Surprising Items Discovered At Construction Sites

Whether it involves building a new structure, fixing water lines, or doing any kind of construction that requires digging into the Earth, chances are, something out of the ordinary is going to be uncovered in the process. Although it isn’t always anything particularly special, at times these finds are unbelievable, such as the remains of a dead king or an entire mansion buried beneath a city. Take a look at some of the most incredible things discovered at work sites that make construction look more like archeology.

A Byzantine Church Found Beneath A Highway

Remains of Byzantine Church

When construction workers were performing routine maintenance on a modern highway, the remains of a 1,500-year-old Byzantine Church was discovered along what was once an ancient road. Located near Jerusalem, the church contained decorative white marble flooring and a crucifix-shaped pool for baptizing.

Other items were discovered as well, including oil lamps, pearl shells, glass jars, and more. Upon discovery, Netivei Israel, the National Transportation Infrastructure Company, halted work and has preserved the site for public viewing and historical study.


Dozens Of Coffins Beneath A Philadelphia Apartment Building

The Liberty Bell
Photo by J. Irwin/Classicstock/Getty Images

As crews were working on the foundation of an apartment complex in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, they unearthed around two dozen fully intact bodies encapsulated in coffins. It is believed that the coffins were part of a burial ground nearby from the 18th century First Baptist Church.

Apparently, when the church was moved around 1860, workers were supposed to remove the bodies from the burial ground but failed to do so entirely. The bodies were examined, documented, and re-buried in Mount Moriah Cemetary.


60,000-Year-Old Wooly Mammoth Tusk Found Beneath A Residential Building

Ivory Crush Is Held In Circus Maximus
Photo by Stefano Montesi/Corbis via Getty Images

In the state of Washington, beneath a residential building in Seattle, a fossilized tusk of a Columbian Mammoth was found. The tusk beneath the structure measured in at over eight feet long and after being assessed by paleontologists, it was estimated that the fossil was at least 60,000 years old.

The company AMLI, which owned the land and building, halted work and called in experts for the mysterious find to be analyzed. The tusk now resides at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle.


Medieval Hospital Beneath Future Apple Store

Exterior of Apple store
Valery SharifulinTASS via Getty Images

When the bubonic plague ravaged Europe during the 14th and 15th centuries, hospitals became so overwhelmed with victims that many were abandoned after they ran out of physicians. In 2013, in Madrid, Spain, the foundation of one of these abandoned hospitals was found during the excavation for a new Apple Store.

The hospital dates back to the 15th century and was discovered to have been used to house those inflicted with the plague. Although it continued to be used well into the 18th century, it was torn down in the 1850s.


Dinosaur Eggs During A Road Repair In China

Man excavating dinosaur eggs
Feature China / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Over the years, people in the Chinese city of Heyuan have uncovered thousands of fossilized dinosaur eggs. Since 1996, more than 17,000 eggs have been discovered, by civilians more so than paleontologists. The first group of them to be found were by children playing in a construction site, and they initially mistook the eggs for stones.

Forty-six more eggs were discovered by construction workers repairing a road. They called in experts to investigate. A total of 19 of the 46 eggs were completely intact with the majority coming from oviraptorids, which roamed the earth 89 million years ago.


19th-Century Time Capsule Under A Scottish Bridge

Contents of time capsule
Highland Folk Museum

In 2015, at the Cairngorms National Park in Scotland, a time capsule from 1894 was uncovered by construction workers while they performed maintenance on the Ruthven Road Bridge. The capsule was a metal box that contained a bottle of whiskey, a scroll, a newspaper from 1894, and several other small items.

The capsule was handed over to Highland Folk Museum for study, where it was deduced that it had been placed in the bridge during its construction.


Mummy Beneath A Chinese Road

Paxson Hayes Discovers Ancient Tombs
Via Getty Images

In 2011, a preserved mummy of a woman was uncovered beneath a road in the city of Taizhou, in the Jiangsu Province of eastern China. After close analysis, it was revealed that the woman was a member of the Ming Dynasty.

Under five-feet-tall, the woman was dressed in fine clothing with her hair and eyebrows still preserved. It was further discovered by Wang Weiyin, the director of the Taizhou Museum, that the mummy was around 700 years old.


