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Mysterious Remains

21 Jun
Archaeology and research have over the years uncovered many different mysterious archaeological sites and artifacts. This page will help document them. This website has its own ideas about the sources of each and do not support any secular theory attached to the following.

1. http://www.livescience.com/29594-earths-most-mysterious-archeological-discoveries-.html

Stonehenge

Sprucing up an otherwise docile English field, the prehistoric monument commonly known as Stonehenge is one of the world’s most famous landmarks.

The ring of megalithic stones was built approximately 4,000 years ago and was an impressive feat for the primitive people who constructed it but that’s about all archaeologists know for sure. None of the theories on the original purpose of Stonehenge, which range from an astronomical observatory to a religious temple of healing, has ever been, well, set in stone.

Ancient Animal Traps

Low stone walls crisscrossing the deserts of Israel, Egypt and Jordan have puzzled archaeologists since their discovery by pilots in the early 20th century.

The chain of lines some up to 40 miles (64 kilometers) long and nicknamed “kites” by scientists for their appearance from the air date to 300 B.C., but were abandoned long ago.

The mystery might be somewhat clearer thanks to a recent study claiming that the purpose of the kites was to funnel wild animals toward a small pit, where they could easily be killed in large numbers. This efficient system suggests that local hunters knew more about the behavior of local fauna than previously thought.

Antikythera Mechanism

Like something from a fantastical treasure movie, the discovery of the Antikythera Mechanism remains a major archaeological head-scratcher.

Found in the sunken wreckage of a Greek cargo ship that is at least 2,000 years old, the circular bronze artifact contains a maze of interlocking gears and mysterious characters etched all over its exposed faces. Originally thought to be a kind of navigational astrolabe, archaeologists continue to uncover its uses and now know that it was, at the very least, a highly intricate astronomical calendar.

It is still the most sophisticated device ever found from that period, preceding the next appearance of similar devices by 1,000 years.

Nazca Lines

From the ground, the Nazca Lines of Peru are nothing spectacular. However, seen from the air, from which they were first spotted by commercial aircraft in the 1920s and 30s, they are staggering.

Archaeologists agree the enormous shapes there are hundreds of them, ranging from geometric lines to complicated depictions of animals, plants and imaginary figures were made over 2,000 years ago by people of the pre-Inca Nazca culture, who simply removed the red surface pebbles to reveal the lighter earth below in designs of their choice.

Just why they did it remains enigmatic, prompting conspiracy theorists to float ideas about alien landings and ancient astrology. The lines were more likely to have been a ritual communication method with the Nazca’s deities, say archaeologists.

The Great Pyramids

Even the information that archaeologists do know about the Great Pyramids of Egypt is enormously fascinating, to say nothing about what still might be uncovered.

Built almost 5,000 years ago in what is now Cairo, the three-pyramid complex with the largest, Khufu, dominating the site is a testament to the ancient Egyptians’ reverence for their Pharaohs and the intricacies of their belief in the afterlife.

Archaeologists are still discovering new tunnels and shafts built within the pyramids, and are still searching for clues on who built the great monuments, how and why, even today.

{We lean towards the idea that the pyramids and Sphynx were not built by the ancient Egyptians}

Gobekli Tepe

Humans first settled into permanents towns, farmed and then built temples, in that order, starting in 8,000 B.C. Or did they?

An amazing archaeological discovery made in 1994 at Gobekli Tepe, a rural area of Turkey, has blown that hypothesis apart, prompting new questions about the evolution of civilization.

Containing multiple rings of huge stone pillars carved with scenes of animals and dating to the 10th millennium B.C., Gobekli Tepe is considered the world’s oldest place of worship. Yet evidence also suggests the people who built it were semi-nomadic hunters, likely unaware of agriculture, which followed in the area only five centuries later. Because of Gobekli Tepe, archaeologists now have to ask which came first. Did building projects like this lead to settlement, and not vice-versa, as always thought?

