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Ancient Writings

There are literally thousands of incredible texts that have survived from the ancient world, which are etched onto copper, beautifully inscribed on papyrus, chipped onto tablets, and even written using the ink of ground down gold and precious stones. Here we feature many ancient writings, which have served to open a window onto the daily lives of our ancestors and enhanced the knowledge we hold about our ancient past.

Deriv; Left, Roman legionnaire reenactor in period gear. Right, Jabbaren rock painting (Via author)

The Giant of Algeria: Iconographic Evidence of Roman Expeditions in the Sahara

There are thousands of rock engravings at the dramatic rocky landscape of Jabbaren, Algeria. Jabbaren is an archaeological site in the Tassili N'ajjer National Park in Algeria with some of the most...
The book of deer

The Ancient Book of Deer, Oldest Known Gaelic Text in Existence

Currently housed at the University of Cambridge Library, the historic Book of Deer is said to have been discovered by the University's librarian, Henry Bradshaw, around 1860. It is said to be the...
Pages 11 and 10 of the rediscovered codex with a reconstruction below

Researchers Uncover Lost Mexican Codex Hidden Beneath Another Codex

A 500-year-old Mexican text dating to just before Hernan Cortez arrived in Mexico with his band of murderous, thieving conquistadors has been discovered written over, underneath another old Mexican...
Deriv; Hawaiian Tiki carvings and Easter Island statues with Rongorongo script

From Easter Island to Hawaii: Was there a Common Writing System used by Pacific Islanders?

Recently two tourists found engraved petroglyphs on a Hawaiian Beach. This was an important find because it suggested that the ancient Polynesians had a common writing system which was used from...
The Schoyen Collection: 20,000 Ancient Manuscripts from 134 Countries in 120 Languages

The Schoyen Collection: 20,000 Ancient Manuscripts from 134 Countries in 120 Languages

The largest private collection of manuscripts is remarkable not just for the number of items it possesses (over 20,000) but for the breadth and depth of human history it encompasses. The Schøyen...
Inga Stone.

Message from Outer Space? The Mysterious Indecipherable Script of the Inga Stone

Standing amidst the waters of the Inga River in Brazil, the mysterious Inga Stone of Paraíba, Brazil is an archeological treasure of much ongoing controversy. Covering most of its 150-foot length and...
Mithra slaying the bull. Royal Ontario Museum

The Cult of Mithra: Sacred Temples, and Vedic Legends, and Ancient Armenian Understanding

Mithra was the god of light, purity, goodness, truth and occupied an important place in the faith of the ancient Aryans. The Spread of Mithra There are various opinions on the spread of the Mithra (...
“Full moon rising over Mount Shasta, as seen from northern valley.”

Mount Shasta: Inner Earth Realms and History of the Lava Beds

There are legends all over the world, found in every culture, which populate caves with spirits and supernatural guardians who dwell in a subterranean realm hidden just beneath surface of our own...
The "Disk of Enheduanna" at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia.

The Poetry of Gods by Enheduanna - The First Known Female Writer

It is not always easy to read the stories of real people from the artifacts they left behind. This is especially true if they lived 5,000 years ago. However, the story of a remarkable woman from that...
Ogham sticks

The Celtic Ogham: An Ancient Tree Alphabet that May Disappear Before Showing its Roots

In secluded fields, on the walls of churches, and beneath construction sites, stones have been found with intricate markings that rise from the lower left up to the center and then down to the lower...
Fermented Urine Dye Discovered in One of the Oldest Illuminated Manuscripts

Fermented Urine Dye Discovered in One of the Oldest Illuminated Manuscripts

A mixture of urine and weeds has been discovered in the dye used on the stunning 1,500-year-old Byzantine text known as the Codex Purpureus Rossanensis, one of the oldest surviving illuminated...
 Detail of the Codex runicus, a vellum manuscript from c. 1300 containing one of the oldest and best preserved texts of the Scanian law (Skånske lov), written entirely in runes.

Runes of Power and Destruction: Reading the Cursed Runestones of Sweden

Runes are often associated with magic and sometimes curses too. For many centuries, they were used as magical symbols to guide people to the knowledge which they believed was created by their gods...
Interior of the synagogue and a Hebrew manuscript with Babylonian vocalization

The Hidden Treasures of the Cairo Geniza

The Cairo Geniza (spelt also as Genizah ) is the name given to a collection of Jewish manuscript fragments that was discovered in Cairo. It is estimated that there are over 350000 individual...
The Dunhuang Diamond Sutra.

The Diamond Sutra: The Oldest Known Printed Book in the World

The Vajracchedika Prajnaparamita Sutra has been translated from Sanskrit into English variously as the Diamond Sutra , the Diamond Cutter Sutra , the Vajra Sutra and the Vajra Cutter Sutra . This...
Ancient Book Teaches Amazing Mental Abilities

Ancient Book Teaches Amazing Mental Abilities

There have been many books over the eras that promise other worldly powers to those that read it. Many people could not read so the words on the paper were inherently mysterious. The knowledge gained...
The Turin Papyrus: The Oldest Topographical and Geological Egyptian Map

The Turin Papyrus: The Oldest Topographical and Geological Egyptian Map

The Turin Papyrus Map is an ancient Egyptian map that is generally considered to be the oldest surviving topographical and geological map of the ancient world - there are some older maps from outside...

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