10 Fascinating Facts About Color

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10 Fascinating Facts About Color



It’s in everything we touch, taste, smell, and feel. It evokes emotion without asking for prior thought. It can be the focus of our careers, the way we live, the choices we make, and the fun we have. We are all familiar with color and its basic concepts, but did you know…


Men and women see the color red very differently

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While those of us who are estrogen producers tend to see maroon, cardinal, and crimson, men typically just see red. No varying tones, hues, or shades–just color-crayon, fire engine red. The explanation is actually quite simple and all falls back on basic DNA. Researchers from Arizona State University found that there’s a specific gene that allows us to see and interpret the color red. Women have two X chromosomes, while men only possess one. Because the particular “red-seeing gene” sits on the X chromosome, it only makes sense that women would have a full understanding of the red spectrum, while our counterparts only have half the pieces to the racy red puzzle. Therefore, ladies, if you’re one of those gals who just cannot make a decision when picking out a shade of lipstick, don’t put so much pressure on yourself. It’s really of very little importance.


Silver will save your life

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When purchasing that brand new vehicle and finding yourself overwhelmed by the 18-page book of options, your best bet is – and forever will be – to go with silver. Silver-colored cars are least likely to be involved in an auto accident, since they are most visible on the road and in low light. This, coupled with lower insurance rates and the silver color’s ability to maintain a look of cleanliness, manifests itself as a sure win.


Pink soothes the nerves


Rowdy prisoners and combative patients? Pink is the palliative color, commonly used to splash the walls in prisons and mental health care facilities to assist in subduing those who are out-of-control. So pink definitely has a useful place and a purpose, other than decorating a prom dress or Barbie’s dream house.


Bright colors will win you friends

Colors are responsible for 62-90% of our first impressions of one another. That means that if you prefer black and neutrals to violets and oranges, it might be time to add a little color to a bland wardrobe to make a better overall impression. Who knows? It could mean the difference between getting the job and meeting the mate of your dreams, or living alone and waking up next to a beer can pyramid on a Tuesday morning.


Blue is the most common favorite color

Blue is the most favored color in the world, with purple being a distant second. A whopping forty percent of people worldwide would choose blue as their favorite color in playtime poll booth, with purple-lovers lagging way behind at fourteen percent.


Colors can be frightening


Chromophobia (also known as Chromatophobia) is the rare, persistent, irrational fear of colors. Some people who have this disorder will react strongly to certain shades or tones, while others will try to avoid color altogether. Some signs and symptoms are: nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, feelings of panic, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, anxiety, light headedness, headache, and trembling. Effective treatment involves methods and techniques that include systematic desensitization and exposure therapy.


Yellow makes you hungry


Yellow and orange are not recommended for use in kitchens, as they are known appetite stimulators. With America’s ongoing obesity epidemic, it could possibly be time for Sherwinn Williams to do away with bright citruses that have wrongly adorned kitchen walls for the past five decades. Then again – where would our restaurant owners be without those clever little tricks that keep our waistlines wide, but leave us wanting more? I’m not normally one for conspiracy theories – but perhaps there’s something in it for them if we remain ignorant of yellow’s effects?


Color is an imaginary friend

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Technically, it’s all in our heads: color does not exist at all. It is something created by our brains as a side-effect, when it desperately tries to make sense of the overwhelming amount of information it receives from the outer world. So, should you ever find yourself in a heated debate over color combinations with someone you are certain has an IQ below your car’s maximum speed or is just simply colorblind, keep in mind that it is a pointless argument and you should drop it immediately. You’re both wrong.


Color wheels are the best thing since the wheel

Invented in 1666 by Sir Isaac Newton, the color wheel is by far the best tool to date to help us comprehend the colors that we see. Once we grasp how the color wheel arranges the primary, secondary, and tertiary colors, we can better understand “harmonies”, or how and why certain colors complement one another. The color wheel is a major concept in any color theory class or course, and is crucial for certain careers, such as interior or graphic design.


