History

From the powerful civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Indus Valley, to the fearsome yet sophisticated society of the Vikings, the ancient world was a surprising and challenging place. Here we feature some of the most seminal and influential events and people throughout history, that have helped shape the world we know today.

‘An alchemist being tempted by Luxuria.’ Oil painting after Marten de Vos.

Spiritual Alchemy – Casting Light on a Secret Science

Spiritual alchemy is closely linked to secret knowledge and many who have attained this level of wisdom later decided to withdraw from it as they found they were not ready to receive it. The purpose...
Collection of Egyptian Art, design by Anand Balaji

Ostraca: Voices from the Place of Truth—An intimate glimpse into New Kingdom Egypt

Athenians meted out harsh punishments to those who fell afoul of prevalent laws or societal norms. If citizens had done something terrible, they ran the risk of being exiled from the city for up to...
Detail of a man depicted on an Uruk vase, Pergamon Museum. The Uruk civilization arose as it expertly adapted to the new climate.

Rising to the Challenge: Innovative Civilizations Advanced Through Climate Change

Beginning around 90,000 years ago, during an interglacial period, Anatomically Modern Humans were able to take advantage of the favorable climatic conditions and migrate throughout Africa and into...
Open Book Photo

How Much of What We Believe About Ancient History is Really True? Thinking Critically about Myths and Legends

A legend is a tale regarded as historical even though it has not been proven, and the term “myth” can refer to common yet false ideas. Many myths and legends describe our history, but they are often...
Cherry of Zennor broke with ‘reality’ and reached something deeper

What did Cherry of Zennor See That Altered Her Reality and Shaped Ours? The Deeper Meanings of Faerie Folklore

'Myth is a story that implies a certain way of interpreting consensus reality so to derive meaning and effective charge from its images and interactions. As such, it can take many forms: fables,...
Slaves working in a mine. The sustenance provided by slaves in Ancient Greece meant that citizens had free time to participate in politics.

Did He Create a Blissful Utopia or a Tyrannical Communist Nightmare? Plato’s Ancient Class System and Social Engineering Revealed

Perhaps surprisingly to some, classical Greek philosopher Plato was a social engineer; and he was the first of many “planners” to come. In essence, Plato, who laid the foundations of Western...
Kukeri is a type of wild man in Bulgaria. Rituals with this ‘beast’ are believed to scare away evil spirits.

Beasts of the Pagan Wild Man Ritual Come in All Shapes and Sizes

The wild man is a creature found in various pagan traditions across Europe. Generally speaking, a wild man is a man dressed up in a beast-like costume for certain pagan rituals, which were normally...
Detail of a Phoenician grinning mask, 4th century BC, found in a grave at San Sperate, Cagliari, Museo Archeologico Nazionale.

An Ancient Method of Forced Euthanasia: The Disturbing Truth Behind a Sardonic Grin

Creepy and more than a little uncomfortable to behold, one usually thinks of DC Comics' Joker when hearing the phrase "sardonic grin." A "smile" that pulls up the corners of the mouth in a way that...
A Puma in the night

Ghost Talkers and Puma Men: Adena Totemism and the Shamans of the Early Woodland Period

The people of the Adena Culture are widely regarded as the first builders of mounds and earthworks in the Ohio Valley. By conventional dating the culture spans the period of 1000 BC to around 300 AD...
 Ardhanarishvara, a composite androgynous form of the Hindu God Shiva and his consort Parvati (also known as Devi, Shakti, and Uma in this icon).

Find Out the Real Story Behind Tantra. Hint, It’s Not All About Sex

You may have heard that Tantra is full of obscenities or that it has something to do with black magic. Forget that. As a matter of fact, Tantra involves practices such as yoga, meditation, and the...
Collage of Egyptian art, design by Anand Balaji.

Amarna in 3 Acts: Defining Vignettes from an Incomparable Era

Three important aspects, in many ways, defined and shaped the Akhetaten years and the post-Amarna period. His detractors in the new disposition erased Pharaoh Akhenaten’s memory in great haste—an...
Elkhound, a Viking Dog.

Viking Dogs Followed Their Masters to Valhalla

By THORNEWS Large amounts of animal bones have been found in Viking Age ship graves. For example, there were eight large sighthounds (Old Norse: mjór) buried on both sides outside the ship In the...
Hatun Tópac; Viracocha, Portraits of Inca Kings, and Inca Tunic (Public Domain), Machu Picchu

Origin Myths of the Inca Civilization & Piecing Together Royal Heritage

According to most historical accounts, especially those collected by the early Spanish chroniclers of the 16th century, and just after the destructive efforts of the conquistadors, the Inca were...
Fight between Ushiwaka Maru (Minamoto no Yoshitsune) and Kumasaka Chôhan at the inn; bales and a torch on the ground, and Kisanda in the distance. (circa 1840-1843) By Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

Yoshitsune: The Silk Clad Warrior With a Noble Quest for Revenge

Apart from a very rich mythology, Japan also has numerous histories about heroes. One of these is the story of Yoshitsune. Walking around in fine silk and playing the flute, at first glance he seemed...
Andromeda Chained to the Rock by the Nereids

Throwing Virgins into the Sea and Other Ways to Appease the Gods: The Ancient Reasons behind Virgin Sacrifice

When the going got tough, it was believed sacrificing a virgin to the gods—by throwing them into the sea, burying them alive, or leaving them for hungry monsters—was the best plan. Virgin sacrifice...
Portrait of Christopher Columbus

How Columbus, Of All People, Became a National Symbol

Christopher Columbus was a narcissist. He believed he was personally chosen by God for a mission that no one else could achieve. After 1493, he signed his name “xpo ferens” – “the Christbearer.” His...

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Top New Stories

The Achievement of the Grail.
Leah Tether works at the University of Bristol. She received funding for this research from Anglia Ruskin University, Ghent University, Somerville College, Oxford and the Stationers' Foundation. Type “Holy Grail” into Google and … well, you probably don’t need me to finish that sentence.

Myths & Legends

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)