10 random discoveries that were made thanks to ancient art
Today, many cultures, cities and people of the past have been completely forgotten. Therefore, researchers often turn to art and inscriptions to learn more about life in antiquity. Some unusual findings can change the “facts” and even shed light on complex issues. The most remarkable discoveries are often accidental, and then scientists are amazed to discover both mysterious paintings and entire lost civilizations.
1. Frescoes in the octagonal tomb
In 2012, Chinese archaeologists made a find that only recently became known to the rest of the scientific community. It was an octagon-shaped tomb topped with a pyramidal roof. The building was built in Yangquan 700 years ago, and its seven walls were decorated with frescoes. One of them depicts a husband and wife, the missing owners of the grave. Two other scenes depicted horrific stories of how poor families were faced with the painful choice of killing someone to ensure the survival of the rest. Each time, the focus was on older family members. In a story where parents decided to save their grandmother by burying their young son alive, they were rewarded by finding a treasure by digging a hole for their son. As a result, no one had to sacrifice.
In the second case, grandfather was saved from a brutal death, because the young son at home threatened to do the same with his father when he was old (the father was going to starve the old man to death). The stories seem creepy, but they demonstrated one of the life values of the ancient Chinese – the protection of the elderly.
2. New Nazca lines
Recently, more than 50 new images have been found in the Nazca desert in Peru. The huge region is famous for its ancient drawings, which can only be seen from the air. On some, you can accurately recognize birds and other animals, while others look like geometric patterns. Most of them were created by the Nazca culture (200-700 AD). However, some of them were made by earlier cultures called Paracas and Topara (500 BC – 200 AD). It is believed that recently discovered images were created either by Paracas or Topar. They were created by removing the topsoil and exposing the lines of lighter earth below. This method was later adopted by the Nazca culture.
Most of the new images were figures of warriors, so many scientists believe that they were made by representatives of Paracas, because this culture often created human figures. Since the first images stunned the world several decades ago, researchers are constantly studying the local desert. This makes finding 50 new geoglyphs even more amazing. Perhaps they will help to better understand why three different cultures have been creating geoglyphs on the Nazca plateau for more than a thousand years.
3. The first Jesus in Trapezitsa
The Trapezitsa fortress in Bulgaria was once an ancient fortress and the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire. When a medieval church was found in Trapezitsa in 2018, it seemed unremarkable, since dozens of other churches had already been found in this place. However, this XIII century building was unique. To the surprise of archaeologists, in the 20 churches previously found in this area, there were no images of either Jesus or any other human figures. In the new church, Trapezitsa found stunning frescoes, among which were images of three people with halos, one of which was Jesus.
Another unique feature was that the church was “attached” to the inner wall of the fortress. It remains a mystery why only Jesus was portrayed in this building. The church was small by today’s standards, measuring 4 meters by 10 meters. Archaeologists believe that this was a parish for workers, which was not used by the elite of the fortress society.
4. Retro grave
In 2018, archaeologists unearthed a tomb located in the city of Kuma, the oldest ancient Greek city in the Western world. The 2200-year-old grave was long ago plundered, but the thieves left a strange fresco. A fresco covering several walls depicted people during a banquet surrounded by servants. Particularly unusual in this picture was that it was not like the other frescoes that were found in the tombs in the area. It was multicolor, and the rest were made only in white or red. Also, the fresco was strangely outdated – by the time it was painted, a similar style of art went out of fashion for more than a century. Archaeologists have no idea why the wealthy owners chose the unfashionable retro style rather than something more modern.
5. The Consequences of Roman Literacy
The Romans could not invade Scotland, and one of the reasons for this was the Picts. These ferocious local tribes were able to resist.