Ground-up-remains-of-mummy goes splendidly with crimson

“Mummy” was once a color in ancient Egypt. Can you guess where the rich brown color received its somewhat macabre name? You guessed it! From the actual ground-up remains of Egyptian mummies, both human and feline. The Pre-Raphaelite painters of the 19th century considered it one of their favorite colors. The authentic pigment was produced all the way up until the early 20th century, when finally the supply of available mummy remains was exhausted. Though no longer containing the remnants of mummified corpses, the color “Mummy Brown” can still be found today.

Top 10 Incredible Archaeological Discoveries

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Top 10 Incredible Archaeological Discoveries


Jamie is the founder of Listverse. He spends his time working on the site, doing research for new lists, and dabbling in perfumery. He is fascinated with all things historic, creepy, and bizarre.


Archeology is a fascinating science; the more it discovers, the more mysteries it unfolds. The more answers it gives, the more questions are raised. But that just provides us with the impetus to keep on trying to unlock the secrets of the past. This list investigates ten of the most important and incredible archeological discoveries in history.


Bulla of Baruch

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Baruch ben Neriah was a scribe in the Bible who was the secretary for (and blood relative of) the prophet Jeremiah. In addition to writing all of Jeremiah’s prophesies which were dictated to him by the prophet himself, Baruch also wrote his own Biblical Book (you can read it here – it was removed from Protestant Bibles in the 1500s but can found in Orthodox and Catholic Bibles). He is a greatly revered person in the history of the Jews and by Christianity too. So why is this item here on the list? In 1975 a clay bulla (a clay seal) was discovered on the antiquities market which bore not only Baruch’s name, but his fingerprint. If truly authentic, this small clay seal contains both the signature and the fingerprint of not just the right-hand man of a Biblical prophet, but also a man who was a prophet in his own right.


Rosetta Stone


The discovery of the Rosetta stone unlocked the secrets deep within Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics. The stone bears a decree from King Ptolemy V from 196 BC but unlike all other decrees before it – this one was written in three languages: Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics, Demotic, and Ancient Greek. It was discovered on July 15, 1799 by soldiers of Napoleon and soon found its way to Alexandria. Hieroglyphics and the ability to read or write them ceased by 396 AD so this was to present the key to finally understanding a language that had baffled man for more than a millennium. By using the Greek text, Jean-François Champollion was able to decipher the Ancient Egyptian text and greatly improve our understanding of Demotic as well. Since the stone was discovered several similar multi-lingual inscriptions have been discovered.


Nag Hammadi Library


In 1945 in the Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi an incredible discovery happened. Mohammed Ali Samman, a local peasant, discovered twelve leather-bound papyrus codices inside a large jar. It turned out that their contents were fifty-two mostly Gnostic texts that were either unknown or known only through commentaries of the Church fathers. Gnostic writings and practices were banned by Bishop Athanasius in 367AD and so the Gnostic texts were all destroyed – bar the Nag Hammadi library which was obviously secreted away by someone wanting to preserve them for history. The contents of these papyruses gives us virtually all that we know of the Gnostics – a condemned Christian sect that began in the formative years of the Church. Their significance to Biblical and social history are immense. The books include a number of gospels and other text relating to the movements of the Apostles after the death of Christ and other extra-Biblical works which sometimes parallel and other times contradict the Bible.




Pompeii, the ancient Roman city, was buried during a volcanic eruption in 79 AD when Mount Vesuvius exploded. It was lost for nearly 1700 years and the damage done to the city was so severe that even the name of the city vanished from memory. In 1738 Herculaneum – a nearby city also lost – was discovered and then ten years later military engineer Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre discovered Pompeii. Whilst digging in later excavations, Giuseppe Fiorelli discovered that some of the large bubbles in the volcanic mud were perfectly formed molds of the men who had died there. He injected plaster into the bubbles and gave the modern world the first look at real Ancient Roman people. Interestingly the city was full of erotic art and objects (many of which were hidden until 2000 AD) and graffiti found on a wall in Pompeii called the city “Sodom and Gomorrah” leading many Christians to believe that the city was destroyed by God in retribution for its sexual perversities.


