The iPhone was invented in 2007, 70 years after this painting was created but that sure does look like a man with his phone perfectly angled, getting ready to take a selfie. Yes, the man with the apparent iPhone looks distinctly different to the rest of the individuals occupying the painting who are surrounded by ropes, wood and cattle.

© Smithsonian National Postal Museum – Smithsonian Institution

The painting entitled ‘Mr. Pynchon and the Settling of Springfield’ was created by Umberto Romano, a semi-abstract painter who was known for his portraits and murals and died in 1982. The painting depicts English colonist William Pynchon, founder of Springfield, Massachusetts, USA, gathering around native Americans in the 1630s.

Some have put it down to evidence of time travel, or perhaps a book or mirror. Due to the time in which it was painted and the time in which it represents there is no way that it could be a smartphone, but there’s no guessing to what else it could be as it looks so foreign and out of place in the painting. So, what could it be? Who knows, but the item in the man’s hands doesn’t appear to be anything that was around at the time.