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Wacky Artifacts from History’s Archives

Did you ever dig in your backyard for artifacts when you were little? Well, even if you didn’t, hold on to your hats and get ready for a thrilling ride through the weird and wonderful world of artifacts that will have you doubting everything you thought you knew about the past.. Today, we’re going on a quest to uncover some of the wackiest relics from all corners of the globe. We’re talking about everything from ancient computers straight out of Greece to enigmatic manuscripts and even a hammer that might be from the future (yes, you read that right!). We’ve got the lowdown on it all, so buckle up and prepare for a wild and wacky journey!

Artifact #1: The Antikythera Mechanism

An ancient bronze mechanism with intricate gears and inscriptions.
The Antikythera Mechanism, an ancient Greek analog computer used for predicting astronomical positions and eclipses, discovered in the Antikythera shipwreck.

Located just off the coast of the Greek island of Antikythera, adventures discovered The Antikythera Mechanism, a star artifact among shipwreck discoveries. This over 2,000-year-old ancient Greek gadget showcases remarkable technology, earning it the distinction of being the world’s oldest scientific computer. It boasts advanced features that make it a true marvel, even surpassing some gadgets from the 18th century. Perhaps it’s time for a retro comeback?

But what does the Antikythera Mechanism actually do? Its design aimed to track celestial bodies, such as the sun, moon, and planets. All you had to do was give it a crank, and its gears would move the pointers on its face, displaying the positions of the stars. No GPS required. And if that’s not enough to impress you, it could also show the phases of the moon and predict eclipses. Who needs a weather app when you’ve got an ancient Greek device?

Artifact #2: The Voynich Manuscript

An image of a page from the Voynich Manuscript, a mysterious manuscript from the 15th or 16th century that has yet to be deciphered.
An image of a page from the Voynich Manuscript, a mysterious manuscript from the 15th or 16th century that has yet to be deciphered.2

The Voynich Manuscript – oh boy, this one’s a doozy. This enigmatic manuscript, thought to have originated from the 15th century, has puzzled scholars and amateur codebreakers for over 600 years. Curious illustrations of plants, animals, and human-like creatures adorn its pages, but the true mystery lies in the cryptic script that fills this enigmatic work. There’s no doubt about it – this piece of work is a head-scratcher!

Despite numerous attempts by some of the brightest minds out there, no one has been able to decode the script. It’s like the manuscript is teasing us, daring us to solve its riddle. Even state-of-the-art cryptography techniques and algorithms have failed to make sense of it, leading many to suspect it’s just a nonsensical mess of letters.

Detail from page 78r of Voynich Manuscript depicting the "biological" section.
Detail from page 78r of Voynich Manuscript depicting the “biological” section3

But that hasn’t stopped people from trying to crack the case of tTheories abound regarding the author and purpose of the manuscript. Some believe it’s a medical text, while others propose it may be a guide to alchemy. And then there are those who say it’s all a prank, a complex joke meant to baffle and exasperate us.

It turns out that amongst the illustrations, there are many drawings of people taking baths and bathing. It’s an odd inclusion, and some speculate that it might hold some clue to the manuscript’s meaning. Perhaps it’s a medical text after all, or maybe it’s a manual on the proper way to bathe like a 15th-century aristocrat. Who knows?

Artifact #3: The Stone Spheres of Costa Rica

A view of Parque de las Esferas in Palmar Sur, Costa Rica, showing a pathway leading through the park with several large stone spheres scattered throughout the landscape.
Some of the stone spheres found in Finca 6 in the care of the National Museum of Costa Rica4

Let’s talk about the Stone Spheres of Costa Rica, shall we? These babies are a real head-scratcher. Ancient peoples managed to carve these perfectly round stones without any of the fancy technology we have today, leaving modern archaeologists in awe. Some of these spheres are over 6ft (2m) in diameter and weigh a whopping 15 tons, which is pretty impressive considering the lack of cranes and bulldozers back then.

