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Collectors and folks who are directly affected by scarcity will know exactly what it means to have just one of something in existence. Even more of a reason to celebrate what we have, right?

Well, there is a dedicated online community that does just that. r/UniqueArtifacts posts and shares pictures of one of a kind artifacts throughout history. Mostly, it’s stuff archaeologists had to dig out from the ground, but there are some more modern submissions there as well.

Whatever the case, scroll down, check it out, and share some of your insights into whatever you see in this list, or share some artifacts that should have made it up here!

More Info: r/UniqueArtifacts

#1

The Pons Fabricus Is The Only Ancient Bridge In Rome Still In Its Original Location And Condition. The Last Major Repairs Occurred In 23 BCE

The Pons Fabricus Is The Only Ancient Bridge In Rome Still In Its Original Location And Condition. The Last Major Repairs Occurred In 23 BCE

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Wonky Donkey
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1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Last major repair was 2000 years ago.. and my state cant even fill in potholes.

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#2

Terracotta Warriors With The Original Paint Scheme

Terracotta Warriors With The Original Paint Scheme

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#3

The Lycurgus Cup: The Only Complete Example Of Ancient Color-Changing Glass

The Lycurgus Cup: The Only Complete Example Of Ancient Color-Changing Glass

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#4

One Of The Last Two Preserved Jolly Roger Pirate Flags Left In Existence

One Of The Last Two Preserved Jolly Roger Pirate Flags Left In Existence

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LizzieBoredom
Community Member
1 year ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It's amazing pirates found the time to make such exquisite needlework ( between looting, & pillaging, the hook hand, and the scurvy).

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#5

The “Iron Man” Buddha - The Only Statue Carved From A Meteor

The “Iron Man” Buddha - The Only Statue Carved From A Meteor

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Ace
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Meteorite. Meteors are what we see in the sky, meteorites are what has fallen to earth.

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Bored Panda reached out to anthropologist and archaeologist Carl Feagans to talk all things unique artifacts and anything else that you can unearth from our lovely planet Earth.

Feagans originally had a dream of becoming an astronaut one day. That, unfortunately, did not work out, but instead of looking up into the vast skies and the cosmos beyond, looking at the ground turned out to be as exciting as space.

After 12 years of service in the military, Feagans took advantage of his benefits and went to study at the University of Texas at Arlington. One leftover handout about archaeology and a subsequent shift in majors later, Feagans became a full-blown anthropologist with a focus on archaeology. Oh, and he also runs a blog about archaeology that will blow your mind.

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“Now, when I mention I'm an archaeologist in a crowded room, I’m instantly one of the more popular people to speak with. At least until an astronaut shows up,” joked Feagans in our interview.

#6

The Only Surviving Handwriting Of A Roman Emperor (Theodosius II)

The Only Surviving Handwriting Of A Roman Emperor (Theodosius II)

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LizzieBoredom
Community Member
1 year ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Dear Sirs, I have still not received the latest issue of 'Hot Vandal Chicks' . I sent my wife/slave to the Post Office many times, and it's still not there. Sincerely, Theodosius II

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#7

The Sword Of Goujian Was Discovered Untarnished And Retains Sharp Edges After ~2500 Years

The Sword Of Goujian Was Discovered Untarnished And Retains Sharp Edges After ~2500 Years

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scag$y
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

2500 years old and it can still take your head off. I've had my blender 12 months and instead of shmooshing stuff, it just twists it round and round and goes brr. We are going backwards, people!

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#8

The Barber Cup & Crawford Cup, The Only Two Examples Of Ancient Roman Vessels Carved From Fluorite

The Barber Cup & Crawford Cup, The Only Two Examples Of Ancient Roman Vessels Carved From Fluorite

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#9

The Only Known Color Photograph Of The Russian Czar's Fabled "Amber Room" - Looted By The Nazi's This Unique, Priceless Work Of Art Was Lost For Ever (Maybe?). St Petersburg, 1943

The Only Known Color Photograph Of The Russian Czar's Fabled "Amber Room" - Looted By The Nazi's This Unique, Priceless Work Of Art Was Lost For Ever (Maybe?). St Petersburg, 1943

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Jrog
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1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It has been rebuilt, being reopened in 2003 in the original place of Catherine's Palace, in the Russian town of Pushkin (formerly Tsarskoye Selo)

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#10

One Of Only Three Papyrus Fragments Written In The Phoenician Language

One Of Only Three Papyrus Fragments Written In The Phoenician Language

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Just like history is much more than an implement for humanity to learn from its mistakes, archaeology is more than just digging up bones and stuff lost to time. But how much more is it is also hard to say.

