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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.

Ernst Stötzner during scanning a cuneiform tablet in order to decipher the text.  Source: Maike Glöckner/Uni Halle

Ancient Cuneiform Tablets Instantly Deciphered By Revolutionary Methods

New artificial intelligence software is now able to decipher difficult-to-read texts on cuneiform tablets, almost in an instant. Instead of photos, the AI system uses 3D models of the tablets,...
Ancient magical grimoire with a dimly lit, mysterious background and captivating light swirls, emphasizing knowledge power and spell world. Source: XaMaps/Adobe Stock

Spells, Invocations and Divination: The Ancient History of Magical Grimoires

Grimoires are books containing magic spells and instructions for the making of amulets and talismans, but some of them also contained directions on how to summon and control demons. Grimoires have...
A depiction of the Great Library of Alexandria, a symbol of the intellectual epicenter of the ancient city of Alexandria. Right: Detail of Raphael's (1509–1511) impression of Euclid, teaching students 	Source: Microgen / Adobe Stock

What Made Alexandria the Intellectual Capital of the Ancient World?

The ancient city of Alexandria, nestled on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt, held a unique and enduring status as the intellectual capital of its time. Its remarkable legacy as a hub for knowledge...

How The Rosetta Stone Revolutionized Egyptology (Video)

In 1799, amidst the ruins of Napoleon's failed Egyptian campaign, a French soldier unearthed a peculiar black basalt slab near Rosetta. Little did he know that this discovery would change the course...
The Book of Deer contains notes in the margin which are the first written examples of Scottish Gaelic and hinted at the location of the monastery where they were written. Source: The Book of Deer Project

Lost Monastery Tied to Oldest Scottish Text “Book of Deer” Unearthed

A monastery, where the earliest surviving Scots Gaelic text was once noted within the margins of a significant Scottish manuscript called the Book of Deer , disappeared from the pages of history...
Circles are also very common and in many cases were made to ward off evil. Source: Lincolnshire Medieval Graffiti Project

Mysteries of Medieval Graffiti in England Investigated

The Lincoln Medieval Graffiti Project was founded in England back in 2013 to record the plethora of medieval graffiti found in churches throughout the county. According to the BBC , the strange...
Ancient Egyptian woman. Source: Denis / Adobe Stock.

What Hieroglyphics Say About the Women of Ancient Egypt (Video)

In the midst of Karnak's grandeur and prosperity, there's a revelation that challenges conventional wisdom. Images etched on tomb walls unveil a remarkable narrative of female influence in ancient...
Ancient biblical text. Source:  SVasco / Adobe Stock.

The Texts That Rocked the Foundations of Christianity (Video)

In 1831, Robert Curzon, an English nobleman, left Oxford without completing his studies, symbolizing the restlessness of his era. Disenchanted with England, he sought solace in Egypt , captivated by...
Three stacks of French love letters bound together by a ribbon, were finally opened by Cambridge University professor Renaud Morieux at the national archives, Kew. Source: The National Archives / Renaud Morieux

18th Century Love Letters Written to French Sailors Finally Opened and Read

More than two-and-a-half centuries after they were originally composed, more than 100 letters sent to members of the French navy by their loved ones have finally been opened and read. The messages...
Etching by Francisco Heylan depicting the discover of the Lead Books of Sacromonte. Source: Public domain

The Lead Books of Sacromonte: Historic Forgery or a True Christian Relic?

The Lead Books of Sacromonte, also known as the Libros Plúmbeos or the Sacromonte manuscripts, are a collection of purportedly ancient religious texts that were supposedly discovered in the 16th...
The Pyramid texts discovered within the tomb of Unas at Saqqara in Egypt. Source: EvrenKalinbacak / Adobe Stock

The Pyramid Texts: Evidence for Hypnosis and Trance

There has been a long history of Egyptologists denying that the Egyptians had any mystical doctrines and practices connected with the world of the living, despite everything to the contrary said...
A fragment from The Gospel of Thomas (Public Domain).

