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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.

Traditional Hnefatafl board game, of which Tablut is a variation played by the Sami people of Lapland. Source: Berthold Photography / Adobe Stock

The Ancient Game “Tablut” Has Survived Centuries

Ancient times were not all about warfare, survival, politics or arduous work. No, our distant ancestors knew how to have fun as well, and to enjoy their free time. That is why board games have been...
Plague in an Ancient City by Michiel Sweerts.  Source: Public Domain

Most Common Causes of Death in Ancient Rome and Greece (Video)

Life in ancient Greece and Rome was far from the glamorous tales we envision. High mortality rates were fueled by childbirth perils, with poor sanitation contributing to infant mortality. Malaria, an...
Representation of woman smelling a new perfume scent in an ancient perfumery lab.	Source: razoomanetu/Adobe Stock

The Fragrant Ancient History of Perfume (Video)

The history of perfume is a fragrant odyssey, transcending its contemporary role in hygiene. In ancient Egypt, perfumes were divine creations, with Nefertem, the god of the sunrise, overseeing scents...
Representative image of a Scythian Enaree shaman. Source: jozefklopacka / Adobe Stock

The Mysteries of the Enaree: The Androgynous Shamans of the Scythians

Throughout history, shamans played a major role in many of the world’s most important civilizations. For the ancient Scythians, this role was taken by the Enaree, male priests and shamans who adopted...
Representational image of a woman giving a birthday present. Source: GrafitiRex / Adobe Stock

Gifts Across the Ages: When Did People Start Giving Birthday Presents?

For every individual, their birthday is an important and very meaningful date. Whether you’re nine or 90, you can’t help but feel happy and elated on your special day, especially when your friends...
Geishas, once misunderstood as courtesans, they were the epitome of grace, mastering arts and skills that challenged the stereotypes of their time. Source: Max Ferrero/Adobe Stock

Geishas: The Truth Behind These Fascinating Women (Video)

Unveiling the reality of historical geishas challenges Western stereotypes, dispelling the notion that they were mere courtesans or prostitutes. In contrast to misconceptions, the geisha's life was a...
Some of the baboon skulls for Ancient Egypt that were available for the study. Source: Bea De Cupere, CC-BY 4.0/PLoS ONE

Sacred Egyptian Baboons Suffered in Captivity, Finds Study

A recent study has investigated skeletal remains of 36 individual baboons spanning various age groups, dated from 800 to 500 BC, in ancient Egypt. The findings suggest that baboons were intentionally...
A screenshot from the video showing the reality of pirates and slavery. Pirates were ruthless profiteers in the grim world of the slave trade, challenging the romanticized narrative. Source: YouTube Screen shot/Gold and Gunpowder

Pirates and Slavery: The Unromantic Reality (Video)

The portrayal of pirates in popular media often romanticizes their exploits, overshadowing the grim truth of their involvement in the slave trade . A candid examination dispels the illusions created...
A digital representation of a vibrant ancient temple, possibly of the Carthage religion. Source: Kristian/Adobe Stock

The Religion of Ancient Carthage (Video)

The religion of Carthage , though now largely forgotten, once held a significant presence across the Mediterranean. Despite the scarcity of surviving records, modern archaeology has played a crucial...
Made from boiled grape syrup and used to sweeten both food and wine, sapa had a downside – its production utilized lead pots which may have caused the Roman Empire’s demise. Source: Ruslan Gilmanshin/Adobe Stock

Did an Artificial Sweetener Destroy the Roman Empire? (Video)

The fall of the mighty Roman Empire remains shrouded in historical mystery, with various theories attempting to unravel its demise. One intriguing proposition suggests that the empire's collapse may...
Image from the Philips Sonicare toothbrush advertisement. Source: CM Dental.

