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Ancient Origins Tour IRAQ

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Rows of shallow pits drilled into rock are thought to be where ancient people played a version of the game Mancala.	Source: Courtesy of Veronica Waweru/Yale University

Yale Archaeologist Discovers Ancient Mancala Game Boards in Kenya's Highlands

In a remarkable fusion of local knowledge and academic expertise, Yale University's Veronica Waweru has uncovered what she thinks is an ancient "arcade" of Mancala game boards in central Kenya,...
Tuareg man with his traditional tagelmust face and head covering in the mountains of Hoggar, Algeria.	 Source: Sahara Nature / Adobe Stock

The Ancient Tuareg: “Free Men” of the Sahara Desert

In the heart of the Sahara Desert, an ancient people known as the Tuareg have thrived for centuries. The enigmatic history, which can be traced back thousands of years, unfolds as a testament to...
Turkana stone beads. Credit: Carla Klehm

Turkana Stone Beads Tell a Story of Herder Life in East Africa 5,000 Years Ago

On the shores of Lake Turkana in east Africa, about 5,000 to 4,000 years ago, pastoralists buried their dead in communal cemeteries that were marked by stone circles and pillars. The north-west Kenya...
Facial reconstruction of Queen Nzinga. Source: YouTube Screenshot / Royalty Now Studios.

Queen Nzinga’s Life of Fighting Portuguese Colonization (Video)

Explore Queen Nzinga's remarkable life as a warrior ruler during the 17th century in Africa. Born around 1583 into the Mbundu ruling family of Ndongo (present-day Angola), Nzinga faced constant...
Images of the Christogram tattoo on the dorsal (top) side of the right foot. Picture was taken with a full spectrum camera and digital enhanced using ImageJ software with a DStretch plugin. Source: Kari A. Guilbault/PCMA UW

Medieval Christogram Tattoo Found in Sudan Reveals Deep Christianity

Nubia, the region that consists of modern-day Egypt and Sudan, has yielded a rather surprising find – a Christogram tattoo has been unearthed on the body of a person dating back 1,300 years. This...
Crafted by the Fang people in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon, Fang masks are intricate wooden creations known for their stylized designs.

Elderly Couple 'Cheated' On Rare Fang Mask, Resold for $4.4 Million

Much of the erstwhile colonized world is still in legal and ethical tussles with their former colonizers, in an effort to retrieve precious artifacts and treasures that belong to their people. France...
From ancient to modern times the abominable violation of human rights has occurred. Referred today as human trafficking, it is nonetheless, a form of slavery, of human exploitation for personal or commercial gain. Source: Rick/Adobe Stock

From Sumerian Gods to Modern Day: The Long History of Slavery and Lost Children

The recent film Sound of Freedom is a fictionalized account of the true story of Tim Ballard, a former US Department of Homeland Security agent who founded the nonprofit organization Operation...
Left; Kalambo Falls, Zambia where the oldest wooden structure was found. Right: the excavation team uncovering the ancient wood.	Source: Left; Professor Geoff Duller/Nature, Right; Professor Larry Barham/Nature

World’s Oldest Wooden Structure Found in Zambia – It’s Half a Million Years Old!

At the Kalambo Falls archaeological site in northeastern Zambia , archaeologists recovered specimens of ancient wood in the form of logs that had been preserved in waterlogged sand next to the...
Ancient Cave Art at Mfangano Island, Kenya. Source: Avi Kumar

Ancient Cave Art at Mfangano Island Kenya, Revered For Generations

Mfangano Island in Kenya’s Lake Victoria hosts some ancient rock art that is an estimated to be 4000 years old. It consists of concentric circles built by a culture long gone but still revered. Lake...
Archaeologists in Turkey, have unearthed a partial cranium of a female, challenging the story of the origins of our human ancestors. Source: Sevim-Erol, A., Begun, D.R., Sözer, Ç.S. et al/CC BY 4.0)

Oldest Human Ancestors May Have Evolved Nine Million Years Ago in Turkey

Modern humans first left Africa and migrated to Eurasia between 60,000 and 100,000 years ago . But a fossilized skeleton with surprisingly human-like characteristics found in central Turkey suggests...
Praia Melão, a sugar mill and slavery plantation, situated on São Tomé, stands as the primary focus of archaeological exploration on the island.	Source: M.D. Cruz/Antiquity Publications Ltd

Tiny West African Island Shows Evidence of the Invention of Plantation Slavery

Situated on the West coast of Africa, with the equator running through it, the tiny island of Sao Tome was uninhabited before being colonized by the Portuguese in 1486. Now being investigated...
Top down view of an Ethiopian Church Forest in the early morning.  Several white-robed worshipers around the church.  Source: Gregory/Adobe Stock

