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15 Ancient Monuments Whose Constructions Still Baffle Scientists

15 Ancient Monuments Whose Constructions Still Baffle Scientists

From the Great Pyramids of Giza to the iconic Machu Picchu, the world is full of ancient wonders. Many of these are still a mystery, as we have no idea how they were built or what their purpose was. Here are 15 ancient monuments that still baffle scientists to this day!

Stonehenge, England

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Stonehenge is one of Europe’s best-known prehistoric monuments and is located on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. This iconic stone circle has been around since 2500 BC and the stones weigh between 25-30 tons. As such, scientists are baffled as to how Stonehenge was constructed without today’s mechanical equipment.

The Moai of Easter Island, Chile

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Easter Island is located in the Pacific Ocean and boasts over 1,000 complete moai statues. Although only the heads of these enormous statues are visible, they have torsos too which are buried in the ground. Weighing around 12.5 tonnes each, it’s a mystery as to how the local people moved the Moai after they were built.

The Great Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

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Despite being one of the world’s top bucket list destinations, the Great Pyramids of Giza are still a mystery. The engineering feats required to build structures like this are monumental, which has left many scientists puzzled, especially as the pyramids were built around 4,500 years ago.

Baalbek, Lebanon

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Baalbek is located in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley, northeast of Beirut. This complex is home to some of the largest Roman temples ever built, and these are incredibly well-preserved. The blocks used to build these temples originated from a nearby quarry, and archaeologists are unsure of how they were moved and then placed due to their size and weight.

Nazca Lines, Peru

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The Nazca Lines are located in the Nazca Desert. This group of geoglyphs are etched into the ground, and there are hundreds of them, some of which are over 10 miles long. The Nazca Lines are a true mystery as no one knows why they were created or how, especially as they are around 2,000 years old.

Petra, Jordan

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Petra is the most-visited attraction in Jordan. This famous archeologic site has been half-carved into a rock face, with the surrounding mountains being home to various passages. How the Nabataeans carved this intricate structure poses many questions, but the true mystery has to be Petra’s tombs, which archaeologists don’t know much about.

The Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt

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The Great Sphinx of Giza is located near the Great Pyramids and is thought to be around 4,500 years old. At 240 feet long and 66 feet high, it’s one of the largest monuments in the world. Despite this, very little is known about the sphinx, including how or why it was built.

Chichén Itzá, Mexico

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Chichén Itzá is a Mayan complex, located along Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. The mystery behind these ancient ruins is not why they were built or how, but why the site was suddenly abandoned. The local people left Chichén Itzá during the 1400s and scientists still have no idea why!

Göbekli Tepe, Turkey

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In Turkey’s Anatolia Region, you’ll find an impressive Neolithic archaeological site called Göbekli Tepe. Dating back around 11,000 years, it’s humanity’s oldest known monumental structure. The discovery of Göbekli Tepe has reshaped the history of civilization, yet its purpose is still unknown, especially as most of the site is still buried underground.

Machu Picchu, Peru

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High in the Andes mountain range, you’ll find the Incan citadel of Machu Picchu. No one knows the exact purpose of this ancient monument, nor why it was abandoned by its people in the 1500s. Due to Machu Picchu’s remote location in Peru, this Incan site wasn’t rediscovered until 1911.

Newgrange, Ireland

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In County Meath’s Boyne Valley, you’ll find Newgrange World Heritage Site. This Stone Age monument is 5,000 years old and during the Winter Solstice, the central burial chamber is illuminated by the sun’s rays. To line up the solstice so perfectly would have been an architectural feat at the time, and experts are also uncertain of how the stones were moved as they are so heavy.

Teotihuacan, Mexico

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Teotihuacan is a huge archaeological complex, located northeast of Mexico City. Although it was one of the Western Hemisphere’s first great cities, the origins of this site are still a mystery. Scientists are also unclear on why the city of Teotihuacan collapsed, along with where its population ended up!

Paracas Candelabra, Peru

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From Paracas, those who take a boat trip will be rewarded with the sight of Paracas Candelabra. This prehistoric geoglyph is shrouded in myths, with its origins being very unclear. Not only that, but experts are unsure of what the geoglyph actually represents, whether that be a local plant or trident.

Haqar Qim, Malta

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Haqar Qim is an impressive megalithic temple complex on the island of Malta. It’s over 5,000 years old and offers unusual features, including doorways along the external wall. The stones used to build this ancient monument weigh up to 20 tons, so scientists are unsure how people were able to move them.

Hegra, Saudi Arabia

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Hegra is an impressive archaeological site in the Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia. South of Petra, it’s the largest preserved site of the Nabataean civilization and boasts over 100 monumental tombs. Despite this, the history of Hegra after the decline of the Roman Empire is relatively unknown.

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Emese Maczko is a travel blogger behind Eco Lodges Anywhere. Having explored several destinations around Europe, the US, Indonesia, and Australia, and resided in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Luxembourg, Emese possesses a keen understanding of diverse cultures and an appreciation for the beauty of each destination she visits. She advocates for sustainable travel and ecotourism.