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Out-of-place artifact

An out-of-place artifact (OOPArt) is a term coined by American zoologist Ivan T. Sanderson for an object of historical, archaeological or paleontological interest found in a very unusual or seemingly impossible context. The term covers a wide variety of objects, ranging from material studied by mainstream science, such as the Iron pillar of Delhi, to pseudoarchaeology that is far outside the mainstream.

While occasional discoveries, such as the Antikythera mechanism, have led to scientists reassessing the technology of ancient civilizations, many critics argue purported OOPArts are more often the result of mistaken interpretation, wishful thinking, or extreme cultural centrism (the belief that a particular culture couldn't have created an artifact or technology because they were too ignorant or simply not smart enough). Supporters regard OOParts as evidence that mainstream science is overlooking huge areas of knowledge, either willfully or through ignorance. On occasion, OOParts may be outright hoaxes.

OOPArts are often of interest to creationists and others who seek evidence that may refute the theory of evolution or support the notion of a global flood; they are also used to support religious descriptions of pre-history, ancient astronaut theories, or the notion of vanished civilizations that possessed knowledge or technology more advanced than our own. Many writers or researchers who question or challenge conventional views of human history have used purported OOPArts to bolster their arguments.

Alleged OOParts

Artifacts alleged to come from recognized cultures, recovered in unexpected places

Artifacts allegedly produced by unknown cultures or societies

Artifacts alleged to predate humanity

Validated cases

  • The Maine Penny found in Blue Hill, Maine. An 11th century Norse coin found in an American Indian shell midden. Over 20,000 objects were found over a 15-year period at the Goddard site in Blue Hill. The sole OOPArt was the coin. One hypothesis is that it may have been brought to the site from a Viking settlement in Newfoundland by seagoing Native Americans.
  • The Iron pillar in India, dating around to AD 423.
  • The Antikythera mechanism, a geared device manufactured ca. 100 BC, believed to be an orrery for predicting the motion of the sun, moon and planets.
  • Tablets and artifacts discovered in Glozel, France in the 1920s and '30s, some of which were inscribed with an unknown, undeciphered alphabet.

See also


  • Childress, David Hatcher (2000). Technology of the Gods: The Incredible Sciences of the Ancients. Adventures Unlimited Press. ISBN 0-932813-73-9.
  • Hapgood, Charles H. (1979). Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings: Evidence of Advanced Civilization in the Ice Age. New York: Dutton. ISBN 0-525-47606-7.
  • Brophy, Thomas G. (2002). The Origin Map: Discovery of a Prehistoric, Megalithic, Astrophysical Map and Sculpture of the Universe. Writers Club Press. ISBN 0-595-24122-0.
  • Noorbergen, Rene (2001). Secrets of the Lost Races: New Discoveries of Advanced Technology in Ancient Civilizations. Teach Services. ISBN 1-57258-198-0.


External links

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