This was a great week for historical discoveries — at least four of which were discovered by accident.
Discovery one: this isn’t so much a recent discovery as a recently publicized one. Located on a farmer’s field in England, what looks like a rabbit-hole opens up into a maze of tunnels that were apparently once used by the Knights Templar. While it’s unclear when the tunnels were initially discovered, but they were sealed off in 2012 to keep out people trying to sneak into them to practice black magic rites (that’s actually the reason. I have a link!). The tunnels found a new flurry of media attention when a photographer visited them and took some incredible pictures, which you can see here.
Discovery two: England is chock full of history to the point where it’s hard to dig a subway tunnel or repave a parking lot without stumbling across some artifacts or a lost king. This time, though, an artifact was hiding in plain sight.
At Blenheim Palace, the sprawling, childhood home of Winston Churchill, someone decided to take a closer look at what had apparently been a lawn ornament since at least the 1800s, and found it was actually an ornate, third-century Roman sarcophagus.
According Archaeology Magazine:
There are no records of how the sarcophagus, which is carved with images of Dionysus and wine flowing from crushed grapes, arrived on the estate. But it is known that it was used to collect water from a natural spring in the nineteenth century, and then in the early twentieth century, it was incorporated into a rock garden
Discovery three: in the slums of Cairo in Egypt, one of the world’s oldest cities, erosion and the wear of daily life uncovered a giant, stone head, reportedly depicting Pharaoh Ramses II.
Discovery four: not to be outdone, Denmark made the news this week for its own accidental discovery, when a 14-year-old Danish boy found a WWII German plane with the pilot’s body still inside.
Historical discoveries don’t always come from experts and well funded expeditions. Sometimes great finds are made by ordinary people just living their daily lives.
If you have a personal story of yourself or someone you know making an accidental discovery, I’d love to here about it! Tweet at @ModernCerealBox or email firstname.lastname@example.org