cuneiform

Photo of Zecharia Sitchin (left)(CC0)Akkadian cylinder seal dating to circa 2300 BC depicting the deities Inanna, Utu, and Enki, three members of the Anunnaki.(right)

Zecharia Sitchin and the Mistranslation of Sumerian Texts

In a previous 2-part article (1), the authors wrote about the faulty associations of the Sumerian deities known as the Anunnaki as they are portrayed in the books, television series, and other media...
A cylinder seal impression, ca. 2100 BC, sometimes interpreted as Ur-Nammu (seated) bestowing governorship on Ḫašḫamer, ensi of Iškun-Sin.

The Code of Ur-Nammu: When Ancient Sumerians Laid Down the Law, Everyone Obeyed

The Code of Ur-Nammu is the oldest surviving law code. This text was written on clay tablets in the Sumerian language and is reckoned to have been produced towards the end of the 3rd millennium BC...
Cuneiform tablet known as Letter ZTT 22. (Credit: Ziyaret Tepe Archaeological Project)

Archaeologists Uncovered an Archive that Narrates Ancient Assyria’s Fall

A group of archaeologists digging at the site of Ziyaret Tepe in southeastern Turkey, has uncovered a unique cuneiform tablet that narrates a tale of exasperation and disappointment reported by an...
Cuneiform tablet containing details about infertility. Credit: Istanbul Archaeology Museum

4,000-Year-Old Assyrian Tablet Makes First Known Infertility Diagnosis and Recommends Slave Surrogate

A 4,000-year-old Assyrian tablet discovered in central Kayseri province, Turkey, is an ancient marriage contract with the first known diagnosis of infertility. The clay record says that the wife...
60 of the almost 100 cuneiform clay tablets were found at the archaeological site of Bassetki in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq.

Almost 100 Cuneiform Clay Tablets Unearthed and Archaeologists Cannot Wait to Decipher Them

The discovery of ancient writing is always exciting for researchers. Documented events, letters, lists, literature – it is all helpful in reconstructing the story of our predecessors. Thus, the...
relief at the ancient Persian city of Persepolis (now in modern Iran), including inscriptions in cuneiform, the world’s oldest form of writing.

The Controversial Road to the Recovery of Cuneiform Texts

It is a little-known piece of history that Saddam Hussein was a great fan of ancient Mesopotamian literature. His enthusiasm for epics written in cuneiform – the world’s oldest known form of writing...
Left (Wally Gobetz/CC BY NC ND 2.0) and right (Wally Gobetz/CC BY NC ND 2.0): Brooklyn Museum - Reliefs of King Ashur-nasir-pal II - Standard Inscription. Detail of cuneiform script. Center: British Museum, Assyrian collections (Room 10) cuneiform inscription.

Deciphering Cuneiform: Helping Scholars to Get a Handle on Life in Ancient Mesopotamia

Cuneiform is a system of writing that was invented by the Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia. Believed to have been created sometime during the 4th millennium BC (between 3500 and 3000 BC), this script...
Sumerian chaos monster and sun god

Forget Death and Seek Life! Fascinating Insights into The Human Condition in 4,000-Year-Old Epic of Gilgamesh

“Forget death and seek life!” With these encouraging words, Gilgamesh, the star of the eponymous 4000-year-old epic poem, coins the world’s first heroic catchphrase. At the same time, the young king...
An example of the Proto-Sinaitic script.

The A to Z of Alphabet Origins and the Most Ancient Written Languages

Writing is traditionally regarded as one of the requirements for a society to be considered as a civilization. Various writing systems have been invented by the great civilizations of the world, one...
Leaving an Impression: Revealing the Intricate Story of Sumerian Cylinder Seals

Leaving an Impression: Revealing the Intricate Story of Sumerian Cylinder Seals

A cylinder seal is a small cylindrical object with images, words, or both, engraved onto it. Sumerian cylinder seals would be rolled over wet clay to make an impression. When the clay dried, a seal...
Trading in the Bronze Age: Living the High Life in the Great City of Ugarit

Trading in the Bronze Age: Living the High Life in the Great City of Ugarit

Ugarit is an ancient city located on the coast of Syria. The ruins of this site are in the form of a tell (or mound) known as Ras Shamra, and are situated 10 km (6.2 miles) to the north of Latakia,...
Instructions of Shuruppak: 4,600 Years Ago, A Sumerian King Instructed His Son on How to Behave

Instructions of Shuruppak: 4,600 Years Ago, A Sumerian King Instructed His Son on How to Behave

The Instructions of Shuruppak are a set of 4,600-year-old Sumerian proverbs given by a king to his son, which essentially set out how he should behave. The ancient inscriptions were engraved in...
The Descent of Inanna into the Underworld: A 5,500-Year-Old Literary Masterpiece

The Descent of Inanna into the Underworld: A 5,500-Year-Old Literary Masterpiece

The Descent of Inanna (known also as ‘Inanna’s Descent to the Netherworld / Underworld’) is a piece of work in the literary corpus of ancient Mesopotamia. This story, which was originally written in...
A Sumerian king and an official

Where Sumerian Rulers Lie: The Royal Tombs of Ur

The Royal Tombs of Ur is a 4,800-year-old Sumerian burial site of around 2,000 graves located in the ancient city of Ur in southern Mesopotamia (in the south of modern day Iraq). Sixteen of the...
Ashurbanipal: The Oldest Surviving Royal Library in the World with Over 30,000 Clay Tablets

Ashurbanipal: The Oldest Surviving Royal Library in the World with Over 30,000 Clay Tablets

The Royal Library of Ashurbanipal has sometimes been described as the ‘first library’ in the world, or the ‘oldest surviving royal library in the world’. The library was discovered by archaeologists...
This is the oldest known pay stub in the world, dating back 5,000 years to the city of Uruk in Mesopotamia. The wages were beer.

5,000-Year-Old Mesopotamian Pay Stub Reveals Workers Were Paid with Beer

An ancient cuneiform tablet dating back to 3,000 BC, which was discovered in the Mesopotamian city of Uruk, in modern day Iraq, reveals that the workers of the ancient city were paid with beer...

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Myths & Legends

Illustrations to Dante's "Divine Comedy" - "Minos" by William Blake.
When we think of Minos, two images immediately come to mind: (1) the legendary and cruel tyrant of Crete who demanded the tribute of Athenian youths to feed to the Minotaur in the Labyrinth and (2) a judge of the Underworld as depicted in both Virgil’s Aeneid and also in Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy story, the Inferno.

Human Origins

Osiris, Egyptian God of the Underworld
Osiris was one of the most prominent gods in the ancient Egyptian pantheon. This prominent deity was a member of the Ennead (known also as the Great Ennead and the Ennead of Heliopolis), a group of nine Egyptian deities worshipped primarily in Heliopolis, but whose influence spread to the rest of Egypt as well.

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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.

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.

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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. 

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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)