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Top 10 Historical Objects Ruined by Morons

VO: RB WRITTEN BY: Nick Roffey

Script written by Nick Roffey

They survived the ravages of time - but not acts of stupidity. From a priceless Chinese Vase, to the Star-Spangled Banner, to the Senator, these artefacts were destroyed by some real idiots. WatchMojo counts down Top 10 Historical Objects Ruined by Morons.

Special thank to our user Shawn Mark for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at: https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Priceless+Artifacts+Destroyed+by+Idiots


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Script written by Nick Roffey

Top 10 Historical Objects Ruined by Morons

They survived the ravages of time - but not acts of stupidity. Welcome to, and today we're counting down our picks for the top 10 historical objects ruined by morons.

For this list, we're looking at iconic or valuable objects and things from the past that have been broken, damaged, or completely destroyed by inane decisions.

#10: Chinese Vase

Ever looked at Chinese porcelain hundreds of years old and thought, “Man, this would sure make a nice table lamp?” Well, that’s what must have happened before someone drilled a hole in this Qing Dynasty vase to push an electrical cable through. Decades later, a woman who had inherited the vase took it to be valued, only to be told that the hole had dramatically decreased its value, down from a potential £50,000, to a few thousand. So before repurposing some old vase that’s been lying around the house forever – go get an appraisal.

#9: Statue of the Two Hercules

We’ve seen a spate of selfie mishaps in the early 21st century, from costly accidents to tragic deaths. It seems people will do anything to get the perfect snap. A 300 year old statue featuring two depictions of Hercules has long been a symbol of the city of Cremona, Italy. But the legendary hero’s statue was no match for the selfie obsession of two tourists who decided to climb it for a quick photo. The men toppled and shattered the marble crown on the emblem held by the pair of Hercules figures – and unfortunately this wasn’t the first time holidaymakers have damaged historical Italian monuments.

#8: Star-Spangled Banner

At the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812, the British navy bombarded American forces at Fort McHenry through the night. Detained on a British troopship, American poet Francis Scott Key watched in dismay as the heavens seemed to rain down a sea of fire. But at dawn, an enormous American flag was raised defiantly over the fort, a moment that inspired him to pen the American national anthem. This iconic flag came into the possession of one Georgiana Armistead Appleton - who cut off snippets as gifts, before the remains were whisked away to safety by the Smithsonian Institution.

#7: 5,000 Year Old Cave Painting

Thousands of years ago, one of our ancestors drew this mysterious long-armed figure in Los Escolares Cave in Southern Spain. Hidden away from modern eyes until its rediscovery in 1973, it withstood the ravages of time for millennia as civilizations rose and fell. But it couldn’t survive the shoddy work of thieves, who in 2014 sheared away part of the artwork in an attempt to steal it. This is a huge blow, as the damage is irreparable, but it also points out another problem. Although the cave system housing the picture is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there’s no practical way to protect it against such acts.

#6: The Senator

It was one of the oldest trees in the world, predating Jesus by 1,500 years. This bald cypress towered 125 feet high in Big Tree Park, Florida, and was a landmark for Native Americans and early settlers. But in 2012, 26 year old Sara Barnes, who proclaimed herself a “nature enthusiast” on her modeling page, lit a fire to better see the methamphetamine she was about to smoke. Things got a little out of hand, and today, a charred stump of wood is all that remains.

#5: Monet Painting

Ever struggled to get art? Maybe Irish vandal Andrew Shannon felt pretty frustrated about a Claude Monet painting hanging in the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin. Valued at €10 million, the Impressionist work, "Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat", depicts an idyllic scene on the Seine River. But it apparently enraged Shannon, who in 2012 punched a hole right through the canvas. He initially told cops he was trying to “get back at the state,” but would claim in court that it was an accident and that he stumbled, due to a health condition. Witnesses claimed otherwise, and he served 5 years in the slammer. Thankfully, the painting was later restored - after 18 painstaking months of work.

#4: El Paraíso Pyramid

“This pyramid would sure be a great spot for a swimming pool!” Maybe that’s what property developers were thinking when they illegally bulldozed a 20 foot tall, four thousand year old pyramid at El Paraíso, Peru. They then lit the remains on fire, for good measure. The site is one of the oldest and largest archaeological sites in Peru. As a matter of fact, it predates the rise of the famous Incan Empire. Onlookers prevented them from destroying other pyramids, and the developers were hit with criminal charges.

#3: Chilean Geoglyphs

The Dakar Rally: the annual off-road race where affluent drivers tear through untouched wilds. Before moving to South America in 2009, the rally took place in Africa, where it attracted criticism for its impact on locals and the environment. Archaeologists in Chile have also condemned the event. The route through the Atacama Desert damaged protected sites, including ancient geoglyphs, which are works of art that are carved into the ground. Some of these are well over a thousand years old. That doesn’t seem to matter of these off-road enthusiasts, some of whom think nothing of driving across these priceless artifacts from another era.

#2: Belize Pyramid

Belize is rich with relics left by the Mayans, whose civilization flourished in Central America for centuries until beginning a serious decline after 950 AD. But in 2013, the country lost one of these riches when construction crews used the stones of an ancient pyramid for road fill. The pyramid, called Noh Mul and built in 250 BC, stood almost 60 feet tall, but was quickly broken down by the crew, who were later charged and fined. Such destruction isn’t uncommon in Belize, where Mayan mounds are tempting targets for construction workers.

#1: Ancient Chinese Tombs

Construction crews strike again. In 2007, workers building an IKEA branch in Nanjing, China, destroyed 10 ancient tombs dating back almost 1,800 years. It was claimed that this was all a mistake and the crews didn’t know about the tombs. Ooookayyy…. But in 2013, contractors working on a metro line in Guangzhou demolished imperial tombs, which had been clearly cordoned off by the Guangzhou Archaeology Research Centre. Some of the tombs were 3,000 years old. The destruction of all these tombs is a huge loss for those seeking to better understand China’s history.

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