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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...
The silver facemask gilded with gold found on the face of the mummy.

2,000-Year-Old Egyptian Mummy Workshop and Goldmine of Treasures Unearthed in Saqqara

A team of Egyptian-German Archeologists announced to the world’s media yesterday that their recent dig in Saqqara, Egypt, led to the unearthing of “a rare mummification workshop containing mummies...
One of the three Mesolithic deer skull headdresses from the new Star Carr exhibition at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

11,000-year-old Spiritualized Deer Masks Whisper Tales Of A Forgotten World

Deer skulls with carved eyeholes dating to 11,000 years ago have been discovered at Star Carr Mesolithic archaeological site about five miles (8.0 km) south of Scarborough in North Yorkshire, England...
The newly-discovered mummy from a tomb in Luxor.

Two Ancient Tombs Containing Numerous Treasures Unearthed in Egypt and One Contains a Mummy

Egyptian authorities have announced the discovery of two ancient tombs in the southern city Luxor that date around 3,500 years. They are packed full of grave goods, and one includes the mummified...
Plague Doctor Mask, Steno Museum

The Secrets Behind the Plague Doctor’s Terrifying Costume

The plague doctor is arguably one of the most enigmatic figures to have emerged from the Middle Ages. These were European physicians who specialised in treating victims of the plague, the best known...
A Malakulan spider web mask.

Museum Mix-up Creates a Sticky Mess: Spider Web Masks Did NOT Suffocate Widows

Spider webs are sticky, somewhat creepy, and generally not something you like to see in your house. But they are also intricate and beautiful when the right light hits them. Even more intriguing than...
Detail of a Phoenician grinning mask, 4th century BC, found in a grave at San Sperate, Cagliari, Museo Archeologico Nazionale.

An Ancient Method of Forced Euthanasia: The Disturbing Truth Behind a Sardonic Grin

Creepy and more than a little uncomfortable to behold, one usually thinks of DC Comics' Joker when hearing the phrase "sardonic grin." A "smile" that pulls up the corners of the mouth in a way that...
The five Roman tombs found at the Beir Al-Shaghala site in the Dakhla Oasis of Egypt's Western Desert.

Roman Era Tombs Discovered in Egypt Reveal Diverse Trends in Burial Architecture and Grave Goods

Not all Egyptian tombs are alike. Apart from the impact of social status, there is also a difference in architectural styles and burial preferences over the long history of their existence. This can...
Mosaic, shown Gargoyles in form of Theatrical masks of Tragedy and Comedy. Roman artwork, 2nd century AD.

Masks, Sex, Laughter, and Tears: The Exciting Evolution of Ancient Greek Theater

The city of theater was Athens. Athens birthed drama, bred drama, and ultimately was responsible for cultivating it into the premiere art of the Classical world—at least according to Greek...
Dramatic mask with tusks and feathers, Ninghai, Zhejiang, China

Ferocious Beast-Head Masks, Heavy Robes & Swirling Colors: What are the Unspoken Messages in Ancient Chinese Opera?

In “Civilization of China” (1911), Herbert Giles wrote that “for pleasure pure and simple, independent of gains and losses, the theater occupies the warmest place in every Chinaman's heart”. The fact...
An artistic representation of Al-Muqanna, the Veiled Prophet.

Second Moon Uprising: How Science and Skullduggery Helped an 8th Century Prophet Raise a Revolt

“The 'Moon of Nakhshab' was an artificial moon which Hakim Ibn-e 'Ata, known as Muqanna' (the Veiled One), caused to arise from the Pit of Nakhshab. This moon had been prepared by means of [magical]...
Front and back view of the 3,000 year old mask.

3,000-Year-Old Copper Mask Found in Argentina Challenges Ideas of South American Metalwork Development

Archaeologists that recently discovered an ancient, rectangular copper mask in the southern Andes in Argentina claim the discovery challenges the dominant theory that South American metalworking...
Researchers traced around the edges of the figures to reveal a hunter, a possible shaman (medicine man) and an ostrich, which are still hunted today by San people of Africa. If you look underneath the image, you can see some faint pecking in the rock that clearly show the prehistoric human and ostrich images.

Ancient Egyptian Ritual Image Predates the Rise of the Pharaohs

The ancient Egyptians built their first great monuments in stone beginning with the step pyramid of Djoser about 4,650 years ago. Well before that, around 6,000 years ago, a fine artist working in...
This rare ritual mask fuses together the exotic beauty of Luba with the hypnotic power of Songye art.

Half A Million Dollar Mask With Otherworldly Origins

Deep in the Congo, at the darkest moment within a three-day long drug enhanced ritual, this mask is revealed to initiates as representing a being from another dimension, a collision of man, animal...
Golden treasures that were found inside Tutankhamun’s tomb.

Everyone Knows the Mask of King Tut, but Have You Seen Any of the 5,000 Other Treasures from His Tomb?

To his subjects, King Tutankhamen was part man, part god. His death in 1323 BC signaled the end of an era - the end of Egypt as an imperial power. The circumstances surrounding King Tut’s death are...
Entering an Unknown Pagan Sanctuary: New Discoveries Made at a Roman Site in Israel

Entering an Unknown Pagan Sanctuary: New Discoveries Made at a Roman Site in Israel

A team of researchers have finally found the missing link in the ancient Israeli city of Hippos-Sussita. Following discoveries of a large bronze mask of the Greek god Pan and a monumental gate, they...

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