Many people are fascinated by the idea of buried treasure, ancient Egyptian secrets, lost cities, or other unexplained phenomena throughout our world’s history. Since the time of the ancient Egyptians thousands of years ago, there have been many secrets that we today are just beginning to learn about, or that we still don’t have answers for. The secrets of the Great Pyramids, famous shipwrecks, the lost city of Babylon, hidden treasures of the Incas, lost jewels, the secrets of the Vatican, and many more mysteries of our history continue to fascinate people from around the world. Here is a list of some of the greatest hidden secrets of the ancient world, as well as some tales of lost treasure, shipwrecks, and hidden riches from more recent times.
The Construction of The Great Pyramids of Egypt
The Great Pyramids of Egypt: One of the most, if not the most, fascinating mysteries of all-time is how and when the Great Pyramids of Egypt were constructed so many years ago. There are several mysteries surrounding these huge structures such as their purpose, how they were built and when they were constructed? Recently, scientists have found some answers to some of these questions, although many of these answers are still being debated. Most experts claim that the Great Pyramids were built somewhere around 3200 BC, while some still debate that they are as much as 10,000 years old. Similarly, most experts estimate the number of stones used to construct the largest of all the pyramids, the Great Pyramid of Giza, to be about 2.3 million while others believe this figure to be too small. Maybe the greatest secret surrounding the construction of the Great Pyramids is how the people actually moved the estimated 2-9 ton stones across miles of desert and then actually put them in place with such extreme precision. Scientists have different theories about how the ancient Egyptians accomplished this amazing feat, but we may never know for sure how they accomplished one of the greatest construction projects ever without using any of the modern tools we have today.
Secret Treasure Revealed in the Dead Sea Scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls: The Dead Sea Scrolls consists of approximately 900 documents that were discovered between 1947 and 1956 near the ruins of the ancient settlement of Khirbet Qumran in the West Bank. These biblical documents are the only ones ever found which were made before 100 AD. One of the most fascinating documents is the Copper Scroll, which like its name implies, was written in Hebrew on a thin copper sheet. The Copper Scroll is basically a list of locations where gold and silver is hidden or buried. The scroll describes treasure that is estimated to be worth at least $1 billion. There are many theories surrounding the interpretation of the Copper Scroll and who this treasure belonged to, as well as if the treasure is still hidden somewhere or if it was recovered sometime over the last 2,000 years. The locations of the hidden treasure cannot be interpreted on the Copper Scroll, but there is a mention of Mt. Garizim. Many people believe that this may be the location of the $1 billion worth of gold and silver that has been hidden away for centuries.
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon: The mystery surrounding The Hanging Gardens of Babylon is whether or not this ancient city ever even existed. Some people believe that this magnificent city, near modern-day Baghdad, existed around 600 BC, and it featured magnificent gardens and huge buildings constructed of bricks made of mud. In ancient writings by Berossus, who lived in the late 4th Century BC, The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were first described, and these writings were later elaborated on by other historians throughout history. Recent archaeological digs near the banks of the Euphrates River have turned-up walls that are about 75 feet thick, and many experts believe that this evidence proves that Babylon was real and not a myth. The mystery behind this lost city is one that has remained for thousands of years. Even so, it is still considered one of the 7 ancient wonders of the world.
The Lost City of Stone in Petra
The Lost City of Stone in Petra: The ancient city of Petra was once a strong kingdom of about 20,000 people which flourished as an important center of trade soon after it was settled in the 4th Century BC. The people who lived here were called Nabataeans, a group of Arabian nomads. They eventually settled in Petra, Jordan and created the city entirely of stone. Most of the city was carved into massive rock formations. The city consisted of a theater, temples, altars, banquet halls, and almost 3,000 elaborate rock-cut tombs. It’s still a mystery as to why the city of Petra was abandoned, but most experts believe that it was because of a massive earthquake in 363 AD which ruined half of the complex. Still, much of the city stands today, and the Lost City of Stone is a major tourist attraction; it’s even considered as one of the new 7 wonders of the world. The Lost City of Petra may look familiar to you because it was a backdrop for the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Afghanistan’s Hidden Treasures
Afghanistan’s Hidden Treasures: Back in 1979, Soviet archaeologists digging in Afghanistan stumbled upon more than 20,000 gold coins and artifacts from over 2,000 years ago. Experts believe that they belonged to the Silk Road culture of Bactria, an important culture in Afghan history. The ancient treasure was hidden away in a secret chamber, inside of locked boxes, during the next 20 years for safe-keeping. Nobody knew about the treasure, and many thought that it was actually stolen during conflicts in Afghanistan during that time period. Finally, these secret locked boxes were cut open, and the treasure was again revealed in 2004. Keeping this treasure a secret was very important because the Taliban had looted and stolen 80% of Afghanistan’s treasure in 1996, but they never knew of the Bactria treasure that was hidden away in 6 large locked boxes. This treasure is now being stored in Kabul, Afghanistan.
