10 Cool Artifacts That Make Us Rethink History

The randomness of discovery of facts about the lives of the ancient past is captivating to say the least. Every once in a while, archaeologists come across artifacts that make us rethink how civilized our ancestors really were.  We think of development as a thing of the near present, maybe as close to us as five hundred something years. But the truth becomes apparent when, in excavations or spontaneous discoveries, relics are found that put the common man deep in thought. Today, we share 10 cool artifacts that boast of life of yesterday and leave us with a mental image of what life had been. 

Beer Paycheck?

A 5,000 year old artifact from modern day Iraq is inscribed with the pictorial language of cuneiform, and tops the list of cool artifacts that have been discovered so far. This ‘tablet’ shows a human head eating from a bowl and drinking from a vessel. The bowl is supposed to symbolize ration and the conical flask beer. 

10 Fascinatingly Cool Artifacts Ever Discovered
via World History Encyclopedia

Now comes the interesting thing. The tablet is marked with scratches that are supposed to depict the quantity of beer ‘paid’ to each worker. This Mesopotamian relic is thought by archaeologists to be the world’s oldest paycheck. Oldest discovered, anyway. It dates back to 3,300BCE.


Think your grandparents are too old to understand how hashtags are used? You need to think again. The oldest discovered ‘hashtag’ was drawn around 73,000 years ago. 

Um, WHAT?!?

10 Fascinatingly Cool Artifacts Ever Discovered
by Craig Foster

That’s right. 

Researchers were going through Blombos sediments when they discovered something that resembled the modern day ###.  The hashtag had been drawn using red ocher. 

Let us also make it clear that this wasn’t made by human beings. Homo erectus, and not homo sapiens are the artists behind this, um, art. 

The Oldest Song 

If someone told us that music had been around longer than language, we would believe them. 

The oldest songs, being at least 3,400 years old, were discovered in Syria in the 1960s. The 29 tablets found were in bad condition and hard to decipher. Inscribed with cuneiform pictorial language, these tablets contain the oldest known song in history, and possibly the first recorded musical note. 

This song is quite sad– it tells the story of a woman who could not have children. 

A diabolical political murder?

Let’s just say that Shakespeare wasn’t the first one to devise political murders. 

10 Fascinatingly Cool Artifacts Ever Discovered
via Wikipedia

A grave in Germany contains the “Prince of Helmsdorf”. His tomb had led to the discovery of an entire civilisation. Researchers found that the man was middle aged when he fell into a diabolical trap – he was murdered by someone close to him, like a bodyguard. The injuries on his body look painful, and this is said to be the oldest known political murder.

Are murders cool artifacts? Um, we’re having a moral crisis.

Oldest written customer complaints 

Imagine being a customer of the ancient past. How frustrated would you need to be to engrave your complaints on tablets? In cuneiform?

10 Fascinatingly Cool Artifacts Ever Discovered
via Guiness World Records

In modern day Iraq, researchers found the ruins of the house of a businessman who liked collecting customer complaints. 

From the complaints, it is clear that our businessman was quite shady and did not really care for his customers. These complaints belong to the 18th C BCE. 

King Tut’s Funerary Mask

We all know of the devastating story of King Tutankhamun. The young king had died at the delicate age of 19, and was then mummified.

  On the mummy’s face was a 24-pound funerary mask with precious stones such as lapis lazuli. This mask was a facial replica on the forehead of which is a vulture and a cobra. This mask is supposedly 3.300 years old. Along with the mummy of the Pharaoh and his mask are jewels that display the wealth he took to the grave. 

Scrolls of the Dead Sea

The Dead Sea Scrolls comprise one of the most fascinating archaeological discoveries.

10 Fascinatingly Cool Artifacts Ever Discovered
Isaiah scrolls, via Wikipedia

The 1,000 or so scrolls were found stuffed in clay jars near the Dead Sea. Around 230 of these scrolls transcribed stories from the Old Testament, and likely predate the Bible. Many of them also contain songs, hymns and prayers. They are written in Hebrew, Greek, Latin and other languages, and date back to around 2,300 years ago or farther.

Most of the scrolls have deteriorated into around 25,000 bits of parchment and papyrus. The texts are believed to come from diverse sources. 

Oldest bottle of wine

Our ancestors enjoyed their alcohol as much as we do. For a slight, joyous buzz, they preferred wine. The proof of this is the Speyer wine bottle which is believed to contact liquid wine and is considered the oldest wine bottle discovered yet. It was unearthed from a Roman tomb in Germany.

via Wikimedia Commons/Carole Raddato

The bottle supposedly belongs to 325-350 AD, so it is safe to say we shouldn’t try it. The ethanol content has been lost; the wine contains a mixture of herbs. The large amount of thick olive oil that helped seal it from air, along with hot wax, helped with the preservation. 

Oldest footprints

The oldest footprints discovered do not belong to human beings. They belong to a mysterious animal that walked the earth around 551-541 million years ago!

10 Fascinatingly Cool Artifacts Ever Discovered
Fossil track, via Wikipedia

These prints were found near modern day China and the site is now called Dengying Formation.

The creature is said to have left two rows of footprints. Like many animals of now, it had its head on one end, butt on the other and symmetrical left and right sides. 

World’s oldest beauty cream 

Helen of Troy, whose beauty resulted in the Trojan war, is a testimony to the eternal worship of beautiful women. Then it shouldn’t surprise us that the world’s oldest face cream is over 2,000 years old!

via Facebook/Museum of Artifacts

Archaeologists had opened a capsule that contained this cosmetic cream. It was found near a Roman temple in London. The most intriguing aspect remains the last of the fingerprints, supposedly the user’s, still intact. The tinted mixture contains animal fat, starch and tin. 

Which one of these cool artifacts is your favorite? Tell us below!

Liked these 10 super cool artifacts? You’ll love to learn about the way the British Museum got its artifacts.

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