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Ancient Origins Tour IRAQ

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The cranial remains of Vittrup Man, who ended up in a bog after his skull had been crushed by at least eight heavy blows. Source: Stephen Freiheit / Fischer et al., 2024, PLOS ONE / CC-BY 4.0

Research Reveals Complex Life of the Vittrup Man’s Danish Bog Body

An international team of scientists recently completed a comprehensive analysis of the remains of a body extracted from a peat bog in Denmark. Using DNA testing, plus various types of chemical...
Left; the Artemis Amarynthos temple, Right; an array of artifacts found at the site. Source: Swiss School of Archaeology in Greece

Glorious 7th Century BC Artemis Temple Uncovered on Greek Island of Euboea

Excavating a temple at the Artemis Amarynthos sanctuary on the Greek island of Euboea, a collaborative four-year effort between Swiss and Greek archaeologists has uncovered a beautiful temple of...
The face of the bog body known as Grauballe man. Source: Public domain

Grauballe Man: Ritual Sacrifice? Justice Dealt? Or a 2,300-Year-Old Murder Mystery?

Of the many ancient remains found preserved in bogs and marshes, perhaps the most interesting is the Grauballe Man. Discovered in a peat bog in Jutland, Denmark in 1952, experts believe that the man...
A digital representation of a vibrant ancient temple, possibly of the Carthage religion. Source: Kristian/Adobe Stock

The Religion of Ancient Carthage (Video)

The religion of Carthage , though now largely forgotten, once held a significant presence across the Mediterranean. Despite the scarcity of surviving records, modern archaeology has played a crucial...
Evidence of animal sacrifice, many of them horses, at the courtyard of the Casas del Turuñuelo site in Spain. Source: Construyendo Tarteso / CC-BY 4.0

Lost Mass Animal Sacrifice Rituals Revealed at Tartessos Site in Spain

Archaeologists and other scientists affiliated with several institutions in Spain have revealed a startling fact about an Iron Age site known as Casas del Turuñuelo, which is located in southern...
Lady parading with followers bearing torches, at the ancient Celtic festival of Beltane, marking the beginning of summer.	Source: chrisdonia/CC BY NC SA 2.0

10 Ancient Festivals That Were Far From Innocent

Many ancient festivals had elements that were far from innocent, often involving rituals, practices, and customs that might seem strange or even disturbing by today's standards. From bloodletting, to...
Was this the world’s first zoo? Source: YouTube Screenshot / Smithsonian Channel.

Was This Ancient Egyptian Site The World's First Zoo? (Video)

In the world of ancient mysteries lies a peculiar Egyptian burial ground that challenges our understanding of the past. Archaeologist Dr Renée Friedman and her team have discovered a prehistoric...
Left; The 500-year-old Inca child mummy before unwrapping her body. Right; the reconstruction of Juanita the Inca Ice Maiden by Oscar Nilsson.

Teenage Mummy the Inca Ice Maiden ‘Brought Back to Life’

‘Juanita’, Peru’s most famous mummy, an Inca girl sacrificed in a ritual on an Andean hill 500 years ago, has had her face reconstructed in the form of a silicone-made bust. Also known as the ‘Inca...
The Mayan victim with the jade ring at El Tigre. Credit: INAH Campeche.

Ancient Jade Ring Found on Young Sacrificed Mayan Who Was Buried in a Jar

Amidst the enigmatic enclave of El Tigre in Mexico, archaeologists have unearthed the skeleton of a young, sacrificed Mayan with a large jade ring . Glowing in its muddy grave the bright-green...
Restoration work at Kulubà in Mexico, the Maya site where a sacrificial altar has now been uncovered. Source: Mauricio Marat / INAH

Chilling Maya Murder Tools Unearthed Near Kulubá Sacrificial Altar

Mexican archaeologists excavating in the central square of the ancient Maya city of Kulubá identified a curious cubic stone with all the hallmarks of having served as a sacrificial altar. Cementing...
Representational image of man with slingshot. Source: emerald_media / Adobe Stock

Andean Pucara Was a Deadly Slingshot Contest to Ensure Fruitful Harvest

Southern Ecuador was once home to a fascinating indigenous game which was a literal battle for survival. Deeply rooted in the cultural traditions of the provinces of Azuay and Cañar, Pucara , also...
Dies Sanguinis, meaning “Day of Blood,” was a Roman celebration dedicated to the goddess Bellona, associated with war, bloodshed and violence. Source: Михаил Решетников / Adobe Stock

Dies Sanguinis: Rome's Day of Blood, Sacrifice & Military Might

Dies Sanguinis , meaning “Day of Blood” or “Day of the Bloody Sacrifice,” was an intense, yet sacred, day in the Roman calendar. Celebrated annually on March 24th, this day was dedicated to the...
Pile of human skulls. Source: papi8888 / Adobe Stock.

