15 Ancient Mysteries That Aren’t So Mysterious

Written by brainz.org

I blame the History Channel. It used to be just the kooks who believed that extraterrestrials were responsible for anything in humanity’s past, or that amazing advanced ancient societies on islands disappeared leaving only a handful of artifacts in their wake. Now, with a supposedly fact-based network backing them up, a whole new generation of people are falling for the same old BS. Here are 15 mysteries that just aren’t so mysterious.

15. Nazca Lines

Just because you can see a shape from the sky doesn’t mean that aliens were involved. The Nazca Lines are honestly one of the most amazing pieces of land art that still survive, but no one thinks that Cerne Abbas giant in England has anything to do with extra-terrestrials. Maybe that’s because of its immense cock. Why is it so hard to imagine that the Nazca people made these sigils because they had religious significance to them, not because they were trying to signal passing UFOs? Yes, it’s a mystery exactly what they were used for, but so is a surprising amount of archaeology, especially regarding extinct religions. It’s an incredibly arid region, so there’s a pretty good chance that they were used for some sort of rain ritual. And all the cry about how you couldn’t have planned them without aerial help? BS. There’s evidence that stakes were placed at the ends of lines, and its been shown that these immense shapes could be made by just small teams using basic tools and knowledge.

14. Colonisation of the Pacific

For a long time, people were utterly bewildered by the colonisation of the Pacific, and how the whole area could have been inhabited in such a relatively short time period. I’ve seen some snake-fucking crazy explanations for how the islands were settled — from the lost tribes of Israel to the Egyptians. Here’s a much better and simpler explanation: the native Pacific Islanders were amazing fucking sailors. It’s what all the evidence points to. They started as the aboriginal inhabitants of Taiwan, and from there spread over the entire goddamn Pacific, until they eventually stopped when they ran out of Islands: Hawaii, New Zealand, and Rapa Nui. I’m sorry Thor Heyerdahl, it was not the South Americans which colonised the Pacific. All the evidence shows a migration from the west.

13. Building of the Pyramids

Once again, another classic “primitive man could never have done this!” spiel, which demands outside resources or alien help. Look, ancient people weren’t stupid, they just had different knowledge and tools. Yes, the Pyramids are incredible feats of engineering, and no, we don’t agree on the specifics of how they were built. However, there is ample evidence — historical and archaeological — to show that the Egyptians didn’t need no stinking ETs to do their work. They had tens of thousands of skilled workers — not slaves — either hired specially or else doing labor as a way of paying tax. They had mathematicians and architects. They had levers and machinery to help move the blocks. And most of all, they had decades in which to build them. There are few problems that can’t be solved just by chucking more man-hours at them — just ask China.

12. Mu/Lemuria/Atlantis

There are no sunken continents. You know why? Continents don’t fucking sink! That’s now how they work. Small volcanic islands? Yeah, they can sink — but not entire bloody continents. Not only that but this whole Atlantis thing is a pile of crock. It pops up in Plato’s Timaeus and Critias. They’re both filled with parables, stories, and outdated views on the world. The whole Atlantis thing is a story of a story of a story, and is anachronistic with much of the rest of the work. Nobody goes around saying Plato was right with his four elements views of the world, so why do we still cling to Atlantis?

11. Dropa Stones

Sungods in Exile was a book published in 1978 under the name David Agamon, alleging that the Dopa people of Tibet had extraterrestrial origin, and that the Dopa Stones had coded messages from the aliens. All the usual whackadoodles jumped on board, saying that these people must be aliens. Except the whole thing was a hoax, published under a psuedonym. None of the researchers exist, and the whole trick was just to pull the wool over people’s eyes. Anyone with even a lick of sense would notice the immense plotholes in the stories, such as completely fictitious Chinese names of researchers, photographs of artifacts that don’t match what’s being described, and the general scent of bullshit.

