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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.

The book of deer

The Ancient Book of Deer, Oldest Known Gaelic Text in Existence

Currently housed at the University of Cambridge Library, the historic Book of Deer is said to have been discovered by the University's librarian, Henry Bradshaw, around 1860. It is said to be the...
This 300-year-old shoe was discovered behind a wall at St John's College and is thought to have been an amulet meant to ward off evil. (St. John’s College photo)

300-Year-Old Shoe Behind Wall of English College Was Meant As Protection From Malicious Spirits

Workers discovered a shoe this month behind a wall at a Cambridge University college in England that was probably meant to protect inhabitants of the building from mischievous or malicious spirits...
This photo of Ötzi’s clothing was taken by Niall O Sullivan of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman.

5,300-Year-Old Otzi the Iceman Was Wearing Clothing from Five Separate Animal Species

Otzi the Iceman, a mummy found in 1991 on a glacier in the Tyrolean Alps, was clothed in a bearskin cap, goatskin leggings, sheepskin coat, cow skin shoes and a deerskin quiver when he was killed in...
Pages 11 and 10 of the rediscovered codex with a reconstruction below

Researchers Uncover Lost Mexican Codex Hidden Beneath Another Codex

A 500-year-old Mexican text dating to just before Hernan Cortez arrived in Mexico with his band of murderous, thieving conquistadors has been discovered written over, underneath another old Mexican...
Cippus at the Louvre Museum

The Rosetta Stone of Malta: Cippi of Malta Offers Key to Decoding the Phoenician Language

Malqart was considered lord over life and death; he was the chief deity of Tyre. His temple was the site of two major festivals and believed to have been the inspiration for the renowned Temple of...
The Schoyen Collection: 20,000 Ancient Manuscripts from 134 Countries in 120 Languages

The Schoyen Collection: 20,000 Ancient Manuscripts from 134 Countries in 120 Languages

The largest private collection of manuscripts is remarkable not just for the number of items it possesses (over 20,000) but for the breadth and depth of human history it encompasses. The Schøyen...
Giza, The Time Keeper of the Ages: Alignments, Measurements, and Moon Cycles

Giza, The Time Keeper of the Ages: Alignments, Measurements, and Moon Cycles

How did ancient Egyptians tell the exact day and night of the summer and the winter solstices, or the equinoxes of spring and autumn? How could they tell the days when the flooding of the River Nile...
The Pantheon dome. The concrete for the coffered dome was poured in moulds, probably mounted on temporary scaffolding.

From Chrome Plating to Nanotubes: The Modern Chemistry First Used in Ancient Times

The ancient Babylonians were the first to use sophisticated geometry – a staggering 1,400 years before it was previously thought to have been developed. Sadly, these mathematical innovations were...
Fallen star sword.

Why did Tutankhamun Have a Dagger Made From a Meteorite?

Scientists have long speculated that the ancient Egyptians used metal from meteorites to make iron objects. An analysis of a dagger found in Tutankhamun’s tomb has given us strong evidence that this...
The 400-year-old dress.

All Dressed Up and Left in the Sea: Retrieving a 400-Year-old Gown of a Double Spy

400 years ago travels across the sea were quite difficult. Bad weather conditions often meant tragedies. One example of a difficult journey comes from February 1642, when a ship was crossing from...
The Remarkable Ancient Navigation System of the Marshall Islands

The Remarkable Ancient Navigation System of the Marshall Islands

People were navigating long distances between islands in the Pacific for at least 2,000 years. How did they do it without astrolabes, sextants or modern satellite positioning technology? One group,...
“Full moon rising over Mount Shasta, as seen from northern valley.”