Ethiopian Church Forests, Struggling Fragments of Sacred Greenery in the Desert

In the distant past, the world around us looked completely different in many ways. One notable aspect that changed is forestation. Once covered in lush forests, much of the world around us is now...
Traditional Burundian drummers perform at a public event in Burundi's capital, Bujumbura (Andreas31 / CC by SA 3.0)

Burundi Drums Beat the Ancient Memories of Unity (Video)

The tradition of Burundi drums holds a profound cultural significance that stretches back through the ages. These remarkable instruments, known as "Goma," have been an integral part of the country's...
Deserted ksar (representational). Source: Tupungato / Adobe Stock.

Mystery of the Desert: The Lost Cities of the Sahara (Video)

Deep within the desolate expanse of the Sahara in Niger , the mystery of lost civilizations becomes tantalizingly tangible in the form of ancient ksars or fortified villages. Located in Fachi, among...
Remains of the ancient city of Sijilmasa within the lush Tafilalt Oasis in Morocco. Source: Mohammed / Adobe Stock

Sijilmasa: The Golden Oasis and Africa's El Dorado

Throughout ancient African history, gold has played a fundamental role, particularly as a source of wealth and power. Meanwhile, the cities that thrived on the gold trading routes were motivated by...
Kingdom of Loango, a productive trade center. Source: Public Domain

Selling Their Souls: Kingdom of Loango, Africa’s Pre-Colonial Power

At the time when European explorers were first setting foot in Africa, the continent seemed to them a vast and enchanting realm with many unique cultures. They also encountered proper kingdoms that...
A 1572 depiction of the city of Kilwa on Kilwa Island from Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg's atlas Civitates orbis terrarum. Source: Public domain

The Kilwa Sultanate: The Island State That Dominated Medieval East Africa

The Kilwa Sultanate was a powerful and prosperous city-state that once dominated the Swahili coast of East Africa. For centuries, this kingdom thrived as a hub of international trade, connecting the...
African tribal warrior. Source: padnob / Adobe Stock.

When Two Tribes Meet: Watch a Pivotal Moment in Human History (Video)

The origins of human civilization are shrouded in mystery, but one thing is clear: our ancestors were not always peaceful. For millennia, different groups of early humans lived in isolated...
A reconstruction of Lucy, an Australopithecus afarensis. Source: procy_ab / Adobe Stock.

The Life and Death of ‘Lucy’ on The Prehistoric Savanna (Video)

Imagine a world vastly different from ours, teeming with creatures long extinct, and ancient human ancestors struggling to survive against all odds. That was the African savanna roughly 3.5 million...
African king. Source: Aleksandr Borisenko / Adobe Stock.

The Life and Times of Mansa Musa: The Richest Man in History

Mansa Musa , the ruler of the Mali Empire in the 14th century, is believed to be the wealthiest person in history, with a net worth of $400 billion in today's dollars. For reference, that’s four...
The Bansa, or residence of the King of Kongo, and capital of the Kingdom of Kongo was called St. Salvador or Mbanza-Kongo, seen here in 1745. (Public domain)

The Rise and Fall of Central Africa’s Mighty Kingdom of Kongo

Nestled between the Congo River and the Atlantic Ocean lies a hidden gem of African history: the Kingdom of Kongo. Despite its vast territory spanning modern-day Angola, Congo and Gabon, this...
Some of the 313 manillas (brass rings) excavated by the Sociedad de Ciencias Aranzadi from a Flemish trader lost in 1524 off Getaria in Basque Country, northern Spain which prove the source of the Benin Bronze metal. Source: Ana Maria Benito-Dominguez/CC-BY 4.0/PLoS ONE

Study Shows Benin Bronzes Are Made from German Metal

A new study of famous 16th-19th century works of art found in abundance in West Africa has revealed something surprising about their composition. According to the results of a comprehensive and...
Some of the stages of skull photogrammetry and initial anatomical deformation (Moacir Elias Santos & Cicero Moraes /CC BY 4.0)

Digital Scientists Resurrect A 30,000-Year-Old Egyptian Man

Fusing scientific theory with artistry, a team of researchers has generated “stunning” 3D images of the oldest person ever discovered in Egypt. Using photogrammetry, a team of researchers have...
Ruins of the 9th‐Century City of Kilwa Kisiwani, where some Swahili have their origins. Source: Gereza/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Ancient DNA is Restoring the Origin Story of the Swahili People of the East African Coast

Chapurukha Kusimba /The Conversation The legacy of the medieval Swahili civilization is a source of extraordinary pride in East Africa, as reflected in its language being the official tongue of Kenya...

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