The Diquis Stone spheres, ranging in size from a few centimeters to over two meters in diameter, were crafted by pre-Columbian societies in Costa Rica between 200 BCE and 1500 CE. The purpose of these spheres is still unknown, but they are believed to have had cultural, social, or astronomical significance.
The Diquis Stone spheres were crafted between 200 BCE and 1500 CE. The purpose of these spheres is still unknown.5

Anyway, these mysterious spheres are scattered all over Costa Rica, but the most significant bunch is in the Diquis Delta region. People have been trying to figure out their purpose for years. Some think they were used for tracking the stars and planets, while others believe they were just fancy status symbols for the ruling class. Let’s be honest; who wouldn’t want a massive stone ball to flaunt their power and wealth? Although these ancient people had giant stone spheres, I’m sure Bon Scott would have argued that he had the biggest balls of all… Movin’ on!

Artifact #4: The Kensington Runestone

A rectangular stone slab with runic inscriptions, the Kensington Runestone, discovered in Kensington, Minnesota, United States in 1898.
The Kensington Runestone is a rune-covered slab of graywacke, discovered in Minnesota in 1898.6

Okay, so here’s the deal. The Kensington Runestone is a large rock discovered in Minnesota and contains Norse writing. Uh, what the heck were the Vikings doing in Minnesota way back when? According to the inscription, a bunch of Norsemen came over and had a little run-in with the locals. You know, just your average “we come in peace” situation. But seriously, how wild is it to think that maybe the Vikings beat Columbus when exploring the Americas? These quirky remnants of previous eras have got people talking and debating.

The authenticity of the Kensington Runestone has been hotly contested over the years, with some experts believing it’s a hoax. But regardless of whether it’s legit or not, the Kensington Runestone has sparked an ongoing debate about the Vikings and their exploration of the Americas. It’s like a mystery we can’t entirely solve – did they or didn’t they? We may never know, but one thing’s certain: the Kensington Runestone has become a symbol of that mystery and the quest for answers.

Artifact #5: The London Hammer 

Alright, buckle up because we’re discussing one of the weirdest artifacts out there. (Sorry, no images of this are available but check out Wikipedia, and you can see a photo there.) Back in 1936, someone stumbled upon a hammer. No big deal, right? Wrong. When experts examined it in the 1980s, they realized something pretty wild: this hammer looked like it was made in modern times, with a wooden handle and a metal head. Here’s the kicker, though – it was found inside a rock that’s over 400 million years old. Yeah, you read that right. It’s enough to make your brain hurt just thinking about it. People have been scratching their heads ever since, trying to figure out how this hammer ended up where it did.

People naturally wondered how a modern-looking hammer could end up in a rock that’s millions of years old. Some folks out there think that maybe time travelers were messing with us, but let’s be honest, that’s highly unlikely. Others believe that it’s all a big hoax. But most scientists think the hammer’s appearance is due to natural processes, like erosion and mineralization. Over time, the rock around the hammer hardened, making it look way newer than it is.

Well, we’ve got ourselves five wacky relics from the past. From an ancient Greek computer to a hammer older than dirt, these oddities have the experts scratching their heads. It’s strange to consider how much we don’t know about these objects and what their true purpose and meaning might be. But that’s what makes them so intriguing, right? They challenge our knowledge of history and technology and leave us wondering what other secrets are hiding in the past.

If you’re seeking a unique and engaging activity, why not explore the intriguing world of unusual artifacts? Avoid boredom and embark on a fascinating journey down the rabbit hole of historical curiosities.Who knows, maybe you’ll uncover the truth or stumble upon a wacky artifact of the past yourself!

Footnotes

  1. No machine-readable author provided. Marsyas assumed (based on copyright claims)., NAMA Machine d’Anticythère 1, CC BY-SA 3.0.
  2. Unknown author, Voynich Manuscript (32), marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons
  3. Unknown, Voynich manuscript bathtub2 example 78r cropped, marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia CommonsAxxis10
  4. Parque de las Esferas de Costa Rica, CC BY-SA 3.0
  5. François Bianco, Diquis Stone spheres (15272809254), CC BY-SA 2.0
  6. Mauricio Valle, KensingtonStone, CC BY-SA 4.0


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As a mom to 3 adult kids and a grandma to one, I’ve spent 20 years as a stay-at-home mom. I enjoy reading, writing, cooking, and creating digital art (all of the artwork on the site is my own). I have a passion for languages, literature, and linguistics. I love delving into dark, creepy, and unusual topics. From disturbing facts to weird stories, skulls to plague doctors, I’m always exploring unique and intriguing subjects. Join me on my journey of discovery!

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