Top 10 Highly Debated Historical Artifacts

Suggested by SMS

With every new discovery, excitement is generated among plebeians and academics alike. Here are 10 artifacts that have, and continue to, put historical and archaeological scholars with wack-a-doodle theorists in a frenzy of possible theories of why these artifacts came to be and how.

10. Saqqara Bird

In 1898 a small bird like figure, known as the Saqqara Bird, was discovered during the excavation Saqqara, Egypt’s Pa-di-lmen tomb. Upon discovery it was hardly considered noteworthy and thrown in a box labeled “wooden bird.” The artifact is dated at 200 BCE.

After the invention of flight in 1903, many years later the bird was rediscovered by an specialist on ancient artifacts, Dr Khalil Messiha. Messiha discerned its characteristics similar of modern airplanes, namely “push-gliders,” with hints of advanced aerodynamics.

The debate is whether or not the Saqqara bird is in fact zoomorphic or potential evidence that the ancients conceived and or exercised modern flight. The idea is supported by additional “flying machines,” also possibly zoomorphic, found in South America dating at 500-800 BCE showing similar aerodynamic qualities

9. Tecaxic-Calixtlahuaca Head

This terra cotta head, originally part of a full statue, was found in 1933in the Toluca Valley among pre-Colombian grave goods. The curiosity the head presents is that it is clearly roman in style and antithetical to the design of popular Mesoamerican artifacts in that epoch.

Thermoluminescence testing of the Tecaxic-Calixtlahuaca head dates it to around 9th century BCE ranging between 13th century CE. Based on the bear and hairstyle of the head, it’s official placement is of Roman origin 2nd century CE.

The artifact is exciting and unusual because it suggests trans-oceanic contact to the New World far before originally speculated, although no other references of this Roman contact to the New World exist in the historical tradition of that area.

8. The Dropa Stones

The Dropa Stones surfaced in 1938 during an archaeological expedition between China and Tibet. Over 700 of these stones, more like disks, were found and carbon dated at approximately 12,000 years old. The disks are 9 inches in diameter, with a spiraling groove from the perfectly round ¾ inch center.

With further investigation the “groove” was identified as a series of almost microscopic writing in the form of characters and hieroglyphics. They sat un-deciphered until 1962, when Dr. Tsum Um Nui claimed to have decoded the writing to tell the tale of our planets first encounter with extra-terrestrials. The story on the stones depicts a crash landing of an alien spacecraft, a fearful encounter with the tribal Hams, and that the two eventually made peace.

Because of the small size of the characters, and at 12,000 years old have gone through considerable wear, the accuracy of this translation is up for debate. The isolated people of that region, interestingly, called the Hams, have unusual small frames, yellowish skin, large heads, and blue eyes a-typical of other people in the area.

7. The Coso Artifact

On February 13, 1961, three gift shop owners searching for geodes in California found an artifact which seemed strangely out of place. Inside a mineral, taking around 500,000 years to form naturally incased perfectly circular porcelain like material with a metal shaft in the center, appearing curiously like a spark plug.

Theories of how the spark plug ended up in the decidedly old lump of clay range from evidence of possibility of advanced Ancient Civilization, a mere natural accident, or something dropped by time travelers from the future. The artifact is, however, unquestionably a spark plug and of very mysterious origin.

6. Fuente Magna


Fuente Magna is an elaborately engraved chestnut libation bowl casually found in Bolivia by a country peasant. The artifact was originally considered unimportant until investigations were conducted in 2000. Unusual per its location, the writing on the bowl is unmistakably from the Old World.

Deemed “The Rosetta Stone of the Americas,” the two texts featured on Fuenta Magna are Sumerian Cuneiform and a Semetic text, and alludes to a transitional era in writing from symbol to text. This dates the bowl to 3500 BCE, Sumerian origin. The bowl itself is also follows trends of Mesopotamian artifacts.