10. Lost Tribes of Israel

Around the 700BCE mark, the Kingdom of Israel got its ass royally handed to it by a number of invading kingdoms, who proceeded to take over the land and kick out most of the people. Because of this, 10 of the 12 acknowledged tribes of Israel kind of fell off the map, dissolved by slavery, death, and deportation. Now, there are plenty of far flung Jewish groups in Asia, Africa and around the world who believe they are descended from the lost tribes, and that’s all well and dandy and the validity of those claims is not mine to raise. Rather, it’s the fact that all through the 19th and early 20th Century, whenever some explorer found out about a new group of people or a monumental archaeological site, they automatically said “oh, it’s the lost tribes of Israel!” The lost tribes did not colonise the Pacific. They were not the Native Americans (sorry Mormons). They were not the Scythian, Kurds, Japanese or Irish. They probably moved and were absorbed into local populations, preserving their traditions wherever possible.

9. Starchild Skull

This 900 year old skull from Mexico is said to be a human/alien hybrid. Let me reiterate Occam’s Razor, “when you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns.” See, there are a bunch of medical conditions which can cause severe malformations in skulls of children: hydrocephaly, brachycephaly and Crouzan syndrome all spring to mind, and all of which can make the head of a child look distinctly abnormal. Not only that, but DNA analysis shows that the skull was completely human. Hmmm…let’s see, which is more likely, a well known birth defect, or a secret ancient human alien breeding program?

8. Eltanin Antenna

What is this odd thing spotted on the sea floor of Cape Horn in 1964? Why that upright shape, those protruding arms, it must be some sort of antenna! Are the reds spying on us? Is it alien technology? The remains of an ancient technologically advanced race? Time travel? Or, it’s something strange that lives on the bottom of the sea. Face it, the ocean is filled with weird and wonderful creatures, all of which are perfectly natural, which are happy to blow our minds without requiring paranormal explanations. This is a Cladorhiza concrescens, a carnivorous sea sponge, which admittedly looks pretty odd, but so do many deep sea critters.

7. Klerksdorp Spheres

I will happily admit that the Klerksdorp Spheres are some of the coolest things imaginable. Found in a 3 billion year old rock deposit, they’re often claimed as the perfect example of an out-of-place artifact, and that anything that smooth or regular must have been made by human hands! Unfortunately, no cigar. They’re actually extremely old concretions, weird build-ups of sediment and ash that expand radially, sometimes growing in to one another. Similar things are found in ancient deposits in New York, Australia and Utah. Much of the descriptions of these are blatantly false, which lead many to believe that they must be crafted: claims that they’re made out of a non-natural alloy, or that they’re perfectly spherical. They’re natural, incredibly cool, and I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on one. But they’re not that mysterious.

6. Coso Artifact

Another typical “out-of-place artifact” example, easily explainable by science, but completely misrepresented by the wingnuts. Spotted in 1961 by a man hunting for geodes in California, he cut into it looking for crystals, and found a man-made object! Given that geodes are near half-a-million years old, how could something like this have existed 500,000 years ago? Except for the fact that it’s just a 1920s Champion spark plug, commonly found in the Model T and Model A Fords, with 40 years of concretion and crap built up around it. As the plug rusted, the iron bonded with materials in the soil around it, forming a hard shell. Oooh…mysterious!

5. Heavener Runestone/Kensington Runestone/American Runestones

Anytime you hear about a big runestone found somewhere in North America, chronicling the arrival of viking explorers, they’re almost always fakes. Anyone with a linguistic background in runes always manages to dissect them and show that they’re complete BS, filled with anachronistic language and improper construction — but that doesn’t stop people from clinging to them. I don’t understand why people are so taken by them. It’s not like we don’t have solid evidence for pre-Columbian contact in North America, especially in parts of Canada, they just didn’t stick around long enough to have a proper settlement. The Kensington, Heavener, AVM, and Elbow Lake runestones are all fake, sorry. You know what is cool, though? There’s some pretty good evidence of pre-Columbian contact in the form of Basque fisherman, who came to America to harvest the incredibly cod schools. They just didn’t tell anyone about their trade secrets.

