There is nothing more mysterious in this world than the gaps in our own history. These gaps do not necessarily make their way into our textbooks at school, but can always be found in mysterious ruins or artifacts that cannot be explained by archaeologists or scholars. Most of what we learn regarding ancient peoples comes entirely from the images and historical sources that were left behind.
In certain cases, artifacts may drop hints about who the people were or why they were creating ancient sites that are now mere ruins, but in other cases, it leaves us with more lingering questions. Historians and archaeologists have many hypotheses about the ruins on this list, but they are just that: speculations. Mysterious ruins have been discovered all over the world, and some have been covered by us in a previous list. But so many remain unexplored and ultimately unexplained, that we had to do a follow-up.
10. The Great Pyramids
The bits and pieces of knowledge that archaeologists have amassed about the Great Pyramids of Egypt are enormously intriguing, just imagine what is still waiting to be discovered. One of the biggest and most important remaining mysteries is the construction techniques the ancients used to build them. The impressive achievement of the Egyptians is even more remarkable considering that over two million granite and limestone blocks were used in the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Each and every piece of stonework weighed 2.5 tons (2.3 metric tons).
So how did they move the massive slabs? Unfortunately, the ancients did not leave any instructions or records explaining this architectural feat behind. Over the decades however, many explanations were suggested. One research project theorized that they may have used water and sand. One specific mural dating back to 1900 BCE, portrays a group of men moving a large statue fastened to a sled while one person stands in front, pouring water over the sand. Although the gesture was originally thought to be largely ceremonial, scientific evidence now exists that this mural may in fact hold the key to understanding the secret about how they could have possibly moved all the weight.
9. Lake Michigan Stonehenge
In 2007 scientists happened upon a stone circle at a depth of 12 meters (39 feet) in Lake Michigan. The structure, which looks likes a smaller version of the UK’s famous Stonehenge, was discovered by Mark Holley, an underwater archaeology professor at Northwestern Michigan College, and his colleague Brian Abbott made the discovery while searching for the remains of sunken ships.
The structure is believed to be almost 9,000 years old, however, there seems to be a carving of a mastodon, which went extinct over 10,000 years ago, on one of the stones. To date the exact location of the discovery is being kept secret – a condition that was laid down by local Indian tribes – as they do not want hundreds of tourists and curious people on their territory.
8. The Mysterious Stones of Baalbek
Baalbek is the name of Lebanon’s most famous archaeological site. Around 2,500 years ago, it was known as Heliopolis or City of the Sun. It has been found that the cornerstones of the early temple in Baalbek weigh over 100 tons and the wall monoliths around 300 tons each. Today, archaeologists, scientists, and historians remain mystified how the stones were moved to the site and how each stone was placed. The temple slabs and one other, lying 1,600 miles from Baalbek, are collectively known as the Baalbek Stones and continue to be the focus of much speculation, research, and hypothesis as to how they have been transported and organized. There are further questions as to why these massive stones were necessary and why the temple columns were so much bigger than the site required.
The later builders on the site, like the Romans, did not move these stones in any way but rather used them as the foundation for their own temples. The immense mass and weight of these stones contributed to a great deal of speculation about ancient alien activity in Baalbek and even that the site was the original landing pad for alien ships. However, none of these theories have ever been seriously considered by any academic community.
7. Machu Picchu
Markedly situated about 8,000 meters above sea level in Peru on the mountain range of the Andes, Machu Picchu is a visual marvel and a technological masterpiece. The Inca constructed ruins of the site from during the 15th century without mortar, fitting the stone blocks so closely that a piece of paper can not even be placed between them. The design included splendid agricultural terraces for planting and even featured flood protection engineering.
But the origins of Machu Picchu remain a mystery, despite its distinction as one of the most famous and important archeological sites in the world. The Inca left no record of why they built or how they used the site before it was deserted in the early 16th century. The role of Machu Picchu has been debated for a long time because it is so unusual and peculiar as an Inca site. It’s too big to be a small village. And it’s too small to be an administrative hub for the Inca Empire.
6. Great Zimbabwe Ruins
The ruins now known as Great Zimbabwe is a heritage site of significant importance in Southern Africa. Zimbabwe is based on the Shona word “Dzimba Dzemabwe,” which means “house of stone.” The ruins of Great Zimbabwe point to the earlier existence of a highly sophisticated civilization. This ancient tropical settlement in Africa, once a prosperous cultural and social center, still retains many of its secrets.
Karl Mauch, German geologist and gold prospector, wrote the first European account of Great Zimbabwe in 1871. Rumors of stone palaces and secret treasure had attracted him to the site as legend linked the ruins with “Ophir,” the biblical name given to King Solomon’s mines.
