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The 16 Most Bizarre Historical Artifacts Ever Discovered On Construction Sites

Updated December 11, 2020 39.8k votes 10.2k voters 1.0m views16 items

List RulesVote 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 or a trove of Tudor artifacts 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 Mummified Toddler Was Found In A Parisian Apartment

    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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  • 2

    A Child's Letter To Santa Claus From 1943 Was Found In A Chimney

    Video: YouTube

    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, 



    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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  • 3

    A 700-Year-Old Mummy Was Found Under A Chinese Road

    Video: YouTube

    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

    An 1894 Time Capsule Was Discovered Under A Scottish Bridge

    In 2015, in the Cairngorms National Park in Scotland, a 121-year-old time capsule was discovered by construction workers on a section of the Ruthven Road bridge. The capsule itself was a metal box, similar to a safe-deposit box at a bank. 

    When the capsule was opened, the items inside that were found included: a bottle of whisky, a newspaper from 1894, a scroll, and some other items. The items and the box itself were donated to the nearby Highland Folk Museum to be studied. It is believed that the time capsule was placed within the structure of the bridge when it was originally constructed at the end of the 19th century. 

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