Myths & Legends

All over the world there are extraordinary stories—stories that once upon a time were believed to be true but are today limited to the sphere of ancient myths and legends. The question remains, are those myths and legends stories something that existed in the minds of our ancestors, or were they based on true events? It is true that most of those ancient myths and legends stories appear to the scientific world as fictitious products of vivid imaginations whose goals were purely to explain phenomena beyond their comprehension. Yet is it not arrogant to accuse our ancestors of being uncivilised and ignorant in one breath, then offer them praise and admiration over their monuments, buildings, art, sculptures, and societies in the next? This only proves that our modern society has two contradictory attitudes toward our past.

In this section we will explore some of the most amazing myths and legends from around the world—legends that may hold truths that can unlock the secrets of our ancient origins.

Wandering Wilas

Beware the Wandering Wilas

In Slavic mythology, there is a form of nymph which lies somewhere between a ghost and a fairy. The Wilas (pronounced viwa and also called Vili or Vilas) are fair-haired female creatures who have...
Symbols of Samhain and Halloween – fire, the dead, lanterns, harvest

Crossing the Veil: The Pre-Christian Origins of Halloween and Samhain

Halloween, or the ancient Samhain, is considered the time of year when the veil between our world and the spirit world is at its thinnest. As darkness falls and families light their pumpkin Jack-o'-...
The legendary Furies of ancient Greek mythology

The legendary Furies of ancient Greek mythology

The Furies of Greek mythology are monstrous women who lived in the underworld and avenged murders, particularly matricides. In Greek they are called Erinyes, a name thought to have come from the...
The Ancient Grotto of the Seven Sleepers

The Ancient Grotto of the Seven Sleepers

The short story Rip Van Winkle , written in 1819 by an American writer, Washington Irving, is about a man who woke up after a sleep of more than two decades. Although such a work of fiction is a...
Necromanteion – The Ancient Temple of the Dead

Necromanteion – The Ancient Temple of the Dead

The Necromanteion was an ancient temple dedicated to the god of the Underworld, Hades, and his consort, the goddess Persephone. According to ancient Greek beliefs, while the bodies of the dead...
Ancient Inscription with magic and spells

The Ancient Art of Magic, Curses and Supernatural Spells

As long as humanity has had beliefs in deities, the supernatural, and the power of magic, the use of magic, spells, and curses have featured widely across cultures. Very much entwined with human...
Xiongnu

The great and powerful Xiongnu

Between approximately 300 BC and 450 AD, there existed a nomadic group known as the Xiongnu. Their ethnic identity has been greatly contested, but they were a very powerful tribal confederation that...
Helen of Troy

In Search of Helen of Troy

Her face was the face that launched a thousand ships. Considered to have been the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen would be seduced by the Trojan prince, Paris and travel to his homeland of...
Arachne and the Spider in Dante

The symbolic spider that wove its way through history

The spider is an ancient and powerful symbol found round the globe, and have always elicited a wide range of emotions in people: fear, disgust, panic, and sometimes curiosity and appreciation. This...
Death Mask

The eerie masks that preserve history and breathe life into the dead

Masks are one of the few things on the earth that connect all of humanity throughout time. We have created masks since our very beginnings in order to disguise, protect, or entertain. They have been...
The Sacred Sex and Death Rites of the Ancient Mystery Groves

The Sacred Sex and Death Rites of the Ancient Mystery Groves

In most of the civilised world, at least as far back as 5,000 years ago, there were women shamans or priestesses who represented the godhead in sacred sex rites and, in ancient Greece, they were...
Origins of Aphrodite

The Intriguing Origins of Aphrodite

Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, sex, and beauty. In one of the most famous images of the goddess, we see her emerge from the sea, a reference to her origin story. In this older of the two...
The Irish Legend of Cu Chulainn

The Irish Story and Legend of Cu Chulainn

Cu Chulainn is one of the most famous Irish mythological heroes. He appears in the stories of the Ulster Cycle, and Scottish and Manx folklore. He was said to be the son of Deichtine and the god Lugh...
Thuggees – the Cult Assassins of India

Thuggees – the Cult Assassins of India

Thuggees, a Sanskrit word meaning concealment, were an organized gang of professional assassins – sometimes described as the world's first mafia – who operated from the 13th to the 19th centuries in...
The mouth of Truth

The Truth About Lie Detection in Ancient and Modern Times

Humans have told truths and lies throughout all of history. We stretch the truth for various reasons. We sometimes spin little white lies of convenience, and big, catastrophic lies that shake...
The legendary Kobolds

The nature and danger of the legendary Kobold

In ancient folklore, the kobold is a small, pointy-eared, goblin-like creature with a short-temper and a mischievous spirit. While generally described as well-intentioned, angering a kobold is said...

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Top New Stories

A Greek amphora showing athletes, 4th century BC. ©Trustees of the British Museum.
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 is pointed at the Christian Roman emperor Theodosius I (AD 379-395)

Myths & Legends

An illustration of Vasilisa the Beautiful, by Ivan Bilibin.
[…] In the evening the girl laid the table and began waiting for Baba-Yaga. It grew dark. The black horseman swept by and it was night. The skulls’ eyes began to shine. The trees creaked, the dead leaves crunched, the earth trembled, and there was Baba-Yaga…

Human Origins

Silhouettes (Public Domain) in front of blood cells (Public Domain) and a gene.
Most people who have the Rh blood type are Rh-positive. There are also instances, however, where people are Rh-Negative. Health problems may occur for the unborn child of a mother with Rh-Negative blood when the baby is Rh-Positive.

Ancient Technology

Mammoth in the Royal BC Museum in Victoria (Canada). The display is from 1979, and the fur is musk ox hair.
In Sivershchina, close to the village of Mizyn in Ukraine is one of the oldest and most unique settlements of humans – and it was discovered in a parking lot. The now well-known archaeological site, known plainly as the Mizyn parking lot, dates back 18-20 thousand years.

Ancient Places

The highly-decorated tomb is built in a distinctive ‘L’ shape
A mysterious ancient tomb with “unusual and rare” wall paintings has been discovered in Egypt. Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Enany told BBC reporters the discovery of a 4,400-year-old tomb found during excavation work in Giza’s western cemetery “likely belonged to Hetpet, a priestess to Hathor, the goddess of fertility, who assisted women in childbirth.”

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)