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Other Artifacts

Other Artifacts covers many items which have been recovered from the past and give us insights into ancient human worlds. From loaded Roman dice to the Shroud of Turin, these items help tell the stories of the varied culture and everyday lives of our ancestors. 

Ganesha (Niks Ads / Fotolia)

Deep Mining the Mythology of Ganesha and the Ancient Temple Well

According to Joseph Campbell (1904 – 1987), the famed U.S. American Professor of Literature who wrote extensively about comparative mythology and religion: “Myths express characters and stories that...
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...
Native American Tiny 'Elephant Stones', Mammoth Effigies, Carvings, Totems From Pennsylvania. Portable rock art such as this has been found globally.

Life Before the Clovis: Portable Rock Art as Evidence of Pre Ice Age Humans in North America

The worship of carved stone dates back to man’s earliest evolution. Portable rock art is human made markings on movable natural rock or stone. A global phenomenon, these Stone Age objects have been...
Square faced mummy, The Louvre

Mummy À La Mode: Elaborate Treatment of the Square-Faced Mummy with Intricate Décor

Everybody knows the traditional wrappings of a mummy; long strips of fabric are wrapped around the body from head to toe. But this mummy from the Louvre has an intricately woven square design on its...
King Midas's Feast in Honor of Bacchus and Silenus.

Would You Like to Try the King Midas Feast? Chemical Analysis Revealed it was a Slap-up Meal

King Midas was a legendary figure in Greek mythology who ruled over Phrygia in western Anatolia. He is best-known for his ‘golden touch’, i.e. that everything he touched turned to gold. Behind this...
European depiction of the Persian (Iranian) doctor Al-Razi, in Gerardus Cremonensis "Recueil des traités de médecine" 1250-1260. A surgeon (left) holds the matula, a vessel for collecting the urine. (Public Domain) Frankincense. (CC0) Past civilizations knew how to use frankincense in different ways for medical and ritual purposes.

Frankincense: How to Use Ancient Wonder Cure for Healing

Frankincense is famous for being one of the three gifts presented by the Magi to baby Jesus (the other two being gold and myrrh). Several thousand years ago, people knew how to use frankincense to...
Black Madonna of Częstochowa with crown.

Are the Black Madonnas found around the World intentionally so?

‘Black Madonna’ is a term used to describe depictions of the Virgin Mary (usually statues or paintings) that have dark-colored skin. In such images, the Virgin is often shown with the infant Jesus,...
This is an artist's copy of a mural at the Temple of the Murals at Bonampak, a Maya archaeological site showing examples of heavy jewelry.

New Discovery Suggests That Maya Elites Danced Wearing As Much As 25 Pounds of Jade Jewelry

A five-pound jade head pendant has been found at Ucanal, an archaeological site in what was once the Maya city of K’anwitznal. The massive jade pendant, the heaviest of its kind ever found, once hung...
Detail, the medieval Hereford Mappa Mundi, “Cloth of the World” in Hereford, England. Circa 1300.

Hereford Mappa Mundi: Legendary Cities, Monstrous Races, and Curious Beasts in a Single World Map

Secreted away beneath the floor of an English cathedral was a large calfskin canvas featuring what, at first glance, appeared to be a map of the world. Once recovered and repaired, the map now known...
Montage of sphinx creature representations.

There Is More to the Sphinx Than You Find at Giza

The sphinx is a creature from mythology that is composed of a human head and a lion’s body. The most famous story about the sphinx is arguably the Greek myth involving Oedipus, the king of Thebes,...
: A segment of the exquisite Bayeux Tapestry. In this scene Odo, Bishop of Bayeux (with raised club), half-brother to William the Great, rallies the troops in the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

Nearly 1,000 Years Old, the Bayeux Tapestry is An Epic Tale and Medieval Masterpiece

The ancient Bayeux Tapestry, famous for its epic representation of medieval history, is a long, vividly embroidered cloth stretching hundreds of feet. Through exciting imagery it retells the events...
Top 10 oldest everyday items

Ten of the Oldest Everyday Items Ever Found

Every day you get up, get dressed, eat, and probably head out to work, school, or some other activity outside your home. If you work, you may have to interact with customers, who are not always...
Two hand-painted Mamluk playing cards and two Venetian playing cards.

Before They Were Divination Tools, Tarot Cards Were Playing Cards

In the English-speaking world, the word ‘tarot’ is most commonly associated with the occult and divination. It is one of the oldest forms of fortune telling, although its origins are somewhat obscure...
Three silver-gilt Roman piperatoria or pepper pots (CC BY NC SA 4.0), a gold body chain (Mike Peel/CC BY SA 4.0), toiletry items (Fæ/CC BY SA 3.0), two gold bracelets (Fæ/CC BY SA 3.0), and spoons (CC BY NC SA 4.0) found in the Hoxne hoard.

The Hoxne Hoard: How a Mislaid Hammer Led to the Largest Roman Treasure in Britain

The Hoxne Hoard is a huge treasure from the late Roman period. To date, this is the largest hoard of late Roman gold and silver that has been found in the UK, and indeed, anywhere in the Roman world...
Goujian: The Ancient Chinese Sword

Goujian: The Ancient Chinese Sword that Defied Time

Fifty years ago, a rare and unusual sword was found in a tomb in China. Despite being well over 2,000 years old, the sword, known as the Goujian, did not have a single trace of rust. The blade drew...
Detail of the Wallace sword on display inside William Wallace monument.

The Wallace Sword: Was it Truly Wielded by the Famous Scottish ‘Braveheart’?

Many times, evidence of fantastic finds vanishes, leaving behind only legends (think the Tulli Papyrus or Robin Hood’s Hideout). However, sometimes, fabulous artifacts from history manage to survive...

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