Over the years, Ancient Origins has reported on thousands of archaeological mysteries that have not yet been solved. Here we have chosen to highlight just ten of these ancient enigmas, from lost labyrinths to enormous geoglyphs, stone masonry with exceptional precision, mysterious figurines, and giant spheres. Perhaps one day we will find the answers to some of the questions posed by these intriguing sites.
Lost Labyrinth of Ancient Egypt
“This I have actually seen, a work beyond words. For if anyone put together the buildings of the Greeks and display of their labours, they would seem lesser in both effort and expense to this labyrinth… Even the pyramids are beyond words, and each was equal to many and mighty works of the Greeks. Yet the labyrinth surpasses even the pyramids.”
These are the words of ancient Greek historian Herodotus written in the 5th century BC (‘Histories’, Book, II, 148), describing a colossal temple said to contain 3,000 rooms full of hieroglyphs and paintings. It was named ‘Labyrinth’ by the Greeks after the complex maze of corridors designed by Daedalus for King Minos of Crete, where the legendary Minotaur dwelt. Yet today, nothing remains of this supposedly grand temple complex – at least not on the surface.
Although the words of Herodotus have frequently been drawn into question, the detailed and consistent descriptions of the labyrinth from multiple sources indicate that it is a place that did indeed exist in the ancient past. In fact, in the last century, great gains have been made in identifying its location, culminating in the latest Mataha expedition , which has used the highest level of technology to finally unlock the secrets of the lost labyrinth. The researchers have faced numerous obstacles, but it is hoped that excavations can be launched in future in order to potentially shed light on one of the greatest mysteries of antiquity.