The Pilate Stone


The Pilate stone (probably the least-known object on this list) was discovered in June of 1961 near Caesarea (part of Judea) by Dr. Antonio Frova while he was excavating with his team of archeologists an Ancient Roman theater built by Herod the Great in 30BC. The stone had been reused in the fourth century as part of a new staircase that had been added later. What was significant about this stone was what the archeologists found inscribed on the side: “To the Divine Augusti [this] Tiberieum … Pontius Pilate … prefect of Judea … has dedicated [this]”. This was the first time physical evidence had been found for the existence of the Biblical Pontius Pilate. Its authenticity is universally recognized by the archeological world.


Dead Sea Scrolls

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The Dead Sea Scrolls are 972 Biblical documents discovered in a cave on the shore of the Dead Sea in 1946 – 1947. They date back to the 2nd century AD; to understand the significance of that date, the only other existing ancient copies of the Hebrew Bible today date to the 9th Century AD. This has given Biblical scholars a chance to truly understand the translational history of the Bible from a mere two hundred years after Christ right to the present day. Coupled with the two other great Biblical copies of the text (written in Greek not Hebrew which date to the 4th century) this provides an incredible chance to understand how the Hebrew and Greek versions compared through history and tell us of the amendments made to both by various peoples at various times.


Dinosaur Fossils


It is difficult to say when the very first dinosaur bones were discovered but we know at least that the first one scientifically recorded was that of Megalosaurus – described in 1824 by William Buckland. Iguanadon was discovered two years earlier by Gideon A. Mantell but was not described until a year later. Given the strong religious convictions of Western society at the time, these discoveries were to shake many people’s beliefs in a literal Bible in a way unseen since the discoveries of Copernicus and Galileo. Some people were convinced that these early dinosaur discoveries were the bones of the Biblical giants (some still do, as a matter of fact) but in time the majority have come to see that our amazing planet was home to creatures long before man stepped foot on it.


The Cave of Altamira

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When the Cave of Altamira was first discovered it was to unleash a worldwide controversy spanning decades. In this cave, amateur archeologist Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola, led by his twelve year-old daughter, saw for the first time since paleolithic times, artworks created by man previously thought to be incapable of such a feat. Its implications for sociology and archeology were astounding. When the paintings were finally verified as authentic 20 years later, it changed forever the perception of prehistoric human beings. It is hard to fathom how Sautuola must have felt the moment he first glimpsed the paintings.




“At first I could see nothing, the hot air escaping from the chamber causing the candle flame to flicker, but presently, as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold – everywhere the glint of gold. For the moment – an eternity it must have seemed to the others standing by – I was struck dumb with amazement.” Those are the words of Howard Carter – the man who discovered King Tut’s tomb. They sum up far better than I can the marvelousness of this most important Egyptian discovery in modern times. The importance of this discovery to the understanding of Ancient Egyptian history is probably the greatest ever.


Olduvai Gorge


The Olduvai Gorge runs through Eastern Africa and is probably the most important archeological location on Earth. It contains the remains of 1.9 million year-old humans and, because it was continually occupied for thousands of years, shows the progress of the evolution of man. There have been found tools, evidence of scavenging (human teeth marks on bones instead of cut marks) and hunting, as well as evidence for human social interaction at such an early age. There are also rock art formations in the area. Because of the amount of the remains and signs of human interaction, it was very possibly one of man’s first cities (so to speak).

10 Intriguing And Mysterious Archaeological Sites

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10 Intriguing And Mysterious Archaeological Sites



Archaeology aims to answer our questions about the past and, with any luck, give us some perspective on our present and future. But sometimes, artifacts raise mysteries that may never be solved. Like reading an engrossing novel with an ambiguous ending, you’re left to savor the possibilities without ever being fully satisfied.

10The Temple People Structures
Malta And Gozo


Photo credit: Berthold Werner

The Temple people existed on the islands of Malta and Gozo in the Mediterranean for about 1,100 years (from 4000–2900 B.C.) then simply vanished without a related culture to succeed them. As far as archaeologists can tell, the cause of their disappearance wasn’t invasion, starvation, or disease. It’s possible that religious extremism and environmental factors contributed to their demise, but no one really knows.