The elegant stonework of the Grand Enclosure – very unlike the modest Shona Huts – persuaded Mauch that the Africans, in particular the Shona, could never have designed the Grand Enclosure and the spectacular ruins. To date, the ruins remain highly controversial.
5. Peru’s Chavín de Huantar Ruins
Though less popular than Machu Picchu, Peru’s Chavín de Huantar Ruins are also an attractive World Heritage Site, which has ruins and artifacts that were originally built by the pre-Incan culture of Chavín around 900 BC. The site served as a meeting place for the people in the area when traveling for spiritual and worship gatherings. It is not entirely clear why the culture of Chavín vanished, although some claim that the ruins of Chavín de Huantar provide insight into why certain cultures vanish as the area was prone to flooding and earthquakes.
The history of this historical center is unusual. One of the local farmers found Chavín de Huántar when he noticed peculiar stones with chiseled rock drawings, in his field. The site has attracted scientists and archaeologists looking for answers beneath the soil from all over the world for more than a century.
4. Bimini Road
One of the Atlantean believers’ most convincing archeological discoveries is the Bimini Road. Bimini Road sometimes referred to as the Bimini Wall, is an underwater rock formation situated right on the coast of North Bimini’s Bahamian Island. The path lies about 18 feet below the surface on the seafloor. The road is situated on a northeast/southwest line about half a mile until it finishes in a twisted, graceful fork. Two other smaller linear rock formations similar in design also appear alongside the Bimini Road.
The Bimini Road consists of limestone slabs, most of which seem to be cut into rectangular blocks. While most of them seem to have been cut with right angles, the time underwater has weathered them into rounded shapes. Each of the main road blocks is between 10-13 feet long and 7-10 feet wide, while the two side roads feature smaller, but equally sqaure blocks. The bigger blocks tend to be aligned according to size. Some even seem to be stacked, as if they were meant to be propped up.
3. Yaxchilan, Chiapas, Mexico
Yaxchilan is one of the most extraordinary ancient Mayan cities. It can be found in Chiapas, Mexico, situated on the banks of the Usumacinta River. Yaxchilan was among the most glorious and strong Mayan states during the Late Classic period, with Piedras Negras as its main rival. The architectural styles show strong distinctions between the two kingdoms. This mysterious 4th-century site is one of the most notable among Mexico’s many ruins that can be found along Guatemala’s Usumacinta River.
People visit the site by boat, then go via “El Laberinto” (the labyrinth), a building of limestone sheetrock with painted panels and decorative caverns devoted to its ancient ruling kings like “Moon Skull.” In the 9th century, Yaxchilan was completely abandoned, but pillages on either side of the river indicate that the inhabitants made use of a complex suspension bridge.
2. Nan Madol
The historic city of Nan Madol was built on a Micronesian coral reef. The fact that it was built on a coral reef is only one part of the site’s fascinating history. To date, nobody has found out how the site was constructed, including which tools the inhabitants might have used, where the stones used in the construction came from, or how the pillars used to build the ancient walls were placed. The foundation of the city date to the 8th century, with its megalithic construction emerging in 1200 CE. The Saudeleur Dynasty used the site as its ceremonial and political headquarters. Legend says that the twin sorcerers Olisihpa and Olosopha created Nan Madol, by flying dragons who lifted and manipulated the massive stones.
One of the slabs in the imperial mortuary weighs 50 tons. It is calculated that all the stones transported to the site weigh in at a staggering 750,000 metric tons. It is an amazing achievement for people lacking pulleys, levers, and reliable transportation mechanisms. The site was constructed in phases over more than four centuries. If you have the time to do the math, it means that 1,850 tons of rock would have to be moved to the site annually. For just 25,000 people, it is a daunting endeavor.
1. Bosnia’s Pyramid
When speaking of the “Valley of Pyramids,” Bosnia and Herzegovina is perhaps not the first region that comes to mind. But as of 2005, archaeologist Semir Osmanagic believes that the Visoko hill (one hour outside Sarajevo), in reality, is one in a series of artificial buildings, and more specifically, pyramids. When looking at the images, it’s very easy to discern the shapes. A growing number of archeologists claim that there are four pyramids in this region, called the Sun Pyramid, the Moon Pyramid, the Dragon Pyramid, and the Pyramid of Love. The region also has a subterranean maze, “Ravne,” which is believed to have been the entrance to the Sun Pyramid. If the existence of the pyramids can be proven, they would be 25,000 years old.
Academics and scientists worldwide have consistently dismissed the notion that the hills, larger and much older than any of the Egyptian pyramids, are anything but natural. But despite the continuing controversy, tourists and geologists have not stopped flocking to the area to test the reports.