Many collectors, history enthusiasts, and metal detectorists dream of finding legendary antiques or artifacts that tell the stories of history. Out-of-place artifacts is a term for artifacts of historical, archaeological, or paleontological interest found in an unusual context, that challenges conventional historical chronology by being “too advanced” for the level of civilization that existed at the time, or showing “human presence” before humans were known to exist. Other examples suggest contact between different cultures that are hard to account for with conventional historical understanding. This list of 13 out-of-place artifacts may leave you with the creepy feeling that time travel, aliens, or some sort of other supernatural force may exist.
1. Maine Penny
Dating to the reign of Olaf Kyrre King of Norway (1067–1093 AD), also referred to as the Goddard coin, the maine penny is a Norwegian silver coin. It was discovered in Maine in 1957, and it has been suggested as evidence of Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact. The 11th-century Norwegian coin found in a Native American shell in Maine, United States could be evidence of direct contact between Vikings and Native Americans in Maine. Mainstream belief is that it was brought to Maine from Labrador or Newfoundland via an extensive northern native trade network. Over 20,000 objects were found over a 15-year period at the Goddard Site in Brooklin, Maine. The sole non-Native artifact was the coin.
2. Antikythera Mechanism
Used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendar and astrological purposes decades in advance, the Antikythera Mechanism is an ancient Greek analogue computer and orrery .
Discovered in 1901, this early precursor to the computer has long been held as clear evidence for a once-technologically advanced civilization on earth – probably one that was wiped out in some kind of catastrophe. The Antikythera Mechanism, not surprisingly, has long been used in arguments for Atlantis or the presence of extraterrestrials on earth.
3. The Dendera Light
On the walls of a crypt beneath the Temple of Hathor in Dendera, Egypt, there’s a mural that some claim offers definitive proof that the ancient Egyptians had access to some rather impressive technology. The Dendera Light appears to show several people holding over-sized light bulbs, with a bright spotlight emanating from them. The crypt, one of five similar rooms only accessible through a secret opening, is thought to have once been a storehouse for the temple’s most prized possessions, which most of are now long gone.
Proponents of the idea that the ancient gods were actually aliens that bestowed some of their technologies upon the human race point to the out-of-place artifact as proof that they had access to some sort of electrical and lighting technologies, which were probably once housed in the crypts beneath the temples.
4. The Baigong Pipes
Discovered in 1996 by a man named Bai Yuhe, the Baigong Pipes were named for their location: Mount Baigong, a mountain with what’s said to be a pyramid on top. There is a series of caves within Mount Baigong, some of which have collapsed and are impassable, and others that can be explored. Inside the caves there is what appears to be a wild system of pipes. They range from almost too tiny to see to 16 inches in diameter, and those who see the out-of-place artifacts state that they were clearly put there for a reason. The pipes, which appear to be made from metal, run deep into the rock and connect the cave system to a nearby lake.
Various scientists have examined the Baigong Pipes; they’re 92% common minerals and the remaining eight per cent of their makeup is unknown. Thermoluminescence testing can tell how long it’s been since a substance has been subjected to light or heat, and in the case of samples from the pipes, it’s been between 140,000 and 150,000 years. Based on their age, it’s been put forward that the Baigong Pipes were installed by some race of ancient aliens as a sort of plumbing system. The theory gained so much momentum that a radar dish was installed on top of the mountain, just in case they were ever coming back.
5. The London Hammer
In 1947, Max and Emma Hahn’s son chipped away at the rock in their backyard in Texas and broke it open to reveal the head of an iron hammer. The head was about six inches long, largely free of rust and confirmed to have been made from iron.
The London Hammer has long been one of the star exhibits of the Creation Evidence Museum. According to Creationists, the hammer is a pre-Flood discovery – it was, the Hahns stated, found in rocks that have since been dated as being between 400 and 500-million-years-old. But since the out-of-place artifact clearly isn’t 400 to 500 million years old, that means the dates for the rock formation it was buried in must be wrong.
6. The Coso
On February 13, 1961 a group of three freinds were fossicking for geodes near the town of Olancha, California. They ran across the now labeled Coso Artifact which is a spark plug which when found was encased in a lump of hard clay or rock.
Virginia Maxey, one of the people who discovered it, speculated at different times that this artifact was either 100 or 500,000 years old as noted by Stromberg and Heinrich (2000, 2004). Mrs. Maxey failed to provide either any specific information or verifiable citation about either the dating technique or evidence used in calculating either date. The origin of the artifact has been the cause of much speculation. Pseudoscientific suggestions include: An ancient advanced civilization (such as Atlantis), Prehistoric extraterrestrial visitors to Earth, Human time-travellers from the future leaving or losing the artifact during a visit to the past.
7. Ica Stones
Physician-turned-archaeologist Dr. Javier Cabrera opened the Museo de Piedras Grabadas in 1966 to display literally thousands of stones that he found in a cave near Ica, Peru. The Ica Stones were engraved with a variety of scenes that seemed to go against every single thing that has been scientifically accepted about our history. According to Cabrera, the stones were engraved by an ancient South American civilization and left in the cave as a sort of history book. Scenes carved into the Ica Stones depict the use of telescopes, doctors performing advanced surgeries, and others using technologies like flying machines. Other stones show humans using what appears to be dinosaurs, and other stones even show them fighting the dinosaurs.