The Lost Remains Of A Medieval King

Portrait of King Richard II
Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

King Richard III was the King of England and the Lord of Ireland from 1483 until his death in 1485. He died at the Battle of Bosworth Field, and it was believed his body was taken by the enemy, although accounts of what happened to it afterward vary.

However, in 2012, researchers and archeologists discovered a skeleton beneath a parking lot in the city of Leicester. The remains were believed to belong to Richard III. After radiocarbon dating, radiological evidence, and DNA and bone analysis, it was confirmed that it was the former King of England. The remains were then taken and interred in Leicester Cathedral.


African Burial Ground Covered By Manhattan

African burial ground national monument
Keith Getter/Getty Images

In 1991, the goal to build a new federal building in lower Manhattan started with excavation near what is now Chinatown. During the process, a 17th-century burial ground was unearthed, containing the remains of slaves from the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam.

Construction was halted for the area to be excavated and the bodies were removed, with some of the remains determined to have living relatives. In 1993, the site was established as a national historic landmark and then as a national monument in 2006.


Mayan Sports Arena Discovered During Construction Of A Housing Project

Ancient Mayan sports field
DeAgostini/Getty Images

During a housing project development in Yucatán, Mexico, in 2006, the remains of an ancient Mayan ballgame court were discovered. Initially unsure of what the finding was, the National Institute of Anthropology was called in.

Experts Fernando Acevedo and Donato Martin España learned that the ball court was over 2,500 years old and was massive, measuring in 82-feet long and 15-feet wide. With sports being such a prevalent aspect of Mayan culture, the site was saved and named as a historical location.


The Lost Temple Of Pharaoh Ptolemy IV

Ptolemy IV Philopator, Pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt
Photo by Icas94 / De Agostini Picture Library via Getty Images

When construction workers were drilling a new sewage drain in Kom Shakau village in Tama township in northern Sohag in Egypt, the 2,200-year-old lost temple of Pharaoh Ptolemy IV was uncovered. On October 2, 2019, it was announced by the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa Waziri, that construction had ceased.

After the team had discovered limestone inscriptions with Ptolemy IV’s name, it was determined that it was indeed the temple that was believed to have been lost.


Cemetery Found During The Excavation of A Pool

Swimming pool located in New Orleans
Ken Cedeno/Corbis via Getty Images

In New Orleans in 2011, Vincent Marcello was unsure of what he would find when he decided to build a swimming pool, so he hired archaeologist Ryan Gray to excavate the area beforehand. Turns out that Marcello was right in doing so, and Gray found 15 wooden coffins beneath where the swimming pool was supposed to go.

They were part of the Saint Peter Cemetery of New Orleans, with other bodies being discovered in a nearby location in the 1980s. The coffins were extracted and taken to Louisiana State University to be studied.


A Whale Skeleton Far From Water

Whale bones found in the 19th century
UVM Perkins Geology Museum

When construction workers were digging a new railroad in Vermont in 1849, they discovered the skeleton of a white whale 250 miles inland from the nearest coast. Seeing that the unusual remains were over 20 feet long, they knew it was time to notify experts.

The experts brought in were beside themselves considering how far the marine mammal was from the ocean and how there were no waterways anywhere nearby. In the end, they concluded that the whale skeleton was over 11,000 years old and lived when that part of the land was underwater. The find is now referred to as the “Charlotte Whale.”


A Mass Grave Of Viking Remains

Vikings on their ships
Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

While working on a construction site on the side of the road in Dorset, UK, a burial pit of what appeared to be more than 50 executed Viking warriors was found. Archeologists found that there were two separate sections of the pit, with one containing skulls and the other the rest of the bodies.

Analysis by experts showed that the remains came from Scandinavian countries and that the victims had been executed sometime between 910 and 1030 AD.


Pablo Escobar’s Secret Safe

Pablo Escobar et son épouse en 1983
Photo by Eric VANDEVILLE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Around 29 years ago, the United States government seized one of cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar’s estates in Miami Beach, Florida. The property was eventually put back on the market and finally purchased. However, the new owner decided to tear down the structure, and in the process discovered something peculiar.

