We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are out-Of-Place Artifacts (OOPArts)?

Michael Anissimov
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
All The Science is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All The Science, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

An out-of-place artifact (OOPArt) is an artifact radically out of time or place, often to a seemingly impossible extent. An example would be an alleged human sandal print found in the Wheeler Formation, which dates to the Middle Cambrian, about 500 million years ago. In the "print" are two apparently crushed trilobites. Another famous out-of-place artifact is the Coso artifact, a spark plug from the 1920s found encased in a lump of hard clay or rock that one of the discoverers claimed had to be 500,000 years old. A more recent example is the Kensington runestone, a Norse artifact that is alleged to be from the 14th century, found in Minnesota, USA.

Out-of-place artifacts are beloved by fans of anomalous phenomena (Forteans) and creationists, who see antediluvian human artifacts as evidence that man really did exist in the earliest days of the Earth's existence, as Genesis claims. The problem with most OOPArts is that they can rather easily be identified as hoaxes or instances of pareidolia (seeing what we want to see) rather than verified as genuine. For instance, the Coso artifact is clearly a spark plug made in the 1920s, and it is far more likely that it simply existed in conditions for the rapid accretion of hard clay around it than a time traveler went back 500,000 years into the past and tossed a spark plug on the ground.

Advocates of out-of-place artifacts are often impossible to convince of the false nature of even the most superficial hoaxes, such as Acambaro figures, new-looking and unbroken carvings of dinosaurs allegedly dating to thousands of years ago. But what complicates matters is that some out-of-place artifacts have been verified as genuine, though they are not as radical as those mentioned in the first paragraph of this article. Others, like the Kensington runestone, have fluctuated back and forth between considered by the experts to be a hoax or genuine.

One verified out-of-place artifact is the Baghdad Battery, a common name for several artifacts dated to around 100 CE that consist of a copper cylinder and iron bar within a terracotta jar. These batteries could have been used to electroplate gold onto silver objects, and, if they were really used as batteries, would predate Alessandro Volta's 1800 invention of the electrochemical cell by 1,700 years. Another is the Maine Penny, an 11th century Norse coin found in a Native American shell midden. Via a series of trades, this Norse coin made it from 11th century Viking settlements in Newfoundland hundreds of miles south, to Maine.

Other verified out-of-place artifacts include the Antikythera mechanism, a mechanical computer used to calculate the position of the Sun, Moon, and planets, and the Iron Pillar in India, dated to 300 BC, which has resisted corrosion for 2,300 years due to a number of unusual material factors.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Anissimov
By Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All The Science contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology, astronomy, chemistry, and futurism to his articles. An avid blogger, Michael is deeply passionate about stem cell research, regenerative medicine, and life extension therapies. His professional experience includes work with the Methuselah Foundation, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and Lifeboat Foundation, further showcasing his commitment to scientific advancement.
Discussion Comments
By kelv1969 — On Jul 28, 2013

Why do creationists assume that these objects are 'man' made? Surely it could be argued that these objects could be made by a completely different species. If we evolved from apes in a few million years, couldn't a similar thing have happened countless times before in the past from a different species?

Dinosaurs were around for many hundreds of millions of years. Isn't it possible that a species of dinosaur evolved a bigger brain, language, art, technology and culture? They may have looked very human-like but wouldn't be human. Jump forward in time ten million years. Do you really think humans will still be ruling the planet?

How much evidence of our existence will be around? Even plastics biodegrade in just a few thousand years. It is completely plausible that a new species could evolve to become sentient and have it's own culture and beliefs.

If it has happened once, it has probably happened at least once more in the past and will happen many more times in the future. I find the thought very humbling.

Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All The Science contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology...
Learn more
All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.