4. Ica Stones

The Ica Stones popped up in the 60s from Peruvian physician Javier Cabrera, who claimed that these archaeological stones showed ancient peoples riding dinosaurs and using advanced machines. They caused quite a stir, and were used frequently by creationists to say “look, see, dinosaurs and humans living together! Flintstones…I mean The Bible…was right!” Except it turns out it was all a heaping pile of triceratops shit. The stones were all being provided by a farmer looking to turn a quick buck, who made the engravings on river stones then baked them in dung to make them look old, before selling them on for a huge profit. Every piece of analysis performed on the hundreds of stones he crafted shows that they’re all modern, and show none of the wear something thousands of years old would have.

3. The 1421 Chinese Expedition

Fucking Gavin Menzies. His stupid book 1421: The Year China Discovered the World is nothing but an expansive pack of lies, built on the back of supposition, a complete lack of understanding of archaeological evidence, and just bold outright bullshit. The ancient map? It’s from the 1700s, and not a copy of an older one, it’s filled with too many anachronisms that couldn’t have been used in the 1400s. Pretty much every piece of evidence Menzies tries to use is bullshit, and only supported by crackpots, and a complete missing of the point of what actually happened in any of the locations that he cited. He also fails to account for the fact that in the 1400s, China was the largest and most efficient bureaucracy on the planet which obsessively recorded EVERYTHING. Yet they only recorded this so called voyage as far as Africa — coincidentally as far as the evidence actually shows the fleet went.

2. Crystal Skulls

Sorry Lucas, sorry Speilberg, sorry Akroyd — the South American crystal skulls are not pre-Columbian. They were not made by some lost ancient art, nor are they alien. They do not demonstrate heretofore unknown ancient carving traditions, nor are they an unknown crystal type otherwise never seen. Crystal skulls do not feature in Mesoamerican mythology. What they are, is incredibly interesting pieces of crystal, carved in 19th century Europe, and sold to gullible antique collectors for a huge sum. You know how we know? The teeth were all carved using a modern rotary drill, which we can tell from the grooves it left. The crystal has also been sourced to a type that is only found in Madagascar and Brazil, of which none has been found in Mesoamerica. Where it is found commonly is the jewelry workshops of the German town town of Idar-Oberstein, renowned in the late 19th century for their work with this stone.

1. Antikythera Mechanism

Finally, lets finish up with something that isn’t mystical, isn’t alien, isn’t magical. Something that turned out to be exactly what we thought it was — namely one of the most badass pieces of ancient engineering ever discovered. The Antikythera mechanism. Dated somewhere between 150 and 100 BC, this ancient calculator was an astronomical clock, used to calculate solar, lunar and astronomical cycles, as well as when the next Olympics were due. It’s a piece of unparalleled work, with stunning miniaturisation, exactingly made cogs with perfect teeth, and an accuracy that blows my mind. The ancient Greeks didn’t need time travellers or aliens to make this. They needed incredibly dedicated intellectuals and engineers who created a machine of incomparable beauty and design. And that is exactly what they had.

Bonus: How Dell ships 65 screws

15 thoughts on “15 Ancient Mysteries That Aren’t So Mysterious

  1. Anonymosity

    Wow, your’re a dumbass and bad at grammar. Also, none of the above even made a hint at making absolute sense. The internet is full of wannabe’s that think just because they can type, they should write articles. Go back to school and continue researching the world as it is instead of regurgitating the same BS that is rehashed to death, and still can’t explain these oddities.

  2. Anonymous

    I would have liked to have read much more about the controversy over the items in question – what the other side has to say, and an argument against it. This article could have been very, very intriguing if written right – but the way this is written just sounds like an attack from someone who feels angry and in need of vindication… and it isn’t even funny, like how Cracked articles tend to be.

    If you choose to write again in the future, please try to do some more research and find a way to balance your article between “this is what they believe” and “here’s another way of looking at it” instead of just saying, “everyone who believes this is a dumbass.”