2. http://listverse.com/2015/03/01/10-intriguing-and-mysterious-archaeological-sites/

The Temple People Structures Malta And Gozo

The Temple people existed on the islands of Malta and Gozo in the Mediterranean for about 1,100 years (from 4000–2900 B.C.) then simply vanished without a related culture to succeed them. As far as archaeologists can tell, the cause of their disappearance wasn’t invasion, starvation, or disease. It’s possible that religious extremism and environmental factors contributed to their demise, but no one really knows.

Archaeologists are studying the islands to learn more about these mysterious people. They were obsessed with building stone temples, covering both islands with more than 30 temple complexes during the time they lived there. In fact, the Temple people are credited with building the oldest free-standing stone structures ever found. Researchers found extensive evidence of animal sacrifices and complicated rituals within the structures, as well as a civilization fixated on life, sexuality, and death. Phallic symbols, figurines of fertile “fat ladies,” and other sexual representations were common.

The archaeologists also found hypogea, or complex underground burial chambers, which confirm the Temple people’s respect for the dead. Over time, these people seemed to do more communal burials, suggesting a matriarchal society based on grave gifts presented only to the females.

They also created an abundance of artwork, including hundreds of statues, that took three main forms: elaborately dressed figures, naked fat figures, and monstrous or abbreviated forms like phallic symbols. Such rich artwork was unusual for its time.

 

Archaeology aims to answer our questions about the past and, with any luck, give us some perspective on our present and future. But sometimes, artifacts raise mysteries that may never be solved. Like reading an engrossing novel with an ambiguous ending, you’re left to savor the possibilities without ever being fully satisfied.

Archaeologists are continuing to study soil samples and other evidence to determine what an average day was like for the Temple people, whom they may have traded with, and why they died.

Por Bajin

Siberia

High in the mountains in the middle of a lonely Siberian lake, scientists discovered the most mystifying archaeological site in Russia in 1891. Por-Bajin (which means “Clay House “) is a 1,300-year-old structure of 7 acres that takes up most of the small island on which it sits. Containing a maze of over 30 buildings, its high outer walls sit only 30 kilometers (20 mi) from the border with Mongolia. But over a century since its discovery, archaeologists are no closer to understanding who built this structure or why.

At first, researchers thought Por-Bajin was an ancient fortress of the Uighur Empire, nomads who ruled southern Siberia and Mongolia from 742–848. It’s constructed with a Chinese architectural style from that time. However, it’s so out of the way of trade routes and other settlements that competing theories eventually arose. Maybe it was a monastery, a summer palace, a memorial for a ruler, or an observatory for the stars. Evidence is accumulating that a Buddhist monastery was at the center of the complex, although only a few artifacts have been unearthed.

The complex does not appear to have been inhabited for long. Archaeologists found indications of earthquakes that may have caused a fire that burned some of the original site. However, the fire appears to have occurred after the island was abandoned for reasons unknown.

Etruscan Underground Pyramids

Italy

“Most likely, the answer waits at the bottom,” said archaeologist Claudio Bizzarri of the extraordinary mystery posed by the discovery of an Etruscan pyramid underneath the medieval city of Orvieto, Italy. “The problem is we don’t really know how much we have to dig to get down there.” The excavators found it almost four years ago and still don’t have a clue what awaits them.

It all started when they noticed Etruscan-style stairs carved into a wine cellar wall. As they began to dig, they found tunnels and eventually a medieval floor. The walls slanted upward like a pyramid. Continuing down, they unearthed Etruscan pottery from the fifth and sixth centuries B.C. in addition to other artifacts from before 1000 B.C. They’ve also found over 150 Etruscan language inscriptions.

As they resumed digging, the stone stairs went down with them. The discovery of another tunnel leading to a different underground pyramid added to the intrigue. So far, they’ve been able to rule out that it’s a cistern or a quarry. But that still leaves a lot of possibilities.

The Etruscans themselves remain a historical puzzle. They thrived in Italy from about 900–400 B.C., then they melded into the Roman Empire. Although they left no literature to help decipher their language, the Etruscans were known for their exquisite metalworking, art, farming, and commerce. Until these most recent finds, the only information we had about them came from their ornate tombs. The archaeologists hope that these underground pyramids will shed some light on the daily activities of the Etruscans.

