10 mysterious objects from history that still baffle us

6) Piri Reis Map –

Piri Reis Map

A geographical map dated from 1513 AD, apparently compiled by the genius Piri Reis, who was an Ottoman admiral and cartographer; the medieval parchment (made from gazelle skin) shows the coastlines of Europe, Africa, Caribbean islands and even South America with substantial accuracy. Quite interestingly, Reis had also inscribed the sources that he had used for the map, and the list included charts from different parts of the world, like the Ptolemaic maps from Ancient Hellenistic Egypt, Early Arabic maps that depicted India, Early Indian-made maps (that were further copied by the Portuguese) and the most renowned of all – the supposedly lost map of Christopher Columbus.

To that end, the map’s major importance lies in the depiction of the extent of exploration of the Americas made by Old World people. In this regard, the parchment shows impressive renderings of the north portion of South America and its relative scaled distance from Africa. On the other hand, North America (barring the Caribbean) shows many discrepancies, with the inclusion of curious landmasses like one ‘Antilia‘ that might have been Nova Scotia, the destination of the famed voyage of St. Brendan.

However, the recent furor over the Piri Reis map is in its alleged depiction of the Queen Maud Land coast of Antarctica. The hypothesis is certainly enticing (though dismissed by most experts) since the discovery of Cape Horn (below the southern tip of South America) was not achieved till at least six years later, during Ferdinand Magellan’s circumnavigating voyages. However, arguably more fascinating is the map’s nigh precise depiction of the Andes Mountains, an area which had not been thoroughly explored by Old World navigators till the advent of Francisco Pizarro in 1524 AD (eleven years after the map’s date).

7) Russian ‘Tooth-Wheel’ –


Back in 2013, some sections of the internet were in uproar over the finding of the so-called Russian UFO Tooth Wheel (a term coined by conspiracy theorists). The find itself entailed a metal detail that was located by a man from Vladivostok, when he saw the object sticking out from a coal piece. Later on, scientists from St. Petersburg Institute of Nuclear Physics ran some tests on the tooth-wheel shaped item, and its age was supposedly found to be around 300 million years old.

According to some sources, the object was tested by X-ray diffraction analysis, and its composition was found to be almost pure aluminum with around 2-4 percent magnesium. The emergence of this evidence purportedly substantiated that the tooth-wheel was actually an alloy, and it led to various presumptions that the object was most certainly an artificially-made component. However, skeptics have pointed out that during the initial discovery of this metal detail, the aforementioned X-ray diffraction analysis was carried out by one Valery Brier, and he is known to be a ufologist with claimed-findings being documented on disparate sites.

8) Shroud of Turin –

Shroud of Turin

Possibly the most famous of all the objects mentioned in the list, and surely one of the most controversial objects in the history of mankind, the Shroud of Turin is among the rare specimens that have sparked disputes and mooting between not only historians, but also theologians from around the world. The reason is very simple – the piece of linen cloth mysteriously bears a faint image of a man who seems to have suffered the fate of crucifixion. Conjectures were automatically formed that associated the cloth (currently housed inside the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, in Turin, Italy) to the burial shroud of the one-and-only Jesus Christ.

However, as with every debated historical find, experts were obviously not convinced of the artifact’s divinity. Still even the researchers have remained unsuccessful in determining the exact veracity of the shroud’s origin – with the most common postulation placing the cloth piece’s date from the period between 1260 and 1390 AD (as found by radiocarbon dating tests done in 1988). But these interpretations have been counter-contested by some scientists and historians. Interestingly, in the midst of the raging debates, two recent Popes have touted the Shroud of Turin to be a ‘venerable icon’ of Christianity.

9) Tecaxic-Calixtlahuaca Head –


A head of a statue (or figurine) made from terracotta, the Tecaxic-Calixtlahuaca head was discovered in 1933 among some grave goods in the Toluca Valley, with the location being just around 70 km (43 miles) from Mexico City. As can be comprehended from the depiction of the bearded man, the head seems to be very similar to Roman workmanship – a concordance which was put forth by noted archaeologist Romeo H. Hristov, as a case for evidence for trans-oceanic contact between the Mesoamericans and the Romans before Columbus’s arrival. To that end, the date of the burial was found to from around early 16th century AD – with the initial discovery also yielding other precious objects made from gold, rock crystal, turquoise and copper.

But, the Tecaxic-Calixtlahuaca head, according to Hristov (stated in 2001), was a specimen from 2nd century AD, with the bearded style of the man mirroring the ‘fashion’ of the Severian Emperors of Rome. A thermoluminescence test done earlier in 1995 also revealed (though with some presumptions) that the head was crafted between the years of 9th century BC to 13th century AD. However, since then, experts have put forth different hypotheses regarding the Tecaxic-Calixtlahuaca head, with some pertaining to how it might be a hoax, and some relating to how the head might have been introduced to America during the Spanish colonial era.

10) The Sri Lanka Meteorite Fossils –

Sri Lanka_Meteorite_Fossils

What may seem like a piece of conventional meteorite might just be the only specimen from mankind’s history to showcase alien lifeforms. How so? Well, the story started way back in December 29, 2012 when fragments of a meteor shower struck Polonnaruwa, in Sri Lanka. The local cops supposedly gathered some samples from the site, and promptly delivered them to to the island nation’s Medical Research Institute which is run by Sri Lankan Ministry of Health. These specimens were then sent to the University of Cardiff, and studied further for a second time on a detailed basis.

As for the first study, it was led by Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe (published in the Journal of Cosmology), and the abstraction showed the possible scope of panspermia – a hypothetical ambit that surmises that alien lifeforms are spread all over the universe, and can be carried to variant spaces locations via meteoroids and asteroids. To that end, the rock samples allegedly contained microscopic fossilized diatoms that are scientifically considered as basic forms of algae.

Interestingly, the second study conducted by the team of Cardiff’s School of Mathematics, substantiated the claims made by this preliminary documentation. According to the researchers involved, the samples were found to contain “ancient remains of extinct marine algae”, and these fossilized remnants are indigenous to the stone. In other words, the meteorite was not affected by ‘earthly’ organisms, since the samples showed very low levels of nitrogen. Many skeptics however have opposed the claims made by the sensational results. According to one of them, the findings were rushed, while the analysis of the actual rock samples were also not credibly verified.

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