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Ancient Origins Tour IRAQ

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Fossilized jawbone, dubbed Penghu 1, found submerged in seafloor near Taiwan. Dated between 10,000 and 190,000 years ago. Credit: Y. Kaifu,

Taiwan Jaw Bone Connected to the Origins of Humanity, May Reveal Entirely New Prehistoric Species

The first ancient human fossil found in Taiwan may indicate the presence of an unknown archaic species of humans who lived in Asia during the Pleistocene era, possibly hundreds of thousands of years...
Chinese temple on a lake

The Chinese Emperor Who Built A Lake of Wine and a Forest of Meat

The last ruler of China’s Shang Dynasty knew how to relax. When he and his Queen wanted to unwind, they would head to his pleasure palace and take a dip in their lake of wine. That wasn’t just a cute...
Illustration of an ancient city in Mesopotamia.

Hoard of Ancient Tablets Found in Iraq Reveal Location of Lost Royal City of Mardama

In an exciting discovery, archaeologists have found the location of the lost royal city of Mardama. The ancient Hurrian city had laid buried for millennia until archaeologists unearthed the remains...
A stele from Heliopolis shows Akhenaten worshipping the Aten; design by Anand Balaji

Horemheb the Usurper: Monumental Oversight in a Project of Utter Destruction —Part II

(Read Part 1) By all counts, Horemheb was not only forced to remain subservient until the death of his immediate predecessor, Pharaoh Aye – a vizier-turned-ruler – but had faced a challenger in...
A limestone sculpture from the Temple of Amun in Thebes depicts Horemheb standing beside the state god; design by Anand Balaji

Horemheb the Usurper: Magical Potency and the Rough Road to the Throne—Part I

Usurpation of monuments and funerary goods occurred over much of ancient Egyptian history. Quite a few Pharaohs and nobles indulged in this practice—and far from our modern notion of greedy monarchs...
Relief of a funeral procession from the tomb of Merymery in Saqqara; design by Anand Balaji

Sem Priests of Ancient Egypt: In the Service of King and Country—Part II

An appointee of the Pharaoh himself, the role of the sem priest carried immense political and religious weightage. In many ways, this class of priest served as the bridge between the ruler and the...
Scene on the north wall in KV62 shows King Aye as sem priest, performing the “Opening of the Mouth” ritual on the mummy of Tutankhamun; design by Anand Balaji

Sem Priests of Ancient Egypt: Their Role and Impact in Funerary Contexts—Part I

The office of sem or setem priest of Ptah, the patron god of the craftsmen in Memphis, Lower Egypt, was a prestigious one. Considered a sacred feline with a connection to the Heliopolitan cult via...
The magnificent Boat of Khufu, Solar Boat Museum, Giza

The Great Boat of Khufu: The ‘Black Box’ to the Construction of the Pyramids

Perhaps this is not the first time that the reader will have heard of how in 1954 the Great Boat of Khufu was discovered, practically intact, at the southern face of the Kheops Pyramid, and how it is...
The Kritios Boy.

Kritios Boy: Damaged by the Persians, Buried for 2,400 Years, Resurrected for the World to See

The Kritios Boy is an Early Classical Greek sculpture with an eventful history. He began his life in the world-renowned Acropolis of Athens 2,500 years ago, was damaged during a Persian onslaught in...
Detail from the side of a seat of a group sculpture shows a baboon holding a cosmetic pot or kohl eyeliner; design by Anand Balaji

Primates of Ancient Egypt: The Bizarre and Satirical Monkeys of Amarna—Part II

Baboons and monkeys were an inalienable part of the religious and artistic landscape in ancient Egypt. A wealth of depictions of these animals exists in varied media spanning all dynasties. But it is...
Detail from one of the canopic jars of Padiouf, a priest of Amun, shows the face of the god Hapy; design by Anand Balaj

Primates of Ancient Egypt: The Deification and Importance of Baboons and Monkeys—Part I

The ancient Egyptians populated their vast pantheon of gods and goddesses with an incredible menagerie of animals and birds. These deities served as protectors, law-givers, healers, patrons of the...
Gilded leopard head found in the Tomb of Tutankhamun (KV62); design by Anand Balaji

The Felines of Tutankhamun: Leopards, a Symbol of Royalty and Divinity—Part II

Beginning with one of the earliest feline deities, Mafdet, the ancient Egyptian pantheon grew steadily as the years passed to include a wide range of creatures, both big and small – furry and...
Resin-stained wooden leopard found in the tomb of King Amenhotep II (KV35); design by Anand Balaji

The Felines of Tutankhamun: Leopard Changes its Spots to turn Black Panther?—Part I

The modest sepulcher of Pharaoh Tutankhamun was crammed to the brim with all manner of treasures produced in different shapes, sizes and materials. These objects can be clearly divided into two...
Reconstruction of a Neanderthal holding a spear

Oldest Neanderthal Wooden Tools Found in Spain Were Made 90,000 Years Ago

Archaeological excavations in Northern Spain have revealed several episodes of Neanderthal occupations with preserved wooden remains. The excavation revealed two very well preserved wooden tools; one...
The mummified head of Djehutynakht.

