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.

Exhibit in the Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

Saint Brendan and His Epic Voyage: Was the Irish Saint the First European in the New World?

Saint Brendan (also referred to by his various epithets ‘the Navigator’, ‘the Voyager’, ‘the Anchorite’, and ‘the Bold’) was an Irish saint who lived between the 5th and 6th centuries AD known for...
Gospel of Thomas and The Secret Book of John (Apocryphon of John), Codex II The Nag Hammadi manuscripts

Everything You Need to Know but Have Never Been Told – Insights from the Ancient Nag Hammadi Library

A few years ago, I came across a treasure trove of ancient information found in a sealed jar in 1945 near the town of Nag Hammadi about 75-80 miles north of Luxor on the banks of the River Nile in...
Quetzalcoatl – Public Domain, and El Castillo at Chichén Itzá – CC BY-SA 4.0

The ‘Myth’ of the Plumed Serpent: Revealing the Real Message Behind the Feathered Snake

The Plumed (or Feathered) Serpent is a Mesoamerican myth that has fascinated modern people for quite some time. Among the Aztecs and Toltecs this divinity went by the name of Quetzalcoatl and to the...
Skull

The Giants of Ancient Albion & the Legendary Founding of Prehistoric Britain

Giants are at the heart of national folklore concerning the founding of Britain, and archaic traditions state they have inhabited the country since deep antiquity. This article investigates not only...
The fall of Icarus, circa 1635.

Dreams of Human-Powered Flight: The Myth of Daedalus

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” ― Anonymous (often attributed to...
Depiction of the hanging of Elizabeth Wilson, with William Wilson coming with the pardon (from a later edition of The Pennsylvania Hermit).

The Pennsylvania Hermit: The Woeful Tale of a Grieving Brother’s Broken-hearted Hermitage

William “Amos” Wilson, who is known also as the Pennsylvania Hermit, is a figure in the folklore of Pennsylvania, more specifically of its south-eastern and south-central regions. William lived...

A Hopi Hero’s Journey: How the Snake Clan Came to Arizona

Joseph Campbell, in his classic book The Hero With A Thousand Faces explores in depth the universal mythic narrative of the culture-hero (traditionally male) who goes forth not to conquer but...
Members of Hatshepsut's trading expedition to the mysterious 'Land of Punt' from this pharaoh's elegant mortuary temple at Deir El-Bahri.

Will We Ever Discover the Elusive Land of Punt?

The Land of Punt was an important location thousands of years ago. Ancient Egyptian writing suggests Punt was a rich location that prospered between 2450 BC and 1155 BC. People from the famous...
An octopus and fish. Scandinavian mythology claimed the Kraken was a sea monster that looked like an octopus or a squid – but was much bigger.

Are Fossils Linked to the Legendary Kraken Enough to Prove its Terrifying Existence?

Scandinavian mythology claims the Kraken swallowed up whales and devoured ships. It has been described as a huge version of an octopus or squid. Legends have even claimed the terrifying sea creature...
The Nightmare, circa 1790 by Johann Heinrich Füssli; Deriv

The Night Mare and Being Ridden by the Hag

Most people today who have heard that ‘the Nightmare’ is an actual being in European folklore and not just a certain type of dream-state, associate the being with horses. A mare is indeed a horse—but...
An illustration of the ‘Black Dog’ series by Dusty Crosley, a twisted Halloween tale of horror written by Terry Lambert.

Tricking and Treating Has a Long History

Over the past few decades, Halloween celebrations have gained in popularity , not only with children and families, but with all those fascinated with the spooky and scary. As a scholar of myth and...
'The Premature Burial’ by Antoine Wiertz

How Long Have We Believed in Vampires?

Vampires have a contested history. Some claim that the creatures are “as old as the world”. But more recent arguments suggest that our belief in vampires and the undead was born in the 18th century,...
“Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf in the forest” (1881) by Carl Larsson.

Humans Traveled Far and Wide Before Little Red Riding Hood Ever Made It Through the Woods

“Little Red Riding Hood” is a fairytale most children have heard. But if you’re not familiar, it tells the story of a young girl who wears a red velvet hood and cape and travels alone through a...
Amaterasu, a major goddess of Japan.

Solar Goddess Amaterasu, Divine Ancestor of the Japanese Imperial Family

Amaterasu is a major goddess in the Shinto religion. Although she is considered primarily to be a sun goddess, she is also believed to be the ruler of the Takama no Hara (the High Celestial Plain),...
Oceanides, Gustave Dore (1860-1869).

The Secret of Long Life? It’s All in the Water: Sacred Springs & Holy Wells

The belief in sacred springs and holy waters goes far back into the earliest religious myths of humankind, and is ubiquitous across every continent. An ancient primordial connection between water and...
Detail of ‘Sisyphus’ by Antonio Zanchi.

Sisyphus: King Cheats Death, Annoys Zeus, and Receives Never-ending Punishment in the Greek Underworld

Doomed to forever roll a huge boulder up a steep hill, Sisyphus is a figure in Greek mythology who represents an impossible task. As his punishment in the Greek Underworld, each time Sisyphus neared...

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Map of sites and postulated migratory pathways associated with modern humans dispersing across Asia during the Late Pleistocene.
Most people are now familiar with the traditional "Out of Africa" model: modern humans evolved in Africa and then dispersed across Asia and reached Australia in a single wave about 60,000 years ago. However, technological advances in DNA analysis and other fossil identification techniques, as well as an emphasis on multidisciplinary research

Myths & Legends

Human Origins

Map of sites and postulated migratory pathways associated with modern humans dispersing across Asia during the Late Pleistocene.
Most people are now familiar with the traditional "Out of Africa" model: modern humans evolved in Africa and then dispersed across Asia and reached Australia in a single wave about 60,000 years ago. However, technological advances in DNA analysis and other fossil identification techniques, as well as an emphasis on multidisciplinary research

Ancient Technology

Ancient Places

Pictorial representation of Pyramid in Teuchitlán Guachimontones Museum.
Guachimontones (known alternatively as Huachimontones) is an archaeological site located in the western Mexican state of Jalisco. This is an important site of the Teuchitlan tradition, which was a pre-Columbian complex society that flourished in the western part of Mexico (occupying territories in the modern Mexican states of Jalisco and Nayarit).

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)