5 Pieces of Junk That Turned Out to be Invaluable Artifacts

#2. The Gnostic Gospels


The story of how the non-Biblical Christian text known as the Gnostic Gospels were found has such a DaVinci Code quality to it, you almost want to call bullshit.

If you're not familiar, the Gnostic Gospels are a series of early Christian writings--estimated to have been written 1600 years ago--that were about Jesus' teachings, but didn't make it into the Bible. Mainstream Christians reject them completely, others see them as the Bible's DVD deleted scenes.


In 1945, an Egyptian farmer, Mohammed Ali Samman, was looking for some sabakh, an organic fertilizer (we're pretty sure it's just shit). During his search for it in a cave, he found an old, red clay jar.

He really didn't want to open it for fear of ghosts or curses, but as The Legend of Zelda has taught us, clay jars are usually filled with rupees, so he took his chances and smashed it. Inside he didn't find rupees but instead found somewhere near a dozen old, leather bound books. Apparently pissed at the lack of rupees, he just went ahead and threw the books on his kindling pile.

The man's brother, who looked at the documents and realized there was something like a Bible Part 2 in his hands, convinced Mohammed to sell them instead. The documents were saved from destruction but the brothers had a falling out. So instead of selling them piece by piece as they planned, they took them to a nearby priest and said, "Here, you can have this. It's, like, extra Bible or something."

The priest, being a man of God and realizing the significance of the artifact and the almost miraculous nature of the discovery--they sat in that cave undisturbed for untold centuries--promptly went about pawning them off for cash to whatever antique dealers would take them.

A museum in Cairo got a hold of some of them and started desperately trying to gather the rest of the documents before they could get lost or some dumbass could use them to line his canary's cage. It would take 30 years for the museum to finally get them all back under the same roof.

#1. The 3,000-Year-Old Sacred Egyptian Liver Jar


So let's say it's 3,000 years ago, in Egypt. You're about to die, but that's OK because you know that, according to tradition, they're going to stick your organs into a series of pots where the goddess Isis will watch over them, until you need them again.

Three millennia later, your liver pot is being used as a lawn ornament.


How many of you have some old-timey piece of furniture you inherited from your family? Or maybe an old vase, or some ugly little statue thing?

Well a woman in the U.K. wound up with a chipped terracotta pot with this Egyptian head thing on the lid, after her uncle left it to her. It spent some time in her garage and then she decided to just stick it on her patio. It sat there, in the rain and with cats probably pissing on it, for 20 years.

Finally on a whim she thought, "well, the head part is kind of shaped like an Egyptian Pharaoh or something, I'll take it to some experts and see what they say."

What they said was that the goddamned thing was made a thousand years before the freaking birth of Christ.

Experts say the jar was specifically made to hold the liver of the deceased, though there was no liver inside. We're guessing some old man in Scotland is using it as a paperweight.

And check out what else our ancestors left us to treat like dog shit, in 11 Modern Technologies That Are Way Older Than You Think and 6 Insane Discoveries That Science Can't Explain.

And visit Cracked.com's Top Picks where there may or may not be an ancient "fair and balanced" article from FoxNews (there isn't).

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