Ancient Traditions

A Greek amphora showing athletes, 4th century BC. ©Trustees of the British Museum.

Mythbusting Ancient Rome: Did Christians Ban The Ancient Olympics?

Every two years, when the Winter or Summer Olympics comes around, we hear about how the games staged at Olympia in Greece since 776 BC came to a sudden end in the late fourth century AD. The finger...
Skulls from the Andean Paracas (top left). (CC BY-SA 3.0); Paracas skull at Ica Museum(right). (CC BY 2.0); Child head shaping methods (bottom left).

Elongated Skulls Increased Kudos in Ancient Peru

Archaeologists dig them up all over the ancient world from Egypt to Peru, and now, these curious elongated skulls are believed to have been “status symbols,” according to a recent paper in Current...
Detail of ‘Solitude’ (circa 1890) by Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton.

Alone Need Not Be Lonely: What Joyous Solitude of Early Hermits Can Teach Us

Kim Haines-Eitzen / The Conversation In today’s world, loneliness seems to have reached epidemic proportions. Countless studies have highlighted the serious and negative impact that loneliness has on...
George Catlin, Tchung-kee, a Mandan Game Played with a Ring and Pole", 1832-3.

Ancient North Americans Played High-stakes Games

University of California, Santa Barbara From games of chance to tests of physical skill, ancient North America Indians took their sport and recreation seriously, research shows. “Games are ubiquitous...
Albany Bulb Sea Witch Prays to the Pink and Purple Sky.

Untwisting the Knotted History of Sea Witches

You might have noticed that Ursula, the antagonist in Disney's The Little Mermaid (1989), was a sea witch disguised as a half-human, half-octopus mythological hybrid creature . And, the antagonist of...
Ninja warrior

Ancient Psycho Secrets of Ninja Assassins

Ninjas or shinobi ("to sneak”) have become kings of popular culture and their acrobatic trained-killer antics have been featured in hundreds of movies and television series. These deadly mercenary...
‘Lucretia’ by Lucas Cranach the Elder. Lucretia’s suicide is a well-known example of suicide in ancient Rome.

Petitioning for Death: Did Ancient Romans Really Ask for Permission to Commit Suicide?

Cases of suicide are known to have occurred in ancient Rome, as they have been recorded by ancient writers. But there are many questions surrounding this subject that have yet to be fully answered. A...
Yacouba Sawadogo planting.

The Man Who Stopped a Desert Using Ancient Farming

Desertification is a serious problem facing numerous countries in the world today. Various measures have been taken to counter the negative effects, with some providing better results than others. A...
A tsunami stone.

Japanese Tsunami Stones: These Centuries-Old Monuments Save Lives Today

Japan is often struck by earthquakes due to its position on the Pacific Ring of Fire. At times, these seismic activities result in tsunamis - a ‘seismic or tidal sea wave’. Although such a deadly...
"Ertränken im Fass oder Sack", a 1560 sketch showing ‘punishment of the sack’.

Mythbusting Ancient Rome: Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Early Roman history is full of stories about the terrible fates that befell citizens who broke the law. When a certain Tarpeia let the enemy Sabines into Rome, she was crushed and thrown headlong...
Detail of ‘Iwatake mushroom gathering at Kumano in Kishu.’

Zombie Powder, Bird Saliva, and Rotten Shark: Would You Try These Ancient Foods?

Ancient tribal cultures all over the world partook in perilous hunting, fishing, and food gathering adventures. Hearths appear 250,000 years ago - which is the accepted archaeological estimate for...
A depiction of a tree of life or axis mundi.

The Axis Mundi: Sacred Sites Where Heaven Meets Earth

What do Mount Fuji in Japanese culture, the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount, Mecca in Islam, and the Black Hills for the Sioux all have in common? They are all examples of a belief in the axis...
These Norwegian children have traveled back to the Viking Age and practice archery.

Born for Valhalla: How Viking Children Learned the Art of War

By ThorNews We know from the sagas that Viking boys were trained in the art of war. The Viking’s success in killing and oppressing everyone who stood in their way was no accident: The warrior...
Venus and Mars, c 1485. Tempera and oil on poplar panel, National Gallery, London.

Trial by Public Performance: The Impotence Trials of Pre-Revolutionary France

The impotence trials of prerevolutionary France sound a bit like a political joke. France had mostly squelched the ability for couples to divorce, and it was in the wake of this that the impotence...
Elf Fantasy Fair 2010 hurdy gurdy.

The Hurdy Gurdy Was Essential Medieval Entertainment Enjoyed by Merrymakers Across Europe

The hurdy gurdy is a musical instrument, or more precisely, a string instrument, that traces its origin to the Middle Ages of Europe. The hurdy gurdy was initially used to play sacred music, before...
Stalk of basil.

Sacred Plant of Eternal Love and Healing: The Mythology and Magic of Basil

In Mediterranean cuisine it is the symbol of summer and its origins are lost in the mists of time. Fragrant and delicate with its green leaves it manages to tantalize the most demanding palates, it...

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Top New Stories

The interior of a private library in Chinguetti.
During the Middle Ages, Sahara outposts often found themselves filled with travelers, traders, and pilgrims passing through with their differing tasks. The pilgrims in particular interest us here, as they would sometimes meet and share religious scriptures amongst each other and with their hosts.

Myths & Legends

The Last of the Siberian Unicorns: What Happened to the Mammoth-Sized One-Horned Beasts of Legend?
Elasmotherium, also known as the Giant Rhinoceros or the Giant Siberian Unicorn, is an extinct species of rhino that lived in the Eurasian area in the Late Pliocene and Pleistocene eras. They have been documented from 2.6 million years ago, but the most recent fossils come from around 29,000 years ago.

Ancient Technology

Yacouba Sawadogo planting.
Desertification is a serious problem facing numerous countries in the world today. Various measures have been taken to counter the negative effects, with some providing better results than others. A farmer in Burkina Faso looked to his ancestors and came up with an innovative solution.

Ancient Places

Stonehenge at night.
In the 1960s, a portion of a ditch excavated into chalk bedrock west of the henge at Stonehenge was discovered during construction for the pedestrian underpass that provided access to Stonehenge until a year ago. By 2014, geophysical testing confirmed that the ditch stretches over 900 meters (2952.7 ft.) from southwest of the Stonehenge henge to a point near the south ditch line of the Greater Cursus, northwest of Stonehenge.

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)