    Many of the topics you brought up are interesting, and I enjoy being a sceptic in the paranormal community – and I fully agree with you on most of the topics, too! However, I still would have enjoyed this much, much more if it was more in the tone of a good-humoured debate instead of a bashing contest.

  3. Geoff Carter

    Nice one.
    I am archaeologist, and I should hand a copy of your article to the driver every time I get into a taxi, or engage in casual conversation on the topic of the ancient past.

  4. Scott Miller

    Contrary to what you though, your use of profanity does NOT add so much as an ounce of credibility to what you wrote. It was TOTALLY unnecessary and uncalled for! Try leaving your potty mouth out of your next piece, you foul mouthed jerk!

  5. chubbyruckus

    This is what happens when you pull the curtain back on people. They shit on you for it. This isn’t an article about a “debate” between the people who believe in nonsense and those who don’t. It’s a pretty accurate account of these particular “mysteries” that, despite the available explanatory evidence, still get referenced quite a bit on paranormal shows as the real deal. The case is closed on these examples, but there’s plenty of mystery out there to investigate. Go solve them and stop pouting that someone popped your balloon because you still believe in crystal skulls or whatever. If people weren’t still spouting misinformation about the pyramids and Atlantis, etc, this article might not be as relevant as it is, but that’s not the world we live in. If you’re looking for “what the other side has to say”, you won’t have to look hard to find it. There’s tv and radio shows that spew this garbage practically every night with absolutely no regard for the facts. Great article. Keep making them no matter how much it hurts to rip off other people’s band-aids.

  6. DavidJ

    Wow! I never even heard of half of these. Ica stones? How did I miss those? The Antikythera Mechanism fascinates me. Why is there only one? Why didn’t we hear about it before? Was every part hand made? It seems to me like this is something a more mechanized society would have made. Not saying a time traveler made it, just wondering how such a fantastic bit of know how got lost.

  7. James

    I read once about an old map that detailed the exact coastline of Antarctica. Should I just assume this is BS, too? Makes me sad.

  8. David Wright

    Re the Antikythera mechanism, there’s a good write-up at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism

    ‘Nature’ also reported new research recently – see http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101124/full/468496a.html – download the PDF for the original article.

    BTW writing the blog in plain modern English is fine, but the profanities mean it won’t reach a lot of people who should read it – e.g. school teachers won’t be able to recommend it to pupils. Which is a pity.

  9. AncientHistorian

    First of all, the Ica stones are real. They show solid evidence that humans and dinosaurs coexisted. They are further supported by other cave paintings and structures found elsewhere which clearly depict anatomically-correct dinosaur creatures. Now, how could these native peoples have known to draw anatomically correct dinosaurs (dragons was the ancient word for them until 1840 when Sir Richard Owen coined the term dinosaur) if they had not directly eye-witnessed them? They could not have done such from mere bones (which were buried deep underground).

    Regarding the crystal skulls, there are many fakes but the Mitchell-Hedges skull was analyzed by Hewlett-Packard Labs and was found to have been “grown” or “molded” against the grain. There is no way that people with mere hand tools could have carved it. You must understand crystals and molecular engineering to do this, and that is what the creators of the skull did.

    Regarding the ancient travellers: The ancient humans had far more extensive travel than most moderns give them credit for. BY THE WAY: I DO NOT BELIEVE ET ALIENS ARE BEHIND THESE ARTIFACTS. I believe these were all created by 100 percent human beings with advanced technology and knowhow. Yes, the Polynesians were darned good sailors and used huge canoes to traverse the oceanic distances. But there are other things like the Easter Island stones and the various South American and Pacific monolithic stones, and stones like the stones at Baalbek, in the Middle East, that weigh many tons, and, are fitted together with tight precision. These require an advanced (human) technology. I believe they were able to make rotating silicon carbide and diamondoid cutting devices, they were able to cast geopolymer stone concrete/cement, and, they were able to use control of the vacuum-energy/virtual particle flux and magnetism to levitate and shape the stones.

