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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.

A traditional imzad instrument, made by local craftswomen and played only by women.

Reviving the Music of their Foremothers: A Traditional Tuareg Instrument for Women Makes a Comeback

A traditional stringed gourd instrument of the Tuareg people in Africa, played only by women because of the threat of a curse upon men who play it, is making a comeback. Only two women were known to...
A Māori warrior.

Mokomokai: Preservation of the Tattooed Maori Heads of New Zealand

Mokomokai are preserved heads that are produced by the Māoris of New Zealand. These are not just any heads, but heads that have been decorated by moko. Moko is a traditional art form practiced by the...
Multi-facet basalt artifact, Georgia, USA.

Jackson County Artifact Adds Mystery to History of the Region: What are the Symbols and Who Made Them?

History is sometimes slow to share its secrets, but it did recently for a rural Jackson County man while he was clearing an area of his property. As a longtime resident and avid artifact collector,...
An ancient Roman road at Leptis Magna, Libya

Ancient Journeys: What was Travel Like for the Romans?

It was not uncommon for the ancient Romans to travel long distances all across Europe. Actually during the Roman Empire, Rome had an incredible road network which extended from northern England all...
Replicas of the Koh-i-Noor Diamond – The Mountain of Light.

Mountain of Light: The History and Lore of the Koh-i-Noor Diamond

One of the most famous diamonds in the world, and once considered to be the world’s largest, the Koh-i-Noor is deeply shrouded in mystery and myth, alongside factual origins. The diamond in its...
Traité des Fardements et Confitures, Lyon 1556.

Treatise on Make-up and Jam: A Bestselling Cookbook by Nostradamus

It is undeniable that Michel de Nostredame (more commonly known as Nostradamus) is most renowned for his published collection of prophecies known as Les Prophéties , or in English as The Prophecies...
The Olbia gear.

Unraveling the Mystery of the Ancient Olbia Gearwheel

The restoration of the gearwheel found in Olbia (Sardinia, Italy) in 2006 by the Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage, dated between the mid-2nd century and the end of the 3rd century BC, has...
Amulet of a Ba. Egypt, Ptolemaic Period, 332-30 B.C. Jewelry and Adornments; amulets. Gold with inlays of lapis lazuli, turquoise, and steatite.

Warding Evil and Welcoming Luck: Protective Amulets of the Ancient World

In the past, human life was vulnerable to disaster; Disease, wars, famine, natural disasters and many other factors could easily claim the lives of individuals. For this reason, people sought all...
Some of the Abydos boats in their brick-built graves.

The Abydos Boats: Transporting the Pharaohs Through the Afterlife

The Abydos boats are a fleet of ships discovered in the sands of Abydos, Egypt. Sea vessels played an important role in ancient Egypt, not only in the everyday life of its people, but also in its...
Opening from the Hours of Catherine of Cleves, 1440. The Morgan Library & Museum.

Beautiful, Decorative, and Sometimes Crude: Illuminated Manuscripts and Marginalia

Illuminated manuscripts are manuscripts that are covered with painted ornaments presented under several forms. These documents are perhaps most commonly associated with the European Middle Ages...
Ice skaters from the series Le Supreme Bon Ton, No.9.

Gliding Over 5,000 Years of Frozen Waters: A History of Ice Skating

Ice skating has been called the oldest human-powered means of transportation. During the winter it is easy for one to imagine our ancient ancestors gliding across frozen lakes in search of food or...
“Tourist art” bullroarer decorated with a kangaroo design.

The Bullroarer: An Instrument That Whirls Through Cultures and Time

Music is believed to have been made by human beings since prehistoric times. Paleolithic tombs suggest that one of the earliest and longest-surviving artifacts that can be called a ‘musical...
Main: A painting titled “Sylvan Men” by Albrecht Durer, 1499; “sylvan” means of the forest. (Wikimedia Commons). Inset: The Wild Man has a long history in humanity’s legends and myths. This photo shows the spoon handle found near Ipswich. (Photo by Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service)

Medieval Wild Man relic discovered by treasure hunters has roots in ancient history

English metal detectorists have found a Medieval spoon handle depicting a figure of the Wild Man, a hairy, club-wielding legend who existed on the edges of civilization from ancient times. Stories...
“The Alchymist, in Search of the Philosopher's Stone” by Joseph Wright of Derby, 1771.

From Magic to Science: The Intriguing Ritual and Powerful Work of Alchemy

Throughout time, history has recorded numerous rituals and magic practices, some more bizarre than others. While alchemists were preoccupied with finding the Philosopher's Stone and the elixir of...
Burning witches and holding others in the Stocks, 14th century.

The Malleus Maleficarum: A Medieval Manual for Witch Hunters

The Salem witch trials, which began in 1692 in Salem Village, Massachusetts bay colony, are one of the most well-known and notorious witch trials in history. Yet, this was not the only case of these...
Painting entitled ‘Abulcasis blistering a patient in the hospital at Cordova.’

Al-Zahrawi: The Legacy of the Father of Modern Surgery

The period from the 8th century until the 13th century AD is commonly referred to as the Islamic Golden Age. During this era, the Islamic world produced numerous scholars who contributed greatly to...

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