Millennia of history left us with numerous mysteries that scientists still can’t crack. However, thanks to new technologies, parts of them have finally been solved.
1. The vanished Nazca civilization
The people of Nazca became famous because of huge drawings made on the surface of the Nazca Desert in Peru. There were theories of their alien origins until scientists determined the Nazca people used these geoglyphs to communicate with gods by moving along the lines.
The vanishing of their civilization had been no less mysterious until recently. Cambridge University researchers proved that it was defeated by a drought caused by deforestation.
2.The black sinkhole in Florida
Archaeologists have known about the sinkhole in the Aucilla River, south of Tallahassee, FL, for years. Because it is so dark, there’s never been dives in there until Jessi Halligan, a professor at Florida State University, decided to conduct research.
Her project brought unexpected results: her diving expedition found mastodon tusks that had long grooves left by human tools — and those were found nearby as well. The discovery strongly suggests that humans inhabited the Florida area much earlier than had been thought initially, dating back 14,500 years.
3.Mysterious notes in a copy of the Odyssey
A 500-year-old copy of Homer’s Odyssey featured strange handwritten notes in an unknown language. Italian enthusiasts Daniele Metilli and Giulia Accetta determinedthat the notes were a peculiar type of shorthand invented by Jean Coulon de Thévénot.
Only the latest technological advancements and full data access allowed for the discovery to happen. However, the shorthand itself proved to be much more interesting than its meaning: it was just a French translation from Greek.
4.The lost crew of the Mary Celeste
The Mary Celeste was a famous ghost ship found in 1872 without a trace of her crew or any damage.
Chemist Dr. Andrea Sella conducted an experiment that explained the phenomenon. There were about 1,700 barrels of alcohol in the ship’s cargo hold that could’ve caught fire and made an “invisible explosion,” in which a wall of fire is followed by a wave of cool air, thus leaving no fire or soot. The crew could have abandoned ship and perished in the sea.
5.The disappearing grave of Richard III
Richard III’s grave was considered demolished and his corpse thrown into the river when the monastery he had been buried in was bought by a private entrepreneur.
Scientists from Leicester University hoped they could find the grave, and not in vain, as it turned out. Their ambitious project was successful, and the DNA test showed that the remains they found were indeed those of Richard III.