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Artifacts

There are undoubtedly millions of ancient artifacts from the past that have served to shed light on the lives of our ancestors from many millennia ago. But some ancient mystical artifacts stand out for their uniqueness, their intrigue, or their ability to expand our knowledge about previously unknown aspects of our history. Here we feature many such ancient history artifacts, from amazing examples of ancient technology, to artistic masterpieces, unexplained objects, ancient texts, and mysterious artifacts that shed light on the daily lives of our ancestors.

Detail of the runic inscription found on one of the copies of the golden horns of Gallehus housed at the Moesgaard Museum.

Futhark: Mysterious Ancient Runic Alphabet of Northern Europe

Runes are the characters of the earliest written alphabet used by the Germanic peoples of Europe called Futhark. The runic alphabet was used within Germanic languages but primarily in Nordic...
Detail, the medieval Hereford Mappa Mundi, “Cloth of the World” in Hereford, England. Circa 1300.

Hereford Mappa Mundi: Legendary Cities, Monstrous Races, and Curious Beasts in a Single World Map

Secreted away beneath the floor of an English cathedral was a large calfskin canvas featuring what, at first glance, appeared to be a map of the world. Once recovered and repaired, the map now known...
Detail of ‘The warriors Kumagai Naozane and Taira no Atsumori.’ One of the warriors is brandishing a Japanese war fan called a Tessen.

Sensu and Tessen in Combat: A Japanese Fan Became a Deadly Weapon In the Right Hands

In Ancient Japan, the Samurai utilized a wide range of weaponry other than swords, bows, and spears. These weapons were used in places where swords were not allowed to be carried, for self-defense...
Montage of sphinx creature representations.

There Is More to the Sphinx Than You Find at Giza

The sphinx is a creature from mythology that is composed of a human head and a lion’s body. The most famous story about the sphinx is arguably the Greek myth involving Oedipus, the king of Thebes,...
: A segment of the exquisite Bayeux Tapestry. In this scene Odo, Bishop of Bayeux (with raised club), half-brother to William the Great, rallies the troops in the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

Nearly 1,000 Years Old, the Bayeux Tapestry is An Epic Tale and Medieval Masterpiece

The ancient Bayeux Tapestry, famous for its epic representation of medieval history, is a long, vividly embroidered cloth stretching hundreds of feet. Through exciting imagery it retells the events...
An authentic codex, left, as opposed to a modern forgery, right, which is crude by comparison and betrays all of the hallmarks of modern manufacture: not the uneven patina, which is obviously applied and not accrued by age.

Controversial Lead Codices With Earliest Written Account of Jesus Confirmed Authentic

In 2007, Jennifer Solignac and David Elkington were shown images of a newly discovered set of books, of codices. They were surprising in one particular way: they were composed almost entirely of...
Top 10 oldest everyday items

Ten of the Oldest Everyday Items Ever Found

Every day you get up, get dressed, eat, and probably head out to work, school, or some other activity outside your home. If you work, you may have to interact with customers, who are not always...
Two hand-painted Mamluk playing cards and two Venetian playing cards.

Before They Were Divination Tools, Tarot Cards Were Playing Cards

In the English-speaking world, the word ‘tarot’ is most commonly associated with the occult and divination. It is one of the oldest forms of fortune telling, although its origins are somewhat obscure...
Roman marbled glass piriform unguentarium.

The Beautiful and Complex Artisanship of Glass-making in the Ancient World

In today’s society, glass is a material that is easily available. Due to mass production, glass objects are considered common and can be found everywhere. In the ancient world, however, glass-making...
Example of a lamb stew with vegetables. (Jo del Corro/CC BY 2.0) “Hen with Herbs”. Laura Kelley recreates Recipe 2 from Yale tablet 8958. (Laura Kelley) Lamb shanks in a stew. (E4024/CC BY SA 4.0) YBC 4644, a tablet with a Babylonian recipe, ca. 1750 BC. (Yale University Library)

Three Babylonian Recipes From 1600 BC You Can Make At Home Today

Ever wanted a taste of life in an ancient civilization? The oldest cookbook ever found was made sometime around 1600 BC in the ancient city of Babylon. It’s a set of cracked tablets engraved by an...
Three silver-gilt Roman piperatoria or pepper pots (CC BY NC SA 4.0), a gold body chain (Mike Peel/CC BY SA 4.0), toiletry items (Fæ/CC BY SA 3.0), two gold bracelets (Fæ/CC BY SA 3.0), and spoons (CC BY NC SA 4.0) found in the Hoxne hoard.

The Hoxne Hoard: How a Mislaid Hammer Led to the Largest Roman Treasure in Britain

The Hoxne Hoard is a huge treasure from the late Roman period. To date, this is the largest hoard of late Roman gold and silver that has been found in the UK, and indeed, anywhere in the Roman world...
A bannerstone, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (CC0) Background: Rocks and water. (CC0)

Boggling Bannerstones of Ancient Americans: Were They a Function of Flight or More a Flight of Fancy?

A bannerstone is an enigmatic Native American artifact found in the eastern United States. They come in a range of shapes and sizes and are made of various types of stone. These stones have been...
Herodotus and Thucydides

Thucydides Versus Herodotus: Who Was the Real Father of History?

By Ben Potter / Classical Wisdom There has been a great deal of focus on the differences between Herodotus and Thucydides. Both men have been granted the 'father of history' accolade, but...
The Hoddøya spearhead – beautiful, mysterious and devine.

The Amazing Hoddøya Bronze Age Spear – A Gift to the Gods

By ThorNews Year 872 BC, Hoddøya, an island in the Namsen Fjord in Central Norway : A tall man with long gray hair wearing a bear claw necklace is standing in the middle of a circle surrounded by...
Colossal statue of Amenhotep III in the British Museum. (Public Domain) Background: Detail of Amarna letter: Royal Letter from Abi-milku of Tyre to the king of Egypt. (CC0)

To the King, My Sun, My God, the Breath of My Life… Amarna Letters Paint Remarkable Picture of Ancient Egyptian Rulership

“Your city weeps, and her tears are running, and there is no help for us. For 20 years we have been sending to our lord, the king, the king of Egypt, but there has not come to us a word from our lord...
Goujian: The Ancient Chinese Sword

Goujian: The Ancient Chinese Sword that Defied Time

Fifty years ago, a rare and unusual sword was found in a tomb in China. Despite being well over 2,000 years old, the sword, known as the Goujian, did not have a single trace of rust. The blade drew...

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