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Rani ki Vav archaeology mystery
image @Bhajish Bharathan CC 4.0

11 Mysterious Archeological Wonders that Challenge Science Dogmas

archeology mystery karnak
Karnak, Luxor, Egypt – image by Michael Caven

Psychedelics in 12k-year-old rock art,
astral alignments of ancient temples, discoveries of impossible structures
+ an underwater forbidden archeology mystery

There are so many mysteries in archaeology, and every year new discoveries challenge many of the theories that are at the foundation of ancient history as a science.

In this blog article, we will just mention a few of the uncountable archeological sites that still puzzle scientists unexplained.

Read until the end as the last one will leave you with a lot of doubts!

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11 Archaeology Mysteries That Are Still Unexplained

So, here’s our list – of course, we missed a lot of mysterious archeological sites, there are so many. If we missed one of your favorite please let us know in the comments.

1. Gobekli Tepe – Turkey

Photo by VoyageTurkey

6000 years before Stonehenge, there was Göbekli Tepe – The Oldest Temple in the World.

This 12,000 years old prehistoric stone circle, located on a barren hilltop in southeastern Turkey, has challenged archaeologists’ ideas about prehistoric cultures since its discovery in the 1990s.

Göbekli Tepe is the oldest temple in the world, built by Neolithic hunter-gatherers thousands of years before the invention of the wheel.

Photo by Teomancimit CC 2.0

It features enormous round stone structures and monumental stone pillars up to 5.5 meters high and a hidden geometric pattern, including an equilateral triangle that underlies the entire architectural plan.

See more pictures of Göbekli Tepe

This scenario would mean that the Neolithic builders of Göbeklitepe, had a greater knowledge of geometry, a much more complex social structure than previously thought – complex planning techniques were used that were previously considered impossible at the time.

Further researches showed the layout of the complex to be characterized by spatial and symbolic hierarchies reflecting changes in the spiritual world and in the social structure. 

For a different and enjoyable read about early humans, check the best seller

Sapiens, Y.N. Harari

2. Moai – Rapa Nui

moai mysterious discoveries

Everyone is familiar with the Moai, they are certainly among the most iconic ancient monuments in the world.

These monolithic human figures carved by the Rapa Nui people on Easter Island in eastern Polynesia – made between 1250 AD and 1500 AD – are one of the greatest archeological mystery.

There are more than 900 of them, the tallest ones being around 10 meters high and weighting about 85 tons, and the debate on how they could move such huge sculptures is still lit up.

Oral histories recount how various people used divine power to command the statues to walk. The earliest accounts say a king named Tuu Ku Ihu moved them with the help of the god Makemake, while later stories tell of a woman who lived alone on the mountain ordering them about at her will.

Scholars currently support the theory that the main method was that the moai were “walked” upright through an ingenious use of ropes.

To the Rapa Nui people, the Moai were actual repositories of sacred spirit. When properly fashioned and ritually prepared, they were believed to be charged by a magical spiritual essence called mana.

In the 1950’s, Thor Heyerdahl and his team were the first to conduct major excavations on Easter Island, known to the local indigenous people as Rapa Nui.

To their very great surprise, they found that the massive stone heads were attached in most cases to complete bodies.

About the topic:
Mystery Solved, Thor Heyerdahl
The legendary movie Rapa Nui

another great read is
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

If you like TV shows
Expedition Unknown

3. Temple of Amun (Karnak) – Egypt

Karnak Temple in alignment with the Milky Way – photo by Geo

Karnak is the modern-day name for the ancient site of the Temple of Amun at Thebes, Egypt.

The Egyptians called the site Nesut-Towi, “Throne of the Two Lands” or Ipet-Iset, “The Finest of Seats” 

Built gradually over the centuries from the beginning of the Middle Kingdom (2040 – 1782 BCE) throughout the Ptolemaic Dynasty (323 – 30 BCE), the Temple of Amun is the largest religious building in the world and a scientific instrument of very high precision, able to determine the length of the year with the greatest possible accuracy.