Ancient Tundra Landscape

Greenland

Until recently, geologists believed that glaciers act as forces of erosion, scraping away everything they move over, from plants and soil to the upper layer of bedrock. But now, scientists have to rethink that theory because a tundra landscape from ancient times has survived under 3 kilometers (2 mi) of ice from the Greenland Ice Sheet, which covers 80 percent of the country and is the second largest body of ice in the world. Organic soil was frozen to the underside of the ice sheet for over 2.5 million years.

“The ancient soil under the Greenland Ice Sheet helps to unravel an important mystery surrounding climate change,” said researcher Dylan Rood. “How did big ice sheets melt and grow in response to changes in temperature?”

Global warming shrank the ice sheet at times during the last three million years but never fully melted it. Instead, regardless of how warm the Earth became, the ice sheet remained stable at its center where the soil froze underneath. That also means that Greenland was truly green at one time, much like the tundra in Alaska.

But there are still many questions left to explore. For one, we don’t know how much of the ice sheet melted and how much remained stable over the years. Scientists have to study other sites in Greenland to test if soil was preserved in those areas, too. We also don’t know how the ice sheet will behave in the future. If all of the ice would melt from global warming, we’d see a rise of 7.2 meters (24 ft) in the global sea level. The implications of such a drastic change aren’t completely clear.

The Lost Temple Of Musasir

Iraq

In the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, villagers recently discovered archaeological treasures dated to the Iron Age over 2,500 years ago. Quite by accident, they found column bases believed to be from the lost temple of Musasir in one village. They also uncovered other artifacts, including life-size statues of humans and a statuette of a goat, in a larger area that includes the borders of Iran, Iraq, and Turkey. Around the time these items were created, the geographical area that is now northern Iraq was ruled by Musasir, an ancient Urartu city. However, the Assyrians, Scythians, and Urartians were all battling for control of the area at that time.

Musasir was known as the “holy city founded in bedrock.” Urartian kings prayed for military victory to their supreme warrior god, Haldi, to whom the temple of Musasir was dedicated. The Urartians were so passionate about their god and his temple that Urartu King Rusa I committed suicide in 714 B.C. after the Assyrians plundered it.

Although the column bases have been uncovered, the location of the temple is still unknown. But archaeologists are getting closer. Originally placed above grave sites, the recovered statues are believed to have been an important part of burial rituals. Adding to the mystery is a cuneiform inscription on the goat statuette. Researchers are attempting to decipher it as they continue their quest to learn more about the historical events in this part of Iraq.

However, their research is not without serious physical risk. Although the Musasir site is protected by the Kurdistan militia, there are unexploded land mines from past conflicts in this border region, Iran has recently fired weapons toward Iraq, and ISIS has taken control of several Iraqi cities (although Kurdistan is autonomous for now).

The Han Dynasty Palace In Enemy Territory

Siberia

When Russian crews were working on a road near the Mongolian border, they accidentally unearthed the foundation of an ancient palace just outside the Russian city of Abakan. Archaeologists took over from there and by 1940 had excavated the site completely. But they’ve never solved the mystery that goes with it.

The archaeologists found the remains of a huge palace from 2,000 years ago. However, the palace was constructed in the style of the Han Dynasty of China, which reigned from 206 B.C. to A.D. 220 hundreds of miles away. The location of this palace was squarely in enemy territory controlled by the Xiongnu Khanate Empire. The Xiongnu were so relentless that North China kingdoms eventually built barricades, which became the Great Wall of China, to try to stop their invasions.

No Xiongnu records explain what happened. But historians have pieced together two theories from Chinese records. The first theory is that the palace belonged to Lu Fang, a pretender to the throne of the Han Dynasty, who ultimately defected to Xiongnu territory with his family. He remained there until his death 10 years later.

A second, more dramatic theory is that Li Ling, who led a Han army of 30,000 soldiers against the Xiongnu, endured a crushing defeat and surrendered to his enemy. But Emperor Wu, who ruled the Han Dynasty, believed that Li had defected in an unforgivable act of betrayal. As a result, he punished the Li family severely. When Li learned what happened to his family, he defected for real and trained the Xiongnu in Han military techniques. In exchange, the Xiongnu rewarded Li by letting him build a palace in their territory. However, no one can prove either theory.

