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Top Ten Builds by the Ancients that Were Exposed in 2015

Top Ten Builds by the Ancients that Were Exposed in 2015: Stone Circles, Architecture, Petroglyphs, Fortresses and More


There is no doubt that our ancient ancestors were adept at creating beautiful and masterful structures. The features they managed to construct easily rival some of the most important works built today. Stone circles, architectural structures, petroglyphs, geoglyphs, and fortresses are some of the more elaborate builds that made the news in 2015. 

10. Burn Reveals Ancient Stone Effigies, Cairns, Rock formations

Burn Reveals Ancient Stone Effigies, Cairns, Rock formations

U.S. government archaeologists set a controlled fire in April 2015 to reveal a site in northern Montana that has large Native American stone effigies, cairns, circles, and structures used centuries ago to drive cattle into catchment areas for slaughter. A couple weeks later they sent up an aerial drone to photograph and record data about the ancient site. Officials called the 300-acre site unique. Other Plains Native American sites have separate effigies, cairns, circles or drive lines to direct buffalo, but this is the first to have been found with all of these various structures in one place.

People of the Avonlea culture used the site at least between 770 and 1140 AD, but the exact time frame of the site is not known yet. Researchers intend to do some non-invasive dating methods to more accurately delineate the site’s usage. Since the 1960s the site was known to have a buffalo jump. But vegetation was getting in the way of viewing and studying exactly what was at the site.

9. Archaeologists Excavate Possible Home of Mary Magdalene

Archaeologists Excavate Possible Home of Mary Magdalene

In August, a Catholic priest and archaeologists in Israel began excavating an ancient synagogue and a site that may be the homeland of Mary Magdalene. Archaeologists say Jesus could have preached in the temple, as he is said to have spoken at synagogues in the Galilee - and no other synagogue from his lifetime has been found.

Six years ago Juan Solana, a Catholic priest, found the ruins of a 1st century AD synagogue. The synagogue is ornate with frescoes and mosaic floors. It has an altar, called a bimah in Hebrew, in the center. People call this the Magdala stone. There is a rare menorah carved into the stone. Archaeologists say that this is one of the more important discoveries in Israel in 50 years. They have also found a bowl dating back about 2,000 years.

8. Prehistoric Fortress Island

Prehistoric Fortress Island

Archaeologists excavating a modern housing estate on the English-Welsh border in Monmouth, UK, discovered an ancient fortress consisting of a wooden island with a fortified farmhouse elevated above the ground on stilts. The structure used to stand above the waters of an ice age lake and may be older than Stonehenge or the Egyptian pyramids. The structure, known as a ‘crannog’, has been dated to 4,900 years ago. The crannog at Monmouth would probably have been occupied by a wealthy family who farmed the fields nearby and gathered fruit, nuts, wild cabbage, and medicinal herbs from local woodlands. They also could probably have hunted wild boar and other animals as well. When attacked, they would have retreated to the fort.

7. Petroglyphs Left in Canada by Scandinavians 3,000 Years Ago?

Petroglyphs Left in Canada by Scandinavians 3,000 Years Ago?

Hundreds of petroglyphs are etched on a slab of crystalline limestone about 180-by-100 feet (a third the size of a football field) in Peterborough, Canada. The site is known to local Natives as the Teaching Rocks. Their legends hold that it is an entrance to the Spirit world. However, there is also a claim of Scandinavians creating the petroglyphs, which has a few prominent supporters. They say that the depictions of animals, solar symbols, geometric shapes, boats, and human figures on the so-called Peterborough Stone reflect a style used in the Old World.

For example, features a large steering oar at the stern, which is only included in ships more than 100 feet (30.5 meters) long. The local Native population is not known to have produced any such vessels. Nonetheless, some argue that the Natives envisioned it as a spirit ship, that it was not meant to depict their own vessels. 

6. Mysterious Stone Circles of Turpan Basin

Mysterious Stone Circles of Turpan Basin

Approximately 200 mysterious stone circles dot the landscape in the hot and unforgiving Gobi Desert. These man-made stone formations sitting atop the sand near Turpan City in northwestern China may be up to 4,500 years old.

The stone formations are arranged in various designs of circles and squares, and it is reported that some of the circles are composed of rocks which aren’t native to the area, and may have been brought from far off for this specific purpose. Lyu Enguo, a local archaeologist who has studied the circles says, “Across Central Asia, these circles are normally sacrificial sites.” Excavations into and beneath the formations were conducted in hopes of finding burials, but no evidence of remains or artifacts were ever found.

