25+ Archaeological Finds That Made Us Say ‘Whoa’

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Vote up the archaeological discoveries that make you wish you were a real-life Indiana Jones.

Every so often, researchers dig up treasure troves of cool archaeological finds. While some of those ancient discoveries are a mystery to us, others are easily explainable. We know what the people of yesteryear used anchors, keys, and helmets for, but the fact that those artifacts survived hundreds - sometimes thousands - of years is pretty amazing.

The objects - and even entire villages, homes, or palaces - listed here may seem mundane at first glance, but once you realize just how long ago they were created, the only thing left to say is, "Whoa."

  • 1
    9,418 VOTES

    16th Century Ring That Unfolds Into An Astronomical Sphere

    Comparable to larger navigational tools, the armillary sphere rings worn by explorers during the 16th and 17th centuries were collapsible pieces of equipment that symbolized knowledge. With anywhere from two to eight bands, the rings could be decorated with astrological signs or ornate stones. This ring has ties to Germany, but designs for astrological finger rings are often linked to 15th century Jewish physician Bonetus de Latis

    9,418 votes
  • 2
    5,977 VOTES

    Third Century Flooring Of An Ancient Roman Villa

    Archaeologists from the Superintendent of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape of Verona discovered an ancient Roman mosaic floor in the northern Italian city under a vineyard in May 2020. The floor dates back to the third century AD and is located near an ancient Roman villa. 

    The technicians of the Verona Superintendence seek to identify the exact extension and location of the flooring, according to the Municipality of Negrar di Valpolicella's Facebook page.  

    5,977 votes
  • 3
    7,725 VOTES

    Corinthian Helmet From The Battle Of Marathon Found With The Warrior's Skull Inside

    Corinthian Helmet From The Battle Of Marathon Found With The Warrior's Skull Inside
    Photo: u/innuendoPL / Reddit

    Said to have been found by George Nugent Grenville, Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands, in Greece in 1834, the Corinthian helmet that contained the skull of its wearer is believed to date from the Battle of Marathon. The battle between Greek and Persian forces in 490 BCE gives rise to the legend of Pheidippides, the Athenian messenger who ran throughout Greece to warn of the impending battle and father of the modern marathon.

    7,725 votes
  • 4
    7,571 VOTES

    2,000-Year-Old Chariot With Intact Horse Skeletons

    2,000-Year-Old Chariot With Intact Horse Skeletons
    Photo: Спасимир / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0

    Somewhat common to the region that is now Bulgaria, archaeologist Veselin Ignatov and his team found a chariot with two full horse skeletons in 2008. Between 1,800 and 2,000 years old, the chariot was made of wood and had a bronze covering, representative of, "prestige, power and authority." According to Ignatov, the horses were most likely killed as the burial was taking place, with additional sacrifices made to the gods to facilitate crossing over to the afterlife. 

    7,571 votes
  • 5
    4,898 VOTES

    The Galgano Sword, Believed To Be The True 'Sword In The Stone' From The 12th Century

    The Galgano Sword, Believed To Be The True 'Sword In The Stone' From The 12th Century
    Photo: fry_theonly / Flickr / CC-BY-SA 2.0

    The Galgano Sword, named for Saint Galgano Guidotti, is contained within a stone now on view in a small chapel in Tuscany. Galgano, once a noble knight, renounced his worldly possessions after having angelic visions. Upon retreating into solitude, Galgano allegedly pierced a stone with his sword, turning it into a devotional cross.

    Galgano​​​​​​​ died in 1181, after which pilgrims flocked to see his creation, a site where as many as 19 miracles took place. Canonized by Pope Lucius III in 1185, The legend around Galgano​​​​​​​ grew and he was incorporated into Arthurian lore with his sword and stone taking on the characteristics of Excalibur. 

    4,898 votes
  • 6
    6,906 VOTES

    Ancient Roman Gold Coins Found In The Basement Of An Italian Theater

    Ancient Roman Gold Coins Found In The Basement Of An Italian Theater
    Photo: @_MiBACT / Twitter

    In 2018, a group of archaeologists found hundred of gold coins in the ground below the Cressoni Theater theater in Como, Italy. The coins were, according to numismatist Maria Grazia Facchinetti, "Buried it in such a way that in case of danger they could go and retrieve it...They were stacked in rolls similar to those seen in the bank today." The coins dated from the late 4th through roughly 474 CE, all of which suggests, "the owner is not a private subject, rather it could be a public bank or deposit."

    The Ministry of Culture Alberto Bonisoli, indicated the theater, which opened in 1807 and closed in 1997, was supposed to be razed. The entire area got a reprieve, however, demonstrating itself to be, in Bonisoli's words, "a real treasure for our archaeology."

    6,906 votes