From 15 ton stone spheres in Costa Rica, to the oldest religious structure in the world, these are 10 MYSTERIOUS Prehistoric Discoveries !
Skara Brae (Skarra Bray)– This neolithic town located in Scotland was inhabited over 5,000 years ago on the largest island of the Orkney archipelago. It was a cluster of eight houses, and was discovered in 1850, when a damaging storm hit Scotland and uncovered a knoll, which revealed the outline of the village. It’s thought that around around 2500 BC, the inhabitants abandoned the town … and appear to have been in a hurry. Evidence of prized possessions such as jewelry seem to have been left behind at the location. While some theories speculate that the inhabitants were suddenly forced out due to a catastrophic storm, some experts say that there’s no evidence of such a scenario … and the reasons for the town’s being vacated may never be known. Due to its sudden abandonment and its excellent preserved condition, Skara Brae is often called the “Scottish Pompeii”.
It’s worth noting that another discovery in Scotland was made just a few miles away from Skara Brae, on Orkney. Earlier in 2016, a strange structure was found under a Neolithic trash dump, also known as a midden. The structures turned out to be Stone Age slabs … thought to date back around 5,400 years! Some of the slabs measure over 4 meters long, and were unearthed during an excavation at the Ness of Brodgar, in Orkney. The massive stones, also called ‘orthostats’ may have formed part of the walls of a building that measured 10 meters (33 feet) wide and could be more than 5,000 years old.
Ggantija (gan-tih-jah) — This complex of two megalithic temples is found on Gozo, a Maltese island. The two temples are dated at more than 5500 years old … after Gobekli Tepe (GO-beck-lee Tepay), it’s the second oldest manmade religious structure in the world. And it was made a time in which the wheel and metal tools would not have been available to island natives. Small spherical stones found there are thought to have been used as ball bearings … and that might have been a way the enormous stone building blocks were transported to the site. Because statuettes and figurines associated with fertility rites have been discovered there, experts think the temples may have been the location of a fertility cult … but the exact function is still unknown. Did you know these temples are older than the pyramids of Egypt?
Gobekli Tepe (GO-beck-lee Tepay) — Overall, this is considered the oldest religious structure yet discovered — anywhere. Located on a mountain ridge in Turkey, radiocarbon testing indicates the structures date to around the 10th to 8th millennium BCE … predating pottery, metallurgy and the invention of the wheel. More than 200 huge, T-shaped stone pillars were found arranged in approximately 20 circles there. Each pillar weighs up to 20 tons and measures up to 6 meters (20 ft) high. They are fitted into sockets carved out of the bedrock. Some of the structures bear pictograms, and reliefs of animals including lions, bulls and snakes. Archaeologists estimate that 500 workers would have been required to move those pillars from local quarries to the site itself … a distance up to 500 meters (1,640 feet). So how did they manage to cut stone into such precise shapes and then transport them? That, along with the exact purpose of this site, remains a mystery. Did you know that in 2015, some pictograms found there are thought to be around 12,000 years old — and could be the oldest evidence of written language ever discovered!
Stonehenge — Of course we must include this legendary stone circle on our list. It was thought to have been constructed in phases, from 1500 to 3000 BC.It’s still unclear, exactly what purpose this location served, but there are plenty of theories … including that it served as a burial ground, at least in the beginning. Some 50,000 cremated bones of 63 individuals, including adults and children have been excavated from one of 56 holes arranged in a circle there. Those unearthed remains may tie into a theory that the monuments might have served as a place of healing. That aligns with a belief that the stones contain curative properties, and might help account for the high number of burials there. Stonehenge is well-known for having a connection to druids, and thousands of people flock there annually to observe the winter solstice … although many experts say the astronomical associations are still open to debate. As is the method by which those stones were transported to the site by prehistoric people without the wheel. Stonehenge still has many mysteries … think they’ll ever be solved?
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