“It is. Much more. And it's hard to put a finger on it. Most people don't realize that archaeology is a sub-discipline of anthropology, which is essentially the study of people. In turn, that makes archaeology the study of people through the material past,” elaborated Feagans.

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“Often, these are people that are long dead, which makes them an abstract thing. I think the struggle of most archaeologists is to humanize and, as much as is possible, individualize these people. It's rare that we can individualize people of the past in a manner that's respectful to that person's potential descendants in the present, but when it's done it's quite magical.”

“An example is finding the footprints of a small child alongside her mother in modern-day Whitesands, New Mexico. Footprints that currently date to over 23,000 years ago! This isn't just evidence of a population of people, it's evidence of an individual! One who carried her child for a bit, set her down to walk beside her for a bit…”

#12

This Julio-Claudian Rock Crystal And Silver Spoon Is The Only Example Of Its Kind Known To Exist

This Julio-Claudian Rock Crystal And Silver Spoon Is The Only Example Of Its Kind Known To Exist

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#13

The Only Surviving Example Of An Iconic Roman “Scutum” Shield

The Only Surviving Example Of An Iconic Roman “Scutum” Shield

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#14

The Only Natural Fossil Of A Scorpion Made Entirely Out Of Copper

The Only Natural Fossil Of A Scorpion Made Entirely Out Of Copper

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PurpleUnicorn
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

According to @BenMS on twitter, it was most likely a very, very slow process. Most likely, the doomed scorpion became entombed in in the rock. Over time, copper-rich fluids ultimately came into contact with the entombed scorpion, depositing the metal as it evaporated. This process would be similar to how petrified wood is formed.

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Now, with a subreddit like r/UniqueArtifacts, you’d probably guess that the stuff found here—one-of-a-kind stuff—is probably absolutely expensive or flat-out priceless. But there’s much more nuance to the price than just numbers.

Feagans explained that artifacts can absolutely have a price put on them. In fact, there are cases when you have to. The Archaeological Resource Protection Act (ARPA) regulates fines and restitution based on an archaeological object’s commercial price that, say, gets stolen from public land.

But that’s just the practical, material side of the coin. What actually brings value to the object is its context. Like the answers to questions where was it found? What was its position in relation to other artifacts? What were its features? Was it discarded or lost? Was it part of a burned-down habitation?

#16

One Of The Two Coins Found Of The Roman Usurper Silbannacus, Who Would've Been Unknown Otherwise

One Of The Two Coins Found Of The Roman Usurper Silbannacus, Who Would've Been Unknown Otherwise

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Oktogal
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The dummies guide to being a historical figure/ ruler: Just in case you might not be remembered, always put your face and name on some coins to be safe!

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#17

The Only Surviving Example Of A Crest From A Roman Centurion's Helmet

The Only Surviving Example Of A Crest From A Roman Centurion's Helmet

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#18

The Vergilius Augusteus, One Of Only Two Surviving Ancient Manuscripts To Be Painstakingly Written In Roman Square Capitals

The Vergilius Augusteus, One Of Only Two Surviving Ancient Manuscripts To Be Painstakingly Written In Roman Square Capitals

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#19

First Ever Intact Ballista Arrow Uncovered In Utrecht (Augusta Treverorum), Netherlands

First Ever Intact Ballista Arrow Uncovered In Utrecht (Augusta Treverorum), Netherlands

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Nicole Weymann
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1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

"Augusta Treverorum" is the German city of Trier. Utrecht was called Traiectum, apparently meaning "ford", because at the time the Rhine river was shallow enough to be crossed there.

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#20

The Only Intact Bronze Lantern From Ancient Rome Next To A Reproduction. Housed In The Museo Archeologico Girolamo Rossi In Ventimiglia, Italy

The Only Intact Bronze Lantern From Ancient Rome Next To A Reproduction. Housed In The Museo Archeologico Girolamo Rossi In Ventimiglia, Italy

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“Archaeological sites are non-renewable resources. Once they're gone, they're gone. Forever. In fact, so many archaeological sites have been inadvertently damaged and destroyed in the last 100 years alone that we could never count them,” continued Feagans on the real price of archaeological artifacts. “Even the act of excavating a site necessarily involves destroying the site as the artifacts and features of the site are recorded, documented, photographed, and collected.”

“There are times when we archaeologists choose *not* to dig or excavate or to collect. Part of the reason is because of the destructive nature. Sometimes it's to adhere to the wishes of descendant communities or tribes. Sometimes it's so we can leave something behind for archaeologists with better methods in the future. Sometimes it's because we realize curation alone is a problem: there are only so many places you can store the past.”

