Ancient Writings

There are literally thousands of incredible texts that have survived from the ancient world, which are etched onto copper, beautifully inscribed on papyrus, chipped onto tablets, and even written using the ink of ground down gold and precious stones. Here we feature many ancient writings, which have served to open a window onto the daily lives of our ancestors and enhanced the knowledge we hold about our ancient past.

Solomon at his throne, painting by Andreas Brugger, 1777.

Grimoires by a Biblical King? The Magical Treatise of Solomon and the Key of Solomon

The Magical Treatise of Solomon and the Key of Solomon are two grimoires (handbooks of magic) commonly said to have been written by the biblical King Solomon. The latter grimoire has been described...
Traité des Fardements et Confitures, Lyon 1556.

Treatise on Make-up and Jam: A Bestselling Cookbook by Nostradamus

It is undeniable that Michel de Nostredame (more commonly known as Nostradamus) is most renowned for his published collection of prophecies known as Les Prophéties , or in English as The Prophecies...
Opening from the Hours of Catherine of Cleves, 1440. The Morgan Library & Museum.

Beautiful, Decorative, and Sometimes Crude: Illuminated Manuscripts and Marginalia

Illuminated manuscripts are manuscripts that are covered with painted ornaments presented under several forms. These documents are perhaps most commonly associated with the European Middle Ages...
“The Alchymist, in Search of the Philosopher's Stone” by Joseph Wright of Derby, 1771.

From Magic to Science: The Intriguing Ritual and Powerful Work of Alchemy

Throughout time, history has recorded numerous rituals and magic practices, some more bizarre than others. While alchemists were preoccupied with finding the Philosopher's Stone and the elixir of...
Burning witches and holding others in the Stocks, 14th century.

The Malleus Maleficarum: A Medieval Manual for Witch Hunters

The Salem witch trials, which began in 1692 in Salem Village, Massachusetts bay colony, are one of the most well-known and notorious witch trials in history. Yet, this was not the only case of these...
Painting entitled ‘Abulcasis blistering a patient in the hospital at Cordova.’

Al-Zahrawi: The Legacy of the Father of Modern Surgery

The period from the 8th century until the 13th century AD is commonly referred to as the Islamic Golden Age. During this era, the Islamic world produced numerous scholars who contributed greatly to...
The Laguna Copperplate Inscription.

The Laguna Copperplate Inscription: An Ancient Text That Changed the Perception of the History of the Philippines

The Laguna Copperplate Inscription is the name of an inscription written on an artifact that has great significance for the understanding of the history of the Philippines during the 10th century AD...
Strange beasts, mythological and real, graced the pages of ancient bestiaries.

Bestiary, The Book of Beasts: Compendiums of Medieval Monsters and Moral Lessons

During the Middle Ages the phoenix rose from its ashes to be reborn, dangerous dragons battled elephants to the death, and the pelican tore out its own breast to feed its young with its life’s blood—...
Quedlinburg Castle and Monastery, Quedlinburg, Germany where the Annals of Quedlinburg were written.

The Annals of Quedlinburg: Rare Example of Female Scholarship in Medieval Europe

Mention medieval scholarship , and the first image that most people will have would probably be that of a monk with a quill in his hand and an open book before him. The most well-known scholars of...
The world’s first-known abecedary in ancient Egyptian hieratic script has been deciphered by a Dutch Egyptologist.

Scholar deciphers oldest known alphabet primer, in ancient Egyptian

A Dutch Egyptologist recently deciphered the oldest known abecedary or alphabet-like primer on a 3,500-year-old shard of pottery from an Egyptian tomb excavated 20 years ago. The earliest alphabets...
A detail of the basalt Rosetta Stone

The father of Egyptology suffered a tragic death after deciphering the Rosetta Stone

A mystery surrounds the death of a 19 th century Frenchman who unraveled a great mystery—the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. Jean-Francois Champollion died young after deciphering the Rosetta Stone,...
A collection of tablets displaying Indus Valley script.

Decoding the mysterious ancient Indus Valley script will shed light on powerful ancient civilization

Linguists have cracked many tough scripts, from Mesopotamian cuneiform to Egyptian hieroglyphic to Central American Mayan glyphs, but there are a few ancient, mysterious scripts still in the field...
Section of the Derveni Papyrus

The Derveni Papyrus: The Most Ancient Book in Europe Involved in a Campaign Against Orpheus?

The Derveni Papyrus has recently been inscribed as one of the works for protection within the Memory of the World Register by UNESCO. Named as the ‘Most Ancient Book in Europe,’ the history of the...
A five-volume treatise concerning medical matters, Dioscorides, De Materia Medica, Byzantium, 15th century.

Could ancient textbooks be the source of the next medical breakthrough?

The discovery that won the latest Nobel Prize for Medicine wouldn’t have been much of a revelation to doctors in ancient China. Pharmaceutical chemist Tu Youyou established that the compound...
The text resembles Cyrillic letters, according to experts.

Is The Book of Veles a great Slavic text or a charlatan’s forgery?

The Book of Veles is so controversial it is banned in Russia. Its supporters say it lays out cultural, religious and historical facts about Slavs from the 7 th century BC until the 9 th century AD,...
The Blinding of Vasilko of Terebovl from The Tale of Bygone Years/The Primary Codex. (15th Century).

The Precious Knowledge of the Hypatian Codex: Detailed Chronicle of the Southern Rus

The Hypatian Codex , known also as the Hypatian Chronicle , is said to be the main source of information for the history of the Southern Rus’ (Kyivan Rus’.) The Hypatian Codex was discovered by the...

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Top New Stories

The Achievement of the Grail.
Leah Tether works at the University of Bristol. She received funding for this research from Anglia Ruskin University, Ghent University, Somerville College, Oxford and the Stationers' Foundation. Type “Holy Grail” into Google and … well, you probably don’t need me to finish that sentence.

Human Origins

Kalash girls with traditional clothing.
The Kalash (known also as the Kalasha) are an indigenous people living in what is today Pakistan. Although Pakistan is an Islamic Republic, with more than 95% of its population being adherents of Islam, the Kalash hold on to their own religious beliefs, along with their own identity, way of life, and language.

Ancient Technology

10 Innovative Medieval Weapons: You Would Not Want To Be At The Sharp End Of These!
Long before modern warfare, there was a time of knights in shining armor atop equally armored horses fighting for the hand of a maiden or in pitched battle. However, the weapons that these knights wielded expanded far past that of an ordinary sword and shield.

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)