Archaeology is a popular theme in movies with classics like Indiana Jones, The Mummy, and Jurassic Park. In these films, the protagonist is usually seen running from scary mummified creatures or going inside a pyramid to open unknown tombs.
In real life, however, you can just imagine how frightening it is to unearth and discover ancient artifacts and places. Especially when you see the following discoveries below. Here are seven of the world’s scariest archaeological discoveries that will haunt your dreams:
7. The Screaming Mummies
Gaston Maspero, a French Egyptologist, found the unidentified mummy in June 1896. It was buried in a plain coffin along with 40 kings and queens that were found five years prior somewhere near Valley of the Kings, Egypt.
His hands and feet were tied and his mouth was wide open as if he was in pain screaming. He was called Unknown Man E.
Experts believed that the body had been poisoned, buried alive or otherwise tortured before his untimely death.
6. The Mass Grave of the Headless Vikings
Skeletons of 54 men with 51 detached skulls were found in Weymouth in Dorset, England in June 2009. Through scientific analysis, the remains were identified as Vikings, all male, who lived during the Middle Ages between the 5th and 10th centuries. They were executed at the same time by Anglo-Saxons during a conflict between the two groups.
Archaeologists were surprised at the size of the mass grave. “[A]ny mass grave is a relatively rare find, but to find one on this scale, from this period of history, is extremely unusual,” said David Score of Oxford Archaeology.
5. The Mount Owen Moa
In 1986, a team of archaeologists embarked on an expedition in Mount Owen in New Zealand to study the cave system underneath it.
They stumbled upon this strange-looking claw that was well-preserved.
Analysis showed that the claw was from the mummified remains of a 3000-year old moa (Megalapteryx didinus), a gigantic prehistoric bird that became extinct centuries ago. The moa was first discovered in 1839 by John Harris who received it from Maori tribe. He sent it to Sir Richard Owen,an English paleontologist who studied it for four years. He concluded that the bone belongs to of an unknown bird.
A shot of Richard Owen and a reconstructed moa skeleton.
His theory was ridiculed by scientists but later on several bone specimens were discovered which allowed for the reconstruction of its skeleton.
4. The Tomb of the Sunken Skulls
The collection of 8000-year old skulls was unearthed in 2009 in the eastern shore of Lake Vättern in south-eastern Sweden.
When archaeologists uncovered the skulls, they were surprised to find them pierced with wooden stakes.
Eleven skulls from the Mesolithic era were discovered which they say belonged to men, women, children and infants.
One theory says that the site is used for rituals during burial. The bodies were removed from the graves after decomposition to be reinterred then they were displayed as part of the ritual.
3. The Sewer of Babies
In 1988, an excavation team from Harvard University were digging through the sewerage system of a Roman-era city called Ashkelon. They found tiny bones that they thought belonged to small animals. It was later discovered that they were human infant bones.
The sewer was located under a Roman brothel or bathhouse. Bones of 100 infants that were a week old were found.
It is believed that there is a possibility that they were children of prostitutes and were intentionally killed for contraception.
2. The Bog People
“Bog people” or bog bodies are naturally preserved corpses discovered in the sphagnum bogs in northwestern Europe. Over a thousand bog bodies believed to have been from the Iron Age have been discovered. Here are some of the most well-known.
Tollund Man(400-300 BC), found in Jutland Peninsula, Denmark (1950) by peat workers Viggo and Emil Højgaard.
The head was so well-preserved it looks like he is peacefully sleeping. He even has a stubble that is 1 mm in length. He was found naked lying in fetal position, with a skin cap made of sheepskin and wool. The noose made of plaited animal hide was tightly fastened to his neck. Scientists believe he died due to strangling as a human sacrifice.
Grauballe Man was named after the village in Denmark where he was discovered in April 1952. His hair and fingernails remain were surprisingly preserved. He is now in display at Moesgård Museum of Prehistory in Aarhus.
Found in Silkeborg in 1938 by a farmer named Jens Zakariasson, the Elling Woman was tied on the legs with leather cloak while wearing sheepskin cape. Her face was not preserved.
1. Ancient Chemical Warfare
Bodies of 20 Roman soldiers were discovered in a siege-mine in Dura-Europos Syria 70 years ago.
There was siege in 256 AD led by an army from Sasanian Persian Empire. Evidence showed that Persians were waiting for Romans as they dig a tunnel and pumped toxic gases using bitumen and sulfur crystals. They were killed within a matter of minutes.
An archaeologist from the University of Leicester named Simon James, who presented the findings at a meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America said: “It is evident that, when mine and countermine met, the Romans lost the ensuing struggle. Careful analysis of the disposition of the corpses shows they had been stacked at the mouth of the countermine by the Persians, using their victims to create a wall of bodies and shields, keeping Roman counterattack at bay while they set fire to the countermine, collapsing it, allowing the Persians to resume sapping the walls. This explains why the bodies were where they were found. But how did they die? For the Persians to kill twenty men in a space less than 2m high or wide, and about 11m long, required superhuman combat powers—or something more insidious.”
Which one of these astounding discoveries is the scariest? Let us know by sharing this post and writing your comments.