Mysterious Monuments: Stonehenge, U.K.
Surrounded by several hundred burial mounds and located far from the source of its megalithic stones, Stonehenge is the poster child of mysterious monuments. The earth and ditch around the monument dates to 3100 BC, and while there is some disagreement on the precise date of the erection of the stones, that followed roughly between 2500 BC to 2200 BC. There are several theories as to the purpose of the site, and it is likely that there were multiple uses over the years. Astronomical, spiritual, ancestor worship all have proponents and some have offered the idea that it was a sort of healing place, based on the conditions of the bodies buried around it.
Mysterious Monuments: Easter Island
Nothing says weird like giant 80-ton stone heads on a completely treeless island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, amid currents that would have made said island really hard to stumble across. But this mysterious monument is Easter Island (or Rapa Nui as it is properly named), and its inhabitants originally arrived from Polynesia. These heads are called moai, and were built from the island’s stone quarries and moved to their posts looking inland. The moai are believed to represent tribal ancestors and they were all tipped on their faces during conflict among the tribes. They were likely moved using techniques incorporating tree logs, but the island was treeless by the time European explorers arrived. Running out of such resources may have played a part in those conflicts.
Mysterious Monuments: Nazca Lines, Peru
Identifiable easily from the air and spread out on desert land in southern Peru, these geometric designs are designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are hundreds of them and they range in style from simple shapes to clear line drawings of animals such as monkeys, sharks or lizards. The largest of them spans over 200 metres. They were created by removing the red stones of the region to reveal the white limestone underneath. Remnants of what appear to be wooden stakes used in their design take some of the mystery out of how someone could create such figures without a bird’s eye view, but what was their purpose? Theories abound from astronomical alignments and directions to water sources, to the usual believers in extraterrestrial visitors in need of landing strips.