The Seven Provincial Pyramids

Egypt

In southern Egypt around the ancient settlement of Edfu, archaeologists discovered a step pyramid decades older than the Great Pyramid of Giza. At 4,600 years old, this three-step pyramid belongs to a group of seven “provincial pyramids” constructed of sandstone blocks and clay mortar in various areas of southern and central Egypt. It’s unknown which pharaoh built them, although the possibilities have been narrowed to Huni or Snefru. The Edfu pyramid stands only 5 meters (16 ft) high today, although it was once about 13 meters (43 ft) high. It’s believed that a combination of pillaging and destructive weather reduced its dimensions. Including the one at Edfu, six of the seven pyramids are nearly identical in size.

“The similarities from one pyramid to the other are really amazing, and there is definitely a common plan,” said Gregory Marouard, who spearheaded the work at Edfu. However, no one knows why these pyramids were built. They don’t contain internal chambers, so they weren’t meant to be used as tombs. Archaeologists have found inscriptions by the remains of children buried at the foot of the Edfu pyramid. But they believe the burials and associated inscriptions occurred well after the pyramid was constructed. That leads researchers to believe that the pyramid may have been a symbolic monument attesting to the pharoah’s power, a belief bolstered by the discovery of an installation for food offerings on one side of the pyramid.

Divination ShrinesArmenia

In excavations from 2003–2011, archaeologists found three shrines about 3,300 years old nestled in an Armenian fortress in the town of Gegharot. Several similar installations were also constructed in Armenia at that time. They were most likely used for divination, probably as a way for local rulers to predict their futures.

Each one-room shrine contained a clay basin that held ash and ceramic vessels. Other artifacts suggest that the diviners drank wine and burned unknown substances to alter their mental states. “I would think that this is probably a cult center largely specializing in servicing the emerging rulers from the ruling class,” said Professor Adam Smith of Cornell University.

Armenia didn’t have a written language at this time, so the names of the rulers are not known. However, archaeologists discovered evidence at the site of three methods of divination: osteomancy, lithomancy, and aleuromancy.

3. http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-bizarre-archeological-discoveries.php

Acámbaro Figures

The Acámbaro Figures are a collection of small ceramic figurines allegedly found in Acámbaro, Guanajuato, Mexico.  They were discovered by Waldemar Julsrud in July of 1944.  According to accounts, Julsrud stumbled upon the artifacts while riding his horse in the Acámbaro area.  He hired a local farmer to dig up the remaining figures, paying him for each object he found.  Eventually, the farmer and his assistants discovered over 32,000 figures, which included representations of everything from dinosaurs to people from all over the world, including Egyptians, Sumerians, and bearded Caucasians.  The Acámbaro Figures have been cited as out of place artifacts, as they are clearly human made and portray a large variety of dinosaur species.  According to all history books, humans did not live in the time of the dinosaurs.  Upon the discovery of the figures, many creationists from all over the world proclaimed the artifacts legitimate.  If these figures are genuine, it could stand as credible evidence for the coexistence of dinosaurs and humans, which would severely damage the theory of evolution and offer support for the literal interpretation of the Bible.

Giants of North America

In the last few centuries, many strange archeological discoveries have been made in the Americas.  It seems that people are unearthing extremely unusual and giant human remains.  Many documented accounts of these findings exist.  Giant human remains are classified as any bones representative of a person between seven and twelve feet in stature. A human skeleton measuring 12 feet tall was unearthed at Lompock Rancho, California, in 1833 by soldiers digging a pit for a powder magazine.  The specimen had a double row of teeth and was surrounded by numerous stone axes, carved shells, and porphyry blocks with abstruse symbols associated with it. In 1856, a decaying human skeleton measuring 10 feet 9 inches tall was unearthed by laborers plowing a vineyard in what is now West Virginia. A mound discovered near Toledo, Ohio in 1895 held 20 skeletons; they were seated and facing east with jaws and teeth “twice as large as those of present day people.”  In 1928, a farmer digging a pit to bury trash near Waterproof, Louisiana unearthed a 9 foot 11 inch tall skeleton

