Europe

Lemminkäinen and the black swan.

Lemminkäinen: Resurrection of the Handsome, Yet Frivolous Finnish Epic Hero

Thus became a mighty hero, In his veins the blood of ages, Read erect and form commanding, Growth of mind and body perfect But alas! he had his failings, Bad indeed his heart and morals, Roaming in...
The Fomorians as depicted by John Duncan, 1912.

The Fomorians: Destructive Giants of Irish Legend

Bloodthirsty, warrior giants which came from far across the sea? Or was it the underworld? Perhaps they were more like monsters with a single leg, arm, and eye? No, it was heads of goats they had…or...
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...
Exhibit in the Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

Saint Brendan and His Epic Voyage: Was the Irish Saint the First European in the New World?

Saint Brendan (also referred to by his various epithets ‘the Navigator’, ‘the Voyager’, ‘the Anchorite’, and ‘the Bold’) was an Irish saint who lived between the 5th and 6th centuries AD known for...
An octopus and fish. Scandinavian mythology claimed the Kraken was a sea monster that looked like an octopus or a squid – but was much bigger.

Are Fossils Linked to the Legendary Kraken Enough to Prove its Terrifying Existence?

Scandinavian mythology claims the Kraken swallowed up whales and devoured ships. It has been described as a huge version of an octopus or squid. Legends have even claimed the terrifying sea creature...
“Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf in the forest” (1881) by Carl Larsson.

Humans Traveled Far and Wide Before Little Red Riding Hood Ever Made It Through the Woods

“Little Red Riding Hood” is a fairytale most children have heard. But if you’re not familiar, it tells the story of a young girl who wears a red velvet hood and cape and travels alone through a...
Detail of ‘Sisyphus’ by Antonio Zanchi.

Sisyphus: King Cheats Death, Annoys Zeus, and Receives Never-ending Punishment in the Greek Underworld

Doomed to forever roll a huge boulder up a steep hill, Sisyphus is a figure in Greek mythology who represents an impossible task. As his punishment in the Greek Underworld, each time Sisyphus neared...
King Haraldr hárfagri receives the kingdom out of his father's hands. From the 14th century Icelandic manuscript Flateyjarbók.

Icelander Sagas May Have More Truth to Them than You Think

Myths and legends – purely the creation of creative and imaginative minds, right? Not necessarily. Numerous stories, sagas, and texts from the ancient past have been proven to hold facts. For example...
Hercules and the Leraean Hydra by John Singer Sargant

A Herculean Effort: What Led to the 12 Labors of Hercules and How Did He Succeed?

Classical mythology is full of heroes but Hercules (known to the Greeks as Heracles) is undoubtedly the most celebrated of them all. Although his heroic life was packed with daring escapades from...
The taking of Excalibur by John Duncan

Where did King Arthur Acquire Excalibur, the Stone or the Lake?

Excalibur is a legendary sword found in Arthurian legends, and is arguably one of the most renowned swords in history. This sword was wielded by the legendary King Arthur, and magical properties were...
A vase-scene from about 410 BC. Nimrod/Herakles, wearing his fearsome lion skin headdress, spins Noah/Nereus around and looks him straight in the eye. Noah gets the message and grimaces, grasping his scepter, a symbol of his rule - soon to be displaced in the post-Flood world by Nimrod/Herakles, whose visage reveals a stern smirk.

Ancient Greek Vase Artists Painted Images of Biblical Figures Noah and Nimrod Over 2,000 Years Ago

The Book of Genesis describes human history. Ancient Greek religious art depicts human history. While their viewpoints are opposite, the recounted events and characters match each other in convincing...
Zeus

The Unshakeable Power of Zeus, Prime Mover of Ancient Greek Deities

“ Then Zeus no longer held back his might; but straight his heart was filled with fury and he showed forth all his strength. From Heaven and from Olympus he came forthwith, hurling his lightning: the...
Sixth-Century silver plate of Hercules

The Rocks, Stained Red with Blood: A Son of Hercules Slew Giants at Salcombe, Devon?

The myth of Brutus of Troy is well over a thousand years old, yet it continues to fascinate and current scholarship seeks to find new truths hidden in its mossy folds. John Clark’s excellent paper ‘...
Åsgårdsreien (The Wild Hunt) by Peter Nicolai Arbo (1872).

Omen of Odin: The Wild Hunt Thundered Across European Skies, Bringing Calamity and Doom

Ask anyone who has ever seen Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones —witnessing a Bolton "hunt" is rarely a good sign. So too is the case for the supernatural Wild Hunt of European myth. A phenomenon...
Illustration by H.J. Ford for Andrew Lang's Tales of Romance, 1919. "Arthur meets the Lady of the Lake and gets the Sword Excalibur"

7-Year-Old Pulls Sword from Lake Where Folklore Claims King Arthur’s Excalibur Was Thrown

A sword has been retrieved from Dozmary Pool in Cornwall by a 7-year-old girl who was paddling in the shallow water near the edge. Local folklore has it that this was the very lake where the...
Beowulf fighting Grendel’s Mother beside Grendel’s body.

Of Monsters and Men: What Is the Grim Being Known as Grendel from the Epic Beowulf?

Nowadays, monsters hide under your bed. They come out of the closet or dangle from your ceiling. Children usually picture such monsters with fangs or scales, glowing eyes, and claws. With the right...

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Myths & Legends

Right: Detail of a statue of a reclining Attis. The Shrine of Attis is situated to the east of the Campus of the Magna Mater in Ostia. Statue of Jesus Christ as a shepherd with a lamb.
Recently, it has been popular to suggest in some circles that Christianity was influenced, or even derived from, the ancient Roman mystery religions – religions often known to have orgiastic rituals and connection to a personal god.

Human Origins

Silhouettes (Public Domain) in front of blood cells (Public Domain) and a gene.
Most people who have the Rh blood type are Rh-positive. There are also instances, however, where people are Rh-Negative. Health problems may occur for the unborn child of a mother with Rh-Negative blood when the baby is Rh-Positive.

Ancient Technology

Mammoth in the Royal BC Museum in Victoria (Canada). The display is from 1979, and the fur is musk ox hair.
In Sivershchina, close to the village of Mizyn in Ukraine is one of the oldest and most unique settlements of humans – and it was discovered in a parking lot. The now well-known archaeological site, known plainly as the Mizyn parking lot, dates back 18-20 thousand years.

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)