According to the original beliefs, Thebes was the
First City, founded on the primordial mound which rose from the waters of chaos at the beginning of the world.

By some accounts, the temple of Karnak may have undeegone no less than four well-defined alignment changes involving stars.

Unlike solar alignments which can generally last for thousands of years intact, stellar alignments are much more critical because of the precession of the equinoxes, and last only a few hundred years.

Norman Lockyer’s measurements showed several Karnak temples had been altered over the centuries to match the precessional changes in their aligned stars.

The Temple of Karnak honors not only Amun but other gods such as Osiris, Montu, Isis, Ptah and the Egyptian rulers who wished to be remembered for their contributions to the site.

The temple was managed by lineages of High Priests, who’s enormous power was so strong to divide the rule of the country between theirs at Thebes in Upper Egypt and that of the pharaoh in the city of Per-Ramesses in Lower Egypt.

This power struggle marked the beginning of the Third Intermediate Period (1069 – 525 BCE). 

The Sacred Enclosure of Amun alone (the main part of the temple) could contain three Notre Dame Cathedrals.

About ancient Egypt
Barry J. KempAncient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilisation

For something “alternative”
Check these books

4. Tassili n’Ajjer Rock Paintings – Algeria

“Dancers” – image by Patrick Gruban CC 2.0

Tassili n’Ajjer, the “Plateau of rivers“, is a national park in the Sahara desert, located on a vast plateau in southeastern Algeria.

This unique ancestral landscape is home to some of the most important groupings of prehistoric cave art in the world.

Although sources vary considerably, the earliest pieces of art are presumed to be 12,000 years old, when the area was still green and bustling with life.

Besides large wild animals like antelopes and crocodiles, cattle herds, and humans hunting and dancing, some of the drawing depict very weird creatures with am extreme degree of detail. Single-eyed giants, flying monsters and so on.

Although many speculate this is proof of alien contact, there might be another explanation.

In 1989, researcher Giorgio Samorini exposed the theory that the many fungoid-like paintings in the caves of Tassili are proof of the relationship between humans and psychedelics in the ancient populations of the Sahara, when it was still a wild green land.

Some rock paintings show persons holding mushroom-like objects in their hands, a masked shaman (or maybe an alien) is covered in mushrooms, growing from his/her body.

So, what do you think? Aliens or ‘Shrooms? Or maybe both?

Illustrated book – The Search for Tassili Frescoes
About mushrooms:
Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World: An Identification Guide

5. The Hopi Mesa – Arizona, USA

Rationalobserver • CC BY-SA 4.0

The sacred alignments of the Hopi People.

The Hopi are a Native American tribe whose cosmology, monuments, and landscape have a deep connection with the constellation of Orion.

For many generations, they built and abandoned villages before settling on an area comprised of three mesas in the northeastern part of Arizona, where they have been for over a thousand years.

The natural structure of the three mesas mirrors the three stars in the belt of Orion, and it is said that this is why the Hopi chose to settle in this location.

They believe this place to be the center of their universe, where they can make contact with the gods.

Furthermore, when connected to other Hopi monuments and landmarks around the southwest, the collective sites are said to map the entire constellation of Orion.

Here are a few Books about Hopi People & Culture

6. Kailasa Temple – India

image by Rajesh Rane CC 4.0

Miraculously carved out of one single rock, the Kailasa Temple is the largest monolithic structure in the world.

Renowned both for its size and impressive ornamentation, it’s not entirely clear who had Kailasa temple built. While there are no written records, scholars generally attribute it to Rachtrakuta King Krishna I, who ruled from about 756 to 773 CE.

According to a story written in the Katha-Kalpataru by Krishna Yajnavalki, when a king was severely ill, his queen prayed to the god Shiva that her husband would be cured.

In return for his health, the queen vowed to build a temple in Shiva’s name and fast until the shikhara, or peak, of the temple was completed.

The king quickly got better and construction began on the temple, but to the couple’s horror, they realized it would take years for the shikhara to emerge.

