8. Noble With Three Arms
Near the Bulgarian town of Primorsko, scholars got wind of a burial mound damaged by treasure hunters. Rescue excavations were launched to salvage the mound, which was magnificent in size and age. The 4,000-year-old grave stood around 7 meters (23 ft) tall and 100 meters (328 ft) in diameter.
At first, archaeologists had to clear away pits dug up by the looters. In 2018, after everything was cleared, the team found a weird grave near the edge of the mound. Inside was a male skeleton. At almost 198 centimeters (6’6″), he was unusually tall for a Bronze Age Bulgarian.
Red paint on the walls near the head and feet indicated power and noble birth. Despite this, his tomb was strangely empty. He only had a jar and dagger. It was apparently not the main grave, considering the placement of the tomb. Freakiest of all was a third arm, severed from somebody else and placed on the man’s left side.
7. Peru’s Mystery Heads
In southern Peru, Vitor Valley has archaeologists stumped. A few years ago, 27 funerary pits were unearthed, each 3–4 meters (10–13 ft) deep. The remains of 60 people were brought to the surface and identified as likely members of the La Ramada culture.
In 2018, things took a strange turn when six trophy heads were discovered. One still had a lock of hair thanks to Peru’s dry climate that turned several of the pit bodies into mummies.
The presence of the skulls, severed after death, cannot draw a theory that satisfies all scholars. Ancient trophy heads in Peru are nothing new—people liked to hack off their enemies’ noggins. What was different in this case was the possibility that they belonged to the community with whom they were buried.
They might have been local warriors killed on a distant battlefield, and only their heads were brought home. They date from the same time as the mummies and skeletons, around AD 550, but only future laboratory tests can confirm if everybody grew up in the same place.