#21

Tombstone Of Marcus Caelius, The Only Known Example Of Direct Reference To The Varus Disaster During Which 20,000 Men Were Lost To Ambush

Tombstone Of Marcus Caelius, The Only Known Example Of Direct Reference To The Varus Disaster During Which 20,000 Men Were Lost To Ambush

Translation:
 
"To Marcus Caelius, son of Titus, of the Lemonian voting tribe, from Bologna, a centurion in the First Order of legio XVIII, aged 53; He fell in the Varian War. His bones - if found - may be placed in this monument. Publius Caelius, son of Titus, of the Lemonian voting tribe, his brother, set this up."

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#22

The Only Time A Monumental Column Was Erected And Adorned With A Statue That Was Not An Emperor Was The Early 2nd Century Gilded Bronze "Emona Citizen". Housed In The Roman Lapidarium Of The National Museum Of Slovenia

The Only Time A Monumental Column Was Erected And Adorned With A Statue That Was Not An Emperor Was The Early 2nd Century Gilded Bronze "Emona Citizen". Housed In The Roman Lapidarium Of The National Museum Of Slovenia

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#23

1961 Photo Of A Screw Press Used To Iron Clothes From The Bottega Del Lanarius Or Workshop Of Lanarius In Herculaneum. This Was The Only Artifact Found In The Shop, Along With Bourbon Tunnels. No Other Examples Exist

1961 Photo Of A Screw Press Used To Iron Clothes From The Bottega Del Lanarius Or Workshop Of Lanarius In Herculaneum. This Was The Only Artifact Found In The Shop, Along With Bourbon Tunnels. No Other Examples Exist

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K W
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1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Can't be walking around in wrinkled clothes before a volcano erupts.

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#24

The Only Surviving Example Of Roman “Cestus” Boxing Gloves

The Only Surviving Example Of Roman “Cestus” Boxing Gloves

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#25

The Earliest Example Of A Proper “Book”, Written In A Totally Unique Style

The Earliest Example Of A Proper “Book”, Written In A Totally Unique Style

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Caroline Nagel
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1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The explanation on Reddit: The “De Bellis Macedonicis” manuscript contains a wealth of information, considering how tiny it is. It is a scrap of parchment with Latin text, dating from the 1st century CE. It was discovered in the ancient Oxyrhynchus rubbish dump, where Latin texts are relatively rare. Curiously, it contains writing on both sides, and appears to be the earliest example of a “codex” (book), rather than a scroll. The writing style is both beautiful and completely unique. It appears to be an extremely version of the Uncial bookhand, but with some letters that resemble minuscules and other that resemble rustic capitals.

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Now, if you wanna get super nerdy on archaeology, we asked Feagans to highlight some of the most exciting unearthings in recent history, so you’re welcome:

“I'd say the Whitesands, NM footprints I mentioned earlier are definitely in the top 10 for the last few years. What a phenomenal find! It very neatly gives us confirmation that people made it to North America prior to Ice Free Corridor, probably by boating or rafting around the kelp highway from Alaska to California and beyond.”

“Another exciting find was that of the Endurance, which was possible by the unfortunately low levels of sea ice. The 28-man crew including Sir Ernest Shackleton abandoned the ship in 1915 when it became stuck in the sea ice. It sits in nearly 10,000 feet of water and in remarkably good condition.”

“Another recent discovery that stands out for me is from an excavation in the Andean highlands at Wilamaya Patjxa where a 9,000-year-old burial directly challenges the idea that men are hunters and women are gatherers. This burial has a hunting toolkit and the bones were consistent with that of a young adult female!”

#26

The Misenum Statue Is The Only Surviving Bronze Imperial Image To Have Been Altered As A Result Of Condemnation. Domitian's Facial Features Have Been Severed From The Back Of The Head And Replaced With A New Face Representing Nerva

The Misenum Statue Is The Only Surviving Bronze Imperial Image To Have Been Altered As A Result Of Condemnation. Domitian's Facial Features Have Been Severed From The Back Of The Head And Replaced With A New Face Representing Nerva

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Lastly, we asked Feagans about the one thing he wishes more people knew and understood about archaeology. Here’s what he had to say:

“Aside from the fact we don't do dinosaurs, I think I'd like people to know that archaeology is about understanding people. People of the past and people of the now. It isn't the silly stuff we see on Ancient Aliens or in Graham Hancock's books. It's really about understanding who people were, why they made the choices they did, how they lived day to day, and what we can learn from their successes as well as their mistakes. Ultimately it's about telling their stories as best we can. As respectfully as we can.”

You can check out more about and from Feagans on his website. But before you do that, why not share some of your insights into whatever you see in this list, or share some artifacts that should have made it up here!