Archaeologists are studying the islands to learn more about these mysterious people. They were obsessed with building stone temples, covering both islands with more than 30 temple complexes during the time they lived there. In fact, the Temple people are credited with building theoldest free-standing stone structures ever found. Researchers found extensive evidence of animal sacrifices and complicated rituals within the structures, as well as a civilization fixated on life, sexuality, and death. Phallic symbols, figurines of fertile “fat ladies,” and other sexual representations were common.

The archaeologists also found hypogea, or complex underground burial chambers, which confirm the Temple people’s respect for the dead. Over time, these people seemed to do more communal burials, suggesting a matriarchal society based on grave gifts presented only to the females.

They also created an abundance of artwork, including hundreds of statues, that took three main forms: elaborately dressed figures, naked fat figures, and monstrous or abbreviated forms like phallic symbols. Such rich artwork was unusual for its time.

Archaeologists are continuing to study soil samples and other evidence to determine what an average day was like for the Temple people, whom they may have traded with, and why they died.


9Por Bajin

High in the mountains in the middle of a lonely Siberian lake, scientists discovered the most mystifying archaeological site in Russia in 1891. Por-Bajin (which means “Clay House “) is a 1,300-year-old structure of 7 acres that takes up most of the small island on which it sits. Containing a maze of over 30 buildings, its high outer walls sit only 30 kilometers (20 mi) from the border with Mongolia. But over a century since its discovery, archaeologists are no closer to understanding who built this structure or why.

At first, researchers thought Por-Bajin was an ancient fortress of the Uighur Empire, nomads who ruled southern Siberia and Mongolia from 742–848. It’s constructed with a Chinese architectural style from that time. However, it’s so out of the way of trade routes and other settlements that competing theories eventually arose. Maybe it was a monastery, a summer palace, a memorial for a ruler, or an observatory for the stars. Evidence is accumulating that a Buddhist monastery was at the center of the complex, although only a few artifacts have been unearthed.

The complex does not appear to have been inhabited for long. Archaeologists found indications of earthquakes that may have caused a fire that burned some of the original site. However, the fire appears to have occurred after the island was abandoned for reasons unknown.

8Etruscan Underground Pyramids


Photo credit: David George

“Most likely, the answer waits at the bottom,” said archaeologist Claudio Bizzarri of the extraordinary mystery posed by the discovery of an Etruscan pyramid underneath the medieval city of Orvieto, Italy. “The problem is we don’t really know how much we have to dig to get down there.” The excavators found it almost four years ago and still don’t have a clue what awaits them.

It all started when they noticed Etruscan-style stairs carved into a wine cellar wall. As they began to dig, they found tunnels and eventually a medieval floor. The walls slanted upward like a pyramid. Continuing down, they unearthed Etruscan pottery from the fifth and sixth centuries B.C. in addition to other artifacts from before 1000 B.C. They’ve also found over 150 Etruscan language inscriptions.

As they resumed digging, the stone stairs went down with them. The discovery of another tunnel leading to a different underground pyramid added to the intrigue. So far, they’ve been able to rule out that it’s a cistern or a quarry. But that still leaves a lot of possibilities.

The Etruscans themselves remain a historical puzzle. They thrived in Italy from about 900–400 B.C., then they melded into the Roman Empire. Although they left no literature to help decipher their language, the Etruscans were known for their exquisite metalworking, art, farming, and commerce. Until these most recent finds, the only information we had about them came from their ornate tombs. The archaeologists hope that these underground pyramids will shed some light on the daily activities of the Etruscans.


7Ancient Tundra Landscape


Photo credit: Brocken Inaglory

Until recently, geologists believed that glaciers act as forces of erosion, scraping away everything they move over, from plants and soil to the upper layer of bedrock. But now, scientists have to rethink that theory because a tundra landscape from ancient times has survived under 3 kilometers (2 mi) of ice from the Greenland Ice Sheet, which covers 80 percent of the country and is the second largest body of ice in the world. Organic soil was frozen to the underside of the ice sheet for over 2.5 million years.

“The ancient soil under the Greenland Ice Sheet helps to unravel an important mystery surrounding climate change,” said researcher Dylan Rood. “How did big ice sheets melt and grow in response to changes in temperature?”