As the final parts of the house were being torn down, the workers discovered a hidden safe. Knowing Pablo Escobar, anything could have been in there. Unfortunately, details about its contents were never released to the public.

Please Save Us From These Tacky Kitchen Decor Mistakes

There are dozens of amazing kitchen designs ripe for the picking, but a giant ceramic chicken is not one of them. That’s an example of tacky kitchen decoration. Most people know a cringe-worthy kitchen when they see one–shelves of beer bottles, fake fruit bowls, cheesy wine slogans–and yet people still use that decor.

Some tacky kitchen designs are in-style, so no one questions how tasteless they really are. But we have. We’ve gathered the tackiest of all tacky kitchen decor, and we’re not afraid to call it like it is.


Obvious Room Labels

sign that says pantry above the pantry in a kitchen
Youtube/Mimi’s Mixed Bag

Yes, we already know where the KITCHEN is. That SINK and PANTRY are obviously a sink and pantry. Unless you have a young child who is learning to read, you don’t need room labels. It’s insulting to anyone who has been in a kitchen before.

Of course, jar labels can help a guest know which container holds COFFEE and which one has SUGAR. But the contents inside jars aren’t obvious. A KITCHEN is very obvious.

“What are the most tasteless of all dish collections?” you may ask. We have the answer lined up for you.


Kitchen Desks

Pam McNulty, Tastemaker, here at her kitchen desk where she plans things like the menu for her upcoming Christmas party
DAVID BREWSTER/Star Tribune via Getty Images

You know that you’re living in an old house when the kitchen includes a desk. Who wants to work in a kitchen? On top of that, who would entrust the safety of their laptop or work documents in the area where food splatters everywhere? It’s just a bad idea all-around.

In a room with boiling pots, oven timers, and fryers, the cacophony will make any desk worker go mad in minutes. That’s why most kitchen desks end up neglected and covered with papers and sweaters.


Plastic Dishes

children pouring drinking water from a jug into a plastic beaker while eating lunch

If you’re a poor college student or 20-something-year-old, you might use plastic kitchenware because it’s cheaper and you won’t be inviting anyone over. But if you can afford ceramic dishes, why settle for the plastic ones? They’re barely even useful.

Plastic dishes remind people of camping trips and broke college living. They’re a bundle of bad memories wrapped up in brittle, unnaturally-colored plates. Trust that you’ll feel ten times better about your life after throwing out the plastic dishware.

Coming up: why celebrating alcohol doesn’t have the charm that some people think it does.


Open Shelves


Open shelves tend to overlap with a Tuscan-style kitchen, but they deserve their own mention. Not only do they make your kitchen seem crowded and cluttered, but they’re also a hassle to clean. Imagine dusting around every single jar and pan that’s eight feet high.

When you use an open-shelf kitchen, you don’t have as much flexibility decorating, because your kitchen items are your decorations. You’d have to own a set of quality china to get away with open shelves, and even that can appear tacky.


The “Barnhouse” Theme

istressed furniture, birdhouses and other country items for the kitchen
Glenn Koenig/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

You know the barn theme: kitchens with ceramic roosters, barn doors, hanging steel lights, and a milk pitcher with flowers in it. If those decorations appear in a modern kitchen, it looks out-of-place, like someone tried to re-enact the sixteenth-century French countryside.

Barn-themed kitchens miss the mark because most aren’t actually in a barn or on a farm. Where are the live chickens? Nowhere. So why does the kitchen look like it should house a cow?


Fake Fruit Bowls

Joanna Gaines pushing a bowl of apples on the kitchen counter
Youtube/Joanna Gaines Fixer Upper

You know what a kitchen is used for, right? Cooking real food. There is literally no point in owning a fake fruit bowl. Those shiny, plastic monstrosities scream “fake” and can be debunked from a mile away. And when they’re coated in dust, they look terrible.

Just buy real fruit. Everyone likes fruit, and people who use fruit bowls have all their stuff together. Fake fruit just says, “I’m too lazy to purchase real fruit for my own kitchen.”


