With a tradition of archaeology stretching back several thousand years, one might think that all the interesting stuff out there has already been dug up and analyzed by this point. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The sheer scope of human history, not to mention prehistory, has ensured that there is a continual supply of new and interesting discoveries to be made for those willing to dig for them. No matter the year, there are always new finds that teach us something new, make us re-evaluate history, or just leave us scratching our heads.
2016 was no different than any other year. Archaeological digs occurred all over the world, and some of the results were truly bizarre. While each of the entries on this list is an important discovery in its own right, and likely contributes to our understanding of human history in some way, the focus is squarely on the weirdest things found in 2016.
Sometimes the creepiness of an archaeological find speaks for itself, and that’s definitely the case when the discovery in question is a bunch of footless children. The gravesite was discovered in Peru and is believed to date back to the 13th century. Researchers believe that the children were part of a ritualistic sacrifice committed by a group that existed before the Inca conquered the region. Why they cut their feet off, we’ll probably never know. Perhaps a mistranslation led them to sacrifice the soles of the young?
Sometimes, an ancient gravesite is uncovered and archaeologists instantly know there's a dark story to be told. That’s the case with the Etruscan shackled skeleton, whose name speaks for itself. The specimen, which dates back to the 5th Century BC, appears to have been shackled by the neck and ankles and then buried. It is unclear whether this occurred before or after death, but it definitely makes for a creepier story if it happened before. Some evidence suggests the shackles may be a part of a grim funerary game that may have been played in the area.
Apparently, vampirism was a serious concern for the ancient Polish. While we may never know why they thought vampires walked among them, we definitely know what they did about it. Polish vampire burials keep being uncovered, with the largest such discovery taking place in 2016. In order to prevent the dead from rising as vampires, the Polish took several measures when burying them, including post-mortem decapitation and weighing the bodies down with enormous stones, in addition to straight-up staking them to the ground. Easily the most metal discovery of 2016.
As far as cool archaeological discoveries go, it doesn’t get much more radical than a space dagger. The fact that said space dagger belonged to King Tut, one of the more famous Egyptian rulers of all time, makes it all the more notable. Researchers confirmed in 2016 that a previously discovered knife, which was almost certainly owned by Tut, was made from iron taken from a meteorite. Chances are good that, in addition to just looking badass, the dagger was likely thought to contain special powers due to its extraterrestrial origins.