5 Historical Treasures That Are Accidental Comedy Gold

We've dug up archaeological discoveries that would make even the most hard-boiled explorers crap their pants in terror once or twice before. This isn't one of those articles. This is the article you use to wash those horrors out of your brain. It's mental mouthwash. Now swish.

Advertisement

5
The Poop Of A Hunter-Gatherer Who Ate A Whole Rattlesnake

Back in the 1960s, archaeologists collected hundreds of "coprolites" (read: fossilized poop) from a 1,500-year-old rock shelter in Lower Pecos, Texas -- an area that had long ago played host to tribes of hunter-gatherers. In a scene that echoed the ending of Raiders Of The Lost Ark, they then left these time turds to rot in a storage closet for the next half-century.

Someone else can deal with this crap, literally.Paramount Pictures"Someone else can deal with this crap, literally."

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

When archaeologists at Texas A&M recently reopened the collection, they didn't expect to find anything of note hiding away amongst these nostalgic #2s. They were wrong.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

When the team broke open a sample that they unimpressively described as a "really skinny cow pat," they found themselves staring at a rattlesnake fang -- one that looked just as fresh (and just as lethal) as any modern-day counterpart.

And then they found the ribs.

And then the vertebrae.

And then the scales.

The team soon realized that they hadn't found the poop of a hunter-gatherer with a terrible taste in toothpicks; they'd found the poop of a hunter-gatherer who, for whatever reason, woke up one morning and decided to eat an entire rattlesnake. We can't say for sure whether they survived the ordeal, but they sure did have time to make afterwards, and the scientists didn't find any skeletons nearby curled up in intestinal distress. We guess that's the closest thing to a happy ending this story gets.

Proving that even in the Neolithic era, Texans behaved pretty much the same as now.E.M. Sonderman, C.A. Dozier, and M.F. SmithProving that even in the Neolithic era, Texans behaved pretty much the same as now.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

So what would make someone eat an entire snake, you might wonder? In the case of your mom, $5. In the case of this individual, we have no idea. The best guess anyone can come up with is that it was part of a ritual intended to bring about rainfall, perhaps because the area was stricken by a devastating drought. Honestly? We'd rather take the drought.

Related: 7 Hilariously Embarrassing Archaeological Discoveries

4
The Infinity Gauntlet Of Saint Teresa

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Saint Teresa was a 16th-century nun from Avila, Spain who was so beloved that after her death in 1582, her body was dismembered and the pieces shipped to churches throughout the country -- which begs the question of what they would've done if they'd hated her.

One of these pieces was her right hand, which was shipped to Nuestra Senora de la Merced and subsequently encased -- as befitting a relic of its stature -- inside a silver glove covered in gemstones. We're not sure if these gemstones are meant to represent the fundamental elements of the Universe, or even if the glove is articulated enough to enable its wearer to snap their fingers, but ... there might be a reason they keep this thing under lock and key, and it's not that mad tyrants have a hard-on for stealing it.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Related: 5 Baffling Discoveries That Prove History Books Are Wrong

3
An Ancient Bolivian Drug Lab

In 2008, archaeologists working at Cueva del Chileno in Bolivia uncovered a 1,000-year-old burial site hiding inside a mountainside cave. The grave was later found to be vacant (creepy), but the archaeologists didn't go away empty-handed, having also stumbled across a leather bag, which on closer inspection was found to contain everything the previous occupant of the grave would've needed to crash headfirst through the gates of the afterlife.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

The bag contained several spatulas -- made of bone, no less -- that would've been used to grind down psychoactive seeds into a fine powder, which would've then been snorted brainwards using the wooden nostril-sized tube that was also found in the bag. As this was a classy operation, they didn't inbibe their drugs off the floor like savages. No, they crushed and snorted their product off two small wooden tablets embedded with gemstones, which is the pre-Columbian equivalent of gold-plating your vape.

5 Historical Treasures That Are Accidental Comedy GoldAlbarracin-Jordan, Et. Al./ Journal of Bolivian Archeology

They were wrapped in a roughly woven Legalize It T-shirt, along with some ceramic Phish CDs.Albarracin-Jordan, Et. Al./ Journal of Bolivian ArcheologyThey were wrapped in a roughly woven "Legalize It" T-shirt, along with some ceramic Phish CDs.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Just to add to the party spirit, the bag also contained a multicolored headband -- like the ones that are everywhere at Coachella, minus the cultural appropriation -- as well as a small pouch made from the snouts of not one, not two, but three cuddly wuddly foxes.

Admittedly a bit less cuddly wuddly now.Albarracin-Jordan, Et. Al./ Journal of Bolivian ArcheologyAdmittedly a bit less cuddly wuddly now.

