Famous People

In this section, we shed light on some of the most famous and infamous people known throughout history, from powerful pharaohs, to emperors and empresses, acclaimed military leaders, or just regular civilians who’ve been thrown into the spotlight for great crimes or for heroic actions, leaving an indelible mark on the world.

Cao Cao cites a poem before the Battle of Red Cliffs, portrait at the Long Corridor of the Summer Palace, Beijing

Devastating Defeat for Chinese Warlord in Largest Naval Battle in History

The largest naval battle in history occurred in the winter of 208/9 AD as part of the war for control of China. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers fought - some estimates suggest that the exact number...
Aeneas and Turnus by Luca Giordano 17th century

History Versus Legend: In Search of Aeneas, the Trojan Refugee

Roman mythology designates Aeneas as the founder of the great nation of Rome and ancestor to its peoples. In fact, his story begins long before Rome came into existence. While the Romans lay claim to...
Detail of ‘Caius Marius Amid the Ruins of Carthage’ (1807) by John Vanderlyn.

Gaius Marius was the Savior of Ancient Rome, but was he a Hero or Villain?

Gaius Marius was easily one of the Roman Republic’s most accomplished men. He was a beloved general, influential military reformer, and a massively successful politician; but later in his career, he...
Lord Buddha

Siddhartha Gautama: How The Father of Buddhism Walked From Suffering to Enlightenment

Siddhartha Gautama, also known as the Buddha or “Enlightened One,” is probably one of the most influential individuals to come out of India through the incidental founding of Buddhism. Siddhartha...
Edmund killing Sweyn by Matthew Paris, 13th century (Cambridge University Library MS Ee.3.59 p. 4)

The Strange Death and Afterlife of King Edmund Part 2: Did the Martyred Saint Rise from the Grave to Kill a Viking King?

King Edmund was the man who died, indeed was martyred by the Vikings after enduring a tortuous death which ended in his beheading. He thus became St Edmund and was the England’s original heavenly...
Martrydom of St Edmund.

The Strange Death and Afterlife of King Edmund Part 1: The Unfortunate Friendship With Ragnor Lodbrok that Led to Edmund’s Beheading

Over the past decade, there have been two major public campaigns in the UK to drum up support for removing St George as the patron saint of England and replacing him with St Edmund, the man who was...
Romulus' Victory Over Acron’ (1812) by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. Romulus was the first Roman king.

The Seven Kings of Rome: Tumultuous Origins of the Roman Republic

In the beginning, there was only dirt and mud and twigs. Then came the legendary hero Aeneas, and from him descended the sons of Rhea Silva and Mars, the god of war. These sons were Romulus and Remus...
Concept art of Queen Anne’s Revenge, based on the Pirates of the Caribbean prop for ‘The Black Pearl’

Blackbeard and his Infamous Pirate Ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge

“So our Heroe, Captain Teach, assumed the Cognomen of Black-beard, from that large Quantity of Hair, which, like a frightful Meteor, covered his whole Face, and frightened America more than any Comet...
Skiing Birchlegs Crossing the Mountain with the Royal Child by Knud Larsen Bergslien

The Birkebeiners and a Heroic Mountain Rescue that Helped Unify Medieval Norway

The rebels were so poor that their shoes were made of birch. The wealthier, better-established party derided the upstarts in state-sponsored propaganda, labeling them ‘birkebeiners’ after their birch...
Louvre Museum, Department of Near Eastern Antiquities: Gilgamesh and Lion, Human headed winged bull, Assyria.

The Ascension of Gilgamesh: Did the Epic Hero Actually Exist?

The Epic of Gilgamesh is widely recognized and frequently a required reading for world literature courses. The poem is considered a masterpiece in its own right, not just because it is the earliest...
Zhang Heng's odometer, a mechanical carriage.

The Famous Ancient Chinese Inventions of Zhang Heng

Zhang Heng (78-139 AD) was a Chinese astronomer, mathematician, inventor, geographer, cartographer, artist, poet, statesman, and literary scholar from Nanyang, Henan Province, China. He is noted for...
Sack of Rome’ by Karl Briullov. (1833-1836) in the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. This painting is showing the Vandal king Gaiseric sacking Rome

Va-Va-Vandal: The Life and Times of Gaiseric, the Vandal King of North Africa

Meet one of the most important late antiquity kings you’ve never heard of: Gaiseric (a.k.a. Genseric), a Germanic kinglet who transformed his tribal affiliations into a massive realm in the 5th...
Jezebel.

Jezebel: Revealing the Slander of a Virgin of Baal, Princess of Tyre, and Queen of Israel

Jezebel - even to this day her name is synonymous with wickedness and promiscuity. She was the most depraved of women, a murderess, an adulteress and worst of all an idolatress. She was so hated by...
Scene of destruction in the film “Pompeii 3d” (2014). (La Stampa/CC BY NC ND) Insert: Remains of a skull attributed to Pliny the Elder from the Museo di Storia dell'Arte Sanitaria in Rome.

Researchers Look to Crowdfunding to Identify the Skull of Pompeii Hero Pliny the Elder

Gaius Plinius Secundus, better known as Pliny the Elder, was an influential administrator, officer, and author in ancient Rome. His life ended suddenly with the deadly eruption of Mount Vesuvius in...
 Three runners. Side B of an Attic black-figured Panathenaic prize amphora (Marie-Lan Nguyen/CC BY 2.5) ) and detail of a statue of a Greek runner by Sir William Blake Richmond, in St Peter's Square, Hammersmith, London. (CC BY SA 3.0)

The Greatest Runner You Have Never Heard Of: The Other Famous Greek Leonidas

Thanks to Zack Snyder’s 2007 fantasy historical film, 300 , the Battle of Thermopylae has become one of the most famous battles in history, while the name Leonidas is now synonymous with the...
Tang and Shakespeare’s dramas are being blended together in a series of adaptions.

From China with Love: Tang Xianzu Was the Shakespeare of the Orient

After 400 years, Shakespeare is still rightly celebrated as a great wordsmith and playwright. But he was not the only great master of dramatic writing to die in 1616, and he is certainly not the only...

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Human Origins

Kalash girls with traditional clothing.
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 Islam, the Kalash hold on to their own religious beliefs, along with their own identity, way of life, and language.

Ancient Technology

An Ulfberht sword displayed at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, Germany
Ulfberht was like a Medieval luxury brand for swords—but unlike your Gucci purse, the swords were of such high quality they were almost … mystical. Dozens of these swords—made with metal so strong and pure it’s baffling how any sword maker of that time could have accomplished it

Ancient Places

Kalash girls with traditional clothing.
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 Islam, the Kalash hold on to their own religious beliefs, along with their own identity, way of life, and language.

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)