The Dark Discovery of Mexico's Huge Tower of Human Skulls (Video)

Deep within the heart of Mexico City , beneath layers of rubble and dust, lay a dark secret waiting to be unveiled. For years dark tales of a tower of skulls that terrified Spanish Conquistadors were...
Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico. Source:  IRStone / Adobe Stock.

Lost Treasures of Chichen Itza: Maya Marvels Revealed (Video)

In a world where Europe languished in the dark ages , the splendor of the Maya civilization reached its zenith. Their majestic temples soared high into the heavens, their intricate hieroglyphic...
Representational image of a person lava sledding in Hawaii. Source: AI generated

Ancient Hawaiians Would Sled Down Lava-Covered Volcanoes

He'e holua lava sledding was, and is, an exhilarating ancient Hawaii pastime. But this was not just an extreme sport enjoyed by natives to the islands. He'e holua was a significant part of Hawaiian...
A child mummy found at high-altitude in the Andes. Source: Jason Quinn / CC by SA 3.0

High-Altitude Wonders: Frozen Child Mummies of the Andes (Video)

The Andes Mountains in South America have been home to ancient civilizations for thousands of years. High-altitude archaeology has played a crucial role in uncovering their fascinating history. One...
Abraham ready to sacrifice his son Isaac. Source: Stig Alenas / Adobe Stock.

Biblical Myth or Historical Fact? Child Sacrifice in the Age of Abraham (Video)

Was the bible story of Abraham and Isaac inspired by real religious traditions? Recent archaeological excavations in Israel may be evidence of child sacrifice in ancient Israel . The excavations have...
Canoes have long occupied a special place in the tradition of the indigenous tribes of the Americas, particularly in the northern half. All along the Pacific Northwest, masterfully crafted canoes of many shapes, sizes and forms, were the main mode of transportation until long after European colonization. Adding to this rich history, a team of archaeologists, neighbors and members of the Waccamaw Siouan Tribe successfully recovered a nearly 1,000-year-old canoe from the depths of Lake Waccamaw in south-easte

The Macuahuitl: An Aztec Warrior’s Lethal and Sacred Weapon (Video)

The Macuahuitl was an ancient Aztec weapon that could be used by both shamans and warriors. It was a devastating weapon that was feared by those who encountered it on the battlefield. Made of...
Sinister Secret of the Shang Dynasty: Its Penchant for Human Sacrifice

Sinister Secret of the Shang Dynasty: Its Penchant for Human Sacrifice

There is no denying the far-reaching and unique history of ancient China. Thousands of years before our time, the ancient dynasties and cultures of China excelled in a variety of arts and...
A severed hand that was apparently amputated in a trophy taking practice by the Hyksos in Egypt. Source: Gresky, J. et al 2023 / Nature

Severed Hands Reveal Gruesome Trophy-Taking Practices in Ancient Egypt

Twelve severed hands have been discovered in Egypt, part of a gruesome "trophy-taking" practice that has just been revealed in a groundbreaking study. This finding marks the first known physical...
This capacocha victim, a boy recovered from Cerro El Plomo in 1954, was the first finding of its kind to be the subject of scientific studies. Pictured with excavated grave goods: a female silver statuette, gold llamas and spondylus shell, a chuspa stuffed with coca leaves, scrotum and animal intestine bags with clippings of nails, hair and teeth, and a silver bracelet. Source: Jisa39 / CC BY SA 4.0

Capacocha: Ritualized Child Sacrifice in the Inca Empire

The Inca were an impressive people. From the 1400s to 1532, they created an empire so large it spread from modern Ecuador to central Chile. Master builders that rivaled the ancient Egyptians, their...
Trophy heads from Nazca, with the child found to have consumed psychoactive drugs.           Source: D. Socha / Journal of Archaeological Science

Trophy Head Shows Child Victim Consumed Psychedelic San Pedro in Peru

Psychoactive substances and child sacrifice seem to come together more often than not when it comes to examining the Mesoamerican cultures and their history. Earlier this month, 76 child sacrifice...
Thousands of bone fragments litter the floor of the Maya Midnight Terror Cave in Belize. Representative image.

Child Sacrifice Victims at Maya ‘Midnight Terror Cave’ Gagged Before Slaughter

Archaeologists studying Belize’s “Midnight Terror Cave” have discovered mysterious blue fibers in the tooth plaque of sacrificed teenagers, which suggests the young sacrifice victims had been gagged...
An Aztec skull of a sacrificed captive used as a mask, encrusted in the nose and mouth with obsidian blades. (Dante / Adobe Stock)

16 Absolutely Terrifying Aztec Artifacts

The Aztecs emerged in central Mexico around 1300 AD, coming to dominate the surrounding area from their capital city Tenochtitlan , now Mexico City. Stretching across highlands, coastal plains,...

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