For me, the most terrifying thing someone could dig up would be my past. I think that everyone should just forget everything embarrassing that happened before the age of 16. It only seems fair. A very close second would be unexpectedly unearthing human remains.
As a general rule, I try to stay away from burial sites or any place that has dead bodies on the premise. While I cower in fear of death, many people make a living by digging up the past to help us learn about the world. While most of their sites are probably pretty textbook, sometimes they stumble upon very strange and surprising findings. Here are five gruesome, creepy, or surprising things that have been unearthed.
1. Impaled Skulls
This site in Motala, Sweden was discovered accidentally by a railway construction team in 2011. The macabre scene they found gave a rare glimpse at a Mesolithic site for the ceremonial display of human remains.
Within the small, somewhat dried lakebed, researchers found human skulls from between seven to eight thousand years ago. They found that the crania belonged to men, women, and children of all ages, with stakes driven through each one. In one instance, the temporal bone of one of the women was even found lodged inside the skull of another woman. Pretty dark stuff.
2. Babies’ Bones
When Ross Voss was excavating a Roman bathhouse in Ashkelon, Israel, he wasn't expecting to find a mass grave containing the remains of over 100 infants. Despite the amount of research on the matter, this gruesome scene is still shrouded in mystery.
Studies done on their bones by forensic anthropologist Patrician Smith found that none of the infants died of illness, but although each appear to be in perfect health they each died before they were a week old. While infanticide by exposure (abandoning a new born to be saved or die) was common at the time, these remains show no sign of exposure, but were still killed deliberately. One theory is that prostitutes and bathhouse workers would kill their babies and their bodies left in the sewer. This is still just speculation, but no matter the explanation mass infant graves are always tragic.
3. Terracotta Army
The Terracotta warriors aren't necessarily scary or morbid, unless you're afraid of a Weeping Angels type situation, but I still feel like staring down over 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses would be pretty creepy.
These statues were buried as funerary art for the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, in 209 BCE with the aim of protecting the Emperor in the afterlife.
4. Headless Viking Execution Pit
More unsuspecting railway workers were in for a scary surprise while digging for new tracks in Southern England. The workers found a mass grave filled with the bones of 51 young men.
The carbon-dating results released in 2009 showed that the remains are from between 890 and 1034, and that those killed were likely Viking captives. One more interesting thing about the pile was that the skulls were each separated from their bodies and piled neatly to the side, perhaps as a display of victory by the Anglo-Saxon slayers over their victims.
5. Cannibal Neanderthals
In 1994, archeologists found the 51,000-year-old remains of a dozen Neanderthals (three children, three teenagers, six adults) in Northern Spain. Since their discovery experts have been using forensic technology to determine how the family died.
According to the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona, "They appear to have been killed and eaten, with their bones and skulls split open to extract the marrow, tongue and brains." They also concluded that the cannibal massacre likely happened during the winter when food was scarce.
So what did you guys think? Which of these creepy discoveries would you most or least want to find? Let me know in the comments section.