Once was lost but now is found

109 gold Krugerrands were found in a box of donated food. Photo: Evan Bench, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

109 gold Krugerrands were found in a box of donated food. Photo: Evan Bench, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

I’m always losing stuff, my gloves (one pair every winter), books I thought I had, my coffee cup, my train of thought, that email you sent me about the thing. And I find stuff, too. Sifting through the cellulose insulation of my childhood home’s attic, I once found a Book of Psalms the size of a matchbook and the working parts of an engraved brass carriage clock from the mid-1800s.

That (and Indiana Jones movies) left me with a keen interest in lost treasure. So I was delighted to find that Atlas Obscura has a whole thread of posts devoted to odd rediscoveries.

Browsing through entries from just the last year I found that an unknown network of Ice Age caves lies underneath Montreal. Also found were a secret warehouse full of toy trains, a cache of 30 bayonets at Valley Forge, and a WWI training tunnel filled with hand grenades and a 1930s sports car.

Viking finds were hot in the last year. A comb made of bone around 800 A.D. was found on the site of a Viking marketplace. They can tell it was a comb, because it had the runic letters spelling “comb” carved right into it. Handy. The name of Allah in Arabic script was embroidered on silk clothing found in a Viking grave, and a Viking toilet was also discovered in what is believed to be the oldest bathroom in Denmark.

A new species of archaic lizard was discovered because it was in the fossil stomach of a fossil dinosaur. A high price to pay for its fifteen minutes of fame, but it can commiserate with the 99 million-year-old tick found in a lump of amber along with a dinosaur feather.

109 golden Krugerrands were found in a box of donated food at a German retirement home, and a turtle with 915 coins in its belly.

Paintings were discovered underneath other paintings, and lost languages below the surface of palimpsest manuscripts. A message from the devil was decoded from a 17th-century nun’s notes.

Other rediscoveries include a story written by the 10-year-old Ernest Hemingway, a long-abandoned Iraqi city founded by Alexander the Great, and a 106-year-old fruitcake left behind in Antarctica. I’ve abandoned any number of fruitcakes myself.

A 14th-century sword was found in a peat bog. A boy tripped over a 1.2 million-year-old megamastodon skull, and a 3000 year-old prosthetic big toe turned up in an Egyptian tomb. Also dug up, a Neolithic tooth filling made of bitumen.

And Alice Cooper lost an Andy Warhol worth millions for decades, until it was found rolled up in storage. So, I guess there’s still hope that my missing gloves will turn up eventually.


5 Comments on “Once was lost but now is found”

  1. Bob Craft says:

    Charming. More please.

  2. Robin Brown says:

    Perfect ending!!!!

  3. Mr. Wakiki says:

    I am finding I am falling into the Alice Cooper form of lost and found… too much stuff in too many places…

    More misplaced than lost

  4. Anne Burnham says:

    Hi Dale,

    I have given up on finding the annual lost glove–ususally the right one.

    However, my daughter-in-law’s father from Mexico told us a great story of found treasure a year or so ago. Apparently people hid their valuables in building walls during some of Mexico’s many revolutions to keep the advancing hoards from finding them. These treasure troves are often found when buildings are being demolished. A whole group of treasure hunters is know to leave their homes and families to go look for treasure regularly.

    Anne B

  5. Peter Klein says:

    There are some things (and sometimes people) I wish I could lose forever.

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