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.

Illustration from book in a series of fairy tales. A warning to children. John Lambton fights the Wrym

A Monstrous and Venomous Serpent: Legendary Crusading Heroes and Wyrm-Slaying Symbolism – What Does it Mean?

Whisht! lads, haad ya gobs, Aa'll tell ye aall an aaful story, Whisht! lads, haad ya gobs, An aa'll tell ye ‘boot the wyrm. --(C.M. Leumane, 1867) Beasts that Scorch the Land There are more than...
Was the Mythical Mesoamerican Death Bat Camazotz Inspired by Real Giant Vampire Bats?

Was the Mythical Mesoamerican Death Bat Camazotz Inspired by Real Giant Vampire Bats?

Bats are considered to be menacing creatures in many cultures. They are nocturnal and thus associated with the night, which is also often associated with death. Many common species also have a...
The Search for a Legendary Land: Does the Truth of Plato’s Atlantis Rest on a Shifting Sea Floor?

The Search for a Legendary Land: Does the Truth of Plato’s Atlantis Rest on a Shifting Sea Floor?

Plato wrote over two thousand years ago about a prehistoric Atlantean civilization that existed more than nine thousand years before his time, or over eleven thousand years ago. Plato describes a...
Tezcatlipoca: How Does the Supreme God of the Aztecs Compare to Other Omnipotent Deities?

Tezcatlipoca: How Does the Supreme God of the Aztecs Compare to Other Omnipotent Deities?

The god Tezcatlipoca was a major Aztec deity who was worshiped in east-west facing temples in many Mesoamerican city-states under the influence of the Aztecs, particularly Texcoco. He was considered...
Galician Faith in the Enchanted Mouros and Mouras: Is There Reality Behind the Fairytales?

Galician Faith in the Enchanted Mouros and Mouras: Is There Reality Behind the Fairytales?

Numerous folk stories in Galicia, Spain, tell of supernatural spirits that dwell in forests, among the waters of the rivers, or on sandy beaches. Many of them are related in some ways to ancient...
Sword in a Stone and Fairy Tale forest

Who Pulled the Sword from the Stone? The Truth of the Swords of King Arthur

This spring a new movie, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword , is to hit the big screens. Staring Charlie Hunnam as the fabled warrior, the film title suggests that the central theme is Arthur’s...
How King Arthur Became One of the Most Pervasive Legends of All Time

How King Arthur Became One of the Most Pervasive Legends of All Time

King Arthur is one of, if not the, most legendary icons of medieval Britain. His popularity has lasted centuries, mostly thanks to the numerous incarnations of his story that pop up time and time...
A modern illustration of Medb

When Irish Legends and History Combine: The Tomb of the Fairy Queen Maeve

Legends suggest that the green hills of Ireland have always been a place for fairy games. According to local beliefs, the forests were full of hidden settlements inhabited by supernatural creatures...
Roland Risse (German, 1835) - "Snow White"

Who Was Snow White? When Old Stories and Real Women Combine

One of the most famous fables of all, variations of Snow White appear in more than 400 versions of fairy tales around the world. The most well-known version is actually called “ Snowdrop ” and comes...
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? A Fearsome Beast in Legends and Tales Around the World

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? A Fearsome Beast in Legends and Tales Around the World

There are many stock characters that are present in folk stories, fairy tales, and legends from all over the world. However, few are as constant as the figure of the Big Bad Wolf, a giant predator...
Were the Merovingians Descended from a Monster? Meet the Quinotaur

Were the Merovingians Descended from a Monster? Meet the Quinotaur

You’ve probably heard of a Minotaur (half-man, half-bull), but what about a Quinotaur? In early Frankish history, there was a “beast of Neptune,” which was said to look like a creature called a...
Impossible Quest to Have the Perfect Man? The 5 Imperfect Brothers of the Mahabharata

Impossible Quest to Have the Perfect Man? The 5 Imperfect Brothers of the Mahabharata

The two major Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, still appear widely in popular folk drama, tales and art all over Southeast Asia with slight adaptations in all the myriad cultures of the...
Featured in Dozens of Operas, Films, TV Series and Books, What Makes the Legend of the White Snake so Compelling?

Featured in Dozens of Operas, Films, TV Series and Books, What Makes the Legend of the White Snake so Compelling?

The Legend of the White Snake (known also as ’Madame White Snake’) is a well-known legend from China. This fascinating tale is said to have been originally transmitted orally before being transformed...
Was Rama Based on a Real Historical Figure?

Was Rama Based on a Real Historical Figure?

Rama, one of the principle figures of the Hindu text, the Ramayana , is revered throughout India and the world. Many historians doubt that Rama was an actual person, however, many Hindus believe he...
Akseli Gallen-Kallela: The Departure of Väinämöinen

Väinämöinen: The Finnish Deity and Hero Who Inspired Tolkien to Create Gandalf and Tom Bombadil

J.R.R. Tolkien created remarkable stories that inspired Peter Jackson to make incredible movies. But it was his knowledge of literature and old legends which inspired the writer to use stories of...
The Fool with Two Demons / Master of the Ingeborg Psalter

Fantasies from Evil Spirits? Faeries in the Medieval Imagination

“There are also others who say that they see women and girls dancing by night whom they call elvish folk, or faeries, and they believe that these can transform both men and women or, by leaving...

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Human Origins

The lower jaw of the 7.175 million-year-old Graecopithecus freybergi (El Graeco) from Pyrgos Vassilissis, Greece (today in metropolitan Athens).
A new analysis of two 7.2 million-year-old fossils belonging to a hominin species nicknamed “El Graeco” from Mediterranean Europe, suggests that mankind emerged in Europe and not in Africa. The new study could reshape history, since it openly challenges the “out of Africa theory.”

Ancient Technology

The Antikythera Mechanism, National Archaeological Museum, Athens, Greece
Every time ancient Greece is mentioned most people automatically think of democracy, the Olympic Games, mythology and philosophy. It seems that not many are aware of how advanced the ancient Greeks were on a technological level as well and the Antikythera Mechanism, known as the world’s first analog computer, is the brightest example of all.

Ancient Places

View of the “Cueva del Pirul”, one of the largest systems of interconnected caves to the East of the Pyramid of the Sun. One can notice the many rough pillars left to support the roof and a number of side passages branching out in different directions.
Few of the modern visitors to Teotihuacan are aware of the vast and mysterious underworld of caves and man-made tunnels that extends under much of the ancient site and for miles around. The existence of these tunnels has been known for centuries, but not even the most recent research has been able to solve the mystery of their origin and purpose. Very much like at Giza, in Egypt, these tunnels are rumored to connect all the main pyramids by means of underground passageways, and perhaps even lead to the records of a lost civilization.

Opinion

View of the “Cueva del Pirul”, one of the largest systems of interconnected caves to the East of the Pyramid of the Sun. One can notice the many rough pillars left to support the roof and a number of side passages branching out in different directions.
Few of the modern visitors to Teotihuacan are aware of the vast and mysterious underworld of caves and man-made tunnels that extends under much of the ancient site and for miles around. The existence of these tunnels has been known for centuries, but not even the most recent research has been able to solve the mystery of their origin and purpose. Very much like at Giza, in Egypt, these tunnels are rumored to connect all the main pyramids by means of underground passageways, and perhaps even lead to the records of a lost civilization.

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)