Luckily, a clever engineer came along and explained that by starting from the top of the mountain, he could make the temple’s shikhara appear within a week.

This was much to the relief of the queen, who could quickly finish her fast and thus, the temple was constructed from the top down.

The temple though, was certainly not completed quickly, the estimates are of 4000 tonnes of rock to be scooped out to carve it. This would have taken thousands of artisans, employed day and night, for at least 18 years

There’s another mysterious legend about the power of this temple:

Emperor Aurangzeb wanted to eradicate the very existence of this structure and so, had assigned this work to over 1000 men.

They worked day and night for over three years but could not bring this temple down, except for disfiguring some figurines.

These oddities and other mysteries surrounding it, have made Kailasa Temple one of the favourite sites in India for Ancient Aliens theorists.

About it’s hidden meanings, check
The Kailas at Ellora, (R. Vogler)

About ancient aliens in India – Chariots Of The Gods, (Erich Von Daniken)

7. The Stupa of Takht-e Rostam – Afghanistan

Image by TedChang

The Stupa of Takht-e Rostam in Samangan Province is Afghanistan’s most impressive pre-Islamic site after the Bamiyan Buddhas were destroyed by the Talibans in 2001.

Unlike other stupas, Takht-e Rostam has not been mounted above ground, but it has been carved into the ground, in a style that resembles the monolithic churches of Ethiopia.

At the top of the stupa is a stone-carved Harmika building, which once held relics of the Buddha. The trench surrounding the stupa is around eight meters deep.

A path leads down to the bottom of the trench, where Buddhist monks once clockwise circumnavigated the stupa.

Carved inside the outer walls of the trench is a Buddhist monastery with five individual caves and several monastic cells for meditation.

See more pics of Takht-e Rostam

The Afghan name Takht-e Rostam (Throne of Rostam) refers to a legendary figure in Persian culture.

After the Islamization of Afghanistan, when the knowledge of the original purpose of the stupa became lost, the site became known as the place where Rostam supposedly married his bride Tahmina.

Some ancient astronaut theorists suggest that it can have connection to mysterious flying ships or ‘Vimanas’ that visited Earth 6000 years ago according to ancient Vedic texts.

For Buddhism in Afghanistan buy this
About flying machines in the Veda check
Chariots Of The Gods, (Erich Von Daniken)

8. Sumela Monastery – Turkey

Nestled in a steep cliff at an altitude of about 1,200 m – on the edge of a 300 meters drop – is the mysterious and surreal Sumela Monastery.

The Sumela monastery is at least 1600 years old but there are no exact records about when it was built or by who.

The legend says it was founded in 386 A.D by two Greek Orthodox monks from Athens. St Barnabas and his nephew St. Sophronios, saw an image of the virgin in a cave (now the Rock Church) and decided to build the monastery on that spot. However, many historians maintain that it was in existence long before this. 

The principal elements of the Monastery complex are the Rock Church, several chapels, kitchens, student rooms, a guesthouse, a library, and a sacred spring revered by Eastern Orthodox Christians.

The large aqueduct at the entrance, which supplied water to the Monastery, is constructed against the side of the cliff.

The Rock Church at Sumela is a very strange building.  It appears to be wedged into the corner of the mountain, while the apse is made of brickwork. 

What makes this church so unique is that it’s completely covered in frescoes, both the interior, as well as the exterior. 

In 2017, a chapel which is only accessible through a hidden passage was discovered during restoration work at the monastery.

Vibrant murals cover the walls and depict scenes of heaven and hell and life and death.

This secret chapel is believed to be the oldest part of the monastery, built at a time when Christianity was not as popular in the region.

About Early Christianity
A New History of Early Christianity – C. Freeman
The Church of the East: An Illustrated History of Assyrian Christianity – C. Baumer

9. Ekambareswarar Temple: Kanchipuram and the Shiva Temples of The 5 Elements (Tamil Nadu, India)

image by Adam63 CC 2.0

T[his] five colossal Bhoota temples, though impressive, do not easily reveal their omnipotence as portals to other realms except to those who fully commit to the dharma

Yogini Ashram dot com

The Pancha Bhoota Stalam is a complex of five temples dedicated to Shiva, each representing a manifestation of the five prime elements of nature: earth, water, fire, air, and space.

