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A fake shrunken head.

Headhunting and Shrunken Heads: Gruesome Ancient War Trophies

Headhunting is a practice that has been carried out by numerous cultures throughout the world. For instance, during the Qin dynasty in ancient China it is claimed that soldiers collected the heads of...
Example of a typical Valdivia ceramic figurine. (Alicia McDermott)

Curious Ceramics: Traces of Mysterious Pre-Hispanic Culture Emerge in Ecuador

Archaeologists working at the pre-Hispanic site of Real Alto near the coast of Ecuador have discovered the remnants of a mysterious culture dating to the earliest stages of inhabitation in the...
An uncontacted tribe in the jungle of Brazil

The Uncontacted Frontier: Tribes of the Amazon Want To Be Left Alone

The Amazon rainforest is home to more uncontacted tribes than anywhere else in the world. It is hard to imagine that even today, there are more than 100 tribes who have never seen anything outside...
A Las Vegas culture skull excavated in Loma Atahualpa, Ecuador in 2018 is part of the oldest burials found in the country to date.

Newly Discovered 10,000 Year Old Las Vegas Culture Burials are the Oldest in Ecuador

Las Vegas doesn’t just refer to the ‘city of lights’; for archaeologists in Ecuador Las Vegas also denotes an ancient culture that once thrived on the Pacific coast. But just because a culture is...
A corridor in the Tayos Caves

Who Stole the Gold? Part 3: Blow Smoke and Look the Other Way…

[Read Part 1] [Read Part 2] This is the thrilling conclusion to the investigation on the true mystery regarding the Tayos Caves – what has happened to the pure, prestigious, and lustrous golden ore?...
Left: Father Crespi with a metallic artifact at the church of Maria Auxiliadora. Right: Nivello, Hall, Moricz, Pena & Punin 1975.

Who Stole the Gold? Part 2: There is a lot of Smoke, But are There Any Smoking Guns?

[Read Part 1] This investigation acknowledges that more than one party was in involved in illegal gold extraction, and that gold may have been extracted in more than one form. That said, let’s...
The open chamber near the first descent in the Tayu Jee branch of the Tayos Caves.

Who Stole the Gold? The Smoke Clears Around the Tayos Caves in Ecuador

The Tayos Caves ( Cuevas de los Tayos in Spanish) in Ecuador are a subterranean complex that forms part of the incredible Napo System of Caves stretching from Venezuela to Chile. The Tayos Caves have...
Part of the Cochasquí archaeological site. (Santiago Martinez/ L. Ortiz) A mask found at the site. (Alicia McDermott)

Cochasquí: The Immense Pyramids of Ecuador Provide Evidence for a Forgotten Civilization

The archaeological sites in Ecuador are often overshadowed by more popular locations in neighboring Colombia and Peru. However, archaeology enthusiasts have a wealth of options including more than...
An indigenous person of Peru taking traditional medicine.

Ancient Medicinal Knowledge of Amazon Tribes to Be Recorded in Writing for First Time in History

“That plant will save you from a poisonous snake bite,” my Kichwa guide, Pidru, pointed out as I tried to remove my boot from a foot of mud in the depths of the Amazon jungle in Ecuador. “And this...
Representational image of African travelers.

East African Invasions in South America: Tracing Cultural Clues and Artifacts Left by Early Travelers

Archaeologists have found many artifacts that suggest Blacks lived in Pre-Columbian America in locations including Tiahuanaco and Valdivia. Epigraphers and archaeologists have even found evidence...
Earthquake in Ecuador Reveals Bizarre Burial of a Mummy in a Jar with a Little Mouse

Earthquake in Ecuador Reveals Bizarre Burial of a Mummy in a Jar with a Little Mouse

On August 5, 1949, an earthquake struck the small town of Guano in Ecuador, causing buildings to crack open and crumble. The disaster led to the strange discovery of the Mummy of Guano. During the...
Main: The Inca site of Machu Picchu. Inset: Golden sun

Inti, Sun God of the Inca, Spawned the First Rulers of An Unforgettable Empire

In the mythology / religious belief system of the Incas, Inti was the god of the Sun, and one of the most important deities in the Inca pantheon. As a solar deity, Inti is closely associated with...
10 Strange, Unexpected, and Controversial Discoveries from 2016

10 Strange, Unexpected, and Controversial Discoveries from 2016

Anomalies have been documented for centuries, and while many odd events or unusual artifacts have been explained over the years, strange happenings continue to incite controversy and imagination...
New Expedition Hints at a Lost City Near the Tayos Caves in Ecuador

New Expedition Hints at a Lost City Near the Tayos Caves in Ecuador

After building trust with a local Shuar village, Ancient Origins returned once again to explore the Tayos caves in Ecuador. While the search for hidden cave entrances continues, our recent expedition...
Photo of metal plate from Father Crespi’s collection.

On the trail of the Father Crespi Collection: A Sad Discovery – Part II

[Read Part I] “There is nothing of Padre Crespi’s collection left in our building!” ‘Brother Gatekeeper’ assures us when we arrive at the main portal of the Salesian monastery of Cuenca in Ecuador. “...
Left: Father Crespi holding a metallic artifact that appears to contain a series of hieroglyphs. (Source). Right: Photographs of Crespi’s so-called ‘Metallic Library’. Credit: Ancient-Origins.net.

On the trail of the Father Crespi Collection – Part I

A desperately poor clergyman tends to a small South-American community. He teaches the children, and procures the schoolbooks for them. The people are poor and cannot afford medical assistance;...

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