Romans Used Powdered Mouse Brain and Human Urine in Their Toothpaste

Romans were particularly meticulous about their oral care, but their toothpaste recipes were anything but ordinary. A primary ingredient in Roman toothpaste was powdered charcoal, derived from...
Roman slave life meant a fate of brutality and the Roman Republic depended heavily on free work from human beings who had no rights nor possessions.  Source:  AS Photo Family/Adobe Stock

Bread, Chains and Rebellion, What It Was Like to Be a Roman Slave (Video)

Roman slavery was a grim reality, far removed from Hollywood glamour. Slaves, stripped of rights and possessions, endured lives of hardship and cruelty . Urban or rural, their roles spanned from...
A leaf from the cannabis plant. Source: Kampanat/Adobe Stock

Toxicology Identifies Cannabis in the Bones of Medieval Italians

Archaeologists excavating in a 17th-century hospital crypt in Milan, Italy, recovered the skeletons of nine people. Using tools of toxicology, they have now identified “the first archaeological...
Viking warriors facing down death.	Source:  AdamantiumStock/Adobe Stock

5 Viking Deaths And What They Tell Us About the Viking Mindset (Video)

The Viking mindset, as revealed in Old Norse sagas , emerges vividly through tales of these five great Viking deaths. The raid on Lindisfarne in AD 793 marked the outset of Viking depredations in...
Archaeologists were astounded when they discovered a mutilated mummy within a humble burial chamber in Luxor's 'Valley of the Kings.	Source: YouTube Screenshot/Smithsonian Channel

Archaeologists Aghast at the Discovery of a Mutilated Mummy in Egypt (Video)

Within a humble tomb designated as KV64 nestled in Luxor's revered 'Valley of the Kings,' archaeologists made a disconcerting discovery. Beneath the unassuming exterior and a small coffin lay an...
Australian Aboriginals are the first culture to make bread. Source:  Riccardo Niels Mayer / Adobe Stock.

Australian Aboriginals Have Been Baking Bread for 34,000+ Years!

Long held as the inventors of bread , the Egyptians, credited with this culinary innovation around 8000 BC, have been surpassed by Australian Aboriginals in historical precedence. Remarkably,...
Evidence of animal sacrifice, many of them horses, at the courtyard of the Casas del Turuñuelo site in Spain. Source: Construyendo Tarteso / CC-BY 4.0

Lost Mass Animal Sacrifice Rituals Revealed at Tartessos Site in Spain

Archaeologists and other scientists affiliated with several institutions in Spain have revealed a startling fact about an Iron Age site known as Casas del Turuñuelo, which is located in southern...
It is believed the Inca maiden died peacefully. Source: YouTube Screenshot / Smithsonian Channel.

How Do We Know This Inca Mummy Died Peacefully? (Video)

The Inca mummy known as the Maiden has long been a mystery shrouded in the high-altitude silence of the Andes. The question that has haunted many revolves around how she met her end. There are...
Painting ‘The Chess Players’ by Liberale da Verona.   Source: Public domain

The Evolution of Board Games: From Royal Pastimes to Global Phenomena

In the dynamic tapestry of human leisure and recreation, board games have carved an enduring niche, evolving through millennia from ancient pastimes to modern phenomena. This article embarks on a...
Salt piles. Source: altitudevisual / Adobe Stock.

Historical Importance of Salt and How it Shaped Civilizations (Video)

Salt , beyond its culinary role, shaped civilizations. Marco Polo's 13th-century travels brought back treasures from China, including salt, propelling Venice to economic greatness. Salt's...
Yakhchal cooling device in Kashan, Iran. Source: knovakov / Adobe Stock.

The Yakhchāl: Ancient Ice-Making Machines in the Desert (Video)

In the arid expanses of the Persian desert , an ingenious ancient technology known as the Yakhchāl has been discovered, revealing a sophisticated approach to ice-making dating back to 400 BC. These...
Pirate flag. Source: adimas / Adobe Stock.

The Pirate Code: Law and Order Beneath the Black Flag (Video)

In the world of pirates , where lawlessness is often the image that comes to mind, a surprising system of governance existed beneath the black flag . Pirates may have lacked a singular written code,...
The El Colacho baby jumping festival. Source: Viaggio Routard / Flickr.

El Colacho: The Spanish Festival Where Men Jump Over Newborn Babies

In the heart of Spain, the quaint village of Castrillo de Murcia becomes the epicenter of a centuries-old tradition known as El Colacho, where men vault over newborns to ward off evil—a spectacle as...
Ancient superstitions abound, including the belief that breaking a mirror can bring bad luck. Source: Ricky / Adobe Stock

10 Spine-Chilling Ancient Superstitions and Their Origins

Superstitions have long held a grip on human imagination, weaving threads of fear and fascination into the tapestry of our history. Today many of us no longer believe in them (or claim not to) but...

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