10 Most Mysterious Prehistoric Sites From Around The World
Every single ancient site discovered around world is shrouded in mystery as to how, when, and why they were built.
Here are 10 of the most mysterious and intriguing prehistoric sites discovered from around the world.
1. The Unfinished Obelisk of Aswan, Egypt
A stone that stands 137 feet (42m) tall and weighs 1200 tons lies in the ancient quarries near Aswan, Egypt. This gigantic piece of rock was intended to be erected as an obelisk. Some believe that it was was never finished because the builders may have been violently interrupted. Others believe it was likely due to the cracks which formed in the stone during the quarrying.
If it was finished, the obelisk stone would have been a full third larger than any other ancient obelisk known to us and would have been taller than a ten-story building. The mystery remains as to how exactly did the ancient Egyptians plan on erecting the obelisk when there are very few modern cranes that could have move such a massive stone.
2. Carnac Stones, France
The Carnac Stones is a collection of over 3,000 standing stones can be found around the French Village of Carnac. The stones, which were erected between 4500 and 3300 B.C., are the largest of such collection in the world. There a number of theories as to the purpose of the stones.
Some believe that they were aligned astronomically to create an observatory or a calendar system, while others claim that they were used as seismic instruments, the balance stones acting as earthquake detectors. France's Carnac site is also believed to support the “megalithic yard”, an idea of a theoretical common unit of measurement that was used to build most megalithic sites.
3. The dolmens of Antequera, Spain
Located in Spain are three most important dolmens or passage mounds in the world - Cueva de Menga, Cueva de Viera, and the Tholos of El Romeral. The sites, found near the town of Antequera, are believed to have been constructed around 3700 B.C., making them a contemporary of many famous megalithic sites such as Stonehenge.
Exterior of Cueva Menga │ tuhistoria.org
The largest stones used in the dolmen's construction is about 180 tons in weight and were transported from at least a mile away. Many of the mound's walls feature anthropomorphic illustrations.
"Menga is aligned with the summer solstice, and El Romeral shares several traits and characteristics with tholos dolmens discovered on Crete, which suggests contact with the Minoan civilization."
4. Ggantija, Malta
Around 3600 B.C., at a time when metal tools and wheel were still too futuristic to even imagine, a complex of two megalithic temples were constructed on the Maltese island of Gozo. And so many of us wonder how these temples were built.
Fertility figurines and statuettes have also been discovered, leaving experts to believe that Ggantija may have been the site of a fertility cult. The stone temples are the second-oldest religious structures ever discovered.
5. Stone Spheres, Costa Rica
Over 200 stone spheres have been discovered in Costa Rica. The stones are different in sizes, from a few centimeters to more than 2 meters in diameter, and weighing fifteen tons. They are believed to have been carved in 1500 and 500 B.C. by a civilization that has long since disappeared.
Myths and legends surround the stone spheres. Some believe that they are the relics of Atlantis while others believe that whoever built the stones used some sort of potion to soften the rocks. Although the stones have been damaged over the centuries, many still believe they were originally carved into perfect spheres. The purpose of these stones remain unknown.
6. The Olmec Heads, Mexico
The Olmec heads of Mexico are a collection of seventeen large carved stone heads. The heads weigh between 6 and 50 tons and date from 1500 - 1000 B.C. Each of the Olmec heads is carved with a unique headdress. This led some people to the conclusion that they were carved to represent the powerful Olmec rulers.
Others claim that the heads' faces resemble that of an African male, suggesting that the stones might be evidence of an advanced African civilization visiting the Americas in prehistoric times.
A colossal Olmec head at Tres Zapotes, Mexico │ travel.nationalgeographic.com
7. Yonaguni Monument, Japan
A group of strange "flat parallel edges, right angles, sharp edges, pillars, and columns" was found underwater off the coast of Yonaguni Island, Japan in 1987. These features led many to believe that the site could be man-made.
The last time the area where the Yonaguni monument is submerged, would have been dry land, was 8 to 10 thousand years ago, during the most recent ice age. This makes the monument (if it really was constructed by people) one of the oldest structures on the planet.
8. Gulf of Cambay, India
In 2001, evidence of a sunken city was found in the Gulf of Cambay, off the coast of India. Using sonar, several man-made structures were identified, including canals and large buildings. Artifacts were also found, including pottery shards and hearth materials that were dredged up from the bottom.
One piece of wood found dates back from as early as 9500 B.C. If the city really existed back then, it would be thousands of years older than the previous oldest city discovered in India, and would've existed thousands of years before humans were believed to be building cities of this size.
9. Moai, Easter Island
In one of the most remote inhabited islands on Earth, the Easter Island, lies one of the world's most famous mysteries - the giant stone statues called Moai. It was first believed that they were just head statues, but excavation has shown almost all of the heads to have bodies. There's a form of hieroglyphic writing on some of the statues but nobody has been able to translate them.
"Very few of the statues were ever actually erected; most were left in quarries, or abandoned during transport. Archeologists don’t know why the statues were built, what they signified, how they were transported and erected, or why they were abandoned unfinished."
10. Gobekli Tepe, Turkey
Radiocarbon method of dating puts Gobekli Tepe at between 10,000 and 9000 B.C., making the oldest religious structure ever found. The ancient site contains stone structures and pillars with carvings of various predatory animals. The construction of the stone pillars, some weighing nearly 20 tons, remains a mystery since they were erected at a time when humans were thought to be simple hunter-gatherers.
The discovery and ongoing excavation of Gobekli Tepe could eventually change our conception of prehistory forever. Especially when excavated evidence show that the Tepe have been built before the advent of agriculture, religion, written language, the wheel, pottery, the domestication of animals, and the use of anything other than simple stone tools.