It’s easy to assume that, with so many generations of knowledge under our belts, we understand pretty much everything there is to know about the past. Yet the truth is that the answers to many historical mysteries remain tantalizingly unsolved.

Still, just because we haven’t figured out some of life’s greatest puzzles (yet) doesn’t mean they’re not worthy of our fascination. Sometimes, it’s trying to solve them that’s the fun part!

With that in mind, here are 10 mysteries from throughout history that experts still haven’t managed to figure out that just might blow your mind…

1. The purpose of this clay vase from Roman-controlled Britain, found shattered into 180 different pieces, remains unknown. It wouldn’t make sense to store food in something with that many holes, and the opening at the bottom would render it useless as a lamp. Archaeologists who worked for the Museum of Ontario Archaeology even consulted experts in Roman pottery, but no one could identify it. Can you?


Even the question of how the jar got to the museum in the first place is a mystery. It’s been suggested that, in the 1950s, it was excavated from a crater in London in a region that was ruled by Rome around the third century. It was found in a storage room with artifacts from Ur, an ancient Iraqi city with a 5,000-year history, but nobody can say what it was used for.

2. While researching prehistoric climate change in 2011, a University of Colorado team happened upon something strange at a 1,000-year-old Eskimo settlement in Cape Espenberg, Alaska. It looked like a small belt buckle, but it was hundreds of years older than the house where it was discovered. The weirdest part, though, is that it was made in a mold, making it the only ancient artifact ever found in Alaska that was made of cast bronze.


According to radiocarbon dating, the item dates back to 600 B.C.E., but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s its age. Bronze was actually never used in Alaska at that time, so where could it have come from? It’s most probable that it was an heirloom passed down from generation to generation after being manufactured in East Asia, and it only came to Alaska through trading. Still, experts have yet to figure out its purpose.

3. In 1991, archaeologists in Northamptonshire, England discovered the site of a strange (and apparently cruel) burial that had taken place during the third or fourth century. Of the 35 bodies that were found, only one of them—a man who was in his mid-thirties when he died—was positioned face-down. This itself was not particularly unusual, as it may have been a sign that he had an unfavorable community status. What was really odd was that he also had his tongue removed. His tongue was replaced by a flat rock.


There are no archaeological records of such a practice, and the Romans didn’t even have any known laws about amputating tongues. However, there are other Roman-Britain graves that have been found with body parts that had been replaced by other objects. According to experts, the tongue replacement in question was either a cruel punishment or a considerate way to “complete” his missing body part in the afterlife.

4. In 1948, a British diplomat happened to notice a long wall cutting through the countryside as he flew across Jordan. They were determined to be ruins, since named Khatt Shebib, and they run about 93 miles in a north-northeast and south-southwest direction. They also contain the remnants of roughly 100 different towers. Some sections veer off into different directions, while others are faced parallel to each other.


What makes the wall so mysterious is that, at about three feet high, it was far too short to effectively keep anything in or out. Perhaps it was used for farming purposes? Nobody knows for sure.

5. Ten coins were once discovered during an excavation of Katsuren castle in Okinawa, Japan. At first, the construction workers didn’t think they were anything special; after all, they seemed to be worth just one cent each, and they were fairly modern-looking. At least, that’s what they thought. After they were thoroughly scrubbed, the coins were dated somewhere between 300 and 400 B.C.E. Japanese experts were so shocked that they originally believed them to be part of a hoax!


They dismissed that idea, though, and they later discovered Roman letters and figures on the coins. However, it’s not easy to connect the Romans to the Japanese. There was no known connection between the Roman empire and Katsuren castle, either, so how could Roman coins have ever shown up in Okinawa?

Find even more fascinating mysteries on the next page!