The life of an archaeologist is a long one full of study and searching. When you think about archaeology, your first thought is probably the famous Indiana Jones or the iconic Lara Croft from Tomb Raider. However, real life archaeology isn’t that exciting. While it’s certainly a very rewarding and enticing career, there aren’t many perilous adventures happening in the field. However, archaeologists stumble across strange things every now and then that would leave us running for the hills. These finds are the ones that people talk about for years after the initial find. Some still talk about them to this day because of the help and insight of the findings, as well as how creepy they seem. Here we have compiled fifteen various archaeological finds that were just too creepy for words, especially for those who found them.
15. The Venice Vampire Skull
When the plague occurred in Venice in 1576, few people really knew what to do with the mass of bodies that were starting to pile up. Naturally, they did the only thing that was possible at the time and buried them all together. After archaeologists unearthed many remains, they came across a peculiar skull that had a brick shoved in its mouth so far back that the jaw was broken. After researchers delved into the history of the skull, they finally learned that it belonged to an elderly woman who had lived in the area at the time and managed to live well past the normal age range. She was estimated to be between 60 and 71 years old. People in that time didn’t usually live that long. After her death, it’s thought that the people who buried her decided to jam a brick in her mouth, which was often done to bodies people thought could come back as vampires. While the lady probably just lived a healthier life than most, the people at the time weren’t taking any chances.
14. Headless Vikings Abound
Nothing is worse than happening upon a mass grave during an archaeological dig, except for finding fifty-one skulls in one grave. In Weymouth, archaeologists discovered the skulls along with separate graves that held the bones below the neck in 2009. It appeared that the bones belonged to Anglo-Saxon captives who met an unfortunate end. After analyzing the teeth, it was confirmed that they were from Scandinavia. If the archaeologists had not happened upon these graves, the bones would most likely have ended up in the news in a very different way. While the find is certainly creepy, we can take solace in the fact that these findings have actually helped archaeologists and researchers learn more about the area as well as the people. It’s a strange and creepy way to get information, but history can only be learned through remnants of the past and unfortunately, sometimes that involves the bodies of victims from long ago.
13. The Very First Leper
In 2009, archaeologists were digging around in India when they found something absolutely startling. While working in archaeological digs, experts usually find various traces of where life once was, but rarely do they come across something so rare as a disease like this. They discovered what is now the earliest evidence of leprosy in a skeleton that was 4,000 years old. Not only is it the oldest skeleton that’s been found with traces of leprosy, but it is also the first case of leprosy found in India. This also supports the theory that leprosy moved between Asia and Africa due to new trade routes. Leprosy is actually very difficult to trace and study. For years, scientists have been trying to track down the origin of the disease without any luck. Like many diseases, leprosy is hard to get a culture of, making it even more difficult to study in beings that have decomposed, or even bodies that look like they would yield results.
12. Possible Alien Skulls
If you happen across pictures of the supposed alien skulls, you will notice that there is something very different about the way they look. Conspiracy theorists came to the conclusion that these skulls are from aliens, due to the fact that they are elongated and structured differently than normal skulls. However, this is simply not the case. Elongated skulls, which have been found in Mexico as well as Peru, were actually pretty common among certain social structures. Artificial cranial deformation, which is a practice used to distort the natural growth of a child’s skull, was done by use of cloth or wood. It is something that is still done today in certain areas of the world. However, due to this practice, it left some very interesting and terrifying-looking skulls behind, leaving us to contemplate the possibility of alien origins.
11. People That Met Disturbing Ends
If it scares you to think that can*ibals actually exist in today’s world, try to imagine what it would have been like back when Neanderthals were making their way around the world. They may not have had the knowledge we do, but scary instances like can*ibalism still happened. Take, for example, the bones that were found in a cave located in Spain. Archaeologists have determined that the bones were cut as well as snapped in ways that suggest they were eventually consumed. The marks and cuts on the bones didn’t occur naturally and it’s thought that some Neanderthals were indeed can*ibals. The discoveries seemed normal until the final conclusion was made. Perhaps once the Neanderthals’ minds started to wander due to hunger, they felt they had no other choice. There is no way to tell for sure.
10. Creepiest Cups Ever
In Gough’s Cave located in Somerset, England, three skulls were found. For archaeologists, this is a common find, especially in older caves that haven’t been visited for quite some time. But what was so strange about these skulls was what they were used for. After careful examination, it was determined that these skulls had been used as cups. They turned out to be 14,700 years old, making them the oldest known skulls to be used for drinking. If this wasn’t unsettling enough, there were other remains that lay scattered around the skull cups with snaps in the bones that meant the marrow had been sucked from them, leading archaeologists to believe that can*ibalism was to blame. It’s hard to imagine something so disturbing, but it seems that’s probably what happened all those years ago. Of course, it happened so long ago, it’s hard to tell if this was done because of food shortage or if it was a normal occurrence.
9. Staked “Vampires” In Bulgaria
In 2014, Bulgarian archaeologists stumbled upon yet another grave site that holds links to the belief in vampires and truly shows how terrified people were of the supposed fanged beings. In the ancient city of Thracian, a 13th century grave was found with bones buried deep within that painted a peculiar story. The bones were very interesting to find, but once they finally surfaced, it appeared that the skull had been crushed. A round stake was also found jutting out of the skeleton’s chest. It was determined that after the man’s death, a two pound iron rod was shoved into his chest, along with the removal of the lower part of his left leg. His cause of death was unknown, but the acts committed after he died were certainly meant to stop him from ever rising again. This isn’t unheard of, as there have been other similar graves unearthed.
