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Ancient Traditions

Ancient Origins brings you articles related to Ancient Traditions from all over the world. Find related articles in the sections of history, archaeology, human origins, unexplained, artifacts, ancient places and myths and legends.

Left, stacked bones of pre-Hispanic burial system; Right, complete skeleton. Source:  Claudia Servín Rosas/INAH

Stacked Skulls and Bones Show Intriguing Pre-Hispanic Funerary System

Investigators have uncovered a burial ground from the pre-Hispanic era in today’s Mexico, which exhibits unique burial practices and how they were carried out in the region. The discovery occurred in...
Millions of postcards made a mockery of Leap Day traditions which gave women the opportunity to propose to men once every four years on the 29th February. Source: Public domain

Women Have Proposed Marriage to Men on Leap Day for Hundreds of Years

Welcome to February 29th, the Leap day that comes around but once every four years! In the age of viral marriage proposals, the persistence of outdated traditions whereby men inevitably go down on...
A samurai wearing Japanese armor and holding a katana on dark background. 3D illustration. Source: pictosmith/Adobe Stock

Forged in Honor: The Epic Saga of Japan's Samurai (Video)

The Samurai , esteemed warriors of ancient Japan, transcended gender boundaries, with notable women like the onna-musha demonstrating prowess alongside their male counterparts. Their emergence...
Corn Husk Dolls. Source: Betty Sederquist/Adobe Stock

More Than Toys: The Five Oldest Dolls in History (Video)

Dolls are more than just toys, they can be artifacts of ancient civilizations, offering profound insights into the lives and beliefs of bygone eras. Among the oldest are Roman dolls , meticulously...
Ancient Botanical medicine involved smell and taste. Source: Thomas Mucha/Adobe Stock

Ancient Botanical Medicine Was Driven By Taste and Smell, Study Finds

With the advent of modern medicine, it’s hard to imagine the role taste had in the preparation of ancient botanical remedies. In layman terms, taste and flavor had a huge role to play in their...
An illustration of William Captain Kidd relaxing on the deck. Source: Public Domain

Bizarre Pirate Traditions Most People Don't Know About (Video)

Pirate culture , often portrayed as a romanticized tale of swashbuckling adventure, actually harbored numerous peculiar traditions. These customs, largely overlooked in popular depictions, reveal a...
Sculpture details of classic male form in Venice, Italy. Source: Andrew Deer/Adobe Stock

A Brief History of Homosexuality in Rome (Video)

Homosexuality in ancient Rome was a multifaceted aspect of society, often overshadowed in historical narratives. From prominent figures like Julius Caesar to Emperor Nero, instances of same-sex...
Cupid and Psyche (Amore e Psiche) - symbol of eternal love, by sculptor Giovanni Maria Benzoni. Source: Paolo Gallo/Adobe Stock

Love May Be Timeless, But the Way We Talk About It Isn’t

By David Albertson /The Conversation Every year as Valentine’s Day approaches, people remind themselves that not all expressions of love fit the stereotypes of modern romance. V-Day cynics might plan...
Sigismunda Mourning Over the Heart of Guiscardo by William Hogarth (1759).  Source: Tate/ CC BY NC-ND 3.0

Forget Flowers, 18th Century Romantics Gave Their Actual Hearts

Jolene Zigarovich /The Conversation Every Valentine’s Day, we’re inundated with hearts. We purchase cards with hearts and heart-shaped balloons. We wear clothing with hearts and adorn ourselves with...
Aerial view of Amazon tributary river, San Jose do Rio Claro, Mato Grosso, where ancient manufacturing of terra preta has been found. Source: Uwe Bergwitz/Adobe Stock

Advanced Amazonian Agriculturalists Intentionally Created ‘Terra Preta’ Thousands of Years Ago

A fascinating body of research has revealed how intimately our ancestors were connected to the earth – specifically, ancient Amazonians, who intentionally created a fertile dark earth or ‘terra preta...
Pirate crew members diligently swab the deck, maintaining the condition of their ship while sailing across the ocean. Source: Davivd/Adobe Stock

The Five Worst Jobs on a Pirate Ship... (Video)

Life on a pirate ship was fraught with peril, particularly for those assigned to the five most dreaded roles: topmen, forced men, swabbers, liars, and shipboard musicians. Topmen, the nimble climbers...
Caves and rock shelters dot the mountains in the northwestern highlands of Thailand. Over 40 in Mae Hong Son province contain wooden coffins on stilts, dating back 1,000 - 2,300 years. Source: © Selina Carlhoff/ Max Planck Society

