Historians and archaeologists alike are not always faced with the ordinary. While much of their time is spent scanning through historic texts or unearthing ancient ruins and human remains, occasionally they stumble across things that are more perplexing.
This year has been no exception – from a mummified ‘hand of glory’ to a sword with an undecipherable code, unexplainable stone discs, a fetus found in the coffin of a bishop, and a ‘fairy fort’ that workers are refusing to excavate, here we feature ten weird and wonderful discoveries of 2015.
Numerous skeletons of sᴇxuᴀʟʟʏ perverse Nuns discovered in Oxford.
Archaeologists discovered the skeletons of a number of ‘sᴇx-oʙsᴇssᴇᴅ’ nuns who were eventually punished for their sins by having their priory dissolved and their prioress pensioned off.
The team of archaeologists from John Moore Heritage Services discovered the skeletons of a total of 92 nuns at Littlemore Priory in Oxfordshire, dating from the time the priory was founded in 1110 to its dissolution by Cardinal Wolsey in 1525. The skeletons were found in a burial ground surrounding the site of the priory which is now being used for the construction of a new hotel.
The archaeologists also found a sтιʟʟʙoʀɴ baby in a casket and a woman buried face-down. Researchers said that the face-down position was probably a penitential act to atone for her sins.
She may therefore have been one of the sinful nuns who had, according to surviving records, ᴘʀovoκᴇᴅ Cardinal Wolsey into dissolving the priory and pensioning off the prioress. Eileen Power mentions the priory in her book Medieval English Nunneries as one of the worst establishments in the country at the time.
More than a dozen mysterious carved discs found near Volgograd, Russia.
A team of investigators in Russia found more than a dozen stone discs in the Volgograd region of Russia. The team claims that the discs contain tungsten, a high density metal that has applications in military technology. The nature of the discs remains a mystery.
“The shape…, which resembles the popular image of a flying saucer, has let the imagination of the conspiracy theorists fly,” reported International Business Times. “Scott Waring of UFO Sightings Daily thinks this is proof that aliens exist and claims the disc is made of tungsten. Tungsten is also known as wolfram, and is used in special military technology.”
A UFO investigation team has made lavish claims about the stone discs, stating that they could be about a million years old, and maintaining that they are most probably military drones that were damaged in an attack on Mars before falling to Earth.
Fortunately, scientists at the Zhirnovsky museum are taking a more rational approach and are studying the largest stone disc to determine its age and material. Some skeptics also believe that the rocks were not even man-made but are simply the result of ordinary rocks shaped by erosion.
Double Medieval child burial, one Pagan, one Christian, mystifies German researchers.
Archaeologists say the circumstances of the ᴅᴇᴀтн and double burial of two little children who ᴅιᴇᴅ in Medieval Frankfurt, Germany, will probably never be known. One of the children had an apparently royal Merovingian, Christian burial, and the other a pagan Scandinavian burial. The children were honored many years after their death by careful placement of a royal chapel around their grave.
Their remains were found in 1992, but archaeologists only recently released the results of the scientific examination of the bodies and gravesite. The team announced the children were buried sometime between 700 and 730 AD. The grave is in a priest’s residence, the priory of a tiny church at what later would become the Frankfurt Cathedral in the 1300s.
The girl’s high status was clearly evident by the clothing she was dressed in, including a tunic and shawl; and jewelry for her ears, fingers, arms, neck and chest made of gold, silver, bronze and precious stones.
The other child had a necklace that was a copy of a Scandinavian amulet. That and the fact that the cremated remains were mixed with bear bones show close ties between northern Europe and the Germanic tribes.
It is possible the two children had been promised to each other for marriage. But researchers can only speculate about this strange burial.
Fetus found inside the coffin of a 17th century mummified bishop.
Researchers at Lund University hospital were in for a surprise when they conducted a CT scan of a mummified Scandinavian bishop, and spotted the remains of a tiny fetus tucked under the bishop’s feet. The mummy belongs to Bishop Peder Winstrup, a prominent historical figure in Scandinavia who died in 1679.
The finding was made when testing was carried out on Winstrup’s remains in the hope of learning more about the health and lives of people in Medieval Scandinavia. During the scan of Winstrup’s mummified remains, researchers spotted the remains of a tiny 5-6 month old fetus tucked under the bishop’s feet.
It is speculated that the fetus may either be a relation of Winstrup, or may have been an illegitimate child that was placed there by someone unrelated to him, who wanted to sneak the infant remains into his coffin in order to receive a proper burial.
Did Humans Walk the Earth with ᴅιɴosᴀuʀs? Triceratops Horn Dated to 33,500 Years
Triceratops brow horn discovered in Dawson County, Montana, was controversially dated to around 33,500 years, challenging the view that ᴅιɴosᴀuʀs died out around 65 million years ago. According to the researchers involved, the finding radically suggests that early humans may have once walked the earth with the fearsome reptiles thousands of years ago.
The Triceratops brow horn was excavated in May 2012 and stored at the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum.
The Museum, which has since 2005 been in cooperation with the Paleochronology Group, a team of consultants in geology, paleontology, chemistry, engineering, and education, sent a sample of the outer portion of the Triceratops brow horn to Head of the Paleochronology Group Hugh Miller, at his request, in order to carry out Carbon-14 dating. Mr Miller sent the sample to the University of Georgia, Center for Applied Isotope Studies, for this purpose.
The sample was divided at the lab into two fractions with the “bulk” or collagen break down products yielding an age of 33,570 ± 120 years and the carbonate fraction of bone bioapatite yielding an age of 41,010 ± 220 years [UGAMS-11752 & 11752a].
The group has urged any and all scientists to replicate their results by carrying out rigorous C-14 testing on any ᴅιɴosᴀuʀs sample.