The Lost City of Atlantis
The Lost City of Atlantis: Maybe the greatest mystery of all-time is the story of the Lost City of Atlantis. Some believe that a small island, destroyed by a massive volcanic eruption over 3,000 years ago, is what consumed the utopian city of Atlantis. This island is located adjacent to the Greek island of Santorini. Other experts believe that Atlantis is located near the Straits of Gibraltar, while others think that Atlantis is located near the Azores Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The whole idea of Atlantis was first written about by the Greek philosopher Plato, and has since become a story that has fascinated people for thousands of years. The story of the Lost City of Atlantis has been the topic of many books and movies, and its legend will continue to fuel future archaeological expeditions in search of this great city.
The Ancient Baghdad Battery
The Ancient Baghdad Battery: Could it be true that 2,000 years ago people had already invented the battery? Some historians believe this to be true after an artifact was discovered near Baghdad in 1936 which can actually produce voltage when an acidic agent was added to it (lemon juice, grape juice, vinegar). Some people believe that these batteries were used to electroplate items with thin layers of gold, while others believe that these artifacts are just a coincidence and not meant to actually produce any kind of electrical charge. The one thing that we do know for sure is that when this clay jar is filled with vinegar (or another acidic solution), it produces about 1.1 volts of electricity. Whether or not people discovered electricity 2,000 years ago, we may never know for sure, but it’s still fascinating to think that it could be true.
The Hidden Treasures and Lost Cities of the Incas
The Hidden Treasures and Lost Cities of the Incas: There is a lot of mystery surrounding the possible locations of endless amounts of gold and other riches somewhere in the Andes Mountains in South America. Much of this treasure is rumoured to be hidden in one of the lost cities of the Incas including Machu Picchu, Vilcabamba, Vitcos, Choquequirao and Paititi. There are stories of treasure being hidden at the city of Paititi, in particular, although this lost city has never been found and some believe it’s really nothing more than a mythical place. The Incas often constructed huge statues of solid gold, and they often used precious gem stones when creating statues and other structures. As the Spanish conquistadors made their way to South America, they began stealing much of the Incan treasure. Experts still believe that the Incas hid much of their gold and jewels so that the Spanish could not find it. This treasure may still be hidden-away somewhere in the Andes Mountains, or the Amazon Jungle, just waiting to found.
The Merchant Royal Shipwreck
The Merchant Royal Shipwreck: The most valuable shipwreck of all-time was the Merchant Royal shipwreck of 1641, which sank about 40 miles off the coast of Cornwall. The ship was carrying at least 100,000 pounds of gold (about $1 billion), 400 bars of Mexican silver (about $1 million), and about 500,000 coins when it began taking on water and eventually sank due to rough weather. It is believed that this shipwreck was recently discovered by Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. of Tampa, Florida when they announced in 2007 that they had discovered about 500,000 (about $500 million) worth of gold and silver coins in a shipwreck in the Atlantic Ocean. For security purposes, they have withheld the location and the name of the ship, but most people believe it to be the Merchant Royal. If it is the Merchant Royal, there is still more treasure to be found, as only the lost coins have been recovered; the lost gold and silver bars are still somewhere at sea.
The Holy Grail in Iceland?