DNA Elucidates Thailand's Iron Age ‘Log Coffin Culture’

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology A mortuary practice known as ‘Log Coffin culture’ characterizes the Iron Age of highland Pang Mapha in northwestern Thailand. Between 2,300 and 1,...
The bone, black henbane seeds and tar plug used to keep it sealed. Source: BIAC Consult

For Pain or Pleasure? Poisonous Plant Henbane Used by the Romans

While digging at the site of a rural, first-century AD Roman settlement in Houten-Castellum in the Netherlands, archaeologists uncovered a most unusual artifact. Inside a hollowed-out animal bone,...
Reenactment of two Armored Medieval Knights Fighting with Swords. Source: Gorodenkoff/Adobe Stock

What a Medieval Duel Really Looked Like (Video)

In medieval Europe , justice was often sought through grim ordeals, and the judicial duel was a stark example. The murder of Charles the Good, Count of Flanders, triggered a brutal confrontation...
Dazu Rock Carvings in Chongqing, China . Source: rabbit75_fot/Adobe Stock

Guardians of History: How the Dazu Rock Carvings Captivate the World

The Dazu Rock Carvings are a series of Chinese religious sculptures and carvings located in the Dazu District of Chongqing, China. These carvings date back to the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907 AD) and the...
Divination was an important aspect of everyday life in ancient Mesopotamia. Source: breakermaximus / Adobe Stock

Divination and Omens in Mesopotamian Society

Ancient civilizations, throughout history, depended on the skill and intricacy of their diviners. Divination is the method of ritually foreseeing the future and the outcome of big events. In this way...
Ancient bas-relief on grave stele in Kerameikos in Athens, Greece depicting two wrestlers in action.	Source: National Archaeological Museum of Athens/ CC BY-SA 2.0 DE

From Ancient Greece to Now: the Bravado of Athletes Transcends Centuries

Peter J. Miller /The Conversation “I am the greatest. I said that even before I knew I was. I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I was really the greatest.” This quote...
Portrait of medieval bearded pirate holding sword and gun.  Source: Oulaphone/Adobe Stock

The Horrifying Torture Methods Used By Pirates… (Video)

In the grim era of the 1600s, humanity bore witness to a dark chapter marked by massacres, persecution, and cruelty. The so-called Golden Age of Piracy unfolded amid this brutality, with pirates...
Book of Gregorian chants within a cathedral. Source: Ivan / Adobe Stock

Harmonies from Heaven: Tracing the Origins of the Gregorian Chant

Enter the ethereal realm of Gregorian chant, a venerable form of liturgical music that resonates through the corridors of time. Originating in the early Christian period, this sacred musical...
Dogs being taken care of in an image from Livre de la Chasse (Book of the Hunt).  Source: The Morgan Library and Museum/Faksimile Verlag Luzern

Dogs in the Middle Ages: What Medieval Writing Tells Us About Our Ancestors’ Pets

Emily Savage /The Conversation In the Middle Ages, most dogs had jobs. In his book De Canibus , the 16th-century English physician and scholar John Caius described a hierarchy of dogs, which he...
Jay Silverstein with an Olmec head he helped discover in Mexico in 1994. 	Source: Jay Silverstein, Author provided

Has the Archaeologist’s Spade Been Replaced By Modern Technology?

Jay Silverstein /The Conversation A valley of lost cities has been discovered in the Ecuadorian Amazon. When you hear of such a discovery you might think of archaeologists with chisels and brushes or...
AI illustration of Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. Source: Michael/Adobe Stock

How Does the Line of Succession to the British Throne Work? (Video)

The British line of succession is a complex historical tapestry woven over centuries, marked by twists and turns. Beginning with Egbert in 827 AD, the hereditary path to the throne was often...
A close up of the woman buried with neck rings at the 1000-year-old burial site found near Kyiv, Ukraine.	Source: Courtesy of Vyacheslav Baranov/National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Bizarrely Adorned Ancient Burials Found In Ukraine

A recently unearthed cemetery in Ukraine, dating back 1,000 years, has yielded an array of fascinating finds, including weapons, jewelry, and, unusually, buckets positioned around the feet of some of...
An ancient Roman gladiator. Source: Luis Louro /Adobe Stock

The Reality of Gladiator Life and Their Training (Video)

In the world of gladiators , once perceived as either heroic warriors or despised villains, their existence is marked by brutality and ritualized training rather than the romanticized notions of...

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