    Regarding the Ottosdal South Africa metallic spheres: These are formed of an alloy metal that does not form naturally, and, they have a perfect ridge-line around the entire circumfurance of the sphere. There is no way these could have been mere “natural concretions”. There was a perfect alloy metal cube found in Austria a long time ago, that was similiar. Also, the ancients like the Vikings came to North America and had iron/steel smelting furnaces that have been discovered. Egyptian, Hittite, Phoenician, Roman, Hebrew, Chinese, and other artifacts and evidence have been found in America (and no, I do NOT believe the lies of the Mormons).

    Regarding the Antikithera mechanism: The gears are MACHINED. They are exactly identical and are NOT hand-cut or hand-made. This is proof that they had some form of machine-tool technology back then.

    Ancient man was more intelligent than modern man. We are degenerating and devolving, NOT evolving and becoming smarter. Our spurt of modern technology is a direct result of the foundations laid by ancient people and Creationist scientists in the 1800s and before.

    1. Challagar

      I am researching this for a Youtube video I want to make. I appreciate this article which helps me to see both sides of the debate. It helps me to weed out the genuine from the hoaxes.

      I agree with AncientHistorian. Much of it is genuine, and none of it is made by ETs. Antediluvian civilization had an advanced global civilization that was lost in the flood and the memory lived on in the artifacts of early post-flood civilizations, though somewhat cruder. Although I do not believe that the majority of such artifacts are left over from the antediluvian civilization, they are the attempts of their descendants to reproduce the civilization that they vaguely remembered through oral tradition and scraps of documents that vanished with time. However, much of it is also a product of their own intelligence, though greatly diminished.

      1. Challagar

        Having had time to process this information and think about it some more, I have to say that much of the information in this essay can not be taken at face value. There is too much that has to be explained; other well documented and photographed artifacts mysteriously vanishing, or archaeological sites blocked to well credentialed archaeologists, etc.

        For every “conspiracy theorist” there are a number of debunkers that seek to discredit them. Look at the case of JFK’s assassination. If you can honestly look at the evidence and still come to the conclusion that it was a lone gunman and not a CIA coordinated attack, then you are either a fool, have something to hide, or have something to fear.

        While I am not ruling out some of these artifacts as being hoaxes. I am just saying that I need more research into them. But, the fact of the matter is that there are people who put their own welfare above their desire to know the truth. Could you imagine the ramifications to the field of evolutionary study if these artifacts were proven genuine and early man was indeed highly sophisticated and technologically advanced, even more than we are? Years of funded research would be discredited and their funding would be cut. Many of these career researchers would have much to lose.

        For those who are sold on the humanistic values that evolution affirms (since we are nothing more than advanced animals who have no spirits and therefore no afterlife and no accountability) there would be no moral inhibition against lying or covering up the facts to protect their credibility. If a man of higher learning in the archaeological and scientific fields has no credibility, he has nothing. He might as well be flipping burgers at Mickey D’s.

        Hoaxes are always a real possibility, but we have to investigate more into them instead of taking the word of a few so-called experts who may have something to gain (or more accurately, something to protect, such as their own credibility or that of their superiors, or a lifetime of research and funding).

        If you are reading this, let me encourage you to seek the truth for the truth’s sake, not for your own personal beliefs, but for the sake of the truth. I am willing to believe that some, if not many, of these artifacts are hoaxes, but we must also question the motives or the reasoning behind those who so adamantly seek to debunk them. What do they have to lose if they are not proven hoaxes? What foundational belief do they have that will be shattered if they discover that what they have held so dear is in error?

    2. chubbyruckus

      That last paragraph sums up why nobody should even consider anything you’ve said prior to it. You are a buffoon typing on a computer to post a message on a world wide web of communication telling everybody how much stupider we are than the folks who used to perform human sacrifice to help their crops grow. You couldn’t even resist injecting your creationist nonsense into a conversation that has absolutely nothing to do with the subject (people are devolving, not evolving, etc.). Way to put up the red flag for everybody. I wish you waved it right away so I didn’t waste my time reading your moronic post.

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