The earth can be a sort of an unmarked time capsule in many areas. It holds secrets of the past, some of which were hoped to never be found, but others that people dream of finding. Almost every project requires excavation or demolition in some way, so keep your eyes peeled for the next great discovery!
1. Woolly Mammoth Bones
While working on an expansion to Oregon State’s football stadium, crews uncovered what turned out to be 10,000 year old woolly mammoth bones. The group also ended up finding several other bones, including what looked like a bison or a horse. It’s not uncommon for construction in the western United States to be interrupted by the discovery of fossils such as this.
Full story: Mammoth bones found during construction of Oregon State University football stadium expansion | Daily Mail
2. A Famous Drug Lord’s Secret Safe
29 Years ago, the government seized one of infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar’s Miami Beach, Florida houses. There’s finally a new owner, who has decided to tear the house down and, in the process, demolition crews made a very interesting discovery. As the last wall of the house was being knocked over, one of the workers noticed a gray safe. Unfortunately, the contents it contained were not released. A week earlier, a bag was found that the new owner believed to contain cocaine.
Full story: Safe found during demolition of Pablo Escobar home | ABC Local 10
3. Ruins of an 18th Century Ship
In January of last year, construction crews working on a new hotel along the waterfront of Alexandria, Virginia uncovered a Revolutionary War-era ship that had been buried underground, which is believed to have been deliberately sunken between 1775 and 1798. A 50-foot-long piece of the keel, frame, stern and flooring were recovered, as well as a 3 person privy, aka restroom, from around the same era.
Full story: The discovery of a 300-year-old ship at a construction site has archaeologists ecstatic | The Washington Post
4. Human Bones
A crew at a Hillsdale, Missouri construction site made a startling discovery after one of their trucks got stuck in a field in January. After finding what appeared to be a human leg bone, the workers called 911 and authorities began an investigation. Through the use of cadaver dogs, a medical examiner, and a crime scene unit, a human skull was also uncovered. The good news was that no foul play was expected in the death of the person and the medical examiner’s office believes the remains may be historic.
Full story: Human bones found at construction site in Hillsdale | KMOV
If bones and tombstones weren’t spooky enough for you, how about finding 1 severed head on your jobsite? After spoils had been removed from a construction site in Sharnbrook, Bedforshire, England and transported to a Quarry in Cambridgeshire, a worker discovered the remains of the head. It’s not yet known how the head ended up on site, but they believe the man could have been hit by a train and the head became stuck in a nearby bridge. Officials think the head could have been there for anywhere between 10 and 50 years.
Full story: Severed head found in Cambridgeshire quarry may be that of accident victim | The Guardian
As contractors in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois were demolishing a site to make way for condos, a nearby neighbor noticed something startling in the soil stockpiles: tombstones and fragments of wood, which looked like caskets. The neighbor then called ABC7 in Illinois to investigate the findings. According to both the contractors on site and the nearby cemetery, no bodies were buried in the caskets. A crises was definitely averted since there were no bodies on the site, but jobsite workers should be educated to stop work when such a discovery is made and contact officials to investigate.
Full story: Tombstones Uncovered on Oakbrook Terrace Construction Site Raise Questions | ABC7
6. Otter Pups
During a residential driveway replacement project in Titusville, Florida, a den which housed an adult otter and three 5-week old otter pups were discovered. The adult otter ran off leaving the pups orphaned until they were picked up by the Florida Wildlife Hospital and Sanctuary, who has been caring for them.
Full story: Otter pups found at Florida construction site | Orlando Sentinel
7. A 33 Foot Long Anaconda
After blowing up a cave in preparation of work on the Belo Monte Dam, a HUMONGOUS 33 foot long (10m), 881 pound (400kg), and 3.2 foot diameter (1m) anaconda emerged from the darkness, according to the video description posted by Weird Animals. Although the actual dimensions of the snake have not yet been confirmed, the crew shot some video of the reptile for the world to see. It’s not known if the explosion killed the snake or if the workers killed it, but it unfortunately seems to be dead in the video.
