Many Hollywood movies have depicted scenes where the protagonist discovers cool things in faraway places, but you never imagine people in the real world finding anything noteworthy and cool.
Contrary to popular belief, however, there have been many extraordinary discoveries in recent years so we thought we'd profile 10 and describe their origins.
1. A British Medieval Mansion
Britain is a nation steeped in history, so there's probably a whole host of artefacts, structures and lost treasures that are yet to be discovered. However, many things have been including a beautiful Medieval mansion in Somerset, England.
Found during a farm's evacuation, archaeologists-as is the law-were required to dig the ground in case there was anything of value, and it's a good job that law exists as they unearthed an array of hidden structures. What made the finding even more significant was that there were no such accounts of similar structures, which led archaeologists to determine that it was a manor house built exclusively for the wealthy. They even found floor titles and a glazed ceramic roof which all but confirmed that the building was lived in by a privileged elite. For photos, click here.
2. The Earliest Known Use Of The F-word Was Recently Traced Back To 1311
In September 2015, Dr. Paul Booth, a Medieval Studies academic from the University of Keele made a rather unusual discovery when he was researching a court case dating back to 1310. Stumbling upon the name of the accused, Booth discovered what he believed to be the first recorded use of the F-word.
The expletive was ascribed to a man named Roger Fuckebythenavele though instead of merely being in possession of a rather comical surname Roger was outlawed and when asked to return to court a further three times his name changed three times too, from Fuckebythenavele to Fukkebythenavele, and then Fuckebythenavel. From all the research Booth gathered, he believed Roger was being ridiculed for being incompetent in the bedroom and rather than it being his name; he had been given the unusual surname as a nickname.
Speaking to Britain's Daily Mail about his discovery, the research fellow said, "“Either it refers to an inexperienced copulator, referring to someone trying to have sex with the navel, or it’s a rather extravagant explanation for a dimwit, someone so stupid they think that this is the way to have sex,”
3. In Seattle, A 60,000-Year-Old Tusk Was Discovered
When workers discovered a fossilized mammoth tusk buried under a construction site paleontologists determined it belonged to a 2.6 meter Mammuthus columbi. While there is no accurate figure, paleontologists estimate it to be over 60,000 years old.
Mammoths are thought to have become extinct over 10,000 years ago and are believed to have been the equivalent size of today's Asian elephants. Seattle's Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, which houses the tusk, has already accumulated over 25 prehistoric fossils, one of which was a tooth discovered only a few blocks from where the tusk was.
4. A Fetus Was Found Beneath The Legs Of A Mummified Bishop
While the prospect of analyzing a mummified bishop is enough to send most people packing, researchers at Lund University hospital were left with an even creepier scenario after spotting the remains of a tiny fetus under the bishop’s feet. The mummy, which is that of Bishop Peder Winstrup, a significant historical figure in Scandinavia, was tested on in the hopes of unearthing more about the health and lives of Medieval Scandinavians, but it wasn't until a CT scan that the fetus was noticed
The fetus is thought to have been around 5-6 months at the time of its death, with researchers believing that the fetus either belonged to Winstrup or that it was put there by someone else in the hopes of securing their baby an appropriate burial.
5. Ancient Ball Game Court
In the modern-day world, ballgames are beloved the world over, and it seems the Mayans were no different in their appreciation for them. Like the Aztecs, the Mayans were avid fans of the ballgame 'Mesoamerican,' and the game would often attract large numbers in purpose-built stadiums, one of which was unearthed by a team building a basketball court atop a hill in Yucatan, Mexico.
The game itself, though likely ritualistic, was pretty straightforward and would typically involve several men placing vertical stone rings on the centres of the walls and the sides before attempting to throw stones through each one.
6. A 'Hand Of Glory' Was Discovered In Yorkshire, England
The Hand of Glory is the pickled hand of a hanged man, which urban folklore suggests can be used to render others motionless to those presented with it. The creepy object was depicted in two of J.K Rowling's blockbuster Harry Potter books. One of the scenes sees Draco Malfoy purchase one in a specialist Dark Arts Shop after being told it "gives light only to the holder."
But a hand found in Castleton, Yorkshire proved the real deal and is thought to be the last known Hand of Glory. Now preserved in Whitby Museum, Yorkshire, according to a 1823 text, making the hand was no easy feat.
"It must be cut from the body of a criminal on the gibbet; pickled in salt, and the urine of man," begins the description,"woman, dog, horse, and mare; smoked with herbs and hay for a month; hung on an oak tree for three nights running, then laid at a crossroads, then hung on a church door for one night while the maker keeps watch in the porch-"and if it be that no fear hath driven you forth from the porch...then the hand be true won, and it be yours."
7. 2,000-Year-Old Human Remains Were Discovered Off A Highway In Florida
Florida isn't typically known for its ancient history, so it was surprising when the remains of a 2,000-year-old Native American woman were found. Discovered 1.5 meters underneath a major roadway, the woman was believed to have belonged to the Tequesta tribe.
Knowing they could potentially be sitting on something special, the woman's body was uncovered in less than a week, and aside from a few broken bones, the skeleton was perfectly intact.
8. Skeletons of Sexually Deviant Nuns Were Found in Oxfordshire, England
Deviant nuns who behaved out of line with their church's scripture would often die with the shame of being sex-crazed and immoral and this was evident when a team of archaeologists from John Moore Heritage Services unearthed 92 skeletons, with at least 30 of them being women. Experts believed this was true due to the burial being opposite the former Littlemore Priory in Oxfordshire.
According to many historians, Medieval English nunneries were some of the worst establishments in Britain, so it wasn't a shock to archaeologists when one female skeleton was found with her head faced down, a practice that was commonplace for those who had sinned.
9. The Carved Discs of Volgograd, Russia
While they could merely be massive boulders, two intrepid UFO hunters thought otherwise when they discovered over a dozen stone discs in the Volgograd region of Russia. Interestingly, both believe the discs contain tungsten, a high-density found in military technology.
However, no conclusive evidence has been reached, and to this day the discs, which were stumbled upon in a region known for its "mysterious activity," remain nothing more than a mystery themselves.
10. A Rare and Endangered Spider Was Found In Texas
If there's one way to get companies to halt construction projects, then it seems the spotting of an endangered spider is a sure-fire way to go about proceedings. In 2012, a rare spider called the Cicurina venii was spotted nearby, causing work on the $15 million highway construction to stop as the spider was subjected to the Endangered Species Act.
Wishing to conduct further research, a team of experts examined the holes that were thought to have formed the spider's home. Yet locals were dismayed that one spider could stop work on a construction site responsible for the incomes of 200 people!