culture

Santa with pipe and the knowing smile of ancient wisdom.

Santa the Shaman Comes to the New World: The Shapeshifting Magic-Man from the Ancient Past

In 1626, a ship filled with folks from the Netherlands put into what would later be called New York Harbor and went about building a Dutch colony called New Amsterdam. The figurehead on the prow of...
The rediscovered orca geoglyph lies on a desert hillside in the remote Palpa region of southern Peru.

Gigantic 2,000-Year-Old Geoglyph of an Orca Is One of the Earliest in Peru

Archaeologists have rediscovered and restored a huge geoglyph of a killer whale, “hiding” in a desert hillside in the isolated Palpa region of southern Peru. Researchers noted that the specific...
Kalash girls with traditional clothing.

Are the Distinctive Kalash People of Pakistan Really Descendants of Alexander the Great’s Army?

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...
Thinking Man? By Moncloa

Age of the Wise Men: What Distinguishes Homo Sapiens from the Other Great Apes?

Homo Sapiens represents the last of a long line of hominin races that once consisted of five different species spanning four continents. Today, we are the last humans, that is, the last of the genus...
Reconstitution of a prehistoric burial. Representative image.

Bones of the Child, Tools of the Shaman: Ritual and Cosmology at the Hopewell Tunacunnhee Mounds

Near Trenton in Dade County, Georgia, is a place called Tunacunnhee , supposedly named after a Native American word meaning “Lookout Creek”. Located just a few hundred yards east of Lookout Creek is...
The findings included vases and a series of lamps, notably some included depictions of the Roman goddess Venus and two cupids.

Valuable Jewels, Ornate Lamps and Coins Unearthed from 2,000-Year-Old Tombs in Corinth

A team of Greek researchers has unearthed unique jewels, coins and other precious artifacts while excavating tombs near the ruins of the ancient city of Corinth. Experts estimate that the newly found...
16th or 17th century painting of the ‘Dance of Death.’ The living weren’t always scared of the dead.

Dance Macabre: How the Dead Danced with the Living in Medieval Society

Ashby Kinch / The Conversation In the Halloween season , American culture briefly participates in an ancient tradition of making the world of the dead visible to the living: Children dress as...
The figurine was made of an as yet unknown organic material. Source: Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography SB RAS

Unique 5,000 Year Old Figurine with Feather Headdress Found in Old Potato Field

By Anna Liesowska 'Absolutely stunning' ancient ornaments were discovered with no known comparisons, presenting a puzzle for archaeologists: which culture made this? The finds were made on a pre-...
Collection of Egyptian Art, design by Anand Balaji

Ostraca: Voices from the Place of Truth—An intimate glimpse into New Kingdom Egypt

Athenians meted out harsh punishments to those who fell afoul of prevalent laws or societal norms. If citizens had done something terrible, they ran the risk of being exiled from the city for up to...
Detail of a man depicted on an Uruk vase, Pergamon Museum. The Uruk civilization arose as it expertly adapted to the new climate.

Rising to the Challenge: Innovative Civilizations Advanced Through Climate Change

Beginning around 90,000 years ago, during an interglacial period, Anatomically Modern Humans were able to take advantage of the favorable climatic conditions and migrate throughout Africa and into...
Kukeri is a type of wild man in Bulgaria. Rituals with this ‘beast’ are believed to scare away evil spirits.

Beasts of the Pagan Wild Man Ritual Come in All Shapes and Sizes

The wild man is a creature found in various pagan traditions across Europe. Generally speaking, a wild man is a man dressed up in a beast-like costume for certain pagan rituals, which were normally...
A Puma in the night

Ghost Talkers and Puma Men: Adena Totemism and the Shamans of the Early Woodland Period

The people of the Adena Culture are widely regarded as the first builders of mounds and earthworks in the Ohio Valley. By conventional dating the culture spans the period of 1000 BC to around 300 AD...
Liao Dynasty (907-1125) tomb mural by unknown painter in Inner Mongolia. Scene of everyday life. Men and boys have distinctive Khitan hairstyle. (Public Domain) Insert: A famous Liao Dynasty Sancai Luohan, Circa 1000

An Intriguing Empire: The Lasting Impression of the Nomadic Liao Dynasty on Chinese Culture

Well-represented in artifacts found in museums and private collections, the Liao Dynasty rose and expanded as the Tang Dynasty dwindled in power. This was the first state to control all of Manchuria...
The sarcophagi of Carajia, emblematic of the lost Chachapoya culture. Source: BigStockPhoto

The Cloud Warriors: Sarcophagi Sentries Perched on the Cliffs in Peru

Researchers would have never guessed what they would find inside a seven-foot-tall statue when it came crashing down the Peruvian cliffside in the Utcubamba valley in 1928. The sculpture was a...
Priestess of Delphi (1891) by John Collier. (Public Domain) Drawing of the Tholos of Delphi, Greece.

Earthquake Faults May Have Shaken up the Cultural Practices of Ancient Greece

The Ancient Greeks may have built sacred or treasured sites deliberately on land previously affected by earthquake activity, according to a new study by the University of Plymouth. Professor of...
Remembering the Future: How Ancient Maya Agronomists Changed the Modern World

Remembering the Future: How Ancient Maya Agronomists Changed the Modern World

The Maya were the longest-lived civilization in history. Their history lasted for 3,500 years and traced parallel time lines with other ancient civilizations. They began their civilization in 2500 BC...

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Top New Stories

Sealings from the archive of Doliche.
Classical scholars from the Cluster of Excellence "Religion and Politics" of the University of Münster discovered a large number of sealings in south-east Turkey. "This unique group of artifacts comprising more than 1,000 pieces from the municipal archive of the ancient city of Doliche gives many insights into the local Graeco-Roman pantheon -- from Zeus to Hera to Iuppiter Dolichenus

Myths & Legends

Detail, Chicomoztoc — the place of the seven caves.
Is Aztlan the ancient homeland of the great Aztec civilization, or is it just a mythical land described in legends? The Aztec people of Mexico created one of the greatest empires of the ancient...

Human Origins

Sumerian creation myth
Sumer , or the ‘land of civilized kings’, flourished in Mesopotamia, now modern-day Iraq, around 4500 BC. Sumerians created an advanced civilization with its own system of elaborate language and...

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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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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)