All  

Iraq Banner Desktop

Store Banner Mobile

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.

The Lascaux Taurus, with the Pleiades on its back. Source: Author provided

Dating Lascaux Art by Precession

I did not realize until recently, that there may be some astrological imagery within the magnificent Stone Age paintings in the Lascaux Cave complex, in the Dordogne region of France. But although I...
Roger Tomlin deciphering one of the 405 Bloomberg Tablets found at the heart of Roman Britain, Londinium, which are the oldest written documents ever found in the UK.

2,000-Year-Old Bloomberg Tablets Reveal London Life Under the Romans

When archaeologists began excavations on the site of the demolished Bucklesbury House, little did they know that they would uncover the earliest written documents found in Britain. Dating from...
The history of true crime consumption can be traced all the way back to the early 1500s. Source:  Sved Oliver/ Adobe Stock

Morbid Fascination: The Birth of the True Crime Genre

For many true crime junkies, podcasts are the way to go to get your next fix. But before podcasts and streaming documentaries, what did people do to get their true crime docs? When did true crime...
Dr. Margaret Maitland, Principal Curator of the Ancient Mediterranean at National Museums Scotland, with the recently discovered ancient Greek graduate yearbook. Source: National Museums Scotland

Ancient Greek ‘Graduate Yearbook’ Discovered in Scottish Vault

An unknown ancient Greek marble inscription stored in a museum vault since the 1880s has been rediscovered in Scotland. New research now shows that the tablet includes a list of young men who took...
The red painted curse found in a new tomb at UNESCO-listed Beit She'arim, Israel, about 100 km or 62 miles northwest of Tel Aviv, which warns would-be grave robbers that Jacob is watching!	Source: IAA

Disturbing Red Painted Curse Discovered In Jerusalem Catacomb

An ancient painted curse has been discovered in a tomb in Beit She'arim. Representing the first such discovery in 65 years, the timeworn Greek text warns thieves that Yaakov (Jacob) “the Proselyte”...
This phallus has insulting Roman graffiti above it that was meant for another Roman soldier. The insult reads: “You shi**r!”	Source: Vindolanda Charitable Trust

Roman Graffiti Shows Carved Phallus With Insult Found at Vindolanda Fort

A sizable, engraved penis has been discovered at the Vindolanda Roman fort in England, with a clear insult carved above it. The Roman graffiti insult, aimed at another Roman soldier, reads: “You shi...
Researchers generated a virtual sequence to unfold a sealed letter protected via letterlocking. Source: Unlocking History Research Group / CC BY 4.0

Securing Ancient Secrets: The Fascinating History of Letterlocking

Communication through written word existed long before the days of text messages and DMs, and even then some kind of security was needed to protect people’s secrets. When we think of a handwritten...
The Fajada Butte Sun Dagger in Chaco Canyon in New Mexico is a spiral petroglyph that is lit up with brilliant streaks of focused Sunlight at key moments in the year.	Source: YouTube screenshot / Mystery History

Connecting Heaven and Earth: The Sun Dagger of Fajada Butte, New Mexico

Near the entrance to Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, USA is an imposing butte that had sacred significance to the ancestral Pueblo culture, who inhabited Chaco Canyon up until about 1150 AD. On Fajada...
Killer rabbit in the Smithfield Decretals, c. 1300, British Library, London, UK. Detail. (British Library/CC BY 4.0)

Killer Rabbits Terrorized the Pages of Medieval Manuscripts

In early medieval art and literature fluffy white rabbits, bunnies, and hares were typically motifs of innocence, venerability, and purity. However, more in sync with these animals’ rate of...
This Italian copy of the Nostradamus manuscript was stolen in the mid-2000s from a library in Rome, but a member of the Italian military’s Cultural Heritage Conservation Command (Carabinieri) spotted it online in a German auction and “saved” it.		Source: Carabinieri

Stolen Nostradamus Manuscript Returned to Library in Rome!

A pilfered copy of the Nostradamus manuscript written by Renaissance-era French physician, astrologer and psychic Michel de Nostredame, has been recovered and returned to the library from which it...
The Abydos carvings are mysterious carved hieroglyphs which were found on a ceiling beam in the temple of Seti I in Abydos. Source: merlin74 / Adobe Stock

Helicopter Hieroglyphs? Debunking the “Mystery” of the Abydos Carvings

In the ancient city of Abydos, within the famed temple of Seti I, strange hieroglyphs were discovered on the ceiling. Appearing to depict modern or extraterrestrial vehicles, some claim that the...
Archaeologists have deciphered what could be the origins of the Latin alphabet in graffiti found at the Temple of Hathor near the Serâbît el-Khâdim mines. Serâbît el-Khâdim in the background and the evolution of the letter “A” in the foreground. Source: Einsamer Schütze / CC BY-SA 3.0 & Till Nikolaus von Heiseler / CC BY 4.0

From an Ox to an “A”: The Ancient Egyptian Origins of the Latin Alphabet

As crazy as it sounds, it’s now well attested that the letter “A” started out its evolution as the Egyptian hieroglyph for an ox. But its truly mind-blowing transformation came when turquoise miners...
The oldest celestial aurora or Northern Lights sighting, in 10th-century-BC China, is 300 years older than the current Assyrian-Babylonian record. This image shows an aurora borealis event in Norway.					Source: Svein-Magne Tunli / CC BY-SA 4.0

Oldest Recorded Celestial Aurora Event Found in Ancient Chinese Text!

