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.

A fragment of a wall painting showing two lovers in bed from the House of L Caecilius Jucundus in Pompeii, now at Naples National Archaeological Museum.

The Erotic Art of Ancient Greece and Rome

Craig Barker / The Conversation Rarely does L.P. Hartley’s dictum that “the past is a foreign country” hold more firmly than in the area of sexuality in classical art. Erotic images and depictions of...
A Greek amphora showing athletes, 4th century BC. ©Trustees of the British Museum.

Mythbusting Ancient Rome: Did Christians Ban The Ancient Olympics?

Every two years, when the Winter or Summer Olympics comes around, we hear about how the games staged at Olympia in Greece since 776 BC came to a sudden end in the late fourth century AD. The finger...
King Leonidas by David Baldo

After 300: The Posthumous Vengeance of King Leonidas of Sparta

Mythologically descended from the hero Herakles, the Agiad dynasty of ancient Sparta reigned alongside the Eurypontids almost since the beginning of the city-state. When war was on the borders of...
A damaged relief from his palace-cum-mortuary temple at Medinet Habu shows King Ramesses III making offerings to the gods; design by Anand Balaji

Enduring Mystery of the Screaming Mummy: Abominable Crime and a Disgraced Prince—Part II

The devious plot of the secondary wife, Queen Tiye, to murder King Ramesses III came-a-cropper. In no time the conspirators, who included palace staff and her own son, were apprehended, interrogated...
Close-up view of the “Screaming Mummy” with its horrific expression. It was discovered by Émile Brugsch in the Deir el-Bahri (DB320) cache in 1881; design by Anand Balaji (Photo credit: G. Elliot Smith); Deriv.

Enduring Mystery of the Screaming Mummy: Mortal Wounds and Divine Justice—Part I

The hideously contorted facial features of ‘Unknown Man E’ - also called the ‘Screaming Mummy’ - are unlike any we have witnessed in an ancient Egyptian mummy. It bears mute testimony to the gruesome...
A caricature of the crew of HMS Beagle painted off the coast of Argentina (at Bahía Blanca) around 24 September 1832, presumed painted by the shipboard artist Augustus Earle. Described by Sotheby’s as "one of the earliest depictions of Darwin, the only image of him on the Beagle, and an exceptionally rare image of him at work as a naturalist". By  Augustus Earle (1793 – 1838)

The Californian OOPArt versus Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

Archaeologists, anthropologists and geologists in the field sometimes discover objects in seemingly impossible contexts, which don’t immediately fit their models of evolution or history as we know it...
Skulls from the Andean Paracas (top left). (CC BY-SA 3.0); Paracas skull at Ica Museum(right). (CC BY 2.0); Child head shaping methods (bottom left).

Elongated Skulls Increased Kudos in Ancient Peru

Archaeologists dig them up all over the ancient world from Egypt to Peru, and now, these curious elongated skulls are believed to have been “status symbols,” according to a recent paper in Current...
Detail of ‘Solitude’ (circa 1890) by Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton.

Alone Need Not Be Lonely: What Joyous Solitude of Early Hermits Can Teach Us

Kim Haines-Eitzen / The Conversation In today’s world, loneliness seems to have reached epidemic proportions. Countless studies have highlighted the serious and negative impact that loneliness has on...
The Massacre of Glencoe James Hamilton (1853–1894)

Mapping A Massacre for Old Times Sake

Archaeologists in Scotland are to bring alive “the human story” of the Glencoe massacre, one of the most violent episodes in British history. Three former settlements in the magnificent Glencoe...
Arabian Nights by Jean-Joseph Benjamin Constant (1845 – 1902) (Public Domain)

Romance of the Beautiful Slave and the Rebellious Ruler: Al-Khayzuran and Al-Mahdi

Arabian Nights conjure up images of romantic love stories of slave girls’ rags to riches journeys of the heart. We celebrate Valentine’s Day with the real love story of such a slave girl. It was not...
François Clouet - Dame au bain (Portrait of Diane de Poitiers)

A Mistress with the Midas Touch: Her Hunger for Gold Would Be the Death of Her

Diane de Poitiers was a French noblewoman and courtier who lived during the 16 th century. She is best remembered for being the mistress of Henry II, the King of France. This allowed Diane to wield...
Mosaic of the vault of the chapel of San Zeno (IX century).

Jesus’ Fashion Faux Pas: What Was He Wearing?

Joan Taylor / The Conversation Over the past few decades, the question of what Jesus looked like has cropped up again and again. Much has been made of a digital reconstruction of a Judaean man...
North Sea once formed a land-bridge between Europe and Britain.

St Michael’s Ley-line Leading to Legendary Doggerland

Does the St Michael ley-line reach far beyond the boundaries of our imagination to a destination lost in time and shrouded in myth? Doggerland was once a land-bridge connecting Britain to Europe...
Detail of the Berlin bust of Nefertiti; and the latest 3D sculpture of the queen based on the mummy of the Younger Lady; design by Anand Balaji

Bust of Contention: Nefertiti’s sculpture raises issues of Race and Color—Part II

The recent attempt at reconstructing the face of the iconic beauty, Nefertiti, by basing her looks on the mummy of the Younger Lady found in KV35 has caused an enormous uproar among Egyptophiles all...
‘The Last Judgment’ triptych (open) (1467-1471) by Hans Memling.

Prophecy of the Popes: Are We Reaching the End of Days?

For thousands of years, people all over the ancient world claimed to have the powers of foresight. In 1143, The Prophecy of the Popes was created - listing the future attributes of the 112 pontiffs...
Limestone trial piece showing the head of Nefertiti; and detail of the mummy of the Younger Lady; design by Anand Balaji (Photo credit: Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin and G. Elliot Smith); Deriv.

Bust of Contention: Controversy erupts as the Younger Lady is dubbed Nefertiti—Part I

Few ancient Egyptian royals are capable of garnering as much attention, generating frenzy, and stoking controversy globally as the legendary beauty Queen Nefertiti can. Despite having been a powerful...

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Top New Stories

A fragment of a wall painting showing two lovers in bed from the House of L Caecilius Jucundus in Pompeii, now at Naples National Archaeological Museum.
Rarely does L.P. Hartley’s dictum that “the past is a foreign country” hold more firmly than in the area of sexuality in classical art. Erotic images and depictions of genitalia, the phallus in particular, were incredibly popular motifs across a wide range of media in ancient Greece and Rome.

Myths & Legends

The Last of the Siberian Unicorns: What Happened to the Mammoth-Sized One-Horned Beasts of Legend?
Elasmotherium, also known as the Giant Rhinoceros or the Giant Siberian Unicorn, is an extinct species of rhino that lived in the Eurasian area in the Late Pliocene and Pleistocene eras. They have been documented from 2.6 million years ago, but the most recent fossils come from around 29,000 years ago.

Ancient Technology

Yacouba Sawadogo planting.
Desertification is a serious problem facing numerous countries in the world today. Various measures have been taken to counter the negative effects, with some providing better results than others. A farmer in Burkina Faso looked to his ancestors and came up with an innovative solution.

Ancient Places

Stonehenge at night.
In the 1960s, a portion of a ditch excavated into chalk bedrock west of the henge at Stonehenge was discovered during construction for the pedestrian underpass that provided access to Stonehenge until a year ago. By 2014, geophysical testing confirmed that the ditch stretches over 900 meters (2952.7 ft.) from southwest of the Stonehenge henge to a point near the south ditch line of the Greater Cursus, northwest of Stonehenge.

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)