There May Have Been a Fifth Gospel (Video)

The Gospel of Thomas, discovered in 1946, offers a unique perspective on Christianity . This text has ignited debates about its authenticity, giving rise to the possibility of a fifth gospel . It...
Pompeii graffiti. Source: Niklas / Adobe Stock.

Pompeii's Graffiti: An Ancient Form of Social Media (Video)

Archaeologist Dr. Catherine Huntley's work unveils the ancient walls of Pompeii as repositories of historical insights. In contemporary times, graffiti often carries a negative connotation,...
The 1927 passport of Isabel Ingram (Ken Mayer / Flickr)

Passports Through Time: From ‘Safe-Conduct Letters’ to Digital Documents

Everyone loves to travel abroad to discover new countries, new cultures and new languages. Traveling is always fun and never fails to broaden your horizons. These days it’s virtually impossible to go...
Forbidden books were burned. Their authors exiled, imprisoned and even killed throughout history. Source: de Art/Adobe Stock

8 Forbidden Books That Still Rewrote History

We hear a lot about censorship in the news today but it’s nothing new. In fact, the word comes from the Latin word censeo , which means to assess. Almost as soon as the printing press was introduced...
Electoral inscriptions have been found in an ancient house at Pompeii, which was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Source: Pompeii Sites

Electoral Inscriptions Found in Pompeii Suggest Indoor Political Campaigning

Mount Vesuvius truly keeps on giving, historically speaking. A fresh round of excavations have revealed political graffiti and a fascinating array of election inscriptions along the Via de Nola, one...
Mayan codex with hieroglyphic alphabet script writing system, Mexico City, Mexico. Source: SL-Photography / Adobe Stock.

9 Mysterious Undeciphered Codes and Inscriptions in History

From Neolithic tablets containing the oldest known system of writing, to a series of letters scrawled on the back of a dead man’s book, some of the most legendary undeciphered codes and texts remain...
Detail of one of the Jelling Stones. Source: National Museum Denmark

Carvers of the Jelling Stones Identified by Danish Archaeologists

A new study has solved an intriguing historical mystery involving treasured Danish artifacts that are now more than 1,000 years old, having been made during Scandinavia’s Viking Age in the 10th...
Medieval thief. Source: nyothep / Adobe Stock.

Thieves’ Cant: The Secret Language Used by History’s Criminals (Video)

For centuries, an enigmatic underworld thrived, its inhabitants conversing in a secret tongue that veiled their intentions. This clandestine dialect, known as thieves’ cant , existed from the 16th to...
Crossbow of Count Ulrich von Wurttemberg. Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art / Public Domain.

Is the Hebrew Inscription on This Crossbow a Secret Code? (Video)

Art history resembles detective work , often concealing mysteries waiting to be unraveled. Among the array of crossbows at the New York Met, one stands out as truly exceptional. Its ivory panels bear...
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...
Mesopotamian cylinder seal. Source: Met Museum / Public Domain.

How Akkadian Cylinder Seals Served As Ancient Signatures (Video)

Akkadian cylinder seals emerged during the fourth millennium BC, coinciding with the dawn of writing. These unique artifacts served dual purposes: safeguarding against unauthorized access to storage...
Peruvian Quipu. Source: YouTube Screenshot / The New York Times.

Quipu: An Enigmatic Communication System of Ancient Peru (Video)

In the remote highlands of Peru lies a unique community, San Cristobal de la Paz, where the ancient Inca language, Quechua , still resonates at an altitude of 13,000 feet. Here, amidst the rugged...
Uluburun, ancient wealthiest shipwreck

Uluburun, One of the Oldest and Wealthiest Shipwrecks Ever Discovered

The Uluburun is a 3,300-year-old shipwreck discovered off the coast of Uluburun (Grand Cape), near Kaş in south-western Turkey. It is among the oldest ships ever discovered and contained one of the...

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