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15 Most Unexpected Things Ever Found And Their Surprising Backstories

5. A piece of a Corinthian helmet, commonly associated with ancient Greek heroes, was excavated from the Plain of Marathon in 1834. This helmet, believed to be from the Battle of Marathon (490 B.C.), came with the warrior’s skull inside.

Corinthian helmet with the warrior’s skull inside
Image source: www.rom.on.ca

The Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. is one of the most pivotal battles in history. This is where the Greeks defeated the invading Persians, thus establishing the position of Greek classical civilization.

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This specific helmet was excavated from the Plain of Marathon in 1834 according to letters from Sutton dated the 2nd and 20th of August, 1826. A skull was found inside when it was excavated by George Nugent-Grenville, 2nd Baron Nugent of Carlanstown.

Since the Greeks won at Marathon, it’s unlikely that they would have left any dead body or useful equipment behind. Moreover, the only damage to the helmet seems to be from age. This is an unlikely case where a helmet was found with a head, and it was from the victorious side.(source)

4. Cocoa and nicotine found in some Egyptian mummies suggest Ancient Egyptians might have traveled to the New World that is now called America.

The mummy of Ramesses II
Image source: wikipedia

It seems like the Egyptians were in contact with the New World (America) much before Columbus’ transoceanic adventure in 1492.

German toxicologist Svetlana Balabanova first found traces of nicotine while examining the mummy of a female priestess known as Henut Taui. Tests of her hair shaft gave the exact same results. While some cry foul, curator Alfred Grimm of the Egyptian Museum in Munich doesn’t rule out the possibility.

The Keeper of Egyptology at the Manchester Museum, Rosalie David, performed similar tests on the museum’s mummy collection and confirmed that they test positive for nicotine.

These two possible pieces of evidence of this contact have garnered widespread scientific and scholarly support. There is also evidence which led to the discovery of a Norse settlement of Greenland and the L’Anse aux Meadows site in Newfoundland with both date back some 500 years before Columbus.(source)

3. In 2012, a British man using a metal detector for the first time discovered buried treasure in a mere 20 minutes. Wesley Carrington found Roman gold worth £100,000.

A man finds $156,000 worth of gold coins
Image source: dailymail.co.uk

Wesley Carrington took his new metal detector into a field near St. Albans in Hertfordshire, England and found gold in a mere twenty minutes! Carrington had to dig down just seven inches where he found a spoon, then a half penny, and finally found an ancient Roman solidus. There were 158 more buried with it, and the estimated worth of the coins is $156,000.

The statistical likelihood of finding a hoard like that with such minimal effort is impossible to even calculate.(source)

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2. Remains of what may be a group of twelve Neanderthals were found in Spain. Evidence has led archaeologists to believe this family was killed and cannibalized by another group about 42,000 years ago.

Neanderthal Cannibalism
Image source: livescience.com

Remains of at least twelve Neanderthals have been discovered in a Karst cave called El Sidrón in the Asturias Mountains of northern Spain. All the human remains were recovered within a single stratum.

The bones had been very well preserved with limited trampling and erosion. They bear no large carnivore marks. Researchers believe the original place of death was outside the cave, and the human remains and stone tools were deposited in the cave as the result of a collapse of nearby fissures above the site.

What’s most interesting is the overwhelming evidence of cannibalism. This includes cut marks, flaking, percussion pitting, and conchoidal scars and flakes on the bones.

Even the long bones show deep scars and several bones were cracked open to obtain marrow or brains. The data have lead researchers to believe the family of Neanderthals was a victim of cannibalism by another group.(source)

1. Larch trees in the German state of Brandenburg form mysterious tree swastikas. These are only visible in the fall, and were only discovered as recently as 1992. These forest swastikas found in Germany and beyond went unnoticed for sixty years.

swastika symbol consisting of larch trees
Image source: www.nydailynews.com

Brandenburg in Germany has witnessed a formation of larch trees in the shape of swastikas for decades now. An intern at a landscaping company first noticed the Nazi symbol back in 1992 while taking aerial photographs.

Forest swastikas have been found in Germany and beyond. According to a retrospective published by Der Spiegel, this is apparently a horticultural emblem of hate.

The 200-feet by 200-feet design in Brandenburg was surrounded by pine trees. It’s only visible when the larches turn yellow and orange during the fall.

Similar sightings were reported in the 1970s describing a huge swastika growing in a spruce forest in Hesse and north Hesse in the 1980s.

Another swastika was found in a forest near a remote village in Kyrgyzstan in 2006. Rumors have it that it was planted by German prisoners of war. Some even say it was planted in the 1930s as a tribute to the pact between Hitler and Stalin.(source)

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