literature

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...
Museum diorama depicting scholars from the Joseon Dynasty (Public Domain), and script from the Hunmin Jeongeum Eonhae

What Happens if Scholars Rule a Kingdom? How Korea’s Kingdom of Joseon Lived Up to its Legendary Namesake

By the 14th century, the foundations of Korea’s Goryeo Dynasty (918 -1392 CE) started to collapse from years of war and de facto occupation from the Mongol Empire. The royal court in Goryeo was at...
The codex, opened to a page of Beowulf

A Literary Treasure: The Oldest Surviving English Poem - Beowulf and His Epic Battles

Perhaps the oldest surviving long poem in Old English, Beowulf is commonly seen as one of the most important works of Old English Literature. While the date of the poem’s composition is still debated...
Traditional architecture and modern shops in Pingyao, Shanxi Province, China.

Pingyao: What Gems of Architecture are Housed in this Traditional Imperial Chinese City?

The ancient city of Pingyao is a county-level city located in the center of China’s Shanxi Province. This ancient city has been described as an exceptionally well-preserved example of a traditional...
Mythbusting Ancient Rome – The Truth About the Vomitorium

Mythbusting Ancient Rome – The Truth About the Vomitorium

After gorging on a feast of sausages, blood pudding, young sow’s udder, sea bream, lobster, mullet, Attic honey, and Syrian dates, all washed down with a few glasses Falernian wine, it is little...
The Kesh Temple Hymn: 5,600-Year-Old Sumerian Hymn Praises Enlil, Ruler of Gods

The Kesh Temple Hymn: 5,600-Year-Old Sumerian Hymn Praises Enlil, Ruler of Gods

Like many foundational inventions that we use every day, such as wheels and law codes, the Ancient Sumerians living in Ancient Mesopotamia, the so-called cradle of civilization, created the oldest...
Ashurbanipal: The Oldest Surviving Royal Library in the World with Over 30,000 Clay Tablets

Ashurbanipal: The Oldest Surviving Royal Library in the World with Over 30,000 Clay Tablets

The Royal Library of Ashurbanipal has sometimes been described as the ‘first library’ in the world, or the ‘oldest surviving royal library in the world’. The library was discovered by archaeologists...
Roasted Swan for Dinner? Oldest English Cookbook Reveals 200 Meals Fit for a King

Roasted Swan for Dinner? Oldest English Cookbook Reveals 200 Meals Fit for a King

Created in September 1387, The Forme of Cury is the oldest written cookbook in the English language. The manuscript was commissioned by King Richard II of England, best known for his deposition in...
A painting depicting a scene from the Chinese classic, Journey to the West. The painting shows the four heros of the story, left to right: Sun Wukong, Xuanzang, Zhu Wuneng, and Sha Wujing.

The Monk and the Poet: Meet the Rebels behind the Legendary “Journey to the West”

Hsi-yu chi , or Journey to the West, is a Chinese novel published in the 16th century, during the Ming Dynasty. The novel adds elements from a bewildering array of Asian cultural lore, as well as...
Manannán mac Lir sculpture by John Sutton at Gortmore, Magilligan, County Londonderry (2014).

Manannan Mac Lir: God of the Sea and Guardian of the Afterlife

Manannan mac Lir is likely the most prominent sea deity of Irish mythology and literature. With his sea-borne chariot, affiliation with horses and cloak of invisibility, he guards the otherworld and...
The Icelandic Kvöldvaka: Cultural Phenomenon in the Twilight Hours

The Icelandic Kvöldvaka: Cultural Phenomenon in the Twilight Hours

Iceland’s strong love of literature is a source of amazement to many people. In an era of declining book sales around the world, this small North Atlantic island continues to publish and sell more...
The Nurturing Goddess Ninsun: Worshipped by Ancient Mesopotamians and the Mother of Gilgamesh

The Nurturing Goddess Ninsun: Worshipped by Ancient Mesopotamians and the Mother of Gilgamesh

Ninsun is a female figure found in Sumerian mythology. She is a goddess whose parents are the deities Anu (the sky god) and Uras (a goddess of the earth). As a goddess, Ninsun was worshipped by the...
Digital illustration of a portrait of Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe: Was Mary Rogers his Muse or his Murder Victim?

Edgar Allan Poe is considered a literary genius and one of the fathers of horror literature as well as the inventor of the detective story. Poe was gifted with an undoubtedly brilliant mind able to...
Dante holding open a copy of the Divine Comedy while gazing towards Mount Purgatory (1530), Agnolo Bronzino

A Pilgrimage of Thought: The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

The most widely read work of Florentine politician and writer Dante Alighieri, the Divine Comedy dictates a tale of the three realms of the afterlife as believed by the Italians of the Middle Ages...

Top New Stories

Teotihuacan, Mexico.
Name one civilization located in the Americas that pre-dates the arrival of Europeans. You probably replied with the Aztecs, the Inca or perhaps the Maya. A new paper, published in De Gruyter's open access journal Open Archeology, by Michael E. Smith of Arizona State University shows how this view of American civilizations is narrow. It is entitled "The Teotihuacan Anomaly: The Historical Trajectory of Urban Design in Ancient Central Mexico."

Myths & Legends

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.
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 detail. This brief article focuses on how Greek religious art portrayed Noah, and how it portrayed Nimrod in his successful rebellion against Noah’s authority.

Human Origins

Ancient Technology

All images courtesy of Dr Rita Louise
The vajra is the most important ritual implement of Vajrayana Buddhism. In Sanskrit, the word vajra is defined as something hard or mighty, as in a diamond. It symbolizes an impenetrable, immovable and indestructible state of knowledge and enlightenment.

Ancient Places

The Tsar Bath of the Babolovo Palace
Babolovo (known also as Babolovka) Palace is a historical building located near the city of St. Petersburg, Russia. This palace was built in towards the end of the 18th century, during the reign of Catherine II of Russia (also commonly known as Catherine the Great).

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)