From volcanoes spewing out history, to golden relics found underneath a pile of acorns, here are 9 of the most Curious and Amazing Amulets ever found
#9 Mehrgarh Amulet
At first glance this 6.000 years old copper item looks like an ordinary wheel-design amulet. At the time when it was discovered by famous French archaeologist Jean-François Jarrige at the Mehrgar Neolithic site in , Pakistan, it looked like just another regular old relic. Assumed to be a generic religious item, it was left at that. Meh, nothing much to see there. That is... until... the “second discovery” of the amulet revealed its true magnificence.
French physicist Mathieu Thoury and his team conducted an experiment with the amulet by tracking how it emits light. Their conclusion was that amulet was molded in one single piece, a technique that was very innovative for the time. The technique used to make the amulet was called the lost wax casting.
Mehrgarh’s craftsmen first made a copy of the amulet from wax, which was then encased in soft clay. That clay was then baked and the inner wax copy was melted away leaving an empty mold, like a relief carving. Pure cooper was then poured in mold and after it was cooled, the mold was broken away, leaving a single piece of copper. The Mehrgar Amulet is the oldest item ever to be discovered that’s been made using this technique. This technique, first used to make the Mehrgar Amulet, is still being used today — by NASA! to make small delicate parts for space bound shuttles.
#8 Galilee Scarab Amulet
When a group of 10th grade girls set out on a school field trip in June 2016 to archaeological sites in Galilee, Israel, I’m guessing they expected to have fun playing in the desert dust digging for artifacts. Whatever they expected, it definitely wasn’t to make an astonishing finding that would call the attention of archaeologists across the globe.
Sepphoris is a site that has provided numerous findings from the Paleolithic to the Ottoman Period. As the students were helping experts at the excavation site, the girls stumbled upon a teeny tiny fingernail sized scarab amulet. It was a curiosity because, apparently, this kind of amulet is usually found snuggly inside a grave, not out in the open.
Dr. Daphna Ben-Tor checked out the unconventional find and confirmed it - a 3,300 year old Egyptian scarab amulet from the Golden Age of ancient Egypt, during the reign of the great Pharaoh Ramses of the 19th Dynasty.
#7 It’s Black and White
Travel just a bit south to the lower portion of the Galilee, where a hiker stumbled upon a curious object on the beach in Israel. The Horns of Hattin beach is perched between two extinct volcanoes, making the beach a massive stretch of black basalt rocks. This round white object stuck out like a sore thumb to a hiker passing through. He scrambled to to it and pocketed the strange looking rock and took it to this video’s scarab amulet identifier extrordinaire — Dr. Daphna Ben-Tor. Clocking in at 3,500 years old, this scarab beetle-shaped amulet is thought to represent Pharaoh Thutmose the third, also known as the Napoleon of Egypt for capturing some 350 cities during his extremely long reign.Scarabs are such popular amulets in Ancient Egypt because they are symbols of the heavenly cycle, rebirth and regeneration — a super important theme for the Egyptians who held elaborate beliefs about the afterlife. The image of the scab beetle is infused with the circle of life idea for a reason: scarab beetles roll their dung into a ball for food, as well as lay their eggs in it to hatch. It’s weird, but poetic, I think. Also, if you flip the scarab amulet onto it’s back side, it totally looks like the Millenium Falcon. But maybe that’s just me!)
#6 Yunatsite Golden Amulet
No processed gold has ever been dated further back in history than the piece you see now. Calculated to be 6,500 years old, this golden bead amulet is the oldest piece so far found. And it was fittingly found in one of the oldest constantly inhabited settlements in the world — the Yunatsite village in southern Bulgaria. Inhabited for more than 7.000 years, the name of the village in Bulgarian means Heroes, and has suffered turbulent history. Several settlement sites around the village date back to the Copper Age. In 2017 this interesting golden anthropomorphic amulet, which means it has human characteristics, was found by a team of local archaeologists. It was dated to the 5th millennium B.C. The amulet was unearthed from underneath a pile of charred acorns, which scientists infer means that this culture, like many others, worshipped the oak tree as sacred.
#5 Cyprus Palindrome Amulet
#4 Arabic Blessing Amulet
#3 Googly-Eyed God Amulet
#2 Thor’s Hammer Amulet
#1 Odin’s Skull Amulet