The mystery is how the bowl came to be found in Bolivia, and when it came to be at its final resting place. The most popular theory is one of trans-oceanic contact taking place thousands of years before previously conceived.

5. Baghdad Battery

The Baghdad battery, surfacing around 1936 near Iraq, is the title of a series of artifacts of Mesopotamian origin. These artifacts are 5 inch jars including a copper cylinder housing an iron rod.

The presence of iron and copper in conjunction creates an electrochemical couple, and when an electrolyte is added to the mix creates voltage. The addition of any citrus juice or vinegar, for example, will produce an electric charge. Their use is unclear, but commonly associated with electroplating jewelry.

The pots are dated from anywhere between 250 BCE and 224 CE, predating the accepted invention of the electrochemical cell by Alessandro Volta in 1800 by over a thousand years.

4. Kingoodie Hammer

Earning its name from its discovery in 1844 at the Kingoodie Quarry of Scotland, an iron nail (also with what appears to be a wooden handle) is found fixed within a Sandstone block from the Mesozoic Era.

It is, however, highly unlikely for an iron nail to survive oxidation for 400 million years, and no theories are currently suggested for how this anomaly has come to past. Equally puzzling, however, is how this iron nail and wooden hammer found its way so solidly entrenched in a piece of sandstone hundreds of millions of years old.

3. Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich manuscript publicly surfaced in 1912 when it walked into the shop of a Polish-American bookseller, Wilfred Voynich. Around 240 pages of vellum sheets, the Voynich manuscript consists of large illustrations that depict knowledge of botany, astronomy, anatomy, and pharmaceutical sciences, partnered with a completely untranslatable writing. Famous British and American master code breakers of WWII, as well as world-renowned cryptologists still cannot decipher one word of the mysterious script.

The book is dated circa 15th century, and its authorship is also debatable. Guesses range from 13th century polymath and Franciscan friar Roger Bacon to a young Leonardo Di Vinci.

If it were authored by Roger Bacon in the mid 1200’s, there is some exciting evidence of knowledge beyond its years, namely astronomical charts which show galaxies as viewed through telescope and illustrations of live cells as viewed through microscope, both inventions with their first recorded appearance in the 1600s.

2. Mitchell-Hedges Skull

The Mitchell-Hedges crystal skull is the most famous of a collection of crystal skulls discovered between the 1920s-1960s in Mesoamerica, supposedly pre-Columbian in origin with suggested dating at 3,600 years old. The skull is a replica of a human skull made of transparent quartz that was allegedly found by Anna Mitchell-Hedges, daughter of explorer F.A. Mitchell Hedges, under a collapsed Mayan Temple.

While it is highly speculated that this story is truly how the crystal skull was found, mysteries are still abound. When examined by two specialists, art restoration expert Frank Dorland and Hewlett-Packard’s crystal lab, it was confirmed that the skull had been carved from a single piece of quartz rock crystal and carved against the natural grain of the crystal’s axis, something which would be very difficult today even with modern tools and technology. Even with sophisticated tools, crystal cut against the natural axis shatters indefinitely, and Silicone Valley deemed these crystal skulls as physically and technically impossible.

1. Piri Reis Map

In 1513, Ottoman-Turkish cartographer Piri Reis compiled a map of the world on Gazelle skin. According to the cartographer, Piri Reis, he used twenty different maps as reference points to complete his map, ranging from those of Columbus to some of which may have been used in the epoch of Alexander the Great. Despite controversies, the map is generally celebrated for it’s accurate illustration of the South American coastline.

Exciting to mystery lovers, however, is the land mass connected to the South American coast, which many people speculate is a depiction of Antarctica without ice. The large hump is what is believed to be Antarctica’s Queen Maude Land, and the dip next door is the Weddell Sea. Up for interpretation are also various waterways, which seem to match what might be lurking under the ice. The theory here is that an ancient civilization, possibly Atlantis, had survived there and created a map that may have been available in the Library of Alexandria.