death

Detail of two ancient Egyptian 'gate spells'. On the top register, Ani and his wife face the ‘gates of the House of Osiris'. Below, they encounter the 'mysterious portals of the House of Osiris in the Field of Reeds'. All are guarded by unpleasant underworld protectors.

Through the Twelve Chambers of Hell: The Afterlife in Ancient Egypt

Death, the ancient Egyptians believed, was not the end of our struggles. They believed in an afterlife and that the worthy would go on to paradise, but their dead didn’t simply pass over to the other...
Trailer for Ouija Movie. (BagoGames/CC BY 2.0) Insert: Ouija board on your skull: noe valley, san francisco (2015).

Talking Boards: Terrifying Tales of Ouija Boards and Demons, Possession, and Death

Ouija boards, also known as talking boards or spirit boards, are a relatively modern tool/game that strikes fear and wonder in the hearts of many people. Almost everyone has heard stories of someone...
Navajo Yebichai (Yei Bi Chei) dancers. Edward S. Curtis. USA, 1900. The Welcome Collection, London

Can a Ghost Make You Ill? The Ghost Sickness Belief of the Native American Indians

Ghost sickness is the belief that ghosts are able to cause a living person to fall ill. This particular term is used by the Native Americans, especially amongst the Navajo people. Nevertheless, this...
Yorkshire Photo Walks (Tom Marsh/CC BY 2.0), and Grey Lady. (CC BY 2.0); Deriv.

Staked Through the Heart and Buried at the Crossroads – The Profane Burial of Suicides

I uncovered a curious tale about a scrubby patch of land while writing a book on the folklore and history of East Anglia. Marked on modern maps as Lushbush, you pass it heading eastwards out of the...
A funerary garden discovered by CSIC's research team.

A First-Ever Find in Egypt: 4,000-Year-Old Funerary Garden at Tomb Entrance

The Djehuty Project, led by research professor, José Manuel Galán, from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), has discovered a 4,000-year-old funerary garden- the first such garden ever to be...
Naturalistic reconstruction of Ötzi - South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology.

Did Ötzi the Iceman Actually Freeze to Death?

A new study suggests that Ötzi the Tyrolean Iceman died of exposure to freezing temperatures in the Italian Alps. Researchers claim that his body and head injuries were most likely made during some...
The Bull by Stuart Yeates.

Brazen Bull: Gruesome Ancient Greek Torture Device Turned Screams into ‘Music’

The Brazen Bull (known also as the ‘Bull of Phalaris’, the ‘Bronze Bull’ or the ‘Sicilian Bull’) was a type of ancient torture and execution device from ancient Greece. The story of the Brazen Bull...
‘Light and Structure’ - Reconstruction of Viking Longhouse: Central Jutland, Denmark.

Why Would You Cremate and Bury Your Home? A Bizarre Viking Ritual Explained

The Vikings had a very bizarre tradition that might be totally unique: they buried their own homes. From the Bronze Age until the Viking Age, historians have noted that burial mounds were placed on...
Hercules and Deianira circa 1475–80.

An Unfortunate Fate and Nasty Gods: The Tragic Story of Mythical Deianira and Her Lover Hercules

Deianira became a famous heroine after the release of the TV show ''Hercules,'' with Kevin Sorbo, and the Disney movie about the mythical hero. Her real story, although still juicy, isn't the same...
Figurines representing three of the ten judges of Diyu and Red Maw

Journey to Hell, Featuring Torture and Never-ending Bureaucracy: Understanding the Underworld in Chinese Mythology

“Each of the criminals is bound to an iron pillar and the ox-headed demon is in the process of administering punishment—using iron or copper blades he peels the skin of the person's face, just as a...
The remains of a mother and fetus were buried alongside those of two other children in the early days of the Black Death in Italy, however researchers cannot say for certain that they died of the plague.

New Details Emerge on the Black Death by Examining a Plague Victim and her Tragic Coffin Birth

We can only guess about the life and times of a young mother and two children buried with her, possibly felled by the first wave of the bubonic plague in the 1340s in Italy. They were all buried in a...
Researchers traced around the edges of the figures to reveal a hunter, a possible shaman (medicine man) and an ostrich, which are still hunted today by San people of Africa. If you look underneath the image, you can see some faint pecking in the rock that clearly show the prehistoric human and ostrich images.

Ancient Egyptian Ritual Image Predates the Rise of the Pharaohs

The ancient Egyptians built their first great monuments in stone beginning with the step pyramid of Djoser about 4,650 years ago. Well before that, around 6,000 years ago, a fine artist working in...
The End of the Huns: The Death of Attila and the Fall of the Hunnic Empire

The End of the Huns: The Death of Attila and the Fall of the Hunnic Empire

Attila the Hun was also known as Flagellum Dei , which means the ‘Scourge of God.’ With him at the lead, the Huns were one of the biggest threats faced by the Roman Empire. Although he was famously...
Booker T. Washington dining with Teddy Roosevelt.

A Deadly Passion for Coffee: How Did this Addictive Drink Fuel the History of the World?

If you cannot imagine a day without a warm cup or mug of coffee, you are not alone. Many of the most famous stories of the world are related to people who loved coffee. Did you know that Benjamin...
Emperor Caligula Brought an End to the Illustrious Ptolemies, But Why?

Emperor Caligula Brought an End to the Illustrious Ptolemies, But Why?

When Cleopatra VII and Mark Anthony closed their eyes for the last time, passing through to their longed-for afterlife, among the successors were their three orphans: Alexander Helios, Cleopatra...
Where Death Rings in the Hour: The Amazing Medieval Astronomical Clock of Prague

Where Death Rings in the Hour: The Amazing Medieval Astronomical Clock of Prague

The technical sophistication of the Middle Ages tends to be underestimated. Near the end of the High Middle Ages, mechanical technology such as clocks and water mills, for example, were becoming...

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Human Origins

Was the Heretic Pharaoh Akhenaton in Fact the Father of Modern Monotheism?
This passage may read like a passage from the Old Testament of the Bible; but, this is a quote from the Hymn of Aten, a work by Pharaoh Amenhotep IV better known as Akhenaton. This so-called heretic king was the only known Pharaoh in Egyptian history who believed in a monotheistic doctrine when most of the ancient world adhered to polytheism.

Ancient Technology

Left side view of the Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacan.
Teotihuacan’s Lost Kings, a television special, took an hour long look at the great city, its inhabitants, and the excavation of the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, (also known as the Feathered Serpent Pyramid.) The program revealed evidence of advanced engineering built into a tunnel system, and placed directly underneath the Pyramid.

Ancient Places

Entrance from above to the Loltun Cave complex
On the 3rd of January 1931, an article appeared in the Modesto News-Herald entitled ‘Mystery of the Loltun Cave hermit’. The article recounted the encounter between a man by the name of Robert Stacy-Judd and an old Mayan hermit, when the former got lost whilst exploring the Loltun Cave with several native guides.

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)