7 Hilariously Embarrassing Archaeological Discoveries
It can be tempting sometimes, when you get a text that's nothing but emojis or accidentally catch a rerun of Jersey Shore, to want to set everything on fire and start over. What you have to realize, though, is that people have always been dumb, and we've got history to prove it. For your solace and/or existential despair, we present ...
Bored People In Medieval Times Also Liked To Doodle Bullshit
We've all gotten bored in history class and given all the portraits in the textbook fabulous afros -- including, apparently, medieval monks transcribing religious texts and literature. They didn't limit their doodles to the typical dongs and fashionable hairdos, though. Let's just say life in a monastery must give you a twisted-ass imagination.
Or just a twisted ass.
But, yes, there were also plenty of dongs. Come on.
The main characters of The Neverending Story went through a few revisions before hitting the big screen.
For a fun creative writing exercise, imagine the conversation taking place between these people as they pick dicks from a dick tree.
Crazy to think that we now have machines to do this.
They weren't necessarily bored, though. A medieval monk couldn't just grab a pen from the junk drawer -- they had to fashion their instruments from scratch, so they did a quick doodle to test them out. Sometimes they got carried away. You know how it is. You start with a little circle and, before you know it, boom: merman getting arrowed in the butt.
The twentieth craziest part of the Bible.
Most of these doodles were found on the first and last pages of their books, which were then glued to the covers, meaning they were never meant to be seen. That, uh, certainly explains a lot.
The ones that were absolutely put there on purpose, though, are some of the most baffling. This illustration supposedly depicts the conception of Alexander The Great:
"Charizard! How could you!"
Although there are plenty of supernatural legends surrounding that humpfest, we're not aware of any that involved dragons, but we do thank the artist for that still-life improv comedy prompt.
Behold, The Ancient Equivalent Of Bathroom Graffiti
In 2014, Dr. Andreas Vlachopoulos took his students on a field trip to the perilous Greek island of Astypalaia. We don't know what ancient wonders they hoped to find there, but what they found was dicks. Massive, rock-hard dicks.
We're honestly not sure if the positioning of the crack was accidental.
The inscriptions are around 2,500 years old, making them some of the oldest known "erotic graffiti," which is a very air-quotes way of saying "ancient bathroom wall dongle-doodles." Amidst the ocean of flop goblins were the usual initials and "so-and-so was here," including two swords in battle, so to speak. The artist signed these inscriptions "Dion," meaning that was either their name or someone they really hated. Another inscription reads "Nikasitimos was here mounting Timiona." In lieu of pouring one out, high-five the ground for those dudes.
This wasn't an isolated case of dick vandalism. Elsewhere, in what was once the ancient Greek city of Aphrodisias (present day Turkey), researchers recently found a wall decorated with dongs, faces, and dongs going into faces.
This is what happens when your roommate sees you left your Face-wall open.
Vlachopoulos insists that these types of relics provide valuable insight into the lives of the ancient Greeks. The messages not only confirm that man-on-man action was a pretty accepted mode of freak on-getting, but they also suggest that the common people were literate at a time and place when only the elite were thought to be. So next time you find yourself in a stall staring down a big ol' Sharpie snake, remember that future people will use it to prove that, despite all evidence to contrary, we knew how to read.
A 3,000 Year Old, Totally Decked-Out Golden Bong
The Scythians were kind of like real-life Dothraki, partying their way across Eurasia thousands of years ago, leaving nothing but massive grave mounds behind. When archaeologists were asked to dig up one such mound to make way for some power lines, they didn't expect to find much inside, since it had clearly been pillaged a time or two in the intervening millennia. However, one chamber still contained golden cups, rings, bracelets ... and a couple of bongs. And they were totally sweet.
Whoa, Seth Rogen just bought the film rights for this article.
Sure, that doesn't look much like the contents of your roommate's closet, but scientists not only confirmed that the residue found inside those big vessels was opium and cannabis, but that both drugs were smoked at the same time. Yeah, the Scythians did not fuck around. Apparently, decorating everything like a death metal album cover is a pothead tradition as old as time. One of the bongs is carved with scenes of various mythological creatures ripping each other apart, including "a stag in a bleak landscape that Belinski thinks represents the Scythian underworld." In other words, actual hell.
The ancient equivalent of a "Grim Reaper smoking weed" t-shirt.
The other depicts "an old, bearded man slaying young warriors," a scene that one archaeologist believes may represent what is known as the "Bastard Wars" -- what happened when a bunch of Scythians returned from a 30-year war with Persia to find a whole lot of children with whom they couldn't remember impregnating anyone.
Turns out Game Of Thrones was real, but there was a lot more giggling and junk food binging.
A Babylonian Tablet Whining About Crappy Service
The "I'd like to speak to a manager" haircut may be a modern invention, but the sentiment sure isn't. In the British Museum (there's apparently just the one) lies the BC version of a comments card, carved into a stone tablet by a guy who was pissed at his copper dealer. Behold, the world's first negative Yelp review:
We're assuming those are all caps.
For those of you who don't speak Old Babylonian, the gist of the message is that a dude named Nanni was promised "fine quality copper ingots" from a dealer named Ea-nasir. Unfortunately, the quality of the product wasn't up to his standards. He relays in hilariously dignified tones just how offended he is by the transaction and complains that the messengers he's sent through enemy territory to get his money back have all returned empty-handed. Yeah, working for Nanni sucked.