This lunatic wasn't being sent into the afterlife with pristine equipment, either. When tested, it was found to be covered in traces of everything from cocaine to psilocin to ayahuasca, which also suggested that our party animal had connections. These products weren't available locally, see, so they were either trekking hundreds of miles every time they wanted to get high or had access to "really extensive exchange networks." Oh, and an apparent ability to smooth-talk old-timey customs agents.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Related: The 6 Most Embarrassing Historical Artifacts Ever Discovered

2
What Blackbeard And His Crew Used To Read For Fun

While studying the wreck of Queen Anne's Revenge -- the scurvy seafaring vessel captained by Blackbeard himself -- archaeologists discovered scraps of paper lodged inside one of the cannons. On its own, this was an amazing find. We don't tend to recover much paper from shipwrecks, on account of how (and stop us if we get too science-y here) water makes it go mushy bye-bye.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Of course, discovering what the scraps came from was going to be a mammoth task. Were they pieces of a treasure map? A couple of doodles that Blackbeard scribbled in a fit of boredom? Some pornography that needed to be hastily disposed of? It was a mystery that was guaranteed to go unsolved forev- oh, they were from a book about ... badass explorers?

Which we suppose is something akin to a boring trade journal when you're a notorious pirate.NC DCRWhich we suppose is something akin to a boring trade journal when you're a notorious pirate.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Using the handful of words printed on the scraps, conservators were able to figure out that they were ripped from a first-edition copy of A Voyage To The South Sea, And Round The World, Perform'd In The Years 1708, 1709, 1710 And 1711. This was a "voyage narrative" published in 1712 by Captain Edward Cooke, in which Cooke describes his exploits sailing the high seas, which included rescuing the real-life Robinson Crusoe.

Honestly, though, this discovery leaves more questions than answers. Namely, why did Blackbeard need a book about badass sailors when he was Goddamn Blackbeard? And if so, what, did he pick this up from a seaside Borders in Nassau along with some overpriced water and a neck pillow? We need to know.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Related: 5 Archaeological Finds That Prove The Past Was Dumb AF

1
Sacrificial Guinea Pigs, All Dressed Up With Nowhere To Go

When you think of ancient civilizations performing animal sacrifices, how does that play out in your head? If you're anything like us (and we certainly hope not), there's a guy in robes, a bigass knife, and some kind of lumbering beast like an oxen ... and later a bunch of people wondering why their crops are still failing. ("The 25,0001st cow must be the charm!") The animal sacrifice that we want to talk about, however, isn't like that at all.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

While excavating a 16th-century Incan settlement in Peru, archaeologist Lidio Valdez stumbled across the corpses of 100 guinea pigs. He hadn't discovered the ruins of a PetSmart, though. These guinea pigs had been buried alive as a sacrifice intended to bring good fortune to the settlement -- after which their bodies were sealed beneath the floors of several buildings, which we're reasonably sure led to the cutest haunting in history.

The weirdest part, though? These lil' squealers were sent to the afterlife wearing the finest miniature duds the Incas had to offer. On closer inspection, every guinea pig was adorned a necklace/earring combo fashioned from lengths of colored string.

5 Historical Treasures That Are Accidental Comedy GoldLidio Valdez/Int'l. Journal of Osteoarchaeology

Though we doubt that was of much comfort to whichever six-year-old had to send Mr. Whiskers off to appease the sun god.Lidio Valdez/Int'l. Journal of OsteoarchaeologyThough we doubt that was of much comfort to whichever six-year-old had to send Mr. Whiskers off to appease the sun god.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

According to Vldez, the fact that the Incas sent these animals into the afterlife like they were attending a Mardi Gras parade suggests that they weren't just any ol' sacrificial animals. They were important, and represented some kind of "special gift" intended for nature. Between the clothing and the fact that most of the guinea pigs were on the younger side, it's entirely possible (according to another archaeologist) that they were intended to serve as replacements for child sacrifice. Aaaaand we're back to talking archaeological horrors. See you at Halloween, folks!

You can find more from Adam on Twitter! He also has a newsletter about depressing history facts. (It's not as sad it sounds, promise.)

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

For more, check out So You Want To Be INDIANA JONES:


Also, we'd love to know more about you and your interesting lives, dear readers. If you spend your days doing cool stuff, drop us a line at iDoCoolStuff at Cracked dot com, and maybe we can share your story with the entire internet.

Follow us on Facebook. It's free.

To turn on reply notifications, click here

102 Comments

Load Comments

More Articles

5 Weird AF Facts History Class Left Out

There's a whole lot of history out there.

108

5 Deranged Questions That Appeared On Real Tests

Exam season is a stressful time.

147

At Least Your Thanksgiving Wasn't As Bad As Kid Rock's

Bawitdaba, pass the green beans.

2

Papa John's Disgraced Founder Has Gone Full Supervillain

It's hard out there for millionaire purveyors of garbage pizza.

0

5 Priceless Missing Treasures (That Are Waiting To Be Found)

Everyone from Nathan Drake to Benjamin Gates has failed to locate these missing treasures.

66

5 Big Tech Scandals That Didn't Get Enough Attention

The tech industry is constantly changing like a swirling, confusing vortex.

68