History

The 16 Most Bizarre Historical Artifacts Ever Discovered On Construction Sites 

Dave Smith
Updated July 8, 2020 · 3:45am PDT 32.5k votes 9k voters 952.6k views 16 items

List Rules Vote up the most surprising things found on construction sites that would shock you if you were laying a foundation.

There have been some seriously strange things found at construction sites. While some people have spent their entire lives searching for buried riches or lost holy relics only to come up short, others have just sort of stumbled upon historical artifacts found at construction sites. The weird stuff found on construction jobs ranges from priceless treasures to tangible evidence of civilizations thought lost forever. Truly, a few of these accidental archaeological finds changed what we know about history

In all cases, the stories of those lucky (or unlucky) enough to find a mummy in their floorboards are fascinating and often creepier than fiction. These discoveries are by turns heartwarming, stomach-churning, and awe-inspiring. Be careful, or these serendipitous moments may inspire you to start digging in your backyard, combing the beach, or putting holes in your wall. But then again, who knows? You might get lucky.    

1
A Child's Letter To Santa Claus From 1943 Was Found In A Chimney
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A letter was written by a little boy named David and addressed to Santa Claus during Christmas 1943. The letter was presumably placed with care inside the chimney of David’s home. Seventy-two years later, contractor Lewis Shaw was helping demolish the same home when his crew found the letter, still inside the chimney. It read:

“Dear Father Christmas, 

Please can you send me a Rupert annual, and a drum box of chalks, soldiers and Indians, slippers and any little toys you have to spare, 

Love

David”

Miraculously, this letter was reunited with David. Shaw tried to track him down with Facebook and by speaking to neighbors who still lived close by. The search even gave birth to a social media campaign, #FindDavid. Shaw eventually found the still-living David.

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2
A Mummified Toddler Was Found In A Parisian Apartment
A Mummified Toddler Was ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The 16 Most Bizarre Historical Artifacts Ever Discovered On Construction Sites
Photo: Louis Daguerre/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

In 1850, a Parisian couple was having work done in their apartment when the mummified remains of a baby fell out of a wall. At first, there was a lot of suspicion about the couple. But Dr. Marcel Bereget decided to determine the amount of time since death by using common house flies to see if they would swarm over the body. It was determined that the child had passed quite some time ago.

There was no further information about who the child was or how he or she perished and ended up in the wall. Likely, the child had been there for years.

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3
A 700-Year-Old Mummy Was Found Under A Chinese Road
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In 2011, a very well-preserved mummified woman was found underneath a modern road in the city of Taizhou, in the Jiangsu Province of eastern China. The woman, a member of the Ming Dynasty, was found by a construction crew working on a road that she was buried under. Construction workers described her as being submerged in a "‘brown liquid." 

She was just under five feet tall, and dressed in silk finery with robes, slippers, jewelry. Amazingly, her hair and eyebrows were still intact. After observing her and her tomb, Taizhou Museum director Wang Weiyin estimated that the mummy was about 700 years old. 

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4
A 13th Century Mansion Was Found Under Somerset, England
A 13th Century Mansion W... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The 16 Most Bizarre Historical Artifacts Ever Discovered On Construction Sites
Photo: Diliff/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

In 2013, during construction for a housing development in Wellington, England, excavators discovered the foundations of a 12th-century mansion. Archeologists working on the discovery later discovered that there were no historical records of the building. Normally, large estates have deeds and other records kept by the occupants, local lords, or with church officials. 

While no sufficient information about the mansion’s history or occupants has ever been found, archeologists did discover a segment of tile in the mansion with a knight painted on it. Because this is similar to tiles at Glastonbury Abbey, this revelation made the site and mansion foundations instantly more important and of great historical value. While the housing project continued, the artifacts uncovered from the archeological dig ended up being moved to the Museum of Somerset for study and preservation. 

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