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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; A cacao tree with fruit pods in various stages of ripening. Right; Ripe cacao ready to pick.	Source: Left, Public Domain, Right, Pantira/Adobe Stock

Scientists Map the Genetic Evolution of Cacao to Chocolate

Researchers have mapped the ancient dispersal of the cacao or cocoa plant from South America to Central America. Not only did they discover the plant was a central commodity in ancient trading, but...
Women spinning and socializing. From Augustine’s La Cité de Dieu. Source: Museum Meermanno/The Conversation

The Hidden Healers: Women's Secret Medieval Health Networks

Pragya Agarwal /The Conversation In the medieval period, medical science was still dominated by the ancient writings of Hippocrates from the fifth century and Galen of Pergamon from the second...
The fragment of bread retrieved from an oven in Çatalhöyük. Source: Erbakan

World’s Oldest Fermented Bread, Dated to 6,600 BC, Found at Çatalhöyük

During excavations two years ago at the famous ancient Anatolian city of Çatalhöyük , archaeologists uncovered a large furnace-like structure that would have been used as a communal oven. They also...
Cinnabar powder on human bones and beads in Valencina, site of Copper Age Mercury abuse.	Source: Álvaro Fernández Flores/ Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory

Copper Age Settlement Shows Evidence of Accidental Ritual Mercury Abuse

Getting high off toxic solvents and chemicals to induce mind-altering effects is a public health concern today. But dial back 5,000 years, in the Iberian Peninsula, and groups of women adorned in...
Representational image of ancient healing medicinal practice. Source: dimensdesign / Adobe Stock

Ancient Healing Methods Offer an Alternative Paradigm in Health

As long as life has existed on earth, so have issues associated with maintaining health and the remediation of disease. Today, when many of us get sick, our first course of action is to call the...
Left; Stele of a standing dignitary, with likely tobacco leaves his hair. Right; El Baul, acropolis site Cotzumalhuapa, Guatemala. under excavation 2006 Inset; 3 of the vessel tested in the study 	Source: Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos/Antiquity Publications Ltd

Proof Ancient Mesoamericans Drank Sacred Tobacco-Infused Liquids is Found

In a new chemical analysis performed on ceramic vases recovered during excavations at the ancient metropolis of Cotzumalhuapa in southwestern Guatemala, a team of researchers from Yale University and...
Traditional farmers Ramón Nonato Tec Poot, Xuxcab, Yucatán.	Source: International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center/CC BY-NC 2.0 Deed)

What Ancient Farmers Teach Us About Adapting to Climate Change

Chelsea Fisher /The Conversation In dozens of archaeological discoveries around the world, from the once-successful reservoirs and canals of Angkor Wat in Cambodia to the deserted Viking colonies of...
Greek Philosopher Pythagoras with overlay of woodcut showing Pythagoras with bells, a kind of glass harmonica, a monochord and (organ?) pipes in Pythagorean tuning. From Theorica musicae by Franchino Gaffurio, 1492 (1480?)	Source: Khuram Ibn Sabir/Adobe Stock, overlay Bibliothèque nationale de France/Public Domain

Pythagoras’ Claim of Universal Musical Harmony is Wrong, Finds Study

Ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras posited that "consonance," a harmonious combination of notes, arises from specific relationships between simple numbers like 3 and 4. While scholars have...
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...

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