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16 Most Interesting Historical Artifacts That Will Leave You Surprised

6. A Chinese abacus ring, 300 years old

Chinese Qing Dynasty abacus ring
Image source: dailymail.co.uk

An ancient wearable gadget, anyone?

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This ring was made in China during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Inlaid in the ring like a decoration is a 1.2cm by 0.7cm abacus, with seven rods and seven beads on each rod mounted right on top the ring. Called the ‘Zhusuan’, the counting tool is made of silver and its beads are so tiny they can only be moved by a pin.

Although used by Chinese traders to make quick calculations, the exact date, and place of origin of this amazing tool, and the identity of the type of person to whom it belonged remain unknown. (source)

7. Napoleon’s engagement ring, 17th century

Napoleon’s Engagement Ring
Image source: www.extravaganzi.com

This ring, with a pear-shaped blue sapphire and a diamond nestled side by side, marked the marriage between Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine de Beauharnais. The story goes that their marriage was fiercely opposed by many because Josephine was already the mother of two children, was a widow and older than Napoleon.

Only two days following their marriage on March 9, 1796, Napoleon was summoned for war duties.  Upon his return, they lived together until 1810 when Napoleon decided to marry Marie Louise of Austria because Josephine was unable to bear him children. Nonetheless, even after separation, Napoleon insisted that Josephine retain the title of Empress.

In the year 2013, the ring sold for an exorbitant $939,000, sixty times the appraised amount, at an auction. (source)

8. The bullet that took Abraham Lincoln’s life, 150 years old

bullet that killed Lincoln
Image source: www.dailymail.co.uk

We all know that anything related to Abraham Lincoln automatically becomes valuable. The bullet that pierced through the great man’s flesh and caused his death is stored in a glass vessel at the National Museum of Health and Medicine, like a precious piece of metal. The military museum, famous for its collection of 25 million morbid items, also prides itself for storing fragments of the American president’s skull. To top it off, the museum has tiny pieces of Lincoln’s killer John Wilkes Booth’s spine carefully stored for visitors who find morbid items like these fascinating. (source)

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9. World’s first prosthetic limb, 3,000 years old

3,000-year-old toe
Image source: dailymail.co.uk

When the oldest prosthetic limb was discovered on a 3,000-year-old mummy, scientists believed that it was a part of the mummy’s burial items, something that was added to the dead body during its burial, something that was thought to help the dead tramp smoothly into the afterlife. In 2007, however, a British Egyptologist upon further examination challenged this notion and claimed that the prosthetic leg was used when the person was alive. The fake foot is expertly fashioned and has visible signs of wear and tear. It’s made of wood and leather and was strapped to a noble woman approximately 50 to 60 years of age. Researchers made a replica of the limb to have volunteers wear and walk in them in order to establish once and for all if the prosthetic limb was workable or not. It was. (source)

10. World’s oldest trousers, 3,000 to 3,300 years old

3000 year old pants
Image source: www.sciencenews.org

In a fairly recent discovery, remains of two horse riders in China were found to have had decorated pants on their legs which are now believed to be the world’s oldest known set of trousers. The woolen trousers had straight-fitting legs and a wide crotch with decorations woven into them.

Guesses are that pants were used by nomadic herders in Central Asia because it allowed ease in movement especially while riding on horseback as well as protecting the legs from any kind of external dangers such as thorns. Although the date of the origin of horse riding is debatable, scientists believe that the use of trousers came shortly thereafter. (source)

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