Ancient Traditions

N’anga (spiritual healer or herbalist) of the Shona people. Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe.

Traditional African Medicine and its Role in Healing in a Modern World

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it has been estimated that “about 80% of the population in developing countries depend s on traditional medicine for their Primary Health Care (PHC)...
Volunteers carefully clean and store the abandoned bodies in the hopes relatives will retrieve them. If not, the bodies are eventually cremated.

Thai Buddhists observe an ancient tradition of honoring the unclaimed dead

A medieval Buddhist tradition started by a Buddhist monk centuries ago has people this month in Thailand exhuming and painstakingly cleaning the remains of 3,890 people who were buried without their...
Deriv; Woman with veil and scarf and Khor Ash Sham, Musandam Peninsula, Oman.

Are the Reclusive Shihuh People of Musandam the Original Arabians?

Two hours’ drive from Dubai in the mountains of Musandam lives a reclusive tribe of people who appear culturally unrelated to any others in the Arabian Peninsula, yet who may well be its original...
An example of Gyotaku art.

Gyotaku: A Unique Japanese Tradition in Which a Fish Becomes a Work of Art

Gyotaku is a traditional Japanese art form that is highly unique, and some may even say bizarre. The word Gyotaku itself is a combination of two separate words – Gyo , which means ‘fish’, and Taku ,...
Shiva carrying Sati on his trident. (1800s).

Manikarnika Ghat and the Role of Cremation in Traditional Indian Funerary Rites

India is renowned for having distinctive religious practices that coexist with one another. The numerous shrines and monuments allow one to contemplate the importance of faith for many. One of the...
Mid-Autumn Festival Decorations in Beijing, China.

The Mid-Autumn Festival: A Holiday of Mooncakes, Lanterns, Moon Worship, and Timeless Legends

The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated annually by Chinese and Vietnamese communities around the world. As the name of this festival suggests, the day of its celebration falls exactly in the middle of...
15th century the basement of a "market house" used as a prison

Prisons and Imprisonment in the Ancient World: Punishments Used to Maintain Public Order

One of the most well-known forms of punishment today is imprisonment. One could argue that for any society to function properly, public order has to be maintained. This is an important function of...
Artist’s depiction of a Viking King

From Olafir Thick-Legged to Ragnar Fur-Pants, Viking nicknames were colorful, descriptive and fascinating

An American scholar did both his master’s thesis and his doctoral dissertation on old Norse nicknames as recorded in medieval literature to reveal a world of people with monikers like Wise of Dreams...
The print depicts a samurai fighting snakes, which are conjured by a ghost as the ghosts of Heian court ladies watch. Japan, 1850.

Malevolent Phantoms, Corpse Brides, and Ancestor Spirits: The Ancient Belief in Ghosts – PART II

Many ancient civilizations had beliefs surrounding the hauntings of ghosts and malevolent spirits, and so they relied on careful rituals and exorcisms to keep the supernatural at bay. Read Part I...
Ancient legends tell of ghost hauntings.

Malevolent Phantoms, Corpse Brides, and Ancestor Spirits: The Ancient Belief in Ghosts – PART I

Ghosts and malevolent spirits haunted the ancients, and so they relied on careful rituals and exorcisms to keep the supernatural at bay. The concept of a spiritual afterlife connects cultures across...
Roman Key Ring made of iron and worn by the wife.

Why Do Couples Exchange Rings with Vows? The Elusive Ancient Origins of Wedding Rings

The image of a couple exchanging rings during a wedding ceremony is instantly recognizable, and is held as an ancient tradition. A ring on a certain finger indicates that the wearer is married, but...
Mosaic of the ‘bikini girls’ from the Villa Romana del Casale, Piazza Armerina, Sicily.

When it Came to Ancient Undergarments Less Was Often More

Undergarments are an essential part of today’s society. They can be readily purchased from departmental stores, come in all shapes and sizes, and serve a variety of functions. In the ancient world,...
“Krishna and Balarama Taking the Cattle to Graze” from a Bhagavata Purana Manuscript (1520-1540), Museum Rietberg, Zurich

The Past Teaching the Present: Ancient Sanskrit Texts Discuss the Importance of Environmental and Species Conservation

One of the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century is the destruction of the natural environment. Researchers have found that environmental change over the last 60 years is happening...
Holi kele nanda lala

The Mythological Origins of Holi: Ancient and Colorful Festival of South Asia

Holi is an ancient festival celebrated on the day after the last full moon of Phalguna, the last month of the Hindu calendar (between late February and early March). Traditionally, this was a major...
Ancient Egyptian relief carving of a dog.

Ritual and Burial: The Strange and Elaborate Ways Humans Prepared Animals for the Afterlife

The practice of animal burial is one that dates back to prehistoric epochs. Many cultures around the globe have buried animals for various reasons: sentimentality, religious rituals, superstition,...
A man marrying a deceased woman in China

Ghost Marriages: Love For the Living and the Deceased

The tradition of the ghost marriage is one that supposedly stretches back to the first imperial dynasty of China: the Qin Dynasty, dating from the years 221 BC-206 BC. The most comprehensive early...


Myths & Legends

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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.

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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)