800-year-old mobile phone found: Conspiracy theorists excited by almost certainly hoax claim to have found handset with cuneiform symbols

Andrew Griffin@_andrew_griffin
Friday 01 January 2016 11:34

A picture that supposedly shows an 800-year-old mobile phone found in Austria has found huge fame among conspiracy theorists, despite looking to be entirely fake.

The story goes that the phone was found by archaeologists during a dig in Fuschl am See in Austria. It is supposed to be 800 years old and covered with cuneiform symbols — but looks remarkably like a Nokia mobile phone.

However the picture appears to be fake. While it isn’t clear where it came from, the picture has been circulating online since around 2012 — and never seems to have been associated with any official source.

The phone is probably not from an ancient civilisation, and probably wasn’t found in Austria. It’s very likely that it was made in Photoshop, taking inspiration from the same old phones that it looks a lot like.

It’s unclear where the claim that the phone is 800 years old emerged from. Cuneiform mostly fell out of use in around the 7th and 6th centuries BC, and had almost entirely ceased to be used except in scholarship by the 5th century AD or so. It certainly wasn’t in regular enough usage to be the markings that would be used on a mobile phone keys’, even if there was a civilisation that had the ability to make one.

Some have suggested that finding the phone in Austria suggests some greater conspiracy at work. But it’s far more likely that the story has warped in the telling, and that the strange location was never intentionally introduced.

“What a device like this with Cuneiform writing is doing in Austria is something that no one is able to fully understand or explain,” writes conspiracy site To The Death Media. “Regrettably the information about this ‘sensational’ discovery is limited.”

But others have suggested that it might have come from an even more unusual location. The phone is proof of visits from an alien civilisation, some say.

“It is evident from this cell phone like device that someone with an advanced knowledge of the future created it,” wrote Scott Waring of UFO Sighting Daily. “The language is said to go back tens of thousands of years…very cool discovery.”

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