The list of these discoveries is quite extensive and many claims have been made about the origin of these giant bones, usually starting and ending with Sasquatch.  Others have suggested an ancient race of giant humans.  In 1947, a strange article was posted in a Nevada state newspaper, titled ‘Atlantis in the Colorado River Desert’.  The article discussed an incredible archeological discovery of 32 underground caves within a 180 square mile radius.  The report indicated that the caves were discovered close to the Nevada and California border.  The remains of ancient, strangely costumed 8 -9 foot giants were inside.  They had been laid to rest wearing the skins of unknown animals similar to sheepskins fashioned into jackets with pants described as “prehistoric suits.”  The same burial place had been cited 10-15 years earlier by another man who supposedly made a deal with the Smithsonian.  Claims have been made that the evidence of his find was stolen and covered up by Darwinian scientists to protect the theory of evolution.

Los Lunas Decalogue Stone

The Los Lunas Decalogue Stone is a large boulder on the side of Hidden Mountain, near Los Lunas, New Mexico, about 35 miles south of Albuquerque.  The stone bears a regular inscription carved into a flat panel.  The inscription is interpreted by some to be an abridged version of the Decalogue or Ten Commandments in a form of Paleo-Hebrew.  A letter group resembling the tetragrammaton YHWH, or “Yahweh,” makes four appearances on the stone.  The first recorded mention of the artifact is from 1933 when Professor Frank Hibben, an archaeologist from the University of New Mexico, reportedly saw it.  Hibben was led to the stone by an unnamed guide who claimed to have found it as a boy in the 1880s. If this information is accurate, a forgery would be unlikely because the Paleo-Hebrew script was unknown to scholars in the 1880s.

One argument against the stone’s authenticity is the apparent use of Modern Hebrew punctuation, although epigrapher Barry Fell argued that the punctuation is consistent with antiquity.  Other researchers dismiss the artifact based on the numerous stylistic and grammatical errors that appear in the inscription.  The stone is controversial because many feel the artifact is Pre-Columbian and proof of early Semitic contact with the Americas, providing evidence that people from Israel settled in America.  Because of the stone’s weight of over 80 tons, it was never moved to a museum or laboratory for study and safekeeping.  The stone is accessible to visitors by purchasing a $25 Recreational Access Permit from the New Mexico State Land Office.

4. http://coolinterestingstuff.com/the-mystery-of-the-ancient-city-tiahuanaco

The mystery of the ancient city Tiahuanaco

Tiahuanacu (also called Tiwanaku) is a mystery because of its age (estimated to be 17,000 years) and the peculiar stone technology.

Today there is little doubt that Tiahuanaco was a major sacred ceremonial centre and focal point of a culture that spread across much of the region. The ancient people built a stone pyramid known as the Akapana

When first discovered the pyramid was largely covered with soil. After several decades of excavation some of the walls have been uncovered and treasure hunters opened a depression in the top. This was built originally to open towards the east.

Between 10 to 20 thousand years ago, Tiwanaku was in its glory. But now, the massive fallen stones which were used to build this massive city lie scattered about, having at one time been tossed about just like popcorn in a skillet.

The stones are so large that even today, it would be a technological marvel to take them from the mountainous quarry they were brought from, fifty miles away.

Lying close to Lake Titicaca, these ruins lie at approximately 13,000 feet above sea level. It appears certain that it was once a seaport. It still has the ruins of extensive docks lying on an earlier shoreline. In Tiwanaku’s heyday, one of these docks could have accommodated hundreds of sea-going vessels!

There is evidence that Titicaca was once a saltwater sea. Its shoreline is littered with millions of fossilized seashells. The marine fishes and seahorses in the lake are all oceanic types found only in salt water.

Researchers are convinced that these 3 miles high ruins once lay at sea level. Therefore, an incredibly devastating earthquake could have torn the city asunder, lifting Tiwanaku and the lake to where they are now.

