25 Most Intense Archaeological Discoveries In Human History

Posted by , Updated on January 15, 2015

While archaeology may not seem like the most exciting profession in the world, it certainly has its moments. Of course, you won’t be excavating mummies everyday but on occasion you may find yourself face to face with some fairly intense artifacts. Whether they are ancient computers, massive underground armies, or just gruesome corpses, these are the 25 most intense archaeological discoveries in human history.

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20

The First Leper

The first leper skeleton

Also known as Hansen’s disease, leprosy is not contagious but its victims have often lived on the fringes of society due to extreme disfigurement. Because Hindu tradition calls for cremation the skeleton above, often cited as the first leper, was found buried just outside the city limits.

19

Ancient Chemical Warfare

Ancient chemical warfare, Romans vs Persians

In 1933 archaeologist Robert du Mesnil du Buisson was searching beneath the ruins of an ancient Roman/Persian battlefield when he came across some siege tunnels that had been dug under the city. In the tunnels he found the bodies of 19 Roman soldiers that seemingly died while trying to desperately escape from something and one Persian soldier clutching his chest. Apparently when the Romans heard the Persians digging under their walls they began digging a tunnel of their own with the idea of dropping in on the Persians from above. The trouble for them was that the Persians heard it and set a trap. As soon as the Roman soldiers dropped through they were met with burning sulfur and bitumen which has the unfortunate effect of turning to acid in your lungs.

18

Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone

Discovered in 1799 by a French soldier sifting through the Egyptian sand, the Rosetta Stone has been one of archaeology’s greatest discoveries to date and the primary source for modern understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphs. The stone is a actually a fragment of a larger stone that contained a decree issued by King Ptolemy V around 200 BC with the decree inscribed in 3 languages – Egyptian hieroglyphs, Demotic script, and Ancient Greek.

17

Diquis Spheres

diquis spheres

Known as the stone spheres of Costa Rica, scientists believe these nearly perfect speres were carved around the turn of the millennium. Although there is much speculation as to what they may have been used for, no one is completely sure.

16

The Grauballe Man

Grauballe man

It’s not a strange occurrence for mummified bodies to be found in bogs but this body, now known as the Grauballe Man, is a bit unique. Not only is he amazingly well preserved with his hair and fingernails still intact, it is possible to reconstruct his demise from the information found on and around his body. Judging from a large wound wrapping around his neck from ear to ear it seems he was sacrificed, probably in an attempt to turn a better harvest.

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