All of these temples are geographically placed almost on a straight line.

Three of them – Chidambaram Nataraja, Ekambareswarar, and Srikalahasti – lay exactly at 79 degrees / 49 minutes East in Longitude, while the remaining two are only a few degrees out of this alignment – which is an incredible achievement for the time when these temples were built.

Ekambareswarar is one of the five major Shiva temples or Pancha Bhoota Stalam, representing the element Earth.

According to a legend, Parvati worshipped Shiva in the form of a Prithivi Lingam (or a Lingam improvised out of sand), under a mango tree.

The neighboring Vegavati river overflowed and threatened to engulf the Shiva Lingam and so Parvati embraced the Lingam to protect it.

Shiva touched by the gesture materialized in person and married her. In this context he is referred to as Tazhuva Kuzhainthaar (“He who melted in Her embrace”) in Tamil.

This vast temple finds mention in the classical Tamil Sangam literature dated 300 BCE. It is one of the most ancient in India having been in existence since at least 600 AD.

See more pictures of the Ekambareswarar Temple

Check books by P.N.Oak (if you can get them)

10. Rani ki Vav

Rani ki Vav archaeology mystery
image @Bhajish Bharathan CC 4.0

Rani ki Vav or Ranki vav (lit. ‘Queen’s stepwell‘) is a stepwell situated in the town of Patan in Gujarat state of India. It is located on the banks of Saraswati river.

Its construction is attributed to Udayamati, daughter of Khengara of Saurashtra, queen of the 11th-century Chaulukya dynasty and spouse of Bhima I.

Silted over, it was rediscovered in 1940s and restored in 1980s by the Archaeological Survey of India. It has been listed as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites since 2014.

Every monument has a mystery behind it and so does Rani ki Vav, beneath the last step of the well, there is a gate that leads to a 30km tunnel that opens to Sidhpur, a town close to Patan.

11. The Cuban Atlantis

In 2001 Pauline Zalitzki, a marine engineer, and her husband Paul Weinzweig, were working with Fidel Castro’s government to explore Cuban waters, which hold hundreds of treasure-laden ships from the Spanish colonial era.

The team was using advanced sonar equipment to scan a 2 square kilometre area of the sea floor off the tip of the Guanahacabibes Peninsula in the Pinar del Río Province.

Here they noticed a series of symmetrical and geometric stone structures resembling an urban complex about 600-750 m (2000-2500 feet), much deeper than any known underwater ruin.

The team returned to the site a second time with an underwater remotely operated vehicle that filmed sonar images interpreted as various pyramids

The discovery immediately sparked speculation about Atlantis, the fabled lost city first described by Plato in 360 B.C.

Some of the claims repeated on the web included the identification of a sphinx, a structure resembling Stonehenge, and a monument identical to the “Face on Mars”.

Cuban marine geologist Manuel Iturralde called for more samples before drawing conclusions about the site, saying the results so far were very unusual.

He estimated that it would have taken 50,000 years for such structures to have sunken to the depth at which they were said to be found and stated that none of the known cultures living that long ago had the ability to build such structures.

We are talking about the Pleistocene Ice Age.

A specialist in underwater archaeology at Florida State University added: “It would be cool if they were right, but it would be real advanced for anything we would see in the New World for that time frame. The structures are out of time and out of place.”

A new expedition was planned for 2005 but never happened. Zalitzki and Weinzweig and every one else involved apparently gave up on such an interesting expedition.

Even if this is not Atlantis or any man-made structure it is then a very unique geological feature worth a closer look, don’t you think?

See our Facebook post about this topic

Some good books about Atlantis are:

Atlantis Illustrated – H.R. Stahel

Magicians of the Gods: The Forgotten Wisdom of Earth’s Lost Civilisation – the Sequel to Fingerprints of the Gods by Graham Hancock

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