Archaeologists always make impressive discoveries that you find out about on the news. Scientists also come upon a breakthrough that is going to change the way our world works, but how about ordinary people, like you and me? Some of us might not have even dreamed about becoming an archaeologist or stumbling upon Venus of Milo, but it happened, and we should talk about it, right? We should talk about these 10 crazy important discoveries made by ordinary people.
It takes a lot of digging and knowledge accumulated through years of studying to really go hunting for long-lost artefacts of historical heritages. Most of us might have dreamed of making crazy discoveries when we were kids, but then grew up and left it to professionals to take care of it all, right?
However, history has taught us that ordinary people who have not studied archaeology can make crazy important discoveries as well and these are 10 of the craziest out there. What do you think?
1. The terracotta army
The famous terracotta army was discovered by Chinese farmers. In 1974, they were digging a well near the city of Xian and to their surprise, they struck the head of a buried statue. Later on, when archeologists arrived on the site and started making further excavations, they found about 8,000 such statues.
The terracotta army is a famous collection of terracotta soldiers, horses and chariots made for emperor Qin Shi Huang, to protect him, in the afterlife. What is most striking about this army, is that each soldier has its own, unique face. Quite an effort for someone’s afterlife, wouldn’t you say so?
2. Venus de Milo
Venus de Milo might be regarded as the world’s most beloved sculpture and why wouldn’t it be, since it’s so incredibly beautiful. And we’ve got to thank peasant Yorgos Kentrotas for this discovery. In 1820, he was digging for some marble blocks in a pile of ancient ruins when he found it. He bribed a naval officer to help him dig it out completely and then sold it to the French ambassador in the Ottoman Empire.
In 1821, the statue was presented to King Louis and donated to the Louvre. Art historians have studied it for years afterwards, but we’re still unclear if the statue represents the Greek goddess Aphrodite or any other stunning woman who have lived in Ancient Greece.
3. The Turkish Underground City of Derinkuyu
In the Cappadocia region, you will find some pretty impressive hand-carved underground cities. In 1963, a local man was renovating his home in Cappadocia and as he knocked down a wall, he discovered a mysterious passage that led to a vast network of tunnels and rooms in the underground. This was Derinkuyu, a mysterious underground metropolis which housed shops, wells with freshwater, stables, meeting halls and big, solid stone doors to protect its inhabitants from danger. It was carved by hand from the volcanic ash in the Cappadocia region. We still don’t know why and who exactly were its inhabitants.
4. The Rosetta Stone
The Rosetta stone led to deciphering hieroglyphics and it was found by Napoleon’s soldiers in 1799 while they were bringing down large ancient walls to improve a military fort.
5. The Dead Sea Scrolls
Considered ones of the most significant archeological discoveries of the 20th century, the Dead Sea Scrolls are some of the earliest pieces of the Bible known to men, and they have been found by a group of Arab teenagers looking for a lost goat near the ancient city of Jericho. They found a series of clay pots containing a lo of papyrus scrolls in a cave and sold them for about $50 to a Bedouins antiquities dealer. Of course, they had no idea of their real value. However, we should thank them for this discovery.
6. Hoxne Hoard
The Hoxne Hoard is presently displayed at the British Museum and it is a collection consisting of 14,865 coins, 200 silver tableware, and gold jewelry, and it was all found by a British farmer named Eric Lawes, in the British village of Hoxne.
Eric was looking for a lost hammer of his friend’s, Peter. They were farmers and they used a metal detector to make the job easier. The funny story is that the cheap hammer is also on display alongside the huge gold and silver coins treasure in the British museum, now.
7. The Action Comics No.1
The first appearance of Superman was in The Action Comics. No.1 and a copy of it were found by a US couple who were cleaning their attic. The copy sold for $1 million at auction. Who else wants to make such a discovery, raise your hands?
8. This ancient Roman Villa was fund on Google Earth
The times are changing, archeologist discoveries are changing also. This ancient Roman Villa was found by an ordinary Italian man who was looking at his city on Google Earth. He probably had a day off and nothing more important to do, then examine his own city and explore the wonders of Google Earth.
Lucky for us, he happened to see some strange shadows around an oval shape on Google Earth. He wrote about it on his blog and contacted some local archaeologists. They went on site, started digging and found an entire Roman villa.
So, Google Earth today, everyone?
9. The Caveman in Ice
It was September 19th, 1991 when two German tourists called reported to the authorities that they’ve stumbled across a crime scene. Little did they know that the body they had found was actually 4,000 years old and perfectly preserved by staying buried under the ice all this time.
The discovery has served as an immense source of data for the life people lived during those times and it is now in display at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Italy.
10. One early printed copy of the Declaration of Independence
It was discovered by an art collector in 1989. He had bought some unknown painting at a flea market because he thought the frame it was in was quite interesting.
I would say he had a good eye because, for $4, he got an early copy of the Declaration of Independence. It was hidden between the canvas and the wood frame of the painting.
I wonder what was the real story of that painting…
Or if these 32 George Washington Memes should make the “headlines” of incredible discoveries in the future
You don’t have to be an archaeologist or scientist to contribute to the world’s cultural and historical heritage. These 10 crazy important discoveries made by ordinary people say it all. Those ordinary people left their mark on our world because we can’t imagine our history without the Rosetta Stone or our art without Venus de Milo, or our pop culture without Action Comics No.1, can we? Ca you?