Strange, historic relics unearthed by accident

Published 5:30am Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sometimes I’m forcibly reminded of the cliché “truth is stranger than fiction.” As I was scanning through the National Geographic Daily News’ “weird news” section, several examples of that expression caught my attention.
One of those involves an Iranian inventor who claims he has built a machine that can predict a person’s future for the next 5-8 years. I guess the premise is a kind of variation on the time-travel machine popular in science fiction novels.
Supposedly the guy’s creation can accurately forecast a person’s future, complete with a printed report. He says the machine uses complex algorithms and will fit into a personal computer case. But there is a catch. None of us will be able to go out and grab one of these off the shelf because the inventor also says Iran won’t let him unveil it. He claims his government fears some other country (specifically China) will steal the idea and mass produce millions of the devices. A government official denied the story.
Another interesting item (and you may have heard about this one) was about the bones of England’s King Richard III being found under a parking lot. DNA tests confirmed the identification. It seems pretty undignified and odd for a monarch’s final resting place to have been paved over in the first place.
You may not already know about some other historic relics found during other construction work. One of those occasions was the discovery of 51 headless Viking skeletons during an archaeological survey made prior to embarking on some road construction work, also in England.
The skeletons were piled together in a pit, with some showing hack marks from swords and axes.
In Turkey, the ancient Byzantine port of Theodosius was uncovered during the building of a rail tunnel.Just a couple of months ago, the fossils of 11 whale species were excavated during road construction in Laguna Canyon, Calif. Four of the species were previously unknown. Scientists date the remains at 17 to 19 million years old.
And, here’s one last oddity. A huge, partially fossilized egg brought $101,813 at auction at Christie’s last week. It was sold to an anonymous buyer over the phone. The giant egg was laid on the island of Madagascar by a now-extinct elephant bird and was a foot long. The birds –which resembled giant ostriches – became extinct several hundred years ago.
Honestly, I’m sure many of us could easily have found more productive uses for a hundred grand.
You just can’t make this stuff up.
Until next week …

Peggy Blackburn is managing editor of The Wetumpka Her­ald and Elmore County Weekend. She can be reached at 334-567-7811. Her email address is peggy.blackburn@TheWetumpkaHerald.com.

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