Global warming shrank the ice sheet at times during the last three million years but never fully melted it. Instead, regardless of how warm the Earth became, the ice sheet remained stable at its center where the soil froze underneath. That also means that Greenland was truly green at one time, much like the tundra in Alaska.

But there are still many questions left to explore. For one, we don’t know how much of the ice sheet melted and how much remained stable over the years. Scientists have to study other sites in Greenland to test if soil was preserved in those areas, too. We also don’t know how the ice sheet will behave in the future. If all of the ice would melt from global warming, we’d see a rise of 7.2 meters (24 ft) in the global sea level. The implications of such a drastic change aren’t completely clear.

6The Lost Temple Of Musasir


Photo credit: Dlshad Marf Zamua

In the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, villagers recently discovered archaeological treasures dated to the Iron Age over 2,500 years ago. Quite by accident, they found column bases believed to be from the lost temple of Musasir in one village. They also uncovered other artifacts, including life-size statues of humans and a statuette of a goat, in a larger area that includes the borders of Iran, Iraq, and Turkey. Around the time these items were created, the geographical area that is now northern Iraq was ruled by Musasir, an ancient Urartu city. However, the Assyrians, Scythians, and Urartians were all battling for control of the area at that time.

Musasir was known as the “holy city founded in bedrock.” Urartian kings prayed for military victory to their supreme warrior god, Haldi, to whom the temple of Musasir was dedicated. The Urartians were so passionate about their god and his temple that Urartu King Rusa I committed suicide in 714 B.C. after the Assyrians plundered it.

Although the column bases have been uncovered, the location of the temple is still unknown. But archaeologists are getting closer. Originally placed above grave sites, the recovered statues are believed to have been an important part of burial rituals. Adding to the mystery is a cuneiform inscription on the goat statuette. Researchers are attempting to decipher it as they continue their quest to learn more about the historical events in this part of Iraq.

However, their research is not without serious physical risk. Although the Musasir site is protected by the Kurdistan militia, there are unexploded land mines from past conflicts in this border region, Iran has recently fired weapons toward Iraq, and ISIS has taken control of several Iraqi cities (although Kurdistan is autonomous for now).

5The Han Dynasty Palace In Enemy Territory


Photo credit: Henan Museum

When Russian crews were working on a road near the Mongolian border, they accidentally unearthed the foundation of an ancient palace just outside the Russian city of Abakan. Archaeologists took over from there and by 1940 had excavated the site completely. But they’ve never solved the mystery that goes with it.

The archaeologists found the remains of a huge palace from 2,000 years ago. However, the palace was constructed in the style of the Han Dynasty of China, which reigned from 206 B.C. to A.D. 220 hundreds of miles away. The location of this palace was squarely in enemy territory controlled by the Xiongnu Khanate Empire. The Xiongnu were so relentless that North China kingdoms eventually built barricades, which became the Great Wall of China, to try to stop their invasions.

No Xiongnu records explain what happened. But historians have pieced together two theories from Chinese records. The first theory is that the palace belonged to Lu Fang, a pretender to the throne of the Han Dynasty, who ultimately defected to Xiongnu territory with his family. He remained there until his death 10 years later.

A second, more dramatic theory is that Li Ling, who led a Han army of 30,000 soldiers against the Xiongnu, endured a crushing defeat and surrendered to his enemy. But Emperor Wu, who ruled the Han Dynasty, believed that Li had defected in an unforgivable act of betrayal. As a result, he punished the Li family severely. When Li learned what happened to his family, he defected for real and trained the Xiongnu in Han military techniques. In exchange, the Xiongnu rewarded Li by letting him build a palace in their territory. However, no one can prove either theory.


4The Seven Provincial Pyramids


Photo credit: Tell Edfu Project

In southern Egypt around the ancient settlement of Edfu, archaeologists discovered a step pyramid decades older than the Great Pyramid of Giza. At 4,600 years old, this three-step pyramid belongs to a group of seven “provincial pyramids” constructed of sandstone blocks and clay mortar in various areas of southern and central Egypt. It’s unknown which pharaoh built them, although the possibilities have been narrowed to Huni or Snefru. The Edfu pyramid stands only 5 meters (16 ft) high today, although it was once about 13 meters (43 ft) high. It’s believed that a combination of pillaging and destructive weather reduced its dimensions. Including the one at Edfu, six of the seven pyramids are nearly identical in size.