A Displayed Alcohol Collection

An empty can of Foster's Lager  adorns the wall next to cans of other beers

People who fill walls or shelves with beer bottles fall into one of three categories: a bartender, a frat member, or someone with a drinking problem. Unless your guest knows you well, they may assume that you are in the third category. Or worse, you might come off as someone who wishes they were still in college.

If you’re a bartender who likes to mix drinks for friends, a kitchen collection of cocktails may be convenient. But a display of beer for beer’s sake is just tacky.


Slogans That Celebrate Wine

wine signs by Stacey Roeder

Wine decor mirrors the beer decor in that it signals a drinking problem. But on top of that, it comes off as try-hard, especially when it delineates the “sassy” or “quirky” personality of the kitchen owner.

You’ve likely seen these signs, mugs, and dishes everywhere: “Dinner is poured,” “Vacay and rosé,” “I speak fluent wine,” etc. It’s not as charming or cute as the people who buy these decorations think. It’s cheesy at best.

Keep reading, and you’ll notice the upward correlation between bright colors and tackiness.


Weirdly Bright Refrigerator Colors

a bright red refrigerator in a white kitchen cropped copy
Pinterest/San Marcos Dance Studio

Are you a character in Father Knows Best? No? Then you don’t need the “1950s aesthetic” by painting your refrigerator firetruck red or bright turquoise. For the “retro” style to work all of the walls and furniture need to follow the same color scheme. Selecting a bright color for only your fridge makes it look out-of-place.

Even if you are going for the retro look, neon colors hurt peoples’ eyes. You’ll have much better luck opting for a pastel palette, and even that can look off, if not done skillfully.


Noisily Patterned Cabinet Knobs

painted porcelain knobs on Etsy
Pinterest/Renee Padfield

The key to decorating a beautiful kitchen is coordinating colors and materials. Patterned knobs and handles do none of these things. Unless you find knobs that mirror your color scheme exactly, they’ll likely appear noisy and tacky.

The worst choice you could possibly make is assigning different-colored handles to every single cabinet. That’s not “chic” or “vintage,” but a bad design idea. Since knobs are such a small detail, keep them minute and tasteful.

Mason jars: still hip, or gaudy?


Chevron Tiles

Black and white chevron designed walls and floor kitchen
Pinterest/The Design Sheppard

Chevron is the V-shaped pattern that’s often repeated as a zigzag. If you want your eyes to melt every time you walk into your kitchen, install chevron tiles. Not only is this design distracting, but also obscures all the important items like pots and towels.

Even worse than chevron tiles on the wall are chevron tiles on the floor. The entire design is dizzying to say least. Keep your kitchen pleasant to look at, and take away glaring chevron design from your home.


Mason Jar Decorations

mason jars holding cooking supplies in a kitchen

Over the past couple of years, mason jars have become the new trendy glasses in hipster cafes. If you aren’t bottling homemade sauce or jam, you probably own mason jars for the aesthetic. It isn’t as cool as it once was–unless you want to come off as a hipster, of course.

Sure, mason jars are handy tools for pressure-sealing dried herbs and sauces. But they’re not easy to drink out of. And decorating a room with mason jar lights and trinkets is the new “basic.”

Coming up: how too many plants results in a sloppy appearance.


Tuscan Kitchen Decor

Dining room of a farm in France
DeAgostini/Getty Images

Even if you haven’t heard the term, you’ve likely seen Tuscan kitchens: wooden furniture, hanging pots and pans, chandeliers, and Italian tiles above the stove. In restaurants, this decor looks professional. In homes, this aesthetic looks like you’re trying to make it onto Food Network.

Tuscan kitchens work for professional chefs who actually need their pans and garlic cloves within arm’s reach. Average people aren’t Italian chefs, so they don’t need to act like they are.


Crowding Your Kitchen With Plants

a bunch of plants on kitchen shelves
Pinterest/Katarina .

Yes, houseplants look beautiful. But your kitchen isn’t a garden; it’s a kitchen. Shoving ferns and succulents all over the room will inevitably coat them in grime, and potentially set the plants ablaze if you hang them over your stove. Plus, you don’t want to cross-contaminate all your food, do you?

Too many plants give off the “flower child” vibe of someone who’s trying to look more connected with the earth than they actually are. Even herbalists dedicate their garden to growing food, not their kitchen.

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