Ancient Origins Tour IRAQ

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The Medieval Brooch found in Wiltshire. Credit: Solent News and Photo Agency

Thrilled Detectorist Finds 800-Year-Old Brooch with Magical Words to Ward off Illness

Metal detectorists have become important allies to the archaeology community. Over the past few years, several exciting finds of ancient coins, jewelry, tools, weapons, and other assorted metallic...
Christ Inscription Unearthed in Israeli Village

Christ Inscription Unearthed in Israeli Village

A 1,500-year-old Greek Christ inscription bearing the words “Christ born of Mary” has been discovered at an excavation at the ancient village of Taibe, in northern Israel . This finding has not only...
In the medieval England magic was a service industry. Source: Вероника Преображенс / Adobe Stock.

In Medieval England, Magic Was A Service Industry

Tabitha Stanmore / The Conversation Chances are that when you hear the words “ medieval magic ”, the image of a witch will spring to mind: wizened old crones huddled over a cauldron containing...
Vintage magic book. Abracadabra used to be written and used as a talisman.

Say the Magic Word: The Origins of Abracadabra

Magic words are often used by magicians whilst performing magic tricks on stage. One of the most common of these incantations is ‘Abracadabra’. Although this word is known to many, it is likely that...
Agni, a deity which appears in the Atharva Veda. (Public Domain) Background: Detail of Codex Cashmiriensis folio 187a from Atharva-Veda Saṁhitā second half, by William Dwight Whitney and Charles Rockwell Lanman.

The Atharva Veda: Popular Religion, Charms, and Ancient Hindu Spells

Thou who art neither alive nor dead, the immortal child of the gods art thou, O Sleep! Varunânî is thy mother, Yama (death) thy father, Araru is thy name. We know, O Sleep, thy birth, thou art the...
The stones can fit in the palm of a hand or pocket. Pictured isone from a 2014 excavation

New Symbolism Noticed on Denmark’s “Sun Stones”

A total of 300 small stones believed to have been engraved with designs almost 5,000 years ago, have been discovered during an archaeological excavation on the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic...
One of the pages from The Book of Magical Charms. Credit: The Newberry Library

Do You Have the Magic Touch? Chicago Library Appeals to Public for Help Transcribing Magical Manuscripts

Do you have a talent in solving magical puzzles and manuscripts? Do you have a penchant for casting spells? Well, if that’s the case, Chicago's Newberry Library is offering the right job for you as...
“The Painted Ones” hand-colored version of Theodor de Bry’s engraving of a Pict woman who is either painted or tattooed.

Power, Perils and Rites of Passage – The History of the Female Tattoo

Emily Poelina-Hunter / The Conversation Almost a quarter of Australian women now have tattoos - a trend some attribute to the influence of feminism. What I find interesting is that the mainstreaming...
Making Medieval Magic: Countering Infections and Poison with Nine Potent Herbs

Making Medieval Magic: Countering Infections and Poison with Nine Potent Herbs

Many old spells have been lost or forgotten over the years, but careful readers of medieval books can still recognize some of them tucked within old tomes. There is a spell from a 10th-century book...
Ancient Last Supper charm

Ancient Last Supper charm is earliest known use of magic in Christianity

A 1,500-year-old papyrus stored in John Rylands Library in the University of Manchester has been studied for the first time in more than a century, revealing that the ancient text was actually a...