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Artifacts

There are undoubtedly millions of ancient artifacts from the past that have served to shed light on the lives of our ancestors from many millennia ago. But some ancient mystical artifacts stand out for their uniqueness, their intrigue, or their ability to expand our knowledge about previously unknown aspects of our history. Here we feature many such ancient history artifacts, from amazing examples of ancient technology, to artistic masterpieces, unexplained objects, ancient texts, and mysterious artifacts that shed light on the daily lives of our ancestors.

Relief from a scribe's tomb found in Flavia Solva. (Public Domain) Background: Latin stone inscription.

Acta Diurna: The Telegraph of Ancient Rome, Bringing You All the Latest Gladiator Combat News

‘Roman emperor conquers new lands !’ ‘Five new ways to use your fish paste .’ ‘When do the stars say you will marry ?’ ‘ Viae militares expand our reach to foreign lands.’ These may have been some of...
Rock art in central Northumberland, northern England. (Author provided)

What Neolithic Rock Art Can Tell Us About the Way Our Ancestors Lived 6,000 Years Ago

The British and Irish countryside is often celebrated for its wealth of unique places of heritage, significance and interest. But not many people know that this heritage includes thousands of ancient...
Mór Than's painting The Feast of Attila, based on a fragment of Priscus.

Did the Roughly-Hewn Stone Throne at Torcello Really Belong to Attila the Hun?

On the island of Torcello there exists an ancient white chair that local legend names as the throne of Attila the Hun. The chair is large, of solid stone and certainly has the air of unyielding...
Aristotle's School, a painting from the 1880s by Gustav Adolph Spangenberg.

The Nicomachean Ethics: How to Approach the Ethical Musings of Aristotle

Aristotle spoke thoughtfully as he strolled along the natural pathways of the Lyceum and his companions were entranced by their teacher’s words. His philosophical musings seemed to intertwine...
The Pylos Combat Agate, an ancient object found in Pylos, Greece and created around 1450 BC.

Is this Minoan Artistic Marvel a Miniaturization of the Heavens?

The discovery of the Pylos Combat Agate in a Mycenaean shaft-grave tomb dating to 1500 BC may be one of the most significant archaeological and artistic finds in decades, perhaps in centuries. The...
The Sayhuite Monolith

Sayhuite Monolith: Can You Solve the Mystery of the 200 Designs Carved by a Forgotten Creator?

Long ago, forgotten artists put their blood, sweat, and possibly even tears into creating more than 200 designs on a monolith in what is now Peru. They carefully engraved the forms of reptiles,...
Detail of a star chart dating to the Middle Kingdom.

Why Are There 365 Days in a Year? Organizing Dates with an Ancient Egyptian Calendar

The calendar is one of mankind’s most important inventions. Calendars allowed societies to organize time for religious, social, economic, and administrative purposes. The calendar, or rather, two...
The four-handled tureen adorned with dragons, birds and spikes

Bronze Artifacts Found in 3,100-Year-Old Tomb Tell of Dynastic Take Over

Chinese archaeologists have discovered ritual tureen and “soup bowls” next to a badly decomposed body in a Zhou dynasty-era tomb. Among the remains there were also uncovered two wine vessels, which...
Message in an old bottle

Adrift at Sea: The Long-Awaited Recovery of the Oldest Message in a Bottle

Two years ago, a bottle was found with a message in it that had been released before the outbreak of World War One. It had survived not only the ravages of the seas, but both world wars and the life...
The document was found hidden under the wooden loin cloth of the statue

Secret Centuries-Old Document Discovered Inside Buttocks of Jesus Statue

During restorations of an 18th century wooden statue of Jesus Christ, Spanish workers discovered a peculiar note that appears to be a makeshift time capsule. The most surprising and bizarre thing...
Bust of Euripides. Marble, Roman copy after a Greek original from ca. 330 BC. Codex Hierosolymitanus Sancti Sepulcri 36, p. 539.

Overwriting Euripides: Hidden Classical Texts Were Washed Over in Medieval Times

The idea to reduce, re-use, and recycle is not a modern phenomenon. Over the last few years, there have been several instances in which scientists and historians have found ancient texts being...
Detail of ‘Himiko, Queen of Yamataikoku.’ It is said this mysterious shaman queen of Japan had magic mirrors.

Researchers in Japan Discover the Secrets Behind Magic Mirrors and a Mysterious Shaman Queen

Magic mirrors are not just objects found in fairy tales. An experiment conducted on a replica bronze mirror in Kyoto’s National Museum shows that the original may be an example of an actual magic...
Maiestas Domini page from Codex Amiatinus (fol. 796v), Firenze, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana and folio 5r from the Codex Amiatinus (Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, MS Amiatinus 1), Ezra the scribe. "When the sacred books had been consumed in the fires of war, Ezra repaired the damage."

The Codex Amiatinus: The Skins of 500 Calves Were Used to Create this Monumental Manuscript

The Codex Amiatinus dates to the end of the 7th century AD; making it the oldest known surviving complete Catholic Bible written in the Latin Vulgate. It has been estimated that over 1500 calves were...
The engraved whetstone found in Oslo, Norway. Credit: Karen Langsholt Holmqvist/NIKU

Puzzling Medieval Runes Found on Stone in Norway

A rare find of a stone bearing engravings of runes that date back to the Middle Ages has been unearthed recently at an excavation near Oslo. The relic is a whetstone which was a tool used for...
Mummy of a 900-year-old Russian "polar princess"

Viruses Sleeping in Mummies—Could Ancient Corpses Lead to Modern Epidemics?

Mummies fascinate historians, archaeologists, and anyone with antiquarian leanings. Mummies allow scientists to learn more about the diets, clothing, appearance, genetics, and general lifestyle of...
Romanian Postage stamp design 1989 with Conrad Hass, Austrian military engineer with an early rocket design.

Conrad Haas’ Flying Javelin: Yes, It Is 16th Century Rocket Science

Conrad Haas was a military engineer who lived during the 16 th century. Not much is known for certain about Haas’ life, in fact, he was largely forgotten by history. But this changed in 1961, when a...

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