From the time we start watching movies and TV shows as a child, it seems we see countless tales about people searching for treasure. The wonders of discovering lost riches or rare artifacts has apparently been ingrained deep inside our brains.
In the movies, the hunt for treasure often begins with a treasure map, leading the heroes on a journey. But in the real world, the discovery of treasure often isn't the result of someone actively seeking it out. So here are five examples of different treasures that were discovered completely by accident.
One of the most famous sculptures in history is the Venus de Milo, currently on display at The Louvre in France. But believe it or not, the statue was hidden away for a long period of time. It is believed to have been created in around 100 BC, but wasn't discovered until much more recently.
In 1820, a peasant on the Greek Island of Melos was digging through some ancient ruins to make use of some marble blocks. While he was looking for marble, he also stumbled upon the previously unknown statue, the Venus de Milo. It was later presented to King Louis XVIII of France, and put on display at The Louvre.
The Lascaux Cave is notable because the inside is covered with artistic drawings dating back to the Paleolithic era. The drawings date back to about 20,00 years in the past, but look remarkably detailed and well-preserved. Perhaps that's because nobody knew about the cave for many years.
The discovery finally happened in 1940 in France. Four teens were walking through a forest when their dog found a strange hole in the ground. The teens went down a stone shaft and discovered over 2,000 ancient paintings. The Lascaux Cave has since been dubbed the "Sistine Chapel of Prehistoric Art."
The Rosetta Stone is a tablet dating back to the second century BC, containing an ancient decree written in three different languages, Greek, demotic and hieroglyphics. Because of this, language experts were able to examine the Greek writing in order to decode the language of hieroglyphics, making it an invaluable tool when decoding other hieroglyphic discoveries.
However, the Rosetta Stone was unknown until the 1700s, when Napoleon Bonaparte brought soldiers and made his way into Egypt. In 1799, soldiers were simply knocking down ancient walls to make way to improve a fort, when they stumbled upon the Stone. From there, cracking the hieroglyphic code took another 20 years.
The Dead Sea Scrolls refers to ancient religious writings, including documents and letters written on papyrus, found near the city of Jericho. Included among these writings are some of the earliest known parts of the Hebrew Bible. Naturally, the historical significance of the scrolls is through the roof.
It started when a group of teen sheepherders were wandering near Jericho in 1947. One of their goats went missing, and while on the search, one of the sheepherders entered a cave and found jars full of the ancient scrolls. The Dead Sea Scrolls are now considered one of the most significant discoveries of the 20th century.
This massive collection of sculptures depicts soldiers and horses under the command of Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huang. That dates the sculptures at over 200 years BC, but they were unknown until very recently.
It happened in 1974, when farmers near the city of Xian were trying to dig a well, and instead turned up some sort of sculpture. Archaelologists then dug further, and realized it wasn't just one sculpture, but a whopping 8,000 or so. And that's because it was actually Qin Shi Huang's tomb. Sometimes farming results in getting more than just some fresh vegetables.