tradition

An upside-down Christmas tree.

A Tradition Revived? Inverted Christmas Trees May Have Pagan Roots

Hanging a Christmas tree from the ceiling makes some sense – it can keep your floor space clear and may protect your pets or young children from harm – but it is not common. The costly trend of...
Santa with pipe and the knowing smile of ancient wisdom.

Santa the Shaman Comes to the New World: The Shapeshifting Magic-Man from the Ancient Past

In 1626, a ship filled with folks from the Netherlands put into what would later be called New York Harbor and went about building a Dutch colony called New Amsterdam. The figurehead on the prow of...
Wassailing revelers at night – CC BY-SA 2.0

From Saxon Sirens to Sacred Orchards: The Modern Traditions and Pagan Origins of Wassailing

Every January, in parts of rural England, people still gather to celebrate Wassailing, a tradition with distinctly Pagan origins intended to bless the coming year’s apple crops and protect orchards...
Kalash girls with traditional clothing.

Are the Distinctive Kalash People of Pakistan Really Descendants of Alexander the Great’s Army?

The Kalash (known also as the Kalasha) are an indigenous people living in what is today Pakistan. Although Pakistan is an Islamic Republic, with more than 95% of its population being adherents of...
16th or 17th century painting of the ‘Dance of Death.’ The living weren’t always scared of the dead.

Dance Macabre: How the Dead Danced with the Living in Medieval Society

Ashby Kinch / The Conversation In the Halloween season , American culture briefly participates in an ancient tradition of making the world of the dead visible to the living: Children dress as...
Image during part of the funeral ceremony for Thailand’s deceased King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The Grand Funeral of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Intricate Buddhist Funerary Rites

For Thai Buddhists, funerals are extremely important moments, as they represent rebirth and the passage from one existence to another. The elaborate funeral rites recently held in honor of Thailand’s...
Famadihana reburial, ‘turning of the bones’ in Madagascar

Plague Epidemic in Madagascar May be Spread by Dancing with the Dead Ritual

The Malagasy people of Madagascar have built a way of life around death – during the dry winter months, famadihana ceremonies, known as “the turning of the bones” and “dancing with the dead”, take...
Kukeri is a type of wild man in Bulgaria. Rituals with this ‘beast’ are believed to scare away evil spirits.

Beasts of the Pagan Wild Man Ritual Come in All Shapes and Sizes

The wild man is a creature found in various pagan traditions across Europe. Generally speaking, a wild man is a man dressed up in a beast-like costume for certain pagan rituals, which were normally...
Sea Silk

One Person Left on Earth Knows the Ancient Secret of Producing Sea Silk

Sea silk is a highly-precious fabric that is so rare only one woman left on earth knows the secret to its creation. Whilst silk is famously known to be obtained from the cocoons of the mulberry...
Reog Ponorogo performer and spectators.

The Reog Ponorogo: A Dance of Rebellion Which Changed History

A fearsome lion monster with peacock feathers on its head charged and twirled about as cavalrymen curtseyed and jumped by. The onlookers were entranced with the story playing out in front of them...
Lord Buddha

Siddhartha Gautama: How The Father of Buddhism Walked From Suffering to Enlightenment

Siddhartha Gautama, also known as the Buddha or “Enlightened One,” is probably one of the most influential individuals to come out of India through the incidental founding of Buddhism. Siddhartha...
An Illustration of a Viking boat burial.

1,000-year-old Viking Boat Burial Discovered Under Market Square in Norway

A millennium-old Viking boat grave with bones and sheet bronze still inside has been discovered under a market square in Norway. The grave was found during one of the final days of excavations by the...
Statue of an Iroquois man, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Theresa O’Connor/CC BY-SA 2.0) and background, Hiawatha by Thomas Eakins, 1874. (Public Domain);Deriv.

Thunder god and Skywoman – Myth and History of the Iroquois: Exploring a First Nations Tradition

Every year, western scholars look with wonder to the ancient mythologies, ruins, and histories of such places as Egypt, Greece, and the Near East. Due to the considerable efforts of professional and...
The Marriage of St. Ursula and Prince Conan, 1522

Marriage: Is the Sacred Bond a Result of Social Evolution or Deliberate Design?

Getting married is an age-old celebration, which commemorates the joining of two individuals together in matrimony. For many in today’s society it represents picking out invitations, dresses,...
Piles of clamshells (Schvin/CC BY 2.0), background: men in a Curragh, a skin boat (WilliamMurphy/CC BY-SA 2.0);Deriv.

Seafarers and Shell Rings: Strange Formations on the American Coast a Hallmark of Faraway Visitors?

Just south of Awendaw, South Carolina, in the Francis Marion National Forest, is an example of a type of architectural artifact that still baffles archaeologists. For every explanation someone offers...
‘Evil eye.’

Rings, Gestures, and Phallus Talismans: The Evil Eye and Ancient Ways to Ward Off Its Power

For over 5000 years people have worried that a look of envy or dislike would inflict injury, bad luck, or even death on the recipient. People would wear specific items of jewelry or other talismans...

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Ancient Technology

The four-handled tureen adorned with dragons, birds and spikes
Chinese archaeologists have discovered ritual tureen and “soup bowls” next to a badly decomposed body in a Zhou dynasty-era tomb. Among the remains there were also uncovered two wine vessels, which experts suggest were probably used as part of the funerary rituals.

Ancient Places

Healing Temple of Aesculapius (Asklepios) by Robert Thom
In the ancient world, many cultures built elaborate temple complexes dedicated to their healer gods - Imhotep in Egypt and Asklepios in Greece for example. These gods were recognized as having the power to cure supplicants from a variety of ailments within sleep and sacred dreams. Those who desired healing might travel many hundreds of miles to reach such a temple

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.

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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)