5. http://matadornetwork.com/trips/30-worlds-impressive-ruins/

Chichén Itzá (Tinum, Mexico)

The pre-Columbian Mayan city of Chichén Itzá is visited by over 1.2 million people annually (making it one of Mexico’s most-visited archaeological sites).

Baalbek (Beqaa Governorate, Lebanon)

Home to some of Lebanon’s best-preserved Roman ruins, Baalbek can be found in the Beqaa Valley. The city was known as Heliopolis during the Roman period.

Moai of Rano Raraku (Easter Island, Chile)

Rano Raraku is the main quarry of moai on Easter Island. The Rapa Nui people carved the human figures, or moai, between 1250 and 1500 AD. The tallest moai weighs 82 tons – the simple act of moving it is considered a more-than-impressive feat.

Tulum (Quintana Roo, Mexico)

Tulum is another pre-Columbian Maya site, known to be one of the last cities built by the Maya. The well-preserved walled city’s most famous buildings are El Castillo, the Temple of the Descending God, and the Temple of the Frescoes.

Teotihuacán (San Juan Teotihuacán, Mexico)

The origins of this Mesoamerican city are cloudy, but it’s postulated that it reached a population of over 150,000 at its peak. It not only houses the Pyramid of the Moon and Pyramid of the Sun, but residential compounds and the Avenue of the Dead as well.

Montezuma Castle National Monument (Camp Verde, Arizona, United States)

These very well-preserved cliff dwellings can be found in Arizona’s Montezuma Castle National Monument. They were built by the pre-Columbian Sinagua people.

Ajanta Caves (Maharashtra, India)

Similar to the caves at Ellora, the Ajanta Caves consist of about 30 rock-cut Buddhist monuments. The area was covered in dense foliage until it was rediscovered by chance in 1819.

Cobá (Quintana Roo, Mexico)

Not far from Tulum’s ruins, Cobá was a pre-Columbian Mayan city. At its peak, it is said to have housed over 50,000 people. The site’s tallest pyramid is 138 feet in height.

Ellora (Maharashtra, India)

Ellora, an Indian archeological site, is best known for its caves. There are 34 of them, and they were cut out of the rock faces of the Charanandri Hills.

Cappadocia (Central Anatolian Region, Turkey)

Cappadocia was the home of the Hittite Empire. Many of Cappadocia’s temples and homes were cut directly into the rock structures known as fairy chimneys visible in the photo above. The earliest mention of the region’s name dates back to the late 6th century BC.

6. http://stonehengeusa.com/?redirect=false

What is America’s Stonehenge?

Built by a Native American Culture or a migrant European population? No one knows for sure. A maze of man-made chambers, walls and ceremonial meeting places, America’s Stonehenge is most likely the oldest man-made construction in the United States (over 4000 years old).

Like Stonehenge in England, America’s Stonehenge was built by ancient people well versed in astronomy and stone construction. It has been determined that the site is an accurate astronomical calendar. It was, and still can be, used to determine specific solar and lunar events of the year.

Various inscriptions have been found throughout the site including Ogham, Phoenician and Iberian Punic Script. Dr. Barry Fell of Harvard University did extensive work on the inscriptions found at the site.

7. http://sacredsites.com/europe/malta/temples_malta.html

The Mediterranean island of Malta figures in the historical record of Europe due to its association with the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, who fled to Malta from the island of Rhodes in 1530. Yet this small island of 243 square kilometers has a far greater importance in European prehistory due to its extraordinary collection of megalithic temples. Situated 80 kilometers south of Sicily and 370 kilometers east of the Tunisian coast, the island of Malta appears to have been first settled during the early Neolithic period by a wave of immigrants from the island of Sicily. This appearance of Neolithic settlement is however strongly challenged by new research concerning a probable Paleolithic influence, details of which are presented throughout this essay. Before examining this new research, let us take a brief look at the orthodox, or conventional, theories regarding the origin and nature of human settlements on the island of Malta…

On the islands of Malta and nearby Gozo, the remains of 50 temples have been found, with 23 in various states of preservation. No particular pattern emerges from the distribution of these temples and this may be explained by the probability that numerous temples were destroyed in antiquity and that others remain to be discovered. There are also numerous menhirs and dolmens scattered across the two islands, but their spatial relationship to the larger temple complexes has not been studied in any detail.

