most archaeologists used to agree that several regions developed writing independently between 3500 and 3100 B.C. The earliest examples we could find showed photo-writing from cultures such as the Sumerians in Mesopotamia. However, if the Tartaria tablets are genuine, then they predate the other discoveries by 2,000 years.

The Blythe Geoglyphs

The Blythe Intaglios are a collection of dozens of geoglyphs found in the Colorado Desert near Blythe, California. They show various representations of animals, geometric shapes, and giant humans, the largest depicting a 50-meter (170 ft) man. The true scope of the geoglyphs was unknown until 1932, when it was viewed from the air.

The Minaret of Jam

The most intriguing theory regarding the Minaret of Jam is that it might have belonged to the lost city of Firozkoh. Also known as the Turquoise Mountain, the city was the capital of the Ghorid Dynasty and one of the greatest cities in the world. But it was completely destroyed by Ogedei Khan, son of Genghis, and its location was forever lost.