8. Terrifying Tools
The discovery of various tools from a pre-Aztec civilization rose questions as to what they could be made of. After some examination, it was determined that the tools were made from bones. Pieces of the skeleton, like skulls and femurs, were found to be used and turned into everyday useful items for the people of that time. A total of around 5,000 bone fragments were analyzed. It was determined that all of them came from the ancient city of Teotihuacan. After those they loved had passed away, they quickly went to work using stones to remove things like muscle and skin. The reason for this was so they could retrieve the bones while they were strong. If too much time were to pass, they wouldn’t be able to fashion the bones into tools as bones became more fragile. It’s certainly not what many would do nowadays with their loved ones, but it was once a tradition nonetheless.
7. Piles Of Skulls
At Teotihuacan, human tools weren’t the only creepy things found by archaeologists. They found something very interesting at the bottom of a once large lake. 150 skulls were found in piles lining the bottom of the once watery area. They exist as evidence of the largest mass human sacrifice that has ever been discovered by archaeologists. This disturbing find has been determined to be at least 1,100 years old. While you probably don’t see many photos of the find or even hear that much about it, that’s because researchers decided to not release the photos of the skulls, simply out of respect for indigenous cultures that they believe to be linked to these findings. While it isn’t right to disrespect any type of culture, seeing the photos would give us more insight into pre-Aztec society.
6. Skeletons Placed In A Circle
At the ancient site of Pachacamac, a Peruvian tomb was discovered with skeletons arranged in very peculiar ways. These skeletons were placed in the fetal position and consisted of bones of very young people, which were circled around a tomb. It’s safe to say this can be marked as one of the creepiest discoveries ever made, simply because of the way the bones were arranged. In the middle of it all was a tomb, and some people believe that it was a resting place for pilgrims who had come to Pachacamac for miracle cures and didn’t get what they had anticipated. It’s believed that some of the people died naturally. However, researchers aren’t entirely sure whether or not the people were sacrificed or if they died naturally. A total of eighty bodies were found at the site. It’s considered the largest find of human remains at Pachacamac, and it still continues to baffle archaeologists and researchers.
5. Chemically Deteriorated Remains In Ancient Rome
When it comes to terrible events like chemical warfare, many people probably think that it all started in the past few decades or so. In all actuality, chemical weapons have been around longer than people may think. In Syria, almost 2,000 years ago, 19 Roman soldiers tragically died in an underground tunnel. Their bones exist as the first pieces of archaeological evidence that show signs of chemical warfare. The Romans were battling the Persians when a giant cloud of black smoke enveloped the Romans. The smoke, when breathed in, sent them to an early grave within minutes. The Romans had gone into the tunnels to protect their city from invasion, but what they had never anticipated was the poison that their weapons could sadly do nothing to fight.
4. Very Sad Remains
It is difficult for archeologist to find remains from very young children. It’s hard to see, even if the remains are thousands of years old. But, for some reason, something sinister was going on in an area that was late Roman-early Byzantine. The bones of almost a hundred children were found in a sewer that ran underneath a bathhouse located in Israel. The first assumption was of course that the babies were sick. However, further examination revealed that wasn’t the case. They had died around three days after being born. It was known that in the area at that time, people “discarded” female babies, however there were more male than female, which made the discovery even more chilling. To this day, archaeologists are still unsure of what happened.
3. Screaming Mummies
Try to imagine that you’re an archaeologist. You’re out looking for various artifacts and stumble upon a tomb or a grave. After you have unearthed the body, everything looks rather normal, except for the fact that the corpse looks like it is screaming. This has been a re-occurring experience for archaeologists throughout history. Most people call them screaming mummies, and for a while, archaeologists considered that the bodies had met disturbing ends. Thanks to further research, however, it was posited that the mouth simply drops open once the head falls back after a certain amount of decomposition. Possibly the most famous of all the screaming mummies was discovered in Egypt in 1886. It is known as Unknown Man E. One look at the body and you will be having nightmares for quite a while.
2. Iron Age Pickled Brain
Many things can be pickled in today’s world, but what about a human brain? It certainly doesn’t sound appetizing, but luckily, one instance proved to be useful to researchers and archaeologists. A piece of pickled human brain was discovered in an English bog, and it was quite useful when it came to research. This is due to the fact that the liquid in which it resided in for 2,684 years was able to preserve it so well. It dates around the Iron Age, hence the title’s name. This crazy archaeological find proves that even the bogs in certain parts of the world can hold secrets we dare not unearth, unless of course you are a researcher or archaeologist.
1. Victims Preserved In Bogs
In Northwestern Europe, there is a place known as Nebelgård Mose. It is a bog where more bodies than anyone ever thought possible have been pulled from its depths. These bodies have been found by experts and they were so well-preserved that researchers were able to determine a lot about the people based on their findings. What are normally called bog bodies, these corpses date anywhere from 8000 B.C.E to the medieval period. Upon examination, it was determined that the bodies were not buried in the bogs, nor did they simply happen to be there when they died. Experts believe they were most likely sacrificed, punished for breaking the law or for having flaws that were considered unnatural at the time.