Throughout the course of history, scientists have been able to debunk some of the most widely held beliefs and solve several seemingly impossible mysteries. Still, 21st century technology cannot provide an explanation for everything. Here are seven amazing ancient achievements from around the world that leave paleontologists and archaeologists scratching their heads.
1. Stone Spheres, Costa Rica
Over three hundred spheres have been found in the Diquis Delta of Costa Rica. They are known locally as Las Bolas, and are made from a hard, igneous stone known as granodiorite. Nobody knows for certain what they were used for, but due to the sheer number and variety of sizes (some weigh as much as 16 tons!) of the spheres, scientists can’t help but study them.
2. Tiwanaku and Pumu Punka, Bolivia
Puma Punka is part of a larger monument group known as Tiwanaku, located in western Bolivia. This Pre-Columbian site is an example of monumental engineering – the stone blocks used to create the structures weigh several tons each. Yet, they bear no chisel marks, so how they were shaped remains a mystery. The buildings are also built in such as way that they are capable of withstanding earthquakes.
3. Antikythera Mechanism, Antikythera
The Antikythera Mechanism is essentially an ancient analog computer, dated between 150 to 100 BC. It was recovered from a shipwreck, off of the Mediterranean island of Antikythera, and was designed to predict astronomical positions. In fact, it allowed astronomers to predict the movements of the Sun and Moon, as well as irregularities in the Moon’s motion from as early as the 2nd century B.C.
4. Nazca Lines, Peru
In the Nazca Desert of Peru, huge geoglyphs decorate the sand, varying in size and complexity. There are hundreds of figures, ranging from spiders to hummingbirds – yet no one knows for certain why they exist or who is responsible for these drawings. Today, the site exists as a UNCESCO World Heritage Site.
Yet again in Peru, there exists another archaeological marvel: Saksaywaman. This walled complex is located on the northern outskirts of Cusco and is made entirely out of dry stone. The walls were built using boulders that were fitted together without mortar, but scientists are more interested in how the stones were transported and processed. In fact, they fit together so well that even a blade of grass cannot slide through.
6. Stonehenge, England
Located on Salisbury Plan in Southern England, Stonehenge is one of the most famous sites around the world today. It is comprised of about 30 upright stones (megaliths) aligned in a circle that hold up another 30 horizontal stones. The positioning of the megaliths is of particular interest because they are angled in such a way that during equinoxes and solstices, the sun falls perfectly in between its gaps.
7. Great Pyramind of Giza, Egypt
You didn’t think we would leave this out, did you? The Great Pyramid of Giza is located in the Giza Necropolis and is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. For over 3,800 years, it was the tallest man-made structure in existence and scientists have debated back and forth about how it was constructed.