Antikythera-mechanism Mysterious Archaeological
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The 5 Most Mysterious Archaeological Discoveries that can be seen in museums

September 16, 2020

Here are the five most mysterious archaeological discoveries that you can see in different museums all over the world.


Shroud of Turin

Where: Cathedral of Turin, Italy

  • It is a length of linen cloth bearing the negative image of a man
  • Some claim the image depicts Jesus and the fabric is the burial shroud in which he was wrapped after the crucifixion. This is most probably not true as radiocarbon dating made in 1988 found out that the shroud is only 728 years old.
  • The shroud is wrapped in red silk and has been kept in a silver chest in the Chapel of the Holy Shroud in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Turin, Italy since 1578. 
  • The Catholic Church has neither formally endorsed nor rejected the shroud.
  • In 1898, amateur Italian photographer Secondo Pia took the first photograph. The negatives gave the appearance of a positive image, which implies that the shroud itself is a negative of some kind. A variety of methods have been proposed for the formation of the image, but the actual method used has not yet been conclusively identified.
  • In 2009, Lillian Schwartz launched the theory that Leonardo da Vinci had intentionally faked the Shroud of Turin to make fun of Christians and what he considered to be their silly beliefs. If this is true he seems that he used early photographic techniques and a sculpture of his own face to produce the shadowy image.
  • The Shroud of Turin is one of the most mysterious discoveries in the world.
Shroud_of_Turin Mysterious Archaeological

Roman Dodecahedron

Where: Saalburg Roman Archaeological Park, Homburg, Saarland, Germany / Gallo-Roman Museum, Tongeren, Belgium / LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn, Bonn, Germany

  • Roman dodecahedron or Gallo-Roman Dodecahedron is a small hollow object made of copper alloy which has been cast into a dodecahedral shape: twelve flat pentagonal faces, each face having a circular hole of varying diameter in the middle, the holes connecting to the hollow center.
  • In 1739 was discovered first “dodecahedron” in Great Britain.
  • Since then 116 of these objects have been found in other locations across northern Europe that were once part of the Roman Empire (Great Britain, Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, and Hungary)
  • Researchers are no closer to understanding the origin and function of these mysterious objects. While some theorize that the dodecahedron was used as a weapon, others think it may have been a child’s toy or a tool used to calculate distance. Other theories propose gauges to calibrate water pipes, army standard bases, a coin measuring device for counterfeit detection, or a candlestick holder. A popular hypothesis these days for the purpose of the dodecahedra is that they were used as knitting tools to make gloves.
  • What makes this even more mysterious is the fact that historians have not found any written documentation mentioning dodecahedrons. 
  • Another discovery deepens the mystery about the function of these objects. Benno Artmann discovered a Roman icosahedron (a polyhedron with 20 faces), misclassified as a dodecahedron.
Roman-Dodecahedron Mysterious Archaeological

The Wedge of Aiud

Where: National Museum of Transylvanian History, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

In 1974, in Romania, East of Aiud, a group of workers, on the banks of the river Mures, discovered three buried objects in a sand trench 10 meters deep. Two of the objects proved to be Mastodon bones. These dating from between the Miocene and the Pleistocene periods.

The third object – the Aluminum Wedge of Aiud, also known as the Object of Aiud, is a mysterious wedge-shaped block of metal similar to the head of a hammer. Some specialists claim that the object could be 20 000 or 100 000 years old because it was found in a layer with mastodon bone.

Other researchers suppose that this piece of metal was part of an extraterrestrial flying object.

There’s a much more rational explanation. The wedge is simply a tooth from a modern-day excavator bucket, the kind used by workers digging foundations for construction projects.

The Wedge of Aiud Mysterious Archaeological

The Cursed Amethyst

Where:  The Vault, Natural History Museum, London, England

Known as the “Blasted Amethyst” or “Cursed Amethyst” or “The Delhi Purple Sapphire” it was stolen from the Temple of Indra. It is believed that the stone is cursed and brings bad luck to its owner.

The amethyst is mounted on a ring in the form of a snake, decorated with mysterious alchemical and astrological signs.

In January 1944 was donated to the Natural History Museum of London by the daughter of a man named Edward Heron-Allen.

The-Cursed-Amethyst Mysterious Archaeological

Antikythera mechanism

Where: National Archaeological Museum, Athens, Greece

The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient Greek complex clockwork mechanism composed of at least 30 meshing bronze gears and was likely used to track the path of the sun, moon, and planets.

The Antikythera mechanism is considered the first ancient mechanical computer. The mechanism is similar to astronomical mechanical clocks built in Europe since the fourteenth century.

The artifact was retrieved from the sea in 1901.

The object has been dated between 205 BC and 60 BC.

You can see the mechanism at the National Museum of Archeology in Athens. You will be able to see how this mechanism worked in antiquity because there are different reconstructions next to it. Other reconstructions can be seen at the American Computer and Robotics Museum in Bozeman, Montana, Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, Children’s Museum of Manhattan in New York, Astronomy and physics exhibition at the Orangerie (Cabinet of Astronomy and Physics) in Kassel, Germany, and Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris.

Antikythera-mechanism Mysterious Archaeological