Full story: Brazilian Construction Workers Find 33 Foot Long Anaconda on Job Site | Construction Junki
8. Remnants of Ancient Church
When a Muslim general named Amr ibn al-As conquered Gaza in Palestine in 637 C.E., most of the residents adopted Islam. This then lead to many of the Christian churches being abandoned and later forgotten. One of those ancient churches was dug up by construction crews last year, with some of the found relics including marble columns imported from Greece around 1,500 years ago. Unfortunately, Palestine’s antiquities ministry is extremely small and lacks the appropriate funding to find and properly preserve all the relics on the construction site, so some of the history of this church may be lost.
Full story: Remnants From Ancient Church Unearthed in Gaza by Construction Workers | Haaretz
9. 1300 Pounds of Ancient Roman Coins
A crew of construction workers in Spain got quite a thrill in 2016 when they uncovered roughly 1300 pounds (600 kilograms) worth of bronze and silver coated Roman coins. The coins were never used and were buried in amphoras, which is a type of ceramic container widely used in Ancient times (picture in tweet below). Amazingly, they were only buried about 3 feet (1m) underground. The Seville Archeological Museum was ecstatic over the find and believe the coins date back as far as the 4th century. To their knowledge, no other coins like these have been found and they place the value of them as “incalculable,” reports the Telegraph.
The coins are believed to have been set aside to pay soldiers or civil servants. Many of the ones that have been examined so far have the likes of Constantine and Maximian, both Roman Emperors, on the backside of them.
Construction work in the area was halted temporarily until archaeologists could determine if there are any other artifacts hiding in the area. Now word yet on whether or not those construction workers that found the coins are filthy stinking rich, but it’s probably a safe bet that they won’t see much of the treasure.
Below is a video of some more images of the coins uncovered, shared by the Telegraph:
10. An Old Grenade
A Massachusetts construction crew were given a bit of a panic in May, when they uncovered a rifle grenade on their site. They immediately called the local police and the bomb squad was dispatched to remove the device. Luckily, the grenade was not live and the police believe it had been used for training.
Full story: Old grenade found at Chatham construction site | Boston Globe
11. A Young Girl’s Casket
As contractors were working on a home renovation in San Francisco, California, they came across what looked to be a small casket. As it turns out, the home location was the former site of the Odd Fellows Cemetery, which had been moved to Colma, California in the 1930s. Well, so they thought. According to CBS, these caskets, which were buried around 120 years ago, turn up in residential construction progress every once in a while. The owner of the home worked with an organization called Garden of Innocence, which helps to bury unidentified children, after the city would not allow a re-burial without a death certificate.
Full story: Construction Crews Discover Young Girl’s Casket Underneath San Francisco Home | CBS
12. 43 dinosaur eggs
The Chinese city of Heyuan boasts that they have uncovered tens of thousands of dinosaur eggs in the past two decades, and they’ve just added a huge new batch to their collection.
Since their first discovery in 1996, the city has unearthed more than 17,000 fossilized eggs and many of them were found by civilians rather than scientists. In fact, the first group of eggs was found by a group of children playing at a construction site. They falsely believed that the huge items were stones.
With this new batch of 43 eggs, workers were repairing a road when they jumped into the ditch after seeing glimpses of eggs. The repair was stopped to preserve the eggs and see how many more were in the opening.
A total of 19 eggs were completely intact and will be tested by researchers to determine what kind of dinosaur they belonged to. In the past, the majority of the tested eggs turned out to be oviraptorid and duck-billed dinosaurs, which roamed the earth 89 million years ago. The largest of the eggs measured at 5 inches in diameter.
Full story: Construction Workers Accidentally Unearth 43 Fossilized Dinosaur Eggs | Brianna Acuesta, True Activist