An out-of-place artifact or OOPart is a name given by creationists and woo-pushing fringe scientists for historical and archeological artifacts they feel could not have been created by a particular culture due to a lack of knowledge or materials.
Supporters such as Zecharia Sitchin claim OOPArts are evidence that vanished civilizations possessed knowledge or technology far more advanced than our own, alien beings undoubtedly visited the earth millions of years ago, and mainstream science is overlooking huge areas of knowledge. Adjectives like "mysterious," "unexplainable," and "anomalous" are liberally used to describe stuff like:
- The Iron pillar of Delhi: said to have been constructed in 912 BCE of a highly advanced iron-based alloy that cannot rust (but wait, it has some rust near its base, and its more likely origin lies in the reign of Chandragupta II, 380-c.415 CE)
- The Wolfsegg Iron: An iron cube found buried in a 20 million year old coal seam, misleadingly described as a "perfect cube" when, in fact, it could be generously a lump with a few straight-ish edges.
- The Klerksdorp spheres: A disc shaped pyrite chunk found in 3-billion-year-old pyrophyllite deposits, often misleadingly described as "perfect spheres" while actually being far from perfectly spherical.
- The Coso artifact: A supposedly unknown electrical device encased in a 500,000-year-old geode. Actually just a concretion of iron around a rusting 1920s spark plug.
- The Starchild skull: Supposed evidence of an alien-human hybrid child. Really just the skull of a child with a congenital skull deformity.
Creationists often argue that such "anomalies" show that mainstream scientific chronologies and models of human evolution are all wrong, and all this mysterious stuff is proof that Noah really built that Ark. Ancient astronaut fans maintain it's ironclad evidence of alien visitors influence on mankind. Pseudoarcheologists are convinced it's proof that advanced civilizations existed during the Pleistocene Ice Age.
The idea of a "smoking gun" with the potential to completely overturn the scientific orthodoxy that's shunned them is a daydream that appeals to a wide variety of cranks.
 The Antikythera gambit
The Antikythera mechanism is a 1st century BCE mechanical computing device that was found in an ancient Greek shipwreck. It is often used by fringe science promoters to argue that stuffy old mainstream science should never dismiss fantastic claims of OOParts, because scientists original conclusions about it were wrong. While scholars initially proposed it was a piece of modern junk that got mixed in with more ancient junk, they never called it an "out-of-place artifact" and they certainly never speculated it came from aliens.
 See also
- ↑ Nobody knows why they felt the need to abbreviate this in such a weird manner.
- ↑ "OOPARTS (out of place artifacts) & ANCIENT HIGH TECHNOLOGY --Evidence of Noah's Flood? Page 5" s8int.com.
- ↑ Neil Freer and Zecharia Sitchin. Breaking the Godspell. Falcon Press, 1987.
- ↑ Look at it. Not a "cube" in the slightest.
- ↑ At the time of the mechanism's discovery in 1902, most scholars thought it was too complex to have been constructed during the same period as other pieces found in the wreck. But by the 1970s, our more advanced technology was able to help identify it as a genuine mechanism based on the theories of astronomy and mathematics developed by the ancient Greeks. In other words, we knew the Greeks understood complex astronomical calculations, we knew they could manufacture mechanical gearing, we just didn't know they could put it all together like that.