Nearly all of the Maltese temples are constructed in the same basic design: a central corridor leading through two or more kidney-shaped (ellipsoidal) chambers to reach a small alter apse at the far end. The Herculean outer shell of the walls are formed of great blocks of stone propped on end or on edge as orthostats. Internal walls are either of piled rough coralline blocks, or well-cut slabs set as orthostats.

8. http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2013/09/intriguing-ancient-underground-city-derinkuyu/

Long ago, in the region surrounding Nevsehir and Kayseri, in central Turkey, an ancient people built, or rather dug, over 200 underground cities. The deepest of these, under the present day town of Derinkuyu, delves over 250 feet below the Earth’s surface, and boasts numerous tunnels, halls, meeting rooms, wells and passages.

Because the city was carved from existing caves and underground structures that had first formed naturally, there is no way to discern, with traditional archaeological methods of dating, when exactly Derinkuyu was built. As such, and with ties to the Hittites, Phrygians and Persians, Derinkuyu presents a fascinating riddle for ancient mystery enthusiasts.

Derinkuyu is located in the Cappadocia region of Turkey, a place renowned for its unique geology. At the dawn of time, volcanoes in the area covered it with a thick layer of ash. Over the years, this ash transformed into a soft rock that itself eroded over the eons, leaving an exotic landscape of pocked spires, columns and rough pyramids, referred to by the locals as castles. Perhaps inspired by their surroundings, ancient people began to carve the soft ash rock into tunnels and rooms to be used as residences, storage, stables and religious temples.

Cappadocia boasts a number of fascinating carved sites including the churches and refectories at Goreme, the Roman-made castle at Uchisar and the largest underground city in the region, Kaymakli. The latter has been inhabited continuously since its construction, and people today still use it for storage and even stables.

Derinkuyu seems to attract the most attention of all the underground cities because, until 1963, modern people were unaware that this deepest of the underground cities even existed.

9. http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/mysterious-man-made-ditches-predate-amazon-rainforest-001833

A recent study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealed that a series of mysterious lines and geometric shapes carved into the Amazonian landscape were created thousands of years ago before the rainforest even existed, according to a report in Discovery News. The purpose of the massive earthworks and who created them remains unknown, and scientists are beginning to realise just how much there still is to learn about the prehistoric cultures of the Amazon and life before the arrival of Europeans.

The unusual earthworks, which include square, straight, and ring-like ditches, were first uncovered in 1999, after large areas of pristine forest was cleared for cattle grazing. Since then, hundreds of the earthen foundations have been found in a region more than 150 miles across, covering northern Bolivia and Brazil’s Amazonas state.

The ditches were sculpted from the clay rich soils of the Amazon and are typically around 30 feet wide and 10 feet deep, alongside 3 feet high walls. However, the largest ring ditches found so far are an incredible 1,000 feet in diameter.  The purpose of the ditches remains a complete mystery. The fact that many of them are clustered on a 200 metre high plateau suggests they may have been used for defence, however, others have suggested they were used for drainage or for channelling water since most were placed near spring water source. A team of researchers who published a paper in the journal Antiquity in 2010 argued that the layout of the ditches is highly symbolic suggestion a ceremonial and religious function.

Until recently, it was believed that the earthworks dated back to around 200 AD. However, the latest study has revealed that they are, in fact, much older. Study author John Francis Carson, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom, explained that sediment cores had been taken from two lakes near the major earthwork sites.  These sediment cores hold ancient pollen grains and charcoal from long-ago fires, and can reveal information about the climate and ecosystem that existed when the sediment was laid down as far back as 6,000 years ago.

The results revealed that the oldest sediments did not come from a rainforest ecosystem at all. Rather, they showed that the landscape, before about 2,000 to 3,000 years ago, looked more like the savannahs of Africa than today’s lush rainforest.

The earthworks predate the shift from savannah to rainforest, which reveals that the creators of these ditches carved them before the forest moved in around them. They continued to live in the area as it became forested, probably keeping clear regions around their structures, Carson said.

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