6 Priceless Ancient Artifacts (Destroyed by Idiots)

#3. Five Ancient Tombs Destroyed for a Rail Project

Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

While constructing the Guangzhou Metro Line 6, contractors in China destroyed five ancient tombs in one day. Man, the workday's almost over, and we've barely even destroyed one tomb. China truly is a powerhouse.

Zhang Xiaoli, Xinhua via Fame/Barcroft
So is there, like, a trick to it, or do we just need to start getting up before 10?

What makes the story more unusual, however, is that archaeologists were actually in the process of excavating the tombs at the time. They had a whole dig site set up and everything: tents, tools, those little ankle-high ropes that, seriously, fellas, ain't gonna keep out an Ewok. The researchers were caught so unaware by the tomb-pocalypse that they literally left the intact site on Friday night and returned Saturday morning to a mummy holocaust.

The workers chalked the artifact obliteration up to a misunderstanding with authorities, claiming they "did not know the tombs could not be bulldozed." Jesus, we'd think the historical value, if not the sheer curse potential, would make that kind of thing self-evident.

Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
"Sorry, my fault. I was texting."

This kind of wanton Chinese tomb destruction (dibs on the band name) wasn't an isolated incident. As many as a dozen other treasures containing skeleton shacks have been blown to smithereens since the beginning of the year, many by the very same construction company. So this company is utterly corrupt, entirely staffed by grossly incompetent workers, or the only thing keeping mainland China safe from mummy invasion.

Mike Flokis/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Just another victim of outsourcing.

#2. A Valuable Chinese Vase Rendered Worthless by a DIY Project

Martin Poole/Photodisc/Getty Images

In 2008, a London family took a closer look at a tacky lamp that their grandmother had been using to light her home and, noting the tell-tale blue-on-white paint scheme that all expensive things have, wondered whether it might be worth something.


After having the lamp professionally evaluated, they found that it was of Chinese origin. More specifically, it had been manufactured all the way back in the early 18th century during the Qing Dynasty. "Huh," you're probably saying, "I guess that's kind of old. Still, it's not prehistoric. Shouldn't be too valuable."

Nowadays that lamp is worth around 50,000 pounds. But there was a problem. When the vase was converted into a lamp, some poor ignorant fool with a drill press bored a tiny hole in the base and poked a power cord through. The hole was barely noticeable, but it did slightly decrease the value of the vase. To around 6,000 pounds.

Although 45 large seems about right for a serious accident involving a power drill.

#1. A 3,500-Year-Old Tree Burned Down by a Meth Addict


A bald cypress tree called the Senator once stood in a central Florida swamp in Seminole County for 3,500 years. It was the fifth oldest tree in the world and stood 118 feet high. It was hollow inside, which some say helped it to survive Florida's logging boom that took so much old growth down, and others say made it a bitchin' place to slam meth.

Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
And we all know that meth users are VERY picky about where they're willing to indulge.

During one of those crazy ancient treehouse meth parties that we've all been to, a woman named Sarah Barnes accidentally burned the several-thousand-year-old, quite-possibly-an-ent Senator to the ground.

Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel
Smokey Bear is gonna be pissed.

More than 800 feet of fire hose and a sheriff's helicopter dropping water on the blaze weren't enough to save it, and the tree collapsed under its own weight in just three hours. We're not going to condone smoking meth in protected historical sites or anything, but we can't help but feel a bit bad for the lady. Imagine knocking over your ... meth ... torch(?) ... and knowing you had just destroyed several millennia. You'd scramble around trying to slap it out, eventually giving up and calling in an anonymous tip to the fire department that you knew in your sinking heart was probably going to be in vain.

"If the firefighters find a lighter that says 'Thug Life' on it, could I get that back?"

Well, that's what you'd do.

Barnes didn't call anybody, because she was using her cellphone to snap pics of the inferno. She showed them to her friends, stating with a giggle: "I can't believe I burned down a tree older than Jesus."

Via Wikimedia
"You leave me out of this."

Barnes, we need to tell you something: The ents are slow to anger, and even slower to forget.

Joey Clift is a sketch comedy writer and performer living in Los Angeles. His sketch group Dumbshit Mountain is pretty funny. You should check out their YouTube and Facebook pages. Kevin Smith is an American economist living in Canada, learning that calculus generally isn't funny.

Related Reading: For more works of staggering importance destroyed by idiocy, click here. You'll learn about the fake archaeologist who destroyed Troy. Next, read about the tragic history of Qing vases and clumsy dumbasses. Last, get a look ahead at the great cities we can expect to lose due to natural disasters.

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