Ancient Traditions

The futhark on the Vadstena bracteate.

Unearthing Ancient Magic in The Runes –Messages with Hidden Symbols and Powerful Numbers

The etymology of the word “rune” means: “to carve, or to cut.” In Low German the word is “raunen.” As the runes were cut and carved into wood, metal or stone, the word “rune” was analogous to the...
Detail of the hand section of the jade burial suit of Liu Sui, Prince of Liang, of Western Han

Fit for a King: Royals of Ancient China Buried in Jade Ceremonial Suits

Perceptions of the afterlife have inspired thousands of weird ideas for burial rituals around the world. One example comes in form of the remarkably beautiful and fascinating ceremonial suits created...
Santa Compaña: A Procession of Souls That Spreads Fear Through the Villages of Iberia

Santa Compaña: A Procession of Souls That Spreads Fear Through the Villages of Iberia

Picture a group of the dead passing down the street next to your house. They sing out deathly stories and spread a creepy energy that makes you feel your skin crawl. You want to escape, but you can’t...
Magic in Ancient Greece: Necromancy, Curses, Love Spells, and Oracles

Magic in Ancient Greece: Necromancy, Curses, Love Spells, and Oracles

The magical traditions of ancient Greece encompassed spells, curse tablets, drugs, potions, poisons, amulets, and talismans. For many cultures of the past, there was a very fine line between magic,...
Bindi: Investigating the True Meaning Behind the Hindu Forehead Dot

Bindi: Investigating the True Meaning Behind the Hindu Forehead Dot

A distinct dot is a popular forehead decoration worn mainly in South Asia - especially in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Mauritius. It is an old Hindu tradition and is known as a bindi,...
Harking Back: The Ancient Pagan Festivities in our Christmas Rituals

Harking Back: The Ancient Pagan Festivities in our Christmas Rituals

When we think of the Romans, gift-giving, carol-singing and celebrating the birth of Christ don’t immediately present themselves. Waging wars, general oppression and a never-ending desire to rule the...
‘Festa di Pales, o L'estate’ by Joseph-Benoît Suvée

The Busy Romans Needed a Mid-Winter Break Too … and it Lasted for 24 days

In the Doctor Who Christmas Special from 2010, Michael Gambon’s Scrooge-like character remarks that across different cultures and worlds people come together to mark the midpoint of winter. It is, he...
The Medieval Origins of The Carol: How Christmas Songs Have Survived Through the Centuries

The Medieval Origins of The Carol: How Christmas Songs Have Survived Through the Centuries

Singing and Christmas seem to go naturally together, like plum pudding and custard. Even those who would not normally attend a choir concert or church service throughout the year might happily...
The Holly and the Ivy: How Pagan Practices Found Their Way into Christmas

The Holly and the Ivy: How Pagan Practices Found Their Way into Christmas

Every year, almost without thinking about it, we incorporate certain plant species into out Christmas celebrations. The most obvious is the Christmas tree, linked historically in England to Prince...
Putting a Price on Marriage: The Long-standing Custom of Dowries

Putting a Price on Marriage: The Long-standing Custom of Dowries

A dowry is an ancient custom that requires the transfer of parental property to a daughter at her marriage, rather than at her father’s death. It is a tradition in which emotion does not play a role...
Why Ghosts Haunt England at Christmas but Steer Clear of America

Why Ghosts Haunt England at Christmas but Steer Clear of America

A few years ago, the Downton Abbey Christmas special featured a ouija board which communicated a message from a dead character. American reviewers were extremely puzzled by this incursion of the...
A group of Trinovantes at a graveside in Colchester by Peter Froste.

The So-Called Druid of Colchester: Physician, Mystical Man, or Both?

In 1996, a team of researchers unearthed a unique burial of a mysterious man. The odd remains and specific funerary equipment thrilled the archaeologists. Was the man who lived 2,000 years ago an...
Tower of silence, Yazd, Iran

Zoroastrian Towers of Silence: Where the Dead Are Left to the Vultures

A tower of silence (known also as a ‘dakhma’) is a type of structure used for funerary purposes by adherents of the Zoroastrian faith. This Zoroastrian practice for the disposal of the dead involves...
The City of Refuge: Ancient Hawaiian Sanctuary Protected Law Breakers from Death Sentence

The City of Refuge: Ancient Hawaiian Sanctuary Protected Law Breakers from Death Sentence

For the ancient people living on the Hawaiian Islands, kapu was a major factor in their day-to-day lives. Kapu was a system of laws that governed political and religious affairs as well as lifestyle...
Birds, Stones, and Jaguars: Piecing Together the Multifaceted Ancient Olmec Religion

Birds, Stones, and Jaguars: Piecing Together the Multifaceted Ancient Olmec Religion

The Bilingual-Mayan inscription of Comalcalco and decipherment of the La Venta celts and Olmec iconography allows one to understand much about the ancient Olmec religion and its cult associations...
Would you Want a Chalice Owned by Cleopatra or a Necklace Worn by Alexander the Great?

Would you Want a Chalice Owned by Cleopatra or a Necklace Worn by Alexander the Great?

If you think that collecting artifacts that belonged to famous people is a modern domain, you are wrong. The idea of idols has been popular since the beginning of human civilization, and people have...

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Virtual recreation by Charles Chipiez. A panoramic view of the gardens and outside of the Palace of Darius I of Persia in Persepolis.
Once the stunning capital of the Persian Empire (also known as the Achaemenid Empire), Persepolis was lost to the world for almost nineteen hundred years, buried in the dirt of southwestern Iran until the 17th century. Founded in 518 BC by Darius I of the Persian Empire, Persepolis (called Parsa by the native Persians) lasted only a mere two hundred years despite the grandeur Darius and his followers abundantly heaped on its construction. Notwithstanding Persepolis’ tragic end, what remains of the Persian citadel is astounding.

Myths & Legends

The Smelliest Women of Ancient Greece: Jason and the Argonauts Get Fragrant
We all know Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love and beauty, made sure that she was worshipped by punishing those who ignored her altars. One brief appearance of this wrath in the tale of Jason and the Argonauts turned into a particularly fragrant episode.

Ancient Places

Inside one of the tunnels under Valetta, Malta.
Hordes of tourists visit the Mediterranean island of Malta each year to enjoy the above ground attractions the country has to offer such as breath-taking sandy beaches, historical buildings, and traditional cuisine. Yet, there is also a subterranean world hidden beneath the island’s surface. These are the rumored secret tunnels of Malta.

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)