5. 4,000-Year-Old Hidden Tunnel Discovered in Ancient Castle in Turkey

4,000-Year-Old Hidden Tunnel Discovered in Ancient Castle in Turkey

Excavations carried out at Geval Castle in Central Anatolia, Turkey, revealed a secret tunnel that had been built by the Hittites about 4,000 years ago.  Around 150 meters (492 feet) of the tunnel, which had been closed off with a vault, have been investigated so far. The secret tunnel was used all the way through to the Seljuk era (11th – 12th century AD). It establishes a connection with the outside of the castle and “It is closed with a vault and looks like a part of the land. But when you go deeper, you understand that it is a tunnel. The first examples of secret tunnels go back to the Hittites.” Excavations at Geval Castle will resume in May 2016.

4. Pictish Fort Reveals Iron Age Look-Out post for Sea Raiders

Pictish Fort Reveals Iron Age Look-Out post for Sea Raiders

In the fifth or sixth century AD, Picts on the eastern Scotland coast set up a fort on a stone outcrop just offshore, possibly to hold sway over the seas. The ancient people had a reputation for ferocity and were one reason the Romans never established a lasting presence in what is now Scotland.

The fort on what is called a “sea stack” may have been one of a series of forts along the coast. This particular fort, near Stonehaven, may have been a precursor to medieval Dunnottar Castle, just a few hundred meters (yards) away, on a headland onshore. The fort was inhabited for extended periods.

3. Twenty-Four More Ancient Geoglyphs Discovered in Nazca, Peru

Twenty-Four More Ancient Geoglyphs Discovered in Nazca, Peru

Researchers from the University of Yamagata in Japan spotted 24 previously unknown geoglyphs in Peru’s famous Nazca Plateau, adding to the collection of hundreds of symbols and shapes that are carved across the Nazca landscape.  It is believed that the newly-discovered geoglyphs are older than the hummingbird and monkey symbols – the most famous of all the Nazca lines. 

The geoglyphs are located approximately 1.5km (0.5 miles) north of the town of Nazca, on the southern coast of Peru. Most of them are heavily eroded making their shapes difficult to make out – although many appear to represent llamas or geometric shapes. They range in size from 5 meters (16ft) to 20 meters (65ft) in length.  They are believed to be among the oldest found at the site, having been dated to between 400 BC and 200 BC. They were identified using 3D scanning equipment.

2. Startling New Evidence Suggests Stonehenge was First Built in Wales then Transported and Reconstructed 500 Years Later in England

Startling New Evidence Suggests Stonehenge was First Built in Wales then Transported and Reconstructed 500 Years Later in England

Archaeologists found the exact holes in a rocky outcrop in Wales from where the bluestones found at Stonehenge originated, revealing that they were quarried 500 years before they were assembled into the famous stone circle that still stands today in Wiltshire, England. The dramatic discovery suggests that the ancient monument was first erected in Wales and later dismantled, transported, and reassembled over 140 miles (225.3 km) away in Salisbury Plain.

The holes were dated to 3,400 BC at Craig Rhos-y-felin and 3,200 BC at Carn Goedeg. However, the bluestones were not assembled at Stonehenge until 2,900 BC, which raises the question as to why they were quarried centuries before their use in the famous stone monument in Wiltshire, England.

“It could have taken those Neolithic stone-draggers nearly 500 years to get them to Stonehenge, but that’s pretty improbable in my view,” Prof Mike Parker Pearson, director of the project, said. “It’s more likely that the stones were first used in a local monument, somewhere near the quarries, that was then dismantled and dragged off to Wiltshire.”

The research team have begun carrying out geophysical surveys, trial excavations, and aerial photographic analyses in the area between the two quarries in Wales to identify the area where a Stonehenge-like stone circle was originally assembled. They have hinted at the fact that they might already have found a promising location and that a big discovery may follow in 2016.

1.Legendary White Walls of Memphis

Legendary White Walls of Memphis

According to Manetho, an ancient Egyptian historian and priest of the 3rd century BC, Memphis once carried the name Ineb-hedj, meaning ‘White Walls’.  Some historians maintain that the city was named by the founder of Memphis, pharaoh Menes, who built a fortress of white walls. Others suggest the city was named after the pharaoh’s palace, which would have been built of white-washed brick, while another theory is that the white walls refer to the enormous walls around the Temple of Ptah, the largest and most important temple in ancient Memphis.

