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Construction workers have been unearthing hidden treasures for centuries. Many of these strange discoveries offer an insight into unresolved mysteries and show us a glimpse of the past. Check out these great discoveries and find out why they continue to fascinate historians, archaeologists and the general public all around the world.
Fossilised Dinosaur Eggs
People in the Chinese city of Huyuan have unearthed thousands of dinosaur eggs over the past decades. The first discovery was in 1995 when a group of schoolboys unearthed fossilised eggs on a building site. The city currently holds a Guinness World Record for having the largest collection of dinosaur eggs. The city calls itself the “Home of Dinosaurs” and rightfully so. The most recent discovery came in 2015, where 43 fossilised dinosaur eggs were discovered by construction workers carrying out road repairs in Guangdong province. The repairs were immediately put to a halt for the excavation process, so that the eggs could be preserved. It’s not only eggs that have been found in the city, but numerous dinosaur skeletons and footprints too.
The remains of a medieval mansion were found on a farm in Wellington, Somerset, by a team of archaeologists working on a construction site in 2013. What is so intriguing about the ancient structures, which date back to the 12th and 14th century, is that there are no documented records proving that the mansion ever existed. All that remains of the mansion are the stone foundations and a few leftover artefacts. The medial manor was very likely once home to an affluent family, and further investigation and research suggests that the building may have been used for religious services too. Archaeologist Bob Davis told a British newspaper that “such finds were as rare as hen’s teeth.”
15th Century Hospital
In July 2013, when work was underway to build a new Apple store in Madrid, the construction crew uncovered the remains of a hospital built in the 15th century. The hospital was used to treat patients who were suffering from the Plague, but it was demolished in 1854 and its remains sealed beneath paving stones. Interestingly, only four years earlier Apple unearthed the remains of a church building that used to adjoin the hospital.
During the construction of a new hotel in the Peruvian city of Cuzco, Inca walls were discovered. While not an overwhelming surprise, as a similar wall was previously found in the area, it was still a significant discovery. According to ancient chronicles written during the Spanish conquest, the site where the hotel was going to be built was once the capital of the Inca Empire. The ruins would go on to be incorporated into the hotel construction to reinforce the modern hotel walls.
2,000-Year-Old Human Remains
A routine search on a construction site, by a team of workers led to the discovery of the 2,000-year-old remains of a Native American woman. The skeleton they found was nearly completely intact, and it was unearthed under the asphalt of a main road in a small town in Broward County, Florida. Apart from a few broken bones, the skeleton was in good condition. Investigations determined that the woman was just five feet tall, buried when she was twenty or thirty years old, and may have been a member of the Tequesta tribe.
Although the construction industry has changed drastically over the past 50 years, with new technologies, more demand for bespoke projects, and the move towards ‘green’ architecture, the basic principles have remained the same. You either start building from scratch, or over the remains of a demolished site, and it’s often these unearthed remains that have provided some of the most fascinating discoveries of recent times. Construction workers will no doubt stumble across more ancient ruins and artefacts, so we can look forward to more glimpses into the past.
It’s difficult to imagine how an entire city can get lost and forgotten about for so long. Who knows, maybe one day London will be reduced to mere rubble and mortar. But their rediscoveries have opened up a doorway to the ancient past, evoking a time the world forgot.
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