The Holy Grail in Iceland?: A group of Scientists in Iceland have recently stumbled upon evidence which they believe will lead them to the legendary Holy Grail (the cup that Jesus Christ drank from at the Last Supper). They believe that it may be located in the rural district Hrunamannahreppur in southwest Iceland. They have found a strong correlation between Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting of the Last Supper and with the aerial map of Iceland (see photo). According to these scientists, the Holy Grail is located in a 5-meter high secret underground dome near kjolur mountain pass. Whether the Holy Grail is an ancient myth, or one of the greatest lost artifacts of all-time, we may never know for sure.
Nazi Treasure Hidden Underground in the Bavarian Alps
Nazi Treasure: There are countless stories of Nazi treasure that is hidden inside secret tunnels in the Bavarian Alps in Austria; some are true, some aren’t. The Nazi army led by Adolph Hitler, during World War II, did hide an obscene amount of gold, jewels, priceless artwork, and other artifacts that had been plundered from around Europe in order to keep these riches from being seized by allied armies. American forces did find one of these Nazi hiding places at the Merkers salt mine in 1945. A partial list of valuables that the Nazi’s stored here are:
- 8,198 bars of gold bullion
- 55 boxes of crated gold bullion
- 1,300 bags of gold Reichsmarks
- 711 bags of American twenty-dollar gold pieces
- 2.76 billion Reichsmarks
- 20 silver bars – 40 other bags containing silver bars
- 63 boxes and 55 bags of silver plate
- 1 bag containing 6 platinum bars
This was the largest stash of hidden Nazi treasure ever found, and experts believe there is a lot more of it still hidden underground. Gold bars are still found at various places around the Bavarian Alps still today.
Ancient Burial Ground Unearthed at the Vatican
Ancient Burial Ground Unearthed at the Vatican: For hundreds or even thousands of years, nobody knew that the Vatican was sitting on an ancient burial ground that dates back to 23 BC, until workers began construction on an underground parking lot. The necropolis is said to be in excellent shape, considering it’s approximately 2,000 years old. Archaeologists found a host of artifacts at the burial site including altars, urns, ceramic dishes, oil lamps, and mosaic tiling. The Vatican necropolis consists of about 40 mausoleums and 200 individual graves, and it’s considered to be one of the most important burial grounds of its kind.
Blackbeard’s Buried Silver in Pennsylvania
Blackbeard’s Buried Silver in Pennsylvania: In more recent times, there have been stories of the famous buccaneer, Captain Blackbeard, burying approximately $1.5 million worth of silver in the mountains outside McKean County, PA near present-day Route 155. The silver was supposed to be sent to London, but the famous pirate thought it would be too risky to to set-sail where his ship was docked in Maryland because people had found out about the treasure onboard. He decided to carry the silver by wagon to Canada, where he would have a safer departure en route to London. As the War of 1812 broke-out, Blackbeard feared the Americans would steal his silver so he buried it in the mountains, and he never returned for it. Blackbeard’s silver is still hidden in those mountains in Pennsylvania.
Stonehenge: There is so much mystery surrounding the famous Stonehenge prehistoric monument located in Wiltshire, England. These huge stones were erected around 2200 BC, and the entire project actually took hundreds of years, and millions of man-hours, to finish. Nobody knows for sure how the builders of Stonehenge actually erected the giant bluestone rocks which weighed several tons each, not to mention how the bluestones were actually hauled from Wales.
Another mystery surrounding Stonehenge is what it was actually used for. Some experts believe that Stonehenge was built as some sort-of an observatory, or a way for people of that time to keep track of the months, years, or track the constellations. Others believe that Stonehenge was some sort of religious monument, possibly even an altar, because ancient bodies have been discovered at the site which give solid evidence to support this theory.
The Lost Army of Cambyses
The Lost Army of Cambyses: One of the greatest lost armies in history is the lost army of Cambyses. Cambyses was a ruler in Persia sometime around 500 BC who sent an army of 50,000 men to the Siwa Oasis in Egypt on a mission to threaten the oracle of Amun. Halfway across the vast desert, a massive sandstorm wiped-out the entire army. These soldiers were never seen again, and they remain buried somewhere in the desert near the Iraq / Jordan border. Recent petroleum excavations in that area may have turned-up some of the remains of these soldiers, although this can’t be proven as of yet.