Some of humanity’s greatest discoveries happen by accident. Indeed, bog workers have uncovered ancient men preserved in peat and rug designers have found ancient villas while re-carpeting their homes. Then, there’s this Greek olive farmer.

In the summer of 2018, the unidentified farmer was caring for olive trees on his property when he accidentally uncovered something in the soil. But when he called in the experts, they confirmed his discovery answered a long-debated question about the history of Greece…

In the early summer of 2018, a Greek farmer from the small village in Crete parked his truck beneath an olive tree on his land. Before he could even undo his seat belt, however, the truck shifted awkwardly in the soil.

So the farmer backed his truck up, looking to see what caused the truck to shift (and probably a new parking spot)! Right where his front tire had been was a hole about four feet wide. Where did that come from?

By the looks of it, a broken irrigation pipe — plus the water-saturated olive trees — softened the soil where he parked his truck, making it collapse under its weight. Curious, the farmer crawled to the edge of the hole and looked in.

First, he saw darkness. But then, as his eyes adjusted and light flooded in from the summer day above ground, he realized he was looking at “something important.” The cavern below, carved into the limestone, sank eight feet into the ground.

The farmer reached out to the local heritage ministry Lassithi Ephorate of Antiquities, which sent out a team of archaeologists to study the accidentally unearthed underground cavern. They went to work, trying to understand the farmer’s find…

It didn’t take long for experts to realize that the farmer — near Ierapetra in southeast Crete — uncovered a tomb. Three niches accessible by a vertical trench had been carved into the chamber. Then, they noticed its contents.

In one niche, archaeologists found a coffin with a male skeleton inside. Scattered about were a dozen or so clay vessels — containers for liquids or foodstuffs such as grain. But these were not the only artifacts hidden away in the tomb.

In another chamber, the team uncovered a second clay coffin also containing a skeleton presumed to be male. He, too, was buried with a dozen or so colorful pots, which the archaeologists inspected to answer the question burning in all of their minds…

Who were these men? the archeologists wondered. Were they local landowners? Wealthy nobles? Heroes of their small village? Examining the design and quality of the pots would hopefully provide the answers they sought.

The first thing they noticed? These pots and vessels were nice — not the type of thing a poor villager would own. High-quality pottery indicated they were very wealthy men, but other details about the pottery suggested otherwise.

See, according to the archeologist’s statement, “the ceramic typology [says] the tomb can be dated to the Late Minoan IIIA-B period, approximately from 1400 to 1200 BC.” These people — who lived 3,500 years ago — had another burial ritual for the wealthy…

Before the Minoan people were wiped out by outsiders who preyed on them after natural disaster weakened their civilization, they developed into a surprisingly affluent society. Impressive art, ceramics, and lavish tombs abounded.

In fact, the late Minoans — living in a time period archaeologists called Late Palace Period— often buried their nobles in a tomb called a tholos, a massive beehive-looking structure with domed walls. Meaning?

Even a blind man could see the men in the Crete tombs were not buried in beehive structures, leading archaeologists to believe that the men were wealthy, but not crazy-rich village lords. Still, they hoped they’d help solve some long-standing mysteries.

See, the skeletons, archaeologists noted, had been completely untouched since the time they’d been buried, as evidence indicated that the tomb was never found by grave robbers. Once the men were sealed up, they stayed that way for 3,500 years!

The archaeologists removed the skeletons from their coffins and returned them to the lab for further study. While this would take some time, experts hoped the skeletons would shed light on the origins of the Minoan people.

Indeed, these bones were a rare find, even in history-rich Greece. Though this was the only tomb uncovered in the nearby area, experts here often uncovered antiques (and usually by accident)! Still, this find settled a long debate.

“We are particularly pleased with this great archaeological find as it is expected to further enhance our culture and history,” said the deputy mayor of Local Communities, Agrarian, and Tourism of Ierapetra, Argyris Pantazis. He continued…

Paul / flickr

Finding these men, Argyris said, “is also a response to all those who doubt that there were Minoans in Ierapetra” — the little section of Crete where the tombs were found — “This is a great day for Ierapetra!”

Yep, on that warm summer day in 2018, a farmer just parking his truck uncovered a piece of history — and maybe helped change our understanding of it for good. It makes you wonder: what other artifacts are waiting to be found?