The oldest known evidence referring to a “celestial aurora event” from a section of the famous Bamboo Annals Chinese text dated to the 10th century BC has been researched by scientists from Nagoya...
Earliest Maya Calendar Fragment Found in Guatemala

Earliest Maya Calendar Fragment Found in Guatemala

A new study published in the journal Science Advances has announced the discovery of the earliest known use of the Maya calendar. This discovery of the glyph “7 Deer” on mural fragments from deep...
The Ben Cao Gang Mu (Compendium of Material Medica) is a 16th-century collection of medical knowledge. Source: Public domain

The Ben Cao Gang Mu – The Bible of Traditional Chinese Medicine

The Ben Cao Gang Mu , or Compendium Materia Medica , is an encyclopedic compendium written by the 16th-century Chinese doctor Li Shizhen. This compilation is said to be the most complete and...
Reading religious book. Source:  4Max / Adobe Stock

Does The Iliad Deserve Reverence as Scripture Like The Bible?

Ten thousand years from now, when humanity has moved out among the stars, and an alien race discovers the Earth and explores it, can you imagine one of them coming across the Bible and reading it?...
Selection of Greek Magical Papyri which are kept at the British Library.	Source: British Library

Curious and Unusual Spells from the Greek Magical Papyri

The Greek magical papyri, as it is commonly known, is an extensive collection of ancient Greco-Roman Egypt magical spells, rituals, remedies, hymns, and myth. Scholars have placed its origin between...
One of the four Umayyad inscriptions recently discovered at the ancient city of Knidos in southwestern Turkey.		Source: DHA

Four Umayyad Inscriptions Unearthed in Turkey’s Ancient City of Knidos

Four Umayyad inscriptions inscribed on limestone and marble blocks have been discovered among the ruins of the 2,600-year-old city of Knidos in western Turkey. The four Umayyad inscriptions, from...
Darwin’s notebooks, stolen in 2000-2001, on top of their original box, with the box from “X” at the top. 	Source: Cambridge University Library

Darwin’s Notebooks, Stolen in 2000-2001, Returned in Pink Gift Bag!

Two of Charles Darwin’s notebooks mysteriously vanished from Cambridge University 22 years ago. They have reappeared, in a pink gift bag, but nobody on campus or in the police force has a clue where...
Semih Güneri, a professor from Dokuz Eylül University who has been working on Mongolian petroglyphs for a decade, taking a rubbing of the possibly 15,000-year-old Gobi Desert petroglyphs he has identified with ancient Turkish speaking peoples.	Source: Demirören News Agency

“15,000-year-old” Gobi Desert Petroglyphs Made By Ancient Turks?

A Turkish archaeologist who is an expert on petroglyphs claims his team has found extremely old Gobi Desert petroglyphs made by ancient Turkish-speaking peoples, reports Hurriyet Daily . Although not...
A detail from the Urgell Beatus, depicting the Siege of (Christian) Jerusalem by Nebudchadnezzar, which was threat to Christianity as was the Moorish Islamic takeover of most of the Iberian Peninsula in the 8th century AD, when monk Beatus' work was so popular.		Source: Public Domain

Monk’s Beatus Apocalypses Warned of The End of the World

Based on interpretations of the Book of Revelations, the Commentary on the Apocalypses, written between 776 and 784 by visionary monk Beatus of Liébana, were a series of manuscripts that foretold...
One of the Sinaia lead plates. Source: Vatra Stră-Rumînă

The Sinaia Lead Plates: Dacian Treasure Trove or Impressive Fakes?

It was 1875 when 200 mysterious artifacts known as the Sinaia lead plates unexpectedly turned up at the Museum of Antiquities in Bucharest, Romania. They were all rectangular, apart from one, and...
The lead curse tablet found on Mount Ebal.	Source: Michael C. Luddeni | Associates for Biblical Research (ABR)

Curse Tablet Found on Mount Ebal Suggests Early Literacy Came to Israel

One of two mountains in the West Bank, Mount Ebal occupies a special place in the hearts and mythology of the Israelites, but not in the most positive light. In advance of the entry of the Jews into...
Scanning the Mali manuscripts, which are now under the protection of SAVAMA-DCI, who are digitizing the rescued artifacts. Source: Mali Magic / Google Arts & Culture

Mali Manuscripts Rescued and Digitized to Celebrate the Malian Renaissance

Mali has recently been in the news for its decision to oust French troops from its territory. The French were originally summoned to prevent jihadists from taking control over Africa’s eighth-largest...

Pages