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John Black

Dr John (Ioannis) Syrigos initially began writing on Ancient Origins under the pen name John Black. He is both a co-owner and co-founder of Ancient Origins.

John is a computer & electrical engineer with a PhD in Artificial Intelligence, a lecturer, explorer and researcher.

He has a personal passion for Ancient History, Mythology, Anthropology and Astronomy and in his spare time he investigates these subjects in depth. John currently undertakes expeditions and research in remote areas of Ecuador, where he is currently based, but also throughout South America.

He has recently been involved in explorations of the Tayos Cave system in Ecuador, a legendary vast natural underground network of caves spanning many kilometers, very little of which has been officially explored, as well as La Ciudad Perdida (The Lost City) in Colombia, and is particularly interested in the history and mythology of ancient sites as relayed by the local indigenous people of these regions.


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Asuka Nara and the Rock Ship of Masuda

The Mysterious Monoliths of Asuka Nara and the Rock Ship of Masuda

The village of  Asuka  is located in the Takaichi District of the Nara Prefecture in Japan. Asuka is an ancient land with historical interest. It has its origins in the Tumulus Period (250-552 AD),...
The "Xiaohe Mummy", exhibited in Xinjiang Museum.

The Mystery of the Xiaohe Mummies in China

In 1939 a remarkable discovery was done by the Swedish archaeologist Bergman Folke. A set of tombs were found in the Xinjiang Province known as the Xiaohe Tombs. However, for the 60 years to follow...
Sumerian Cylinder Seal of King Ur-Nammu, about 2100 BC. Source: Steve Harris/CC BY-SA 2.0

Ascension to the Heavens in Ancient Mythology

The ascension of humans or beings into the heavens is a common theme among many mythologies and religions all over the world. Even though most people recognize the well-known ascension of Jesus, and...
Archaeologists on site after excavations revealed several miniature pyramids in Sedeinga in Sudan. Source: Vincent Francigny / SEDAU

The Mystery of the Miniature Pyramids of Sedeinga in Sudan

From the iconic pyramids of Egypt to the lesser-known discoveries in Sudan, a journey through ancient history unveils intriguing mysteries. While Egypt's pyramid monuments loom large, Sudan's...
Summer’s Triumph Tapestry, 1538. Source: Sirusly

The Enigma of Disc-Shaped Objects in Summer's Triumph Tapestry

In 1538 AD a tapestry was created in the city of Bruges in Belgium, known as the Summer’s Triumph. It depicts the victorious ascension of a ruler to power. However, there is something far more modern...
The Capture of the Golden Fleece, an oil painting by Jean-François de Troy. Source: Public domain

Jason and his Mythological Quest for the Legendary Golden Fleece

One of the most fascinating stories of ancient Greek mythology is the story of the Argonauts and the Quest for the Golden Fleece. Set in the pre-Trojan War era, this epic narrative unfolds during a...
Ruins of the Pyramid of Hellinikon in Greece.     Source: kranidi/Adobe Stock

Were Ancient Greeks Building Pyramids at the Same Time as the Egyptians?

When we hear the word pyramids, our minds immediately go to Egypt; however, there are pyramids scattered all over the world: America, Europe, Asia and India. What many do not realize is that the...
Jade bi disc, China, Neolithic period. Source: Cleveland Museum of Art/CC0

The Mysterious Origin of the Jade Discs

In ancient China, dating back to at least 5,000 BC, large stone discs were placed on the bodies of Chinese aristocrats. Their original function still eludes scientists, as does the way in which they...
Sumerian chaos monster and sun god. Source: Public Domain

The Origins of Human Beings According to Ancient Sumerian Texts

Sumer , or the ‘land of civilized kings’, flourished in Mesopotamia , now modern-day Iraq, around 4500 BC. Sumerians created an advanced civilization with its own system of elaborate language and...
Mada'in Saleh (Al-Ḥijr & Hegra) archaeological site near Al Ula, Saudi Arabia. Source: hyserb/Adobe Stock

The Marvel of Mada’in Saleh and the Enigmatic Nabataean People

The archaeological site of Mada’in Saleh, previously known as Hegra, is the most famous ancient site in Saudi Arabia. It is also the first archaeological site of Saudi Arabia to be included in the...
Reconstruction of Arkaim, Russia. Source: Ilin / Adobe Stock

Unraveling the Secrets of Arkaim: The Russian Stonehenge

In 1987, a captivating discovery was made by the University of Chelyabinsk's archaeological expedition: an ancient fortified settlement belonging to the Sintashta culture , nestled in Russia's...
Unique monolithic rock-hewn Church of St George, Lalibela, Ethiopia. Credit:Dmitry Chulov / BigStockPhoto

The Astonishing Architecture of Lalibela’s Monolithic Rock-Hewn Churches

In the heart of Ethiopia, there lies a town of unparalleled beauty and wonder. Lalibela is home to eleven monolithic rock-hewn churches, the largest of their kind in the world, which have been...
The door of Hayu Marca located in Puno Peru. Source: DavidAlexander / Adobe Stock

Unraveling the Enigma of Aramu Muru, The Mysterious Gate of the Gods

In 1996, Jose Luis Delgado Mamani, a local tour guide in Peru, discovered an ancient archaeological site carved into Hayu Marca Mountain near Lake Titicaca, in the Andes Mountains of Peru, near the...
Swastika symbol decoration of clay lamps (diya) in Varanasi, India on the festival of Dev Diwali. Source: ShishirKumar / Adobe Stock

History of the 12,000-Year-Old Swastika: Origin, Meaning and Symbolism

The swastika is a symbol that was used in the 20th century by of one of the most hated men ever to have lived, a symbol that now represents the slaughter of millions of people and one of the most...
Model reproduction of the Dispilio tablet at the prehistoric lakeside settlement of Dispilio in northern Greece. Source: Мико / CC BY-SA 4.0

The Dispilio Tablet and the Real Origins of Writing

Conventional archaeology claims that writing was not invented until some time between 3000 and 4000 BC in Sumeria . However, the discovery of a far older artifact in northern Greece appears to...
Argos Panoptes, the all-seeing giant of Greek mythology. Source: matiasdelcarmine / Adobe Stock

Argos Panoptes – The All-Seeing Giant of Greek Mythology

Argos Panoptes was one of the primordial giants of Greek mythology. His epithet Panoptes means “the one who is all-seeing” and reminds us of the symbol of the all-seeing eye of God. Although Panoptes...