Mount Shasta: Inner Earth Realms and History of the Lava Beds

There are legends all over the world, found in every culture, which populate caves with spirits and supernatural guardians who dwell in a subterranean realm hidden just beneath surface of our own...
A 16th century bezoar in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienne

Bezoars: The Sought After Ancient Jewels Made from Animal Stomach Growths

There is an urban legend fueled by the movie Beverly Hills Cop that people have around 5 pounds of undigested meat in their stomach by the time they are middle-aged. Not so. But bezoars, which are...
Closeup Image of Orion's Belt (Public Domain) and Vucedol Pot (oocities.org)

The Oldest Known Calendar in Europe is based on the Orion Constellation

In the late 1970s during the construction of an atomic bomb shelter, a shattered pot was found amongst the rubble. Archeologists were baffled by the strange patterns on the vessel, which dates back...
The "Disk of Enheduanna" at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia.

The Poetry of Gods by Enheduanna - The First Known Female Writer

It is not always easy to read the stories of real people from the artifacts they left behind. This is especially true if they lived 5,000 years ago. However, the story of a remarkable woman from that...
Fermented Urine Dye Discovered in One of the Oldest Illuminated Manuscripts

Fermented Urine Dye Discovered in One of the Oldest Illuminated Manuscripts

A mixture of urine and weeds has been discovered in the dye used on the stunning 1,500-year-old Byzantine text known as the Codex Purpureus Rossanensis, one of the oldest surviving illuminated...
The Mysterious Moche Icon of the Iguana, Companion to the Sky God Wrinkle Face

The Mysterious Moche Icon of the Iguana, Companion to the Sky God Wrinkle Face

The iguana was an important animal in the mythology of the powerful Moche civilization. This creature is often depicted as a companion of a figure known as Wrinkle Face, who is sometimes thought to...
 Detail of the Codex runicus, a vellum manuscript from c. 1300 containing one of the oldest and best preserved texts of the Scanian law (Skånske lov), written entirely in runes.

Runes of Power and Destruction: Reading the Cursed Runestones of Sweden

Runes are often associated with magic and sometimes curses too. For many centuries, they were used as magical symbols to guide people to the knowledge which they believed was created by their gods...
The Dunvegan Cup, Fairy Flag, and Sir Rory Mor's Horn are heirlooms of the MacLeods of Dunvegan. This photo was taken sometime before 1927.

The Mysterious Fairy Flag of Clan MacLeod and its Legendary Protective Powers

The Fairy Flag is one of the treasures kept by the chief of Clan MacLeod, a Highland Scottish clan associated with the Isle of Skye. Today, the flag resides in Dunvegan Castle, the seat of the clan’s...
Mini Golden Coffin Found in Crypt May Hold Skull Bone of Buddha

Mini Golden Coffin Found in Crypt May Hold Skull Bone of Buddha

When archaeologists were excavating the Grand Bao’en Temple of Nanjing, China in 2008 they came across a significant find – a relic linked to Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. The artifact was a skull bone...
Interior of the synagogue and a Hebrew manuscript with Babylonian vocalization

The Hidden Treasures of the Cairo Geniza

The Cairo Geniza (spelt also as Genizah ) is the name given to a collection of Jewish manuscript fragments that was discovered in Cairo. It is estimated that there are over 350000 individual...
The Dunhuang Diamond Sutra.

The Diamond Sutra: The Oldest Known Printed Book in the World

The Vajracchedika Prajnaparamita Sutra has been translated from Sanskrit into English variously as the Diamond Sutra , the Diamond Cutter Sutra , the Vajra Sutra and the Vajra Cutter Sutra . This...
Götz von Berlichingen.

16th Century Prosthetic Iron Hand: The Story of Gotz von Berlichingen

Gotz von Berlichingen was a German mercenary knight who lived during the 16 th century. This knight was known also as Götz of the Iron Hand, due to the fact that after his right hand was severed...
Ancient Book Teaches Amazing Mental Abilities

Ancient Book Teaches Amazing Mental Abilities

There have been many books over the eras that promise other worldly powers to those that read it. Many people could not read so the words on the paper were inherently mysterious. The knowledge gained...

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