“The similarities from one pyramid to the other are really amazing, and there is definitely a common plan,” said Gregory Marouard, who spearheaded the work at Edfu. However, no one knows why these pyramids were built. They don’t contain internal chambers, so they weren’t meant to be used as tombs. Archaeologists have found inscriptions by the remains of children buried at the foot of the Edfu pyramid. But they believe the burials and associated inscriptions occurred well after the pyramid was constructed. That leads researchers to believe that the pyramid may have been a symbolic monument attesting to the pharoah’s power, a belief bolstered by the discovery of an installation for food offerings on one side of the pyramid.

3Divination Shrines


Photo credit: Adam Smith

In excavations from 2003–2011, archaeologists found three shrines about 3,300 years old nestled in an Armenian fortress in the town of Gegharot. Several similar installations were also constructed in Armenia at that time. They were most likely used for divination, probably as a way for local rulers to predict their futures.

Each one-room shrine contained a clay basin that held ash and ceramic vessels. Other artifacts suggest that the diviners drank wine and burned unknown substances to alter their mental states. “I would think that this is probably a cult center largely specializing in servicing the emerging rulers from the ruling class,” said Professor Adam Smith of Cornell University.

Armenia didn’t have a written language at this time, so the names of the rulers are not known. However, archaeologists discovered evidence at the site of three methods of divination: osteomancy, lithomancy, and aleuromancy.

Osteomancy uses animal bones to predict the future. You roll burned or otherwise marked knucklebones of cows, goats, or sheep. Your future depends on whether the marked or unmarked side of the bone comes up. With lithomancy, you supposedly use colored pebbles to foresee events, but the researchers don’t know how it was done. Finally, aleuromancy tells you what will happen using flour or baked dough balls, which may have been stamped with different shapes.

After about a century, the shrines were destroyed along with all the fortresses in this region, possibly in an event the overthrown rulers didn’t foresee.

2Buddhist Temple


Photo credit: Dhaka Tribune

A recent archaeological discovery promises to provide tantalizing clues to the early life of Atish Dipankar, a revered Buddhist saint, who was born in Bangladesh more than 1,000 years ago. The site contains the remains of a Buddhist town and temple at Nateshwar of Tongibari Upazila in Munshiganj. Although the ruins haven’t been formally dated yet, they appear to have the architectural design of a town from a millennium ago. Inscriptions show that Munshiganj, once known as Bikrampur, was the wealthy capital of ancient Bengal.

“We have found two concrete roads here, which is proof the ancient civilization had advanced engineering and architectural capabilities,” said archaeologist Sufi Mostafizur Rahman. “They also tell us a lot about how these ancient people used to plan and design their habitats and cities. These also go to show that Munshiganj was once one of the most prosperous realms in this part of the world.”

But even more importantly, the newly discovered Buddhist temple may be the one where Dipankar taught and worshiped before he left for Tibet. The researchers hope to learn more about his early life, which is largely an enigma right now. Also, with the practice of Buddhism waning in this area, some people hope this archaeological discovery will transform the region into apilgrimage center and renew interest in Buddhism here.

“Touching the soils and walls here, my hands have felt Atish Dipankar’s birthplace that had remained in his memories till his last days in Tibet,” said archaeologist Chai Hunabo. “Here, I can feel the religious reformation in Buddhism that had taken place from the tenth to the 12th century.”

1Tel Burna


Photo credit: Joeuziel/Wikimedia

Tel Burna in south-central Israel is another site that may be steeped in religious history. Archaeologists have discovered an Iron Age fortified settlement and artifacts that suggest to some scholars that Tel Burna is actually the biblical town of Libnah, one of the locations where the Israelites stopped during the Exodus when Moses led them out of Egypt. If so, the town would have been part of the Kingdom of Judah, which also included Jerusalem.

In ancient times, this region was the border between the Kingdom of Judah in the east and the Philistines in the west. Until as recently as 2009, Tel Burna had not been seriously researched. However, the true identity of Tel Burna has been the subject of intense debate for over 100 years.

