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Artifacts

There are undoubtedly millions of ancient artifacts from the past that have served to shed light on the lives of our ancestors from many millennia ago. But some ancient mystical artifacts stand out for their uniqueness, their intrigue, or their ability to expand our knowledge about previously unknown aspects of our history. Here we feature many such ancient history artifacts, from amazing examples of ancient technology, to artistic masterpieces, unexplained objects, ancient texts, and mysterious artifacts that shed light on the daily lives of our ancestors.

Colossal statue of Amenhotep III in the British Museum. (Public Domain) Background: Detail of Amarna letter: Royal Letter from Abi-milku of Tyre to the king of Egypt. (CC0)

To the King, My Sun, My God, the Breath of My Life… Amarna Letters Paint Remarkable Picture of Ancient Egyptian Rulership

“Your city weeps, and her tears are running, and there is no help for us. For 20 years we have been sending to our lord, the king, the king of Egypt, but there has not come to us a word from our lord...
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...
One of the poisonous books. SDU, Author provided

Deadly Poison Discovered on Medieval Book Covers Could Have Killed

Some may remember the deadly book of Aristotle that plays a vital part in the plot of Umberto Eco’s 1980 novel The Name of the Rose . Poisoned by a mad Benedictine monk, the book wreaks havoc in a...
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...
A Roman Swiss Army Knife? 200-300 AD.

The Original Swiss Army Knife: Check Out This Must Have Gadget for Guys on the Go

The modern Swiss Army Knife didn’t make its debut until the nineteenth century, revolutionizing convenient tools on the go. But, as with so many other things, the ancient Romans did it first! Meet...
Agastyar, Father and Chairman of first Tamil Sangams, Madurai, Pandiya Kingdom. (CC BY SA 2.5) Detail of ancient Tamil script found on the temple walls of the Tanjore Bragadeeshwara temple.

Sangam Literature: These Tantalizing Tales Offer a Window into Ancient Tamil Life

“In their antiquity and in their contemporaneity, there is not much else in any Indian literature equal to these quiet and dramatic Tamil poems. In their values and stances, they represent a mature...
Paleolithic Venus figures

The Ideal Woman’s Body – a Gift of the Gods?

We all know what the perfect woman’s body looks like. Or do we? Is it Kim Kardashian, with her popular ‘internet-breaking’ big behind, or Marilyn Monroe with her voluptuous movie curves? Is it a...
Agni, a deity which appears in the Atharva Veda. (Public Domain) Background: Detail of Codex Cashmiriensis folio 187a from Atharva-Veda Saṁhitā second half, by William Dwight Whitney and Charles Rockwell Lanman.

The Atharva Veda: Popular Religion, Charms, and Ancient Hindu Spells

Thou who art neither alive nor dead, the immortal child of the gods art thou, O Sleep! Varunânî is thy mother, Yama (death) thy father, Araru is thy name. We know, O Sleep, thy birth, thou art the...

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