Ancient Traditions

A Hopi Hero’s Journey: How the Snake Clan Came to Arizona

Joseph Campbell, in his classic book The Hero With A Thousand Faces explores in depth the universal mythic narrative of the culture-hero (traditionally male) who goes forth not to conquer but...
A mandala.

The Mandala: Mapping the Cosmos and the Soul

Human cultures are replete with ways to depict or represent some aspect of the universe. Calendars, ordinary maps, star charts, and other diagrams are all examples of ways to make sense of or map...
16th or 17th century painting of the ‘Dance of Death.’ The living weren’t always scared of the dead.

Dance Macabre: How the Dead Danced with the Living in Medieval Society

Ashby Kinch / The Conversation In the Halloween season , American culture briefly participates in an ancient tradition of making the world of the dead visible to the living: Children dress as...
Image during part of the funeral ceremony for Thailand’s deceased King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The Grand Funeral of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Intricate Buddhist Funerary Rites

For Thai Buddhists, funerals are extremely important moments, as they represent rebirth and the passage from one existence to another. The elaborate funeral rites recently held in honor of Thailand’s...
A Buddhist monk creating a mandala

Intricacy and Reflection: Transforming Mandalas from Sacred Designs to Art Therapy

Although the word ‘Mandala’ simply means “circle” or “discoid object” in Sanskrit, the significance is far more complex. Traditionally, mandalas represented the intricacy of the universe and served...
‘An alchemist being tempted by Luxuria.’ Oil painting after Marten de Vos.

Spiritual Alchemy – Casting Light on a Secret Science

Spiritual alchemy is closely linked to secret knowledge and many who have attained this level of wisdom later decided to withdraw from it as they found they were not ready to receive it. The purpose...
Kukeri is a type of wild man in Bulgaria. Rituals with this ‘beast’ are believed to scare away evil spirits.

Beasts of the Pagan Wild Man Ritual Come in All Shapes and Sizes

The wild man is a creature found in various pagan traditions across Europe. Generally speaking, a wild man is a man dressed up in a beast-like costume for certain pagan rituals, which were normally...
Detail of a Phoenician grinning mask, 4th century BC, found in a grave at San Sperate, Cagliari, Museo Archeologico Nazionale.

An Ancient Method of Forced Euthanasia: The Disturbing Truth Behind a Sardonic Grin

Creepy and more than a little uncomfortable to behold, one usually thinks of DC Comics' Joker when hearing the phrase "sardonic grin." A "smile" that pulls up the corners of the mouth in a way that...
 Ardhanarishvara, a composite androgynous form of the Hindu God Shiva and his consort Parvati (also known as Devi, Shakti, and Uma in this icon).

Find Out the Real Story Behind Tantra. Hint, It’s Not All About Sex

You may have heard that Tantra is full of obscenities or that it has something to do with black magic. Forget that. As a matter of fact, Tantra involves practices such as yoga, meditation, and the...
Elkhound, a Viking Dog.

Viking Dogs Followed Their Masters to Valhalla

By THORNEWS Large amounts of animal bones have been found in Viking Age ship graves. For example, there were eight large sighthounds (Old Norse: mjór) buried on both sides outside the ship In the...
The Chavola of the Sorceress, Dolmen in Alava, Spain

Neolithic Bones Reveal Socio-economic and Cultural Differences are Nothing New For Spain

The researcher Teresa Fernández-Crespo, lead author of this study, had in a previous piece of work found demographic differences between the people buried in dolmens and those buried in caves: while...
Sea Silk

One Person Left on Earth Knows the Ancient Secret of Producing Sea Silk

Sea silk is a highly-precious fabric that is so rare only one woman left on earth knows the secret to its creation. Whilst silk is famously known to be obtained from the cocoons of the mulberry...
Georgia, Savannah River, near Savannah, circa 1862. (Public Domain) with couple (Public Domain);Deriv.

Prehistoric Romeo and Juliet Lived Apart: But Why? The People of the Shoals and The People of the Hills

Just north of Augusta, Georgia, USA, near what is called the Fall Line of the Savannah River, lies Stallings Island. It has given its name to the culture that sparked the second great American...
Reog Ponorogo performer and spectators.

The Reog Ponorogo: A Dance of Rebellion Which Changed History

A fearsome lion monster with peacock feathers on its head charged and twirled about as cavalrymen curtseyed and jumped by. The onlookers were entranced with the story playing out in front of them...
Mesoamerican ballgame latterly known as ‘Ulama’, using ‘Hipball’ rules

Playing Ball in Ancient Belize: 1,300-year-old Stone Panels Depicting Mayan Ballplayers Revealed

Archaeologists have deciphered two 1,300-year-old stone panels that depict ancient Mayans playing with large balls while carrying impressive fans. The panels were found at the archaeological site of...
Detail of a vintage Christmas postcard showing Christkind.

Christkind: How Does this Christmas Gift-Bringer Differ from Santa Claus?

Christkind is a Christmas gift-bringer in certain European countries. Like its more famous counterpart, Santa Claus, Christkind is said to leave presents for children under the Christmas tree on the...

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Top New Stories

Statue of Roman Soldier (Public Domain), and Roman Cavalry Reenactment  (CodrinB/CC BY-SA 3.0); Deriv.
With the Amanus Pass secured, Roman general Publius Ventidius Bassus, on the mission given by Antony to retake Asia-Minor, pushed south into Syria. Prince Pacorus of Parthia of was done fighting, at least for now, and abandoned the province to the Romans in late 39 BCE. With the Parthians out of the way, Ventidius led his forces to the province of Judea.

Human Origins

Thinking Man? By Moncloa
Homo Sapiens represents the last of a long line of hominin races that once consisted of five different species spanning four continents. Today, we are the last humans, that is, the last of the genus Homo. Our closest living relatives are chimpanzees and gorillas. We, however, stand out in many ways from them. We have unparalleled capacities for abstract thought, language skills, and social cohesion.

Ancient Places

Sculpture of a head from 950-1150 AD found at Building Y in the Tajin Chico section. On display at the Tajin site museum, Veracruz state, Mexico
El Tajin is a Mesoamerican archaeological site located in the North of the state of Veracruz, near the Gulf Coast of Mexico. The city, one of the most flourishing of the Classic and early Post-classic period, was only rediscovered in 1785, immediately capturing the imagination of European travelers with its imposing jungle-covered ruins and unusual architecture.

Opinion

Sculpture of a head from 950-1150 AD found at Building Y in the Tajin Chico section. On display at the Tajin site museum, Veracruz state, Mexico
El Tajin is a Mesoamerican archaeological site located in the North of the state of Veracruz, near the Gulf Coast of Mexico. The city, one of the most flourishing of the Classic and early Post-classic period, was only rediscovered in 1785, immediately capturing the imagination of European travelers with its imposing jungle-covered ruins and unusual architecture.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)