“This identification [of Tel Burna as Libnah] was based mainly on geographical and historical arguments. To date, there are other candidates for the location of ancient Libnah, including nearby Tel Zayit,” said archaeologist Itzhaq Shai. “However, the exposed archaeological remains at Tel Burna support this identification, with both the geographical, survey, and excavation data fitting well with what we know and expect from a border town in the Iron Age.”

Although the artifacts may suggest a Judahite presence, the mystery of Tel Burna and Libnah is far from resolved.

10 Amazing Discoveries Made By Amateur Archaeologists

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10 Amazing Discoveries Made By Amateur Archaeologists



Non-professional enthusiasts play a key role in nearly every scientific field. But in the realm of archaeology, such casusal-to-obsessed hobby explorers shine. They have made some extraordinary contributions to history, mostly on their own dime and time. Their efforts enrich history, break records, bring new knowledge and on occasion even prove that a myth was real.

10Jain Temple


While searching for historical goodies, an Indian schoolteacher came across an old building in a forest. Mr. Rajaguru, an avid follower of archaeology, realized that it was an ancient temple. Once it must have meant something to somebody but when it was found the place was a looted ruin. However, there were still enough wonders to wow any amateur seeker’s heart. It consists of three complex parts: a sanctum sanctorum, mandapam and a flag post. It’s likely age hinges on the sculptures and a stone-carved mural. They are very similar—especially the wall image—to known 9th century Indian art. Located at the tributary of Pambaru, the Jain temple is richly decorated with images of sea life such as fish and crab, possibly in honor of a fishing community. Standing a short distance outside the ruins are pillars depicting two people in the act of worship.


9The Ballarat Nugget


A novice prospector searching the Ballarat region in Australia, found a record-breaking nugget while sweeping the area. Gold has been found in the same vicinity before but nothing matches the size of this monster. The lucky man (who refused to share his identity) took the bling to be evaluated at the Ballarat Mining Exchange Gold Shop. The staff couldn’t believe the size before their eyes. Intact, the 12 pounds (5.5 kilograms) rock was estimated to be worth more than $300,000 but considerably less if melted down. It’s worth lies not in how many pieces of gold jewelry can be forged from the metal but as a complete mineral specimen. It’s size and shape is significantly rare. The previous record from the Ballarat area was a nugget that weighed 8 pounds (3.66 kg).

8Priceless Roman-Era Artifacts


When Ran Feinstein and Ofer Raanan investigated a shipwreck off the coast of Israel, they found a sculpture on the seabed. They initially didn’t think much of it and continued to explore the vessel which had sunk near the ancient port of Caesarea. While they continued to find more sculptures, the pair didn’t yet know it but they had come across a slice of submerged Roman history. The biggest haul in thirty years included lamps and jars, bronze statues, animal effigies and anchors. Coins numbering in their thousands revealed the printed faces of Roman emperors Constantine and Licinius. The priceless items date back to different eras; some belong to the fourth century AD and others were forged in the first and second centuries. Experts believe that a storm had threatened the ship 1,700 years ago and sunk it despite her crew’s best effort to anchor the vessel.


7Kicking Dinosaur Embryos


Amateur archaeologist Timothy Huang, a trained chemist, came across something science-changing in Yunnan Province, China. The dinosaur nests contained 200-plus embryonic bones in different stages of development. To follow the growth stages of a species whilst still inside the egg, Lufengosaurus in this case, is something that’s never been possible before. Scientist focused on the tiny femurs and learned two fascinating facts. The thigh bones were very porous inside. Such cavities allow blood to reach growing tissue and the bigger they are, the faster the indicated growth rate. These creatures grew faster than any other mammal or bird embryo today. Secondly, the femurs showed some thickening of the bone – the result of muscles being used. This means that the baby dinosaurs were not only rapid growers but they also actively kicked while still inside their shells. The eggs were laid between 199.6 million and 175.6 million years ago, making them the oldest embryos ever discovered.