The best part? The whole reason Ea-nasir stiffed Nanni was because Nanni owed him money in the first place. Nanni openly admits this in his complaint but argues that "one (trifling) mina of silver" shouldn't stop him from getting the star treatment. And they say this generation is entitled.
Medieval Europe Practically Invented Rap Battles And Crass Insult Comedy
Today's rap battles mostly take place on street corners and in Eminem's imagination, but back in olden times, it was high class entertainment. Called "flyting," it was often performed before Scottish royalty, most notoriously by poets William Dunbar and Walter Kennedy for King James IV. Their battle is shockingly familiar, hitting all the beats of a modern diss track in slightly more sophisticated language: Boasting of the speaker's superior skills ...
And he recited this while breakdancing.
Lamenting the lack of their opponent's ...
Not sure which type of ass he means, but it works both ways.
And good old genital threats.
"Yeah, he's kind of a weirdo, but he's still my cousin."
Aside from being sick as hell, this also put Kennedy in the history books for being the first person on the record to insultingly compare a person to excrement. Dunbar hit him back good, though. DJ, spin that shit: "Gray-visaged gallows-bird, out of your wits gone wild / Loathsome and lousy, as wet as a cress / Since you with worship would so fain be styled / Hail, Monsignor! Your balls droop below your dress."
"WHO WON?! WHO'S NEXT?!"
Of course, this being around the time we were still pretty sure women were just barely disguised demons, they weren't the only ones trafficking in misogynist humor. While Scotland was inventing the rap battle, France was inventing the dumb joke book.
Funny short stories called "fabliaux," which usually concerned sex or some other shameful bodily function, were circulated anonymously. One famous example, The Four Wishes Of St. Martin, tells of a man who cursed his wife to sprout tiny vaginas all over her body. (Fun fact: This after she wishes his body to be covered with dicks but before the couple accidentally wishes all their vaginas and dongs away, including their originals.) Yes, as a matter of fact, that is more or less the plot of an episode of South Park. The man then jokes, "Honey, don't worry, because now you will never walk down the street without being well known ." That's actually a play on the Old French words for "know" and "vagina" -- as if sexism wasn't bad enough, they had to go and throw in a pun.
3,000 Years Ago, Some Asshole Burnt His Cheese Dinner
When archaeologists found a 3,000-year-old clay pot containing a "glassy, foamy substance" in the Danish wetlands, they were more excited than you might expect. Such objects are usually found destroyed, you see, with any organic matter contained therein long since washed away. What was the blackened residue? The product of a Norse blood ritual? A Bronze Age speedball, which is apparently a possibility? Nope -- it was cheese. And not even good cheese.
Some poor Norse ghost is still waiting for the extra cheese pizza he ordered.
Specifically, it was some weird-ass cheese made with the fat from inside a cow's stomach (try not to think too hard about the process that involved). The cheese was promptly scalded and then shamefully buried in a clay pit, which is what kept it so well-preserved. One archaeologist theorized that it was so hastily ditched because it stunk so bad, proving that people have been embarking on ill-advised cooking experiments with exotic foodstuffs for at least a few millennia.
The next time your roommate yells at you for drunkenly leaving leftover Kraft dinner on the stove and throwing away their ruined pot, just tell them it's a tradition that's very important to your people. This will require you to be Danish, so be sure to make up a relative named Hans first.
Cats Have Always Been Jerks
It's a pain in the ass when you're trying to write the next great American novel and your cat decides your laptop is its own personal runway, but it could be a lot worse. Unless you cheaped out on the kibble that day and the cat intentionally hit a very bad key, this can usually be fixed with a few backspaces. Not so for the writer of a medieval Croatian manuscript discovered by a student in the Dubrovnik State Archive, which was covered in cat paw prints.
These particular markings translate to "because fuck you, that's why" in feline-ese.
At some point, the little shit apparently knocked over the ink and splashed around it for a while. It then leaped square on top of the very important work its owner was doing, and said owner didn't know why they started lecturing an animal that can't understand them; it's just a thing cat owners have always done. Sure, they could have started over with a fresh sheet of paper, but accepting chaos is also a key part of cat ownership.
But the tradition of cats ruining things goes back even further and gets way sneakier. So sneaky that it wasn't noticed for 2,000 years, in fact, when a Roman roof tile was discovered to contain imprints from a cat's paw.
Holy shit, how old was this cat?!
Apparently, Roman animals and people alike had little regard for the craft of carpentry, as "dog paw prints, people's boot prints, and even a piglet's trotter print have all been found on" such tiles, according to a local city councilperson. What they don't tell us is how a piglet got on top of a wet Roman rooftop, and we'll pay exactly the price of a movie ticket to the person who can explain it. (Hint, hint, George Miller.)
Follow Manna on Twitter. Or else.
You know all those facts you've learned about psychology from movies and that one guy at the party who says, "Actually ..." a lot? Please forget them. Chances are none of them are true. Take the Stanford Prison Experiment, the one famous psychology study people can name. It was complete bullshit. Funny story actually, it turns out that when you post flyers that say, "Hey, do you wanna be a prison guard for the weekend? Free food and nightsticks," you might not get the most stable group of young men. So join Jack O'Brien, Cracked staff members Dan O'Brien and Michael Swaim, and Psychology Professor Martie G. Haselton of UCLA as they debunk Rorschach tests, the Mozart effec,t and middle child syndrome, so soon you can be that person at the party who says, "Actually ..." Get your tickets here!
For more ways life has always been this way, check out 7 Memes That Went Viral Before The Internet Existed and 6 Modern-Day Tech Advances (That Your Grandparents Had).
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