FBI Crime Team Solves Mystery of 4,000-Year-Old Decapitated Mummy

Just over a century ago, an American archaeologist found a hidden tomb buried 30 feet beneath boulders in an ancient Egyptian necropolis. He was met with one of the finest painted coffins ever found...
Easter procession in Bilbao, Spain

Under the Hoods: The Brotherhoods (and Sisterhoods) of Spain’s Holy Week

“Spain is different!”. Napoleon took this view after his defeat by Spanish guerrilla warfare tactics. Generalissimo Franco’s government later made use of this slogan to promote Spain’s unique appeal...
Anyang, China, Chinese, warlord, Cao Cao, Henan, ancient, tomb, burial, mausoleum, remains

Cao Cao Could Not Hide Forever: Remains Finally Confirmed As Chinese Warlord

Archaeologists in China are convinced they have found the tomb and remains of Cao Cao, a famous Chinese warlord who rose to great power in the final years of the Eastern Han Dynasty 1,800 years ago...
Construction work being undertaken at Gobekli Tepe.

Outrage as Concrete is Poured on World’s Oldest Known Temple at Göbekli Tepe

Archaeologists around the world have been left shocked and furious after the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry gave the go ahead for ‘conservation work’ at the ancient site of Göbekli Tepe, which...
Hegassen scroll detail. Fart Battle, 1864

From Fart Gods to Farting Out One’s Soul: The Historic Ritualization of Farts

They command attention, bring silence into noisy environments and have been associated with the utterances of gods for thousands of years. In fact, entire rituals have been designed around them...
Ancient Greek Vase Celebrates the Exaltation of Our Ancestors as Gods

Ancient Greek Vase Celebrates the Exaltation of Our Ancestors as Gods

In 2016, Christie’s sold the Greek vase depicted above—a red-figure bell krater used for mixing wine with water—to a buyer in London for $220,000. It dates from 410 BC. For a mythology buff, what a...
Thousands of talatat blocks from Akhenaten's dismantled Aten temples lie in the precincts of Karnak complex; design by Anand Balaji

Akhenaten, the Savior of Karnak: Breaking Ties with “tainted” Amun - Part II

(Read Part I) Trouble brewed on the horizon when Amenhotep IV changed his name to Akhenaten in Regnal Year 5 in honor of his “father” the Aten, and abandoned Thebes (Waset) to occupy a desolate...
Enormous columns in the Great Hypostyle Hall at Karnak Temple complex, modern-day Luxor; design by Anand Balaji

Akhenaten, the Savior of Karnak: Sun God Vs the Hidden One - Part I

The fifth year of Pharaoh Akhenaten’s reign was to prove a watershed moment in ancient Egyptian history. In a bid to break free from the shackles of the influential Amun-Ra priesthood, the ruler...
‘Temple on Ganges in state of collapse, India, ca. 1906’ in the city of Varanasi, India. (Public Domain) Lijing Gate in Luoyang, Henan, China. (CC BY SA 2.0) Quarantal Monastery, Jericho, Palestine. (Tamar Hayardeni/CC BY 3.0) The alleged ‘Abraham house’ in Ur city, Dhi Qar, southern Iraq. (Aziz1005/CC BY 4.0) ‘The Acropolis at Athens’ (1846) by Leo von Klenze. (Public Domain) A traditional (at least for the 19th century) lebanese house on the seafront near Byblos Castle, Byblos, Lebanon. (CC BY SA 3.0)

11 of the Most Ancient and Continually Occupied Cities in the World

Time travel is one of the most intriguing scenarios humans have ever fantasized about, but unfortunately for those curious minds and wild dreamers out there, many modern physicists claim that outside...
An ochre crayon thought to have been used to draw on animal skins 10,000 years ago.

10,000-Year-Old Crayon Found in Ancient Lake Was Used to Decorate Animal Skins

Archaeologists have reportedly discovered a prehistoric, ochre crayon believed to have been used to draw on animal skins 10,000 years ago. The crayon was discovered near the site of an ancient lake...

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