6Slave Tunnels


In Italy, the Roman Emperor Hadrian’s villa yielded a surprise—a massive subterranean network of tunnels. Most of it was already known from ancient architectural plans but researchers suspected that the underground had more to offer. They enlisted the help of amateur archaeologists who specialized in rappelling down into the earth. Eventually, the team dug open the first of several unmarked passageways and the mystery began. The charted tunnels most likely helped thousands of servants, slaves and merchants to keep the villa running smoothly without swarming the place. But the purpose of the new section remains unknown. It’s definitely more secretive. First not being recorded and then actually leading away from the estate to an underground roadway. Hadrian, who ruled from A.D. 117 to A.D. 138, might have used them for clandestine meetings or perhaps to be alone.

5The Sini Crenes


An amateur archaeologist and professional hairdresser found a unique way to blend her two professions. Janet Stephens recreated the oldest Roman hairstyle and not just any old ponytail. Her diligent detective work revealed the sini crenes, the braided hairstyle of the Vestal Virgins. They were the six most important women in Rome and their trademark tresses symbolized chastity. In time their complex hairdressing became lost knowledge. Only two busts of Vestal Virgins exist with enough detail and Stephens investigated each braid-line to see where they began on the scalp. Slowly, the sacred weaving unraveled. Waist-length hair would be parted in sections, each of those producing six braids. Hairline hair (twisted around a cord) was fastened at the nape of the neck. In pairs, the braids were tied at the back in half square knots, their ends folded towards the face and fastened to a cornrow that ran past each ear. A seventh braid, made from leftover locks, was then coiled underneath the knotted plaits.


4Lindisfarne Monastery


One of the earliest monasteries built in England left no clue as to where it once might have stood. The only known facts stated that it was erected in 635 AD and most likely in the vicinity of a later-era medieval priory. Despite the fact that the priory’s remains were known and visible in Lindisfarne, the actual monastery remained elusive. In a crowd-funded effort, a search was organized nearby and one of the civilians who assisted at the dig made a momentous find. A rare grave marker from the 7th to 8th century linked the excavation site to the sought-after ruins. It belonged to the period the archaeologists were looking for and the name on the stone ended with “frith”, something that was common to Anglo-Saxons, the community believed to have lived there at the time.

3Largest Denmark Treasure


When amateur archaeologists found seven bracelets in a field, the event was remarkable for Denmark. Six were gold (the remaining one was silver) dating back to 900. The precious yellow metal had a total weight of 900 grams (1.98 pounds), making it the largest Viking gold cache discovered in Denmark. Gold from that era is scarce, unlike Viking silver. Finding one such bangle is something but six together is unprecedented. The first was found within ten minutes and the archaeologists were shocked when they soon unearthed more. The bracelets could have been made for an elite person since two resembled the “Jelling” style—an upper class design. How they ended up in the field is unknown but perhaps they were part of a ritual burial or a treasure hideout. Years before, in 1911, the same field yielded a 67-gram gold chain, most likely part of the same jewelry collection.

2Reichbank Gold


World War II era coins with a value of $65,000 was found buried under a tree. Their likely origin was Germany’s central bank because two swastika-bearing seals with the words “Reichsbank Berlin 224” were found with the gold. The coins were a mix of French, Belgian, Italian and Austrio-Hungarian currency from 1831 to 1910. Experts believe the money, most likely part of the bank’s gold reserves, was stolen by an insider or someone who got his hands on the hoard while it was being transported. Either way, it appears that the bounty was buried near the end of the war. It laid hidden under the hollow tree, which itself is only about fifty years old, until it was found by an amateur archaeologist a few years ago near Lueneburg, northern Germany.



A self-styled British archaeologist believes he’s found Ithaca, the island home of legendary hero Odysseus of Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey. Robert Bittlestone used field trips and satellite images to search for the site in Cephalonia, western Greece. In the poem Odysseus returns home to an island, which is described by Homer. Bittlestone claims to have matched the poem’s geological description to a modern-day Cephalonia peninsula known as Paliki. While a peninsula is not an island, Bittlestone suggests it once was, and that earthquakes filled up the channel that had kept Ithaca separated from Cephalonia. He identified 26 Odyssey locations in northern Paliki just to drive the point home. If he sounds like a lone nut, he’s not. Bittlestone is backed by some serious supporters, including a Cambridge University professor and a geologist from Edinburgh University.