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The Funeral of a Viking - painting 1893.

What Really Happened at Viking Funerals? It’s Not What You Think!

Like many ancient societies, the Vikings believed in an afterlife, and these were based on the religious beliefs they held. The current understanding of Viking funerary practices has been discovered...
‘Hercules Fighting Death to Save Alcestis’ (1869-1871) by Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton. Many ancient death rituals seem very odd or macabre to modern minds.

Bizarre, Brutal, Macabre And Downright Weird Ancient Death Rituals

Any parent must agree that one of the greatest hardships experienced around the death of a family member is having to explain to children what happened and what happens next? Should you tell them the...
A supposed Victorian tear catcher. The real use of this type of glass vial is debatable.

Capturing Scents, Not Tears: Debunking the Myth of Tear Catchers

Victorians are often remembered for their obsession with death and mourning. It is not too surprising to discover that they had specific practices and even special objects created to further enhance...
Men of the Vedda culture.

Meet the Half Million-year-old Jungle People of Sri Lanka! The Fascinating Vedda Culture

In the western world, a statue, monument, or fountain might inspire thoughts and debates about the First World War, the American Civil War, or the Protestant Reformation. What doesn’t often pop up...
Newly unearthed mask of Pakal

Ritual Mask of Legendary 7th century Maya King Pakal the Great has been unearthed in Mexico

Archaeologists digging in Mexico's Palenque ruins have uncovered a mask believed to represent the 7th-century Maya ruler K'inich Janaab Pakal, commonly known a ‘Pakal the Great’ - one of ancient...
Ancient human remains.

Nine Weird and Wonderful Facts about Death and Funeral Practices

It might not be something you want to think about very often, but it turns out that the way we treat our dead in the modern age is heavily influenced by the way our ancestors treated theirs. When you...
Amiternum funerary procession relief.

Mimes, Paid Grievers, and Masks: The Insane Theatrics of Ancient Roman Funerals

Two thousand years ago, funerals weren’t the quiet, somber affairs we have today. They were loud, boisterous shows that started with a massive procession of people parading down the streets, pounding...
Decorations placed around a coffin at a home funeral in Da Nang, Vietnam. At left, placed in front of the coffin, is an altar featuring a framed photo of the deceased and a pot for offering joss sticks. At right are a number of flower bouquets with attached condolences, and in the background are a number of vertical banners, also offering condolences.

Traditional Funerary Rites Provide a Glimpse at Mystery Neolithic Vietnamese Culture

3,000 years ago, a small community on a Vietnamese island disappeared. No one is certain why, but even their very existence is a surprise. Luckily for archaeologists, it seems that their traditional...
Artist’s impression of elderly Neanderthal male based on fossil found at La Chappelle-aux-Saints

Neanderthals Cared for Each Other and Survived into Old Age – New Research

James Ohman & Asier Gomez-Olivencia / The Conversation When we think of Neanderthals, we often imagine these distant ancestors of ours to be rather brutish, dying at a young age and ultimately...
Sculptor’s Cave, Covesea, Lossiemouth

What Really Went on in the Sculptor’s Cave Where Hundreds of Bronze Age Child Remains Were Unearthed?

Pictish carvings grace its walls; crucibles, a swan’s neck pin, and bronze arm rings were scattered across its floor – Sculptor’s Cave has had an exciting and varied history stretching back to the...
16th or 17th century painting of the ‘Dance of Death.’ The living weren’t always scared of the dead.

Dance Macabre: How the Dead Danced with the Living in Medieval Society

Ashby Kinch / The Conversation In the Halloween season , American culture briefly participates in an ancient tradition of making the world of the dead visible to the living: Children dress as...
Image during part of the funeral ceremony for Thailand’s deceased King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The Grand Funeral of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Intricate Buddhist Funerary Rites

For Thai Buddhists, funerals are extremely important moments, as they represent rebirth and the passage from one existence to another. The elaborate funeral rites recently held in honor of Thailand’s...
The sarcophagus of Junius Bassus.

The Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus: How a Coffin Defeated the Gods

Bacchus into Jesus. This is a topic seen many times before and its relevance continues here. As mentioned in a previous article , the attributes of the Greco-Roman god of wine, transformation and...
Loutrophorai: Greek, Attica, c.440BC, (Penn Valley); Greek, Classical Period, 450–425 BC (MFA);Greek, South Italian, Early Hellenistic Period c.320–310 BC

From Cremated Ashes to Holy Water for a Bride’s Ritual Bath, The Loutrophoros Was No Ordinary Vase

A loutrophoros is a distinctive type of Greek pottery characterized by an elongated neck with two handles. It is a specific type of amphora , which was a type of Greek container used as early as the...
A funerary garden discovered by CSIC's research team.

A First-Ever Find in Egypt: 4,000-Year-Old Funerary Garden at Tomb Entrance

The Djehuty Project, led by research professor, José Manuel Galán, from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), has discovered a 4,000-year-old funerary garden- the first such garden ever to be...
Researchers Wonder if Rich Viking Boat Burial Found in Scotland was Made for a Warrior Woman

Researchers Wonder if Rich Viking Boat Burial Found in Scotland was Made for a Warrior Woman

A team of researchers who have been examining the horde of grave goods left in an amazing Viking boat burial have decided that the deceased individual was definitely an important person in their...

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