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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. 

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...
Student looks at millennia old mummy at Sanna University Mudeum, Yemen.

Civil War in Yemen Threatens Millennia-Old Mummies and Other Cultural Treasures

It is estimated that the civil war in Yemen has caused the death of thousands of people and has pushed millions to the brink of famine during the past two years. Now it’s starting to damage the...
The reconstructed Bull’s Lyre.

A Bull-Headed Lyre: Reconstructing the Sound and Style of Ancient Mesopotamia

A musician may have strummed its strings all the way back in the 3rd millennium BC. This means that the Bull’s Lyre, aka the Golden Lyre of Ur, is one of the oldest string instruments in the world...
A reconstruction of the headdress and necklace of Puabi, the British Museum. (JMail/CC BY SA 3.0) A lion’s head found at the royal cemetery. (Sumerian Shakespeare) Bull's head of the Queen's lyre from Pu-abi's grave PG 800, the Royal Cemetery at Ur, Southern Mesopotamia, Iraq. The British Museum, London. (Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP(Glasg)/CC BY SA 4.0)

Revealing the Secrets of Sumerian Riches: Treasures from the Royal Cemetery of Ur

The Royal Cemetery of Ur received its name because of the large quantity of treasures that were discovered there during the excavations headed by Sir Charles Leonard Woolley between 1922 and 1934...
Oldest Wooden Statue in the World: The 11,000-Year-Old Shigir Idol

Oldest Wooden Statue in the World: The 11,000-Year-Old Shigir Idol

The Shigir Idol is considered to be one of the most important and mysterious pieces of pre-historic art from ancient Europe. The ancient wooden carving, which today sits in a museum in Russia, has...
Strange Prehistoric Carved Stone Balls - Atom

Could the Strange Prehistoric Carved Stone Balls Represent Atoms?

Five carved stone balls are part of the collection at the Ashmolean Museum that were discovered in Scotland (Kincardineshire, Aberdeenshire and Banff). The purpose of those objects is unknown and is...
The Venus of Brassempouy

Timeless Beauty of the 25,000-Year-Old Venus of Brassempouy

About 25,000 years ago an Upper Paleolithic artist took up a piece of ivory and lovingly carved the details of a woman’s coiffed hair or headdress, gracefully curved chin, intense eyes, and carefully...
Detail of the statuette of the Lady of Auxerre

The Lady of Auxerre: What is the Story Behind Her Archaic Smile?

Elegant and alluring, the Lady of Auxerre has drawn in archaeologists and art enthusiasts alike. Her origins, probably on ancient Crete, provide an added element of interest. Was the female form...
What the chryselephantine statue of Zeus at Olympia may have looked like.

Chryselephantine: Sculpting the Most Luxurious Greek Cult Statues

Gold and ivory – what could be a richer mix? The ancient Greeks saw this as one of the most luxurious combinations as well, which is why they reserved the chryselephantine sculpting technique for...

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