The Indiana Jones movies did the impossible: depicting the dusty, grimy profession of archaeology as the stuff of action heroes. And while Indy may have solved some truly great riddles in his movies, there is a swathe of artefacts, antiques and ancient lands around the world still begging to be explored and explained. From uncrackable codes to ancient electricity supplies, these real-life mysteries are out there, waiting for the next intrepid explorer to figure them out.
Want to try it yourself? A sense of adventure (and leather coat and fedora) is all you need to tackle some of the world’s greatest enigmas. Here’s five to get you started.
We’ll skip the first four: 1) breaking the code in the Voynich Manuscript, 2) figuring out who built Stonehenge, 3) solving the mysterious purpose of the Baghdad Batteries and 4) finding Atlantis. The fifth mystery is deciding who is depicted on the Shroud of Turin. Here is what the Vagabondish Team wrote:
Nobody knows how it was made, nobody knows (for sure) who it is, but scientists believe that the Turin Shroud does display evidence of a crucifixion.
But does it show the face of Jesus? One theory put forward by Italian art expert Luciano Buso suggests the original shroud was lost and the Shroud of Turin is a 14th century copy. The Pope was alerted to the possible forgery as early as 1319.
Debate continues to rage about the authenticity of the shroud and the face of the man who was apparently buried in it. Some people claim to have seen writing, coded numbers, spears and even coins imprinted in the shroud in the course of trying to unravel its mysteries. One theory even claims it is the work of Leonardo da Vinci.
If it is a fake, what happened to the original shroud? If the shroud in the church in Turin depicts another man’s face, who is he? Why was he killed? And what of the Sudarium of Oviedo – the second shroud made from identical material which matches the markings on the Turin Shroud?
A bumbling historian sidekick would be required to explain exactly how the image came to be on the cloth in the first place. Some of the world’s top scientists would also have to be enlisted to settle the forensic debate; carbon dating the Shroud has been inconclusive so far.
Epic adventure scale
An unsolved mystery and a religious controversy that has been raging for almost 700 years is about as epic as they come.
You may need a few insiders in the Vatican to gain access to one of the most precious items in Catholicism. Upon entry you’ve got a lot of angry clergymen to deal with.
The results could change the course of human history.
Did we have to be reminded? The Luciano Buso conspiracy theory broke on June 7 in The Telegraph. I posted the following on June 12. By the next day Buso’s strange idea was pretty much forgotten, worldwide. I had written:
It is somewhat amazing to see another ‘it-was-painted’ theory emerge after it has been shown, so many times and so clearly, in peer-reviewed scientific journals and other reputable sources, that it is not and cannot be a painted fake relic.
The other four mysteries are more interesting, as written by the Vagabondish Team. Go read about them at Live Like Indiana Jones: 5 Greatest Unsolved Archaeological Mysteries, unless you have something better to do, like taking a walk. Then come back here and read much more about the shroud.