empire

Aztec Avenue of the Dead stretches out before pyramids and shops of Mexico.

Did Spanish Spin Doctors Change the Name of Teotihuacan to Sabotage the City?

The famous archaeological site of Teotihuacan may have served a different purpose for the Aztecs to what Spanish chroniclers claimed. A possibly deliberate change of the city’s name suggests that it...
Artist’s representation of the Hittite city of Hattusa in Anatolia.

The Anatolian Histories Part 1: Emerging Empires and Lands Changing Hands

What comes to the mind when one says Anatolia? Does the phrase “land of the rising sun” (as the ancient Greeks called it) appear? Or, because it technically belongs to the Middle East, do you think...
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...
Virtual recreation by Charles Chipiez. A panoramic view of the gardens and outside of the Palace of Darius I of Persia in Persepolis.

An Empire in Death: The Extensive Remains of Persepolis

Once the stunning capital of the Persian Empire (also known as the Achaemenid Empire), Persepolis was lost to the world for almost nineteen hundred years, buried in the dirt of southwestern Iran...
Statue of Roman Soldier (Public Domain), and recreators of Roman legionaries wearing the lorica segmentata, 1st-3rd century

Rome’s Forgotten General: Upstart Poor Boy Becomes Military Conqueror – Part I

In the spring of 40 BCE, the Parthians, led by Quintus Labienus, a Roman general who was supported the Liberators (consisting of Brutus and Cassius, who participated in the assassination of Caesar),...
Six of the Roman Emperors:

A Succinct Timeline of Roman Emperors—400 Years of Power Condensed

To say that the Roman Empire had its ups and downs would be the understatement of all understatements. No “nation” was more abruptly destabilized or even more abruptly stabilized than that of ancient...
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...
Coin of Mithridates I of Parthia (Classical Numismatic Group, Inc.and illustration depicting a sacrifice being made on behalf of a family, by the chief priest Conon and two assistants, first century AD. Graeco-Iranian style

Mithridates Clashes with Kings and Swallows up Territory: The ‘King of Kings’ of Ancient Iran — Part II

Mithridates (“The Gift of Mithra) exhibited qualities that most kings rarely have: experience and maturity. He understood that a king could retain his power only as long as the people and nobles were...
Coin of Mithridates I of Parthia (Classical Numismatic Group, Inc. and Relief of Mithridates I at Xong-e Ashdar in Izeh, Khuzestān ;Deriv.

Mithridates Stalks His Prey, and Strikes a Killing Blow: The ‘King of Kings’ of Ancient Iran

Mithridates exhibited qualities that most kings rarely have: experience and maturity. Even Phraates passed over his own sons for his qualified brother to be next in line. Mithridates I (r. 171-138...
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...
From this map of the site, all the main structures and rock carvings are visible.

The Megalithic Temple of Malinalco: Could these Magnificent and Complex Rock-Cut Structures Actually Pre-Date the Aztecs?

The little town of Malinalco lies at the margins of the Valley of Tepoztlan, some 115 kilometers (71 miles) to the southwest of Mexico City. Since Prehispanic times, its name has been associated with...
Detail of ‘The Battle of Pavia’ (1528-1531) by Bernard van Orley and William Dermoyen.

The Battle of Pavia: Paving the Political Roads of Rival Rulers with Blood

February 24, 1525. A day that is not marked in infamy but in the blood of France. On this date, the Battle of Pavia occurred – the decisive event in a longstanding war and rivalry, and the crushing...
Subutai: The Forgotten Force Behind the Fearsome Mongol Military

Subutai: The Forgotten Force Behind the Fearsome Mongol Military

"They are the Four Dogs of Temujin. They have foreheads of brass, their jaws are like scissors, their tongues like piercing awls, their heads are iron, their whipping tails swords . . . In the day of...
Frederick Barbarossa awards the city of Haarlem with a sword for its shield or coat-of-arms. By Pieter de Greber, 1630.

Frederick I Barbarossa: A Megalomaniac Roman Emperor On a Crusade for Power

Some people believe they were born for greatness but fall short and some go on to exceed all expectations. Frederick I Barbarossa falls into the second category. His ambition for power was limitless...
A miniature from the Rashid al-Din’s Jami‘ al-Tawarikh showing Mahmud of Ghazni receiving a richly decorated robe of honour form the Abbasid caliph in 1000 AD.

Mahmud of Ghazni: Merciless Tyrant Obliterated Hindu Temples and Conquered Territories Through Plunder and Slaughter

God be merciful to both father and son! Mahmud utterly ruined the prosperity of the country [India], and performed wonderful exploits, by which the Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered in all...
In the Market Square is Helsinki’s oldest public monument, the Tsarina’s Stone, topped by a globe and a double-headed eagle, the emblem used by the Tsars of Russia

The Double-Headed Eagle: An Everlasting Symbol of Power

The double-headed eagle has been a popular symbol associated with the concept of a powerful Empire. Most contemporary uses of the symbol are exclusively associated with its use by the Byzantine...

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Human Origins

Ancient Technology

The Lycurgus Cup.
A strange chalice made its way into the British Museum’s collection in the 1950s. It is a 1,600-year-old jade green Roman artifact called the Lycurgus Cup. The image on the chalice is an iconic scene with King Lycurgus of Thrace...

Ancient Places

The highly-decorated tomb is built in a distinctive ‘L’ shape
A mysterious ancient tomb with “unusual and rare” wall paintings has been discovered in Egypt. Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Enany told BBC reporters the discovery of a 4,400-year-old tomb found during excavation work in Giza’s western cemetery “likely belonged to Hetpet, a priestess to Hathor, the goddess of fertility, who assisted women in childbirth.”

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)