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Ashley Cowie

Ashley is a Scottish historian, author, and documentary filmmaker presenting original perspectives on historical problems in accessible and exciting ways.

He was raised in Wick, a small fishing village in the county of Caithness on the north east coast of Scotland, and he went on to study filmmaking in Glasgow. In his early-20s he began exploring ancient landscapes in the remote North Highlands and presented his archaeological findings to the Orkney International Science Festival and has since written four non-fiction books about his discoveries. Ashley became an elected member of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, incorporated by Royal Charter in 1783, and became the Resident Historian on Scottish television’s The Hour Show. He presented 46 episodes of The People’s History Show while teaching filmmaking and television presenting at the University of the West of Scotland. He also markets his family restaurant, Captain’s Galley, which for almost two decades has been one of the most highly-awarded sustainable and ethical restaurants in the world. In North America Ashley wrote, presented and produced NBC's hit-adventure series Legend Quest following his global hunt for lost historical treasures and featured on PBS’s documentary series Great Estates; listed on Amazon’s 2016 top-ten most downloaded documentaries. In 2018 Ashley filmed an extreme-cyclist racing from South America to Alaska on the Pan American Highway Challenge; filmed a treasure hunt in Scotland with Discovery Channel’s Josh Gates for Expedition Unknown; searched for Inca mummies in Argentinian mountain caves with Travel Channel’s Ramy Romany on Mummies Unwrapped and he filmed a team of 12 explorers in Colombia searching for petroglyphs on sacred hills. Today, Ashley writes news and research features for various history and archaeology platforms and produces weekly short films exploring the archetypes of myths, folklore and fairytales on his Clan Mythology platform. And 2020 brings new documentaries such as Ancient Botanics exploring the lost eco-traditions of Pre-Colombian cultures and Highlander’s Gold searching for lost Jacobite war-chest in Scotland.



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‘Democritus’ (1630) by Johannes Moreelse. There have certainly been some strange and funny events in history. Source: Public Domain

Hilarious Events from Napoléon’s Petite Package to Pythagoras’ Fear of Farts

Hilarious Events from Napoléon’s Petite Package to Pythagoras’ Fear of Farts History is often presented in grey, rather dry terms, but when you do a bit of digging, our past is full of remarkable...
A carved and painted wooden coffin

Image of Egyptian High Priest’s Daughter Likened to Marge Simpson

After is discovery in 2023, Reddit readers have just picked up on the depiction of a character resembling Marge Simpson on the inner lid of a 3,500-year-old Egyptian sarcophagus. The coffin,...
Vikings had many rituals. Source: tiagozr / Adobe Stock

Viking Blots, Beserkers and Barbaric Blood Eagles

Famed for their ruthless fighting skills and brave exploring, little is written about Viking religion and their day-to-day ritual practices which were arguably a more central component in Norse...
Representation of an Inca sun god. AI-generated. Source: NorLife / Adobe Stock

Revisiting the Solar Path of the Inca Creator God

The high priests of the Inca Empire of ancient Peru used their sacred texts, known as the Codes of Sacred Geography, to build sacred community centers ( wakas ) along 42 long-distance ceque lines...
Left; A cacao tree with fruit pods in various stages of ripening. Right; Ripe cacao ready to pick.	Source: Left, Public Domain, Right, Pantira/Adobe Stock

Scientists Map the Genetic Evolution of Cacao to Chocolate

Researchers have mapped the ancient dispersal of the cacao or cocoa plant from South America to Central America. Not only did they discover the plant was a central commodity in ancient trading, but...
Images of the latest tiny alien claim circulating in Colombia.              Source: Social Media/Nazca Mummies

Colombia Joins Mexico Publishing “Tiny-Alien” Nonsense

Only two months after scientists in Peru revealed the public had been hoaxed into believing two “dolls” were in fact alien corpses, headlines are now touting more alien-nonsense. This time, a fetus...
A pit filled with heat stones from the rescue excavation in Heimberg. Source: Archaeological Service of the Canton of Bern / Guy Jaquenod

Bronze Age Pits in Switzerland Reveal Secrets of Clay Production

Ahead of a new road building project in Switzerland, archaeologists excavated what they assumed was a Roman settlement. However, it was only when they discovered a series of pits filled with hearth...
Flint dagger found at the Bigarello Copper Age necropolis site in Lombardy, Italy	Source: YouTube Screenshot/ArchaeoReporter

Early Copper Age Tombs Unearthed From Italian City

Archaeologists in Italy are celebrating the excavation of a Copper Age burial site near the city of Mantua. Not only are the finely crafted blades and items of jewelry found there revealing ancient...
Building blocks reclaimed from the ruins of the Roman legion base at Tel Megiddo.                Source: IAA

Archaeologists Unearth Largest Roman Legion Base in Israel

Archaeologists excavating at the foot of Tel Megiddo in Israel have uncovered “the largest Roman base” ever discovered in the country. Here, during the Roman occupation of Judea, a colony of highly-...
The project team at the start of work at the end of 2018 in the University Library's manuscript collection with (from left) Markéta Preininger, Korshi Dosoo and Edward O. D. Love. Source: Gunnar Bartsch / Universität Würzburg

Translated Egyptian Magical Texts Map Human Emotions

After five years of research two German scientists have published translations of a collection of Egyptian magical texts. Cutting through the love spells, curses and protection rituals, this work...
Left; One of the Herculaneum scrolls that are being deciphered. Right; Text from the Herculaneum scroll          Source: Vesuvius Challenge

AI Tool Deciphers Herculaneum Scroll, and It’s All About Pleasure!

A team of student researchers have combined 3D-mapping and AI to decipher a Greek scroll that was encased in ash during the 79 AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The philosophical musing reveals Greek...
The Roman funerary bed during excavations in London and a reconstruction of the bed. Source: MOLA

“Flat-Packed” Roman Funerary Bed Found in London

In 2019 I wrote a news article on Ancient Origins about the UK’s first “flat-pack” medieval home. Now, archaeologists in London have announced their discovery of an incredibly well-made, and...
Panoramic photograph of the rocky shore platform on the Larache area coast of Morocco where the 90000-year-old footprints were found. The area delimited by the dotted red line corresponds to the footprint discovery zone. Source: M. Sedrati, et al/Nature

90,000-Years-Old Footprints Discovered On Moroccan Beach

85 human footprints dating to 90,000-years-ago have been found on a beach in Morocco. But how did they get there, and what were the people doing? In 1964, when Margaret Fishback Powers wrote the...
Experts conducted testing on an Irish bog body found in Bellaghy, dating back over 2,000 years. Source: PSNI

Shattered Bog Body Dated To 2,500 Years Old Unearthed

Last October, police in Northern Ireland were perplexed after the discovery of human bones and body parts, in peatland. After extensive tests, it’s now known that the remains were not of a modern...
Representation of Nuestra Señora de Atocha galleon generated by AI.	Source: FrankBoston/Adobe Stock

Treasures of Nuestra Señora de Atocha $1Billion Cargo Displayed In New York

In September 1622, the Nuestra Señora de Atocha treasure ship sunk near the Florida Keys. Now, its $1.1billion cargo of plundered indigenous treasures, including a stunning Colombian emerald crucifix...
Conservator Bethan Bryan with the Roman arm guard. Source: Duncan McGlynn / National Museums Scotland

“Absolutely Amazing” Roman Arm Guard Pieced Together After 1,800 Years

Over 100 years ago, a Scot unearthed over 100 fragments of metal which he thought comprised a Roman chest guard. Now, National Museums Scotland have reconstructed the artifact and discovered that it...