Some think that the stones are proof of an ancient alien civilization, which left the out-of-place artifacts behind when they suddenly had to leave the planet. Another group argues that the Ica Stones – and their depictions of men alongside fantastic beasts – are proof that the myths and legends of the world are more than just folklore. If this South American society has records of men fighting fearsome flying thunderbirds, there must be something to the idea that the stories passed down through the generations are history rather than mythology.
8. The Lake Winnipesaukee Mystery Stone
Workers were digging holes for fence posts in the area of Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire in 1872. In one hole, they found a fist-sized, egg-shaped rock with a series of carvings that appeared to depict common Native American images: a teepee, an ear of corn, a face, curiously, two holes had been drilled into the object.
This out-of-place-artifact could be of Celtic or other European origin, and actually a thunderstone. Thunderstones were thought to be stones given to people by the gods, and they were put in homes to ward off evil. Getting their power from storms, they were thought to be especially powerful against demons.
Area historians have suggested that the Lake Winnipesaukee Mystery Stone might have been made to symbolize an event of monumental importance in Native American culture. What’s still unclear is how the holes in it were made – they’re completely smooth, as if created by a power tool.
9. The Iron Pillar of Delhi, India
An iron pillar, weighing 6.5 tons and standing almost 24 ft tall, stands in Delhi, India. Inscribed with text and intricate scroll-work, it has continued to baffle historians. The inscription reads that it was erected in honor of Vishnu during the reign of Gupta King and was originally erected sometime between 375 and 413. One of the biggest oddities is that the pillar hasn’t rusted.
Weirdly, the out-of-place artifact isn’t the only strange iron pillar out there. Another massive, rust-free pillar, known as the Iron Man in the Kotternforst, stands in Germany. Made from pig iron, the strangely lonely pillar stands where it has for centuries – and remains rust-free.
10. Aluminium wedge of Aiud
In 1974, the Aluminum Wedge of Aiud, also known as the Object of Aiud, is a wedge-shaped slab of aluminum found 2 kilometers East of Aiud, Romania, on the banks of the Mures river. For three reasons some claim the wedge is proof that aliens came to visit Earth in the past. An unnamed aeronautical engineer said it resembled the foot of landing gear not unlike the current space vehicles at the time (1974), only smaller.
It was originally found in the same layer as mastodon bones, dating the artifact to around 11,000 years old. The third reason people believed that this was from an alien ship was because aluminum was not even discovered until 1808 and could not be produced in mass until 1885.
11. Baghdad Battery
In 1936, the Baghdad Battery was discovered in the village of Khuyut Rabbou’a (near Baghdad, Iraq). In 1940, Wilhelm König, the German director of the National Museum of Iraq published a paper speculating that they may have been galvanic cells, perhaps used for electroplating gold onto silver.
The Baghdad batteries consist of about 5 inch tall terracotta jars containing a copper cylinder made of a rolled-up copper sheet, which houses a single iron rod. At the top, the iron rod is isolated from the copper by asphalt plugs or stoppers, and both rod and cylinder fit snugly inside the opening of the jar which bulges outward towards the middle (reverse hourglass shape).
On the popular television show, MythBusters, the Baghdad battery myth was put to the test. Ten hand-made terracotta jars were fitted to act as batteries. Lemon juice was chosen as the electrolyte to activate the electrochemical reaction between the copper and iron. When all of the batteries were linked together in series, they produced upwards of 4 volts. Then, the major question was, “What were these ancient batteries used for?”
12. Piri Reis map
A map created by Turkish admiral and cartographer Piri Reis in 1513, but sourced from various earlier maps, is thought by some to depict Antarctica as it was in a very remote age before it was covered with ice.
A landmass is shown to jut out from the southern coastline of South America. Captain Lorenzo W. Burroughs, a U.S. Air Force captain in the cartographic section, wrote a letter to Dr. Charles Hapgood in 1961 saying that this landmass seems to accurately show Antarctica’s coast as it is under the ice.
13. Eltanin Antenna
While photographing the deep seabed west of Cape Horn, the Antarctic oceanographic research ship USNS Eltanin stumbled across a bizarre looking antenna. Resembling some sort of man-made aerial, the object of unknown origin appeared to be anchored to the seabed in around 13,000 feet of water.
Conspiracy theorists, including retired New Zealand airline pilot Bruce Cathie and UFO proponent, suggested the Eltanin Antenna could be an extraterrestrial artifact. Treehugger writes that “The shape of the object and the angle of its spokes, [Cathie] said, fit precisely into a formula he believed extraterrestrials used to control humanity.” The website also quoted Cathie as saying:
“The nodal points of the two grids, when joined by series of small and great circles formed what I have loosely termed polar squares around the north and south geographic poles. It was when I carried out a geometric and mathematical analysis of these sections that I found a direct connection with light, gravity and mass equivalents in a harmonic sense.”
Could alien life, supernatural powers, or even a lost city of Atlantis be behind these unsettling phenomena? What else is out there that we don’t know about?