Investigating the ancient past: A history mystery

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This guide has been created for Year 7 students who are investigating a history mystery from the ancient past (between 60 000 BC – c.650 CE) that have challenged historians or archaeologists.

What is a History Mystery?

History Mystery


There are a number of phenomena, artefacts and stories from around the world that still challenge what historians and archeologists from around the world. The mysteries provide an excellent way of exploring the evidence and for you to practice the skills of being a historian. Below are some examples of history mysteries.


A taster to get you thinking!

Nazca lines

What is the mystery behind the Nazca lines, an incredible collection of huge images in the desert that were created by the ancient Nazca culture?

Library of Alexandria

Were the treasures of the largest and most important library in the ancient world really lost in a massive inferno?

The city of Troy

The location of a war over the beautiful Helen of Troy … but why else is this ancient city of interest to historians?


An amazing achievement by people who had limited technology, but what is it? A calendar? A religious site? Something built by aliens?

Moai (Easter Island statues)

What secrets do the huge statues that inhabit Easter Island guard?

Malta’s Hypogeum Hal Saflieni

Why was the Hypogeum originally designed?

The Plain of Megalithic Jars

Why were these enormous jars constructed and how were they moved into position?

Lake Mungo

What do the bodies in Lake Mungo tell us about indigenous culture and burial techniques of the time?