murder

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...
Mysterious man on a creepy night. Who really killed the King?

Who Killed the King? Was it Eochaid the Slayer? An Ancient Irish Murder Mystery

It might almost be a shocking moment from a Shakespeare play or even a plot-line from Game of Thrones, but the murder of an ancient Irish king, Crimthann mac Énnai, is an event which actually took...
The Medieval ring found in Kavarna, Bulgaria (Image: Kavarna Municipality)

Jewelry to Die For: 14th-Century Bulgarian Ring with a Killer Dose

When a medieval ring was uncovered by Bulgarian archaeologists excavating the remains of the medieval fortress on Cape Kaliakra, near the town of Kavarna on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, they were...
Detail of ‘The Martyrdom of St. Andrew’ (1646-1647) by Charles Le Brun.

The Violent Birth of ‘Martyrdom’ – How the Ancient Concept Informs Modern Religious Violence

Gervase Phillips / The Conversation The word “ martyr ” has evolved into one of the most emotive terms in the English language. The faithful venerate their memories, celebrate their feast days, name...
Section of skulls at the tzompantli found near the Templo Mayor, Mexico City

Gruesome Remains of Aztec Skull Tower Discovered in Mexico Include Women and Children

Archaeologists have uncovered a tower of human skulls beneath the heart of Mexico City. The new find has given birth to new questions about the culture of sacrifice in the Aztec Empire after numerous...
Yorkshire Photo Walks (Tom Marsh/CC BY 2.0), and Grey Lady. (CC BY 2.0); Deriv.

Staked Through the Heart and Buried at the Crossroads – The Profane Burial of Suicides

I uncovered a curious tale about a scrubby patch of land while writing a book on the folklore and history of East Anglia. Marked on modern maps as Lushbush, you pass it heading eastwards out of the...
The Ill-fated Elling Woman: An Iron Age Sacrifice to Appease the Gods?

The Ill-fated Elling Woman: An Iron Age Sacrifice to Appease the Gods?

Elling Woman is the name given to a well-preserved bog body that was discovered in Denmark during the first half of the 20th century. By then, this type of remains had already been found in Denmark’s...
A 700-Year-Old Murder Mystery: Who Bludgeoned the Bocksten Man to Death and Why?

A 700-Year-Old Murder Mystery: Who Bludgeoned the Bocksten Man to Death and Why?

Around 700 years ago, a young man, who has come to be known as ‘Bocksten Man’, was struck three times on the head, then tossed into a peat bog and impaled with three wooden poles to prevent his body...
Face of a Pictish Male Who was Violently Murdered 1,400-Years-Ago is Reconstructed in Incredible Detail

Face of a Pictish Male Who was Violently Murdered 1,400-Years-Ago is Reconstructed in Incredible Detail

A team of Archaeologists excavating a cave in the Highlands of Scotland, were amazed to discover a superbly preserved skeleton of a Pictish man at the entrance. With the help of technology,...
Witchcraft? Tributes to Murder Victims? The Uncertain Origins of 17 Miniature Coffins in Scotland

Witchcraft? Tributes to Murder Victims? The Uncertain Origins of 17 Miniature Coffins in Scotland

17 miniature coffins were discovered in a small cave on the mystical Arthur’s Seat outside of Edinburgh, Scotland in 1836. Today, only eight remain and are now on display at the National Museum of...
Cannibalism in Scotland: The Dark Legend of Sawney Bean

Cannibalism in Scotland: The Dark Legend of Sawney Bean

Sawney Bean is a legendary figure from Scotland, who is said to have been a prolific cannibal. Together with his equally cannibalistic family, Sawney Bean murdered and robbed unfortunate victims from...
Victims of Arrogance and Cruelty: The Pendle Witch Trials of 1612

Victims of Arrogance and Cruelty: The Pendle Witch Trials of 1612

Witch trials are amongst some of the cruelest events in European history. Thousands of innocent women were murdered by fake accusations. In England, one of the most famous trials took place in 1612,...
The Black Masses of La Voisin: How a Fortune Teller Became a Murderess in the French Royal Court

The Black Masses of La Voisin: How a Fortune Teller Became a Murderess in the French Royal Court

Catherine Monvoisin was a woman with a dark story. Her life influenced the world of the occult and the court of Louis XIV, a famous king whose golden palace brought him immortal fame and countless...
Could a 300-Year-Old Murder Mystery Finally Be Solved?

Could a 300-Year-Old Murder Mystery Finally Be Solved?

A skeleton was found during construction work at Leine castle in Niedersachsen, Germany in the summer of 2016. This is where Swedish count Philip Christoph Königsmarck disappeared 322 years ago –...
Terrifying Mesoamerican Skull Racks Were Erected to Deter Enemies

Terrifying Mesoamerican Skull Racks Were Erected to Deter Enemies

A skull rack, known also as Tzompantli in the Nahuatl language, is an object documented to have been used in several Mesoamerican civilizations, including the Aztecs, the Toltecs, and the Mayas...
The Untold Story of Walpurga Hausmannin: An Infamous German Witch

The Untold Story of Walpurga Hausmannin: An Infamous German Witch

The legend of Walpurga Hausmannin is one of the scariest witch stories in the world. It is told as a tale of one of the most horrible killers in German history. However, the story seems to be half-...

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Myths & Legends

Open Book Photo
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 treated skeptically. This is because many of them, while explaining a phenomenon, involve divine or supernatural beings.

Human Origins

Noah's Sacrifice - watercolor circa 1896–1902 by James Tissot
The imperfect state of archaeological researches in the Near East impedes any definite identification of the original race or races that created the earliest civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt. According to Gordon Childe, however, the predominant racial element in the earliest graves in the region from Elam to the Danube is the ‘Mediterranean’.

Ancient Technology

Invention of Wheel - Sumer
In today’s world, technology is developing at an unprecedented rate. The latest gadget today is tomorrow’s antique. As a result of this rapid development of technology, we often take things for...

Ancient Places

Google Earth image of manmade stone structures in Saudi Arabia
Deep in the heart of Saudi Arabia, 400 peculiar stone structures have been found, dating back thousands of years ago. These stone features were discovered by archaeologists with the use of satellite imagery, identifying what they call stone "gates" in an extremely unwelcome and harsh area of the Arabian Peninsula.

Opinion

The ancient and mysterious Sphinx, Giza, Egypt.
In 1995, NBC televised a prime-time documentary hosted by actor Charlton Heston and directed by Bill Cote, called Mystery of the Sphinx. The program centered on the research and writings of John Anthony West, a (non-academic) Egyptologist, who, along with Dr. Robert Schoch, a professor of Geology at Boston University, made an astounding discovery on the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt.

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)