Well, just ask a man named Luke Irwin. Any home restoration tends to rekindle the love you have for your property. During Irwin’s most recent renovation, though, he found something far better than a nice appreciation for his home.

Luke Irwin Rugs / YouTube

Luke, a rug designer, lived with his wife and son near the village of Tisbury, England, in a pristine, riverside region. His property was one-of-a-kind, and though he appreciated it, he didn’t realize how special it truly was.

Luke Irwin Rugs / YouTube

One day, while workers were installing a shower in his home, Luke asked them if they wouldn’t mind taking on an extra project. He wanted them to wire the detached barn 20 yards from his house so that his son had light when he played table tennis inside.

Luke Irwin Rugs / YouTube

After a short time, one of the workers called out. They’d found a strange mosaic underneath the topsoil. Uncovering original details on a property during a renovation is always an encouraging sign, but this was just the tip of the iceberg!

Wiltshire Archaeological Service

As a designer, Luke was mesmerized by the beauty of the mosaic—its zig-zag pattern, its bright colors. Little did he realize, however, that the discovery would lead him to unimaginable finds throughout all of his property.

The fact that Luke found something like this wasn’t entirely surprising; he’d always assumed his property had some medieval history to it. He didn’t know, though, just how rich the history of his home actually was.

Luke Irwin Rugs / YouTube

Still, finding the mosaic changed Luke’s understanding of his property. “When you find a mosaic,” he said, “you know this predates anything medieval.” So, he called the Wilshire County archeological department to see what this meant for his home…

The archeologists arrived within 20 minutes of Luke’s call and were floored by what they saw. “It’s a million-to-one chance of just finding a mosaic by chance,” archeologist Dr. Dave Roberts said. “It simply doesn’t happen.”

Luke Irwin Rugs / YouTube

This mosaic, more importantly, was evidence of the Ancient Romans—and it was in great shape. As Dr. Roberts put it, the quality of it was “fantastic” and “equivalent to some of the greatest villas in Britain,” like that seen at the Chedworth Villa (pictured).

Luke Irwin Rugs / YouTube

Still, the location of the find concerned the archeologists. “The frustrating thing,” Dr. Roberts said, was “that the mosaic is right under a gate leading to the modern buildings.” Those modern buildings could be on top of just about anything—so they investigated.

Luke Irwin Rugs / YouTube

As the archeologists inspected the rest of the property, subtle evidence indicated that there had once been so much more than just a mosaic there: Luke’s home had actually been constructed on top of the remains of a Roman villa!

Luke Irwin Rugs / YouTube

Slowly but surely, the archeologists created several dig sites throughout Luke’s property in search of the remains of the villa—dubbed the Deverill Villa—that the landscape suggested. Their finds went far beyond the initial mosaic…

Luke Irwin Rugs / YouTube

Along with the remains of a wall they found near the mosaic—confirming their theory that the mosaic had been in the entrance to a grand villa—archeologists uncovered tons of Roman artifacts, like coins and butcher-cut animal bones.

Luke Irwin Rugs / YouTube

They also came across oyster shells—a fascinating and telling find, as they were more than 40 miles from the shoreline. Whoever had lived in the Deverill Villa had to have been very wealthy to import oysters. Still, there was another discovery that impressed Dr. Roberts…

The Telegraph

In Luke’s back yard was a strange stone basin that had been there since he purchased the home. Most recently, it served as a flowerbed for geraniums. Dr. Roberts revealed to Luke what it actually was…

Luke Irwin Rugs / YouTube

Dr. Roberts “kept coming back to this thing to tell me to look at,” Luke said. “Why are you so interested in it?” Luke had asked. Dr. Roberts’s answer chilled him to the bone: “He said, ‘Because that is a Roman child’s coffin!'” It had been in Luke’s back yard this entire time!

Luke Irwin Rugs / YouTube

All in all, the archeologists figured that the Deverill Villa beneath Luke’s property was built between 175 and 220 AD. Whoever lived there during that time continued remodeling it until the mid-4th century.

Luke Irwin Rugs / YouTube

Unfortunately, Dr. Roberts and the archeologists at Wiltshire County didn’t have the funds to excavate the site to the extent they wanted. They needed to raise more money before they could unearth all of the villa’s secrets.

Of course, Luke found inspiration in that very first mosaic that the contractors uncovered while installing a light fixture in the barn. Luke even designed a rug of his own around the pattern he saw in it!

Luke Irwin Rugs / YouTube