Bringing story to fact, a team of Russian archaeologists unearthed parts of the legendary white walls near the town of Mit Rahina, 20 km (12.4 miles) south of Cairo and near Saqqara, which was the necropolis of Memphis. Speaking of the discovery, Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damaty said: “We hope this finding will enhance our knowledge of one the most important cities of Ancient Egypt. Memphis played a significant political, religious and economic role in the history of the country."

By April Holloway



I believe petroglyphs of similar boats with people depicted as sticks with round heads were published, found in southern Egypt, claimed to be from the earliest period of creation of Egypt as a polity.

This type of boat and portrayal of people as sticks with round heads has been reported before. I believe in south Egypt as rock art dated to the period of founding of the earliest Egyptian polities.

Hi Horst,

Thank you for your questions.

To clarify your 2nd question- the ancient people in this region of Canada manufactured canoes for boats. The outer coverings were mostly made from the bark of birch trees.

The shape of the Canadian canoe boats made by these people does not resemble in style or method of construction the boats of Scandinavian Viking design.

However, the style of the image of a presumed “boat” in the Peterborough glyph is representative of the many “boat” images appearing in petroglyphs throughout the world – from Scandinavia across to Azerbaijan, and even found in the desert regions of Arabia.

So what I was trying to get across but did not clarify, was this style of “boat” has been recorded in rock for thousands of years before any Viking sea worthy ship was launched.  So where did the earlier “boat” images come to be recorded in rock in earlier pre-Viking times, before their known existence.

It’s my belief that the “boat” image was not originally intended to be represented as a “boat” but we see a “boat” just as when we see images in a cloud that we can relate to.

If an image in a cloud looks like a “boat” to us, the image is still a cloud and not a “boat” – so I’m putting forth the idea that perhaps the “boat” image placed into the rock in Canada, was something viewed other than a boat but today, we have incorrectly interpreted this image in the rock.

The possible sighting of a Viking boat by the ancient people of the Peterborough glyphs is possible only if the Vikings ventured past them in this area, which most archeologists don’t think happened around the time of the petroglyphs’ creation.

Also, a water route to this area, located away from the major water route and 1,500 miles from the Atlantic, in a Viking ship, would have been a real challenge to the Vikings if it had occurred.

To reply to your 1st question, this was meant to be more of a satirical or light-hearted approach of trying to explain who created the “boat” images first (Chicken or the egg – which came first).  

As there is some speculation that the Canadian site and Scandinavian sites depicting similar “boats” were both created around the same time. I was jokingly trying to say that maybe the Canadians found a way to sail to Scandinavia and left their marks there.

I hope I have been able to clarify the questions you had with regard to my comments – if you would like further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me. Cheers

Without scientific data, conclusions remain conjecture.

I find it difficult to resolve two of your statements – can you enlighten me?

1: “… you might as well speculate that it was the ancient North Americans who created the Scandinavian “boat” images before they, headed out for North America!”
2: ‘By the way, the type of “boat” depicted in the Canadian glyph has never been associated with the indigenous people of this Canadian petroglyph.’

It’s true old world Scandinavian travellers reached the eastern Atlantic shores of North America - but their presence into the eastern woodlands of Ontario, Canada, around the time of the glyph’s creation, and 1,600 miles away, have never been verified.

Just because an image in a rock panel is showing similar characteristics to another rock panel halfway around the world, doesn’t mean there is any connection to either group of original artists.

Similar images of “squatting man” or “praying man” are observed on every continent excluding Antarctica, but that doesn’t mean its image was the sole creation of one society.

To attribute the creation at Peterborough’s  Kinomaagewaabkonging , “Teaching Rocks” to early Scandinavian travellers just because they both appear to have similar boats in their petroglyphs, you might as well speculate that it was the ancient North Americans who created the Scandinavian “boat” images before they, headed out for North America!

Or maybe it was the earlier people of ancient Azerbaijan (Beyukdash Mountain, Gobustan, Azerbaijan), who back in 12,000 – 8,000 made similar styled “boats” in their glyphs … you might as well credit them with travelling to Scandinavia where they created the rock art there.

By the way, the type of “boat” depicted in the Canadian glyph has never been associated with the indigenous people of this Canadian petroglyph.

Attributing a Scandinavian connection to these glyphs reveals a colossal misunderstanding of the artistic and spiritual relationships the ancient indigenous people of the Peterborough area recorded in their rock panel.

Without scientific data, conclusions remain conjecture.

aprilholloway's picture


April Holloway is a Co-Owner, Editor and Writer of Ancient Origins. For privacy reasons, she has previously written on Ancient Origins under the pen name April Holloway, but is now choosing to use her real name, Joanna Gillan.

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