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Ancient Origins Tour IRAQ

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Weird Facts

The world’s history books teach us about famous figures, ancient civilizations and important events that have shaped our world. But there is so much more to history than just the ‘big moments’. History is full of weird and wonderful tales, bizarre events, quirky people, and strange happenings, and it is these ‘weird facts’ that bring to life our past in a way that is fun, amusing and sometimes shocking!

The practice of posthumous marriage continues to take place. Source: AIproduction / Adobe Stock

The Ancient Practice of Ghost Marriage Lives On Even Today

Marrying a ghost may sound like the plot of a paranormal horror movie, but even today posthumous marriage continues to exist. What’s more surprising is that it’s not just in far-flung corners of the...
Man wearing iconic “Panama hat,” which is actually an Ecuadorian toquilla or Montecristi hat. Source: Steve Cukrov / Adobe Stock

Panama Hat’s Are Not from Panama, But Pre-Hispanic Ecuador

The iconic Panama hat entered public consciousness by gracing the heads of cherished film stars like Gary Cooper and Humphrey Bogart. But did you know that the Panama hat actually originated in...
Methuselah is the oldest named individual tree on Earth and is located in the White Mountains of California. Source: Yen Chao / CC BY-ND 2.0

The Oldest Living Tree on Earth is Older Than the Egyptian Pyramids

Visitors from around the world flock to visit the famed 4,500-year-old Great Pyramid of Giza , now remembered as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world . But hidden high in California’s White...
Ai Weiwei’s exhibition of animal bronze heads, entitled the Circle of Animals, are replicas of the famous looted zodiac heads and part of a contemporary commentary on the Communist Party and its nationalistic discourse. Source: Public domain

A Rabbit and a Rat Sparked a Serious China-France Showdown

In a bizarre twist of fate, a rabbit and a rat became the center of an international dispute between China and France in 2009. For these animals were part of a famed collection of Chinese bronze...
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...
Prehistoric dinosaur dung, a.k.a. a coprolite. Source: Public domain

How Did Fossilized Dino Droppings Spark a Dung Rush?

Coprolite, also known as prehistoric poo, has been highly prized since its discovery in the 19th century. Regarded as a priceless treasure-trove by paleontologists and archaeologists alike, mining...
British woman drinking tea. Source: Masson/Adobe Stock

By Giving Up Sugar in Their Tea, British Women Helped End Slavery

Believe it or not, but by the 1700s, deciding whether or not to take sugar with your tea had become a political statement. While sugar-free diets are now all the rage, the motivations behind this...
Redheads have attracted unwanted attention throughout history. Source: Anastasiia / Adobe Stock

Redheads Have Been Scarlet Underdogs Throughout History

Whether you call them carrot tops, strawberry blondes or gingers, redheads have attracted unwanted attention throughout history. The target of objectification and abuse, animosity towards fiery locks...
Aokigahara Forest, a.k.a. Suicide Forest, in Japan. Source: Satoshi881 / Adobe Stock

Japan's Aokigahara Forest Struggles to Shed Historic Suicide Infamy

In the shadow of Japan’s Mount Fuji, lies the sprawling Aokigahara Forest, also known as Jukai , or the Sea of Trees, because its rustling branches reportedly resemble the sound of the sea. The...
Isabel Gramesón survived alone in the Amazon jungle during her quest to be reunited with her husband. Source: Chernyakov Aleksandr / Adobe Stock

Isabel Gramesón Walked 3,000 Miles Across The Amazon For Love

Back in the 1730s, a group of daring Frenchmen embarked on a mission to calculate the true size and shape of the Earth. Led by Charles Marie de la Condamine as part of the famed French Geodesic...
Parmesan cheese on a smoky background. Source: AnneMarie / Adobe Stock

Samuel Pepys Rescued His Parmesan Cheese During Great Fire of London

As the Great Fire of London swept through the city in 1666, destroying over 13,000 houses in its wake, the now-famed diarist Samuel Pepys was on a mission. On the third day of the fire, while London...
Mature ambergris, a.k.a. amber gris, is a valuable commodity which often washes up on the shore. Source: spline_x / Adobe Stock

Arabians Used Ambergris Whale Feces To Make Perfume!

The origin of ambergris was a mystery for many hundreds of years. Christened “floating gold”, for millennium various cultures have been using ambergris and attributing it with fantastical qualities...
Guy Fawkes masks have become a symbol of anarchy and protest against tyranny, seen here during a protest in Madrid. Source: Daniel López García / CC BY 2.0

Why Masks Depicting England’s Guy Fawkes Were Banned in Saudi Arabia

With its highly-stylized moustache, the so-called Anonymous mask has featured in multiple protests across the globe. Described by the Fair Observer as “a staple of anti-authoritarian activist...
Upper ivory denture with human teeth. Source: Science Museum, London / CC BY 4.0

Teeth Scavenged from Fallen Soldiers at Waterloo Were Used as Dentures

Get ready to sink your teeth into a little-known fact about the infamous Battle of Waterloo! While many of us have heard of this bloody European battle that sent Napoleon Bonaparte packing, what you...
The Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan undergoing imaging to reveal the hidden text. Source: Lumiere Technology/Pascal Cotte and Salvatore Apicella

Humans Have Been Keeping Dildos Handy for at Least 28,000 Years

When archaeologists assembled the pieces of an ancient stone artifact discovered in a cave in Germany, it was pretty clear what they’d found. Known as the Hohle Fels phallus, this prehistoric tool...
Tree-hugging has its ancient roots in environmental activism. Source: warnerbroers / Adobe Stock

Tree-Hugging is Rooted in the Tragic Tale of the Khejarli Massacre

Throughout history there’s a multitude of examples of cruelty meted out by royalty , but the story of Abhai Singh of Marwar and the Khejarli massacre in India really stands out. In a David and...
Detail depicting the unusual death of King Edmund Ironside as portrayed in a 13th-century illustrated Anglo-Norman manuscript of the Life of St Edward the Confessor. Source: Cambridge University Library / CC BY-NC 3.0

King Edmund Ironside Was Killed on the Toilet by a Cesspit Assassin

Having ruled England for less than a year, King Edmund is primarily remembered for his unusual death. In one of the most uncomfortable murders in history, legend has it the Anglo-Saxon king was...
Illustration by John Tensile of the Dodo from Lewis Carroll’s “Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.” Source: Archivist / Adobe Stock

Scientists Plan to De-Extinct the Dodo!

Have you ever wondered where the phrase “dead as a dodo” comes from? Used to describe something obsolete, unimportant and unquestionably dead, the saying was inspired by the sad story of the long-...
Representational image of Chines paper armor. Source: AI generated

Ancient Chinese Paper Armor Was Tougher Than Steel

You’ve probably heard the saying “the pen is mightier than the sword,” but have you heard of paper armor being stronger than metallic protective clothing? It goes against everything we’ve learned...
Portrait of Looty the Pekingese lion dog, commissioned by Queen Victoria and painted by Friedrich Wilhelm Keyl. Source: Public domain

Queen Victoria’s Dog Was Stolen from Chinese Emperor and Mockingly Called ‘Looty’

What at first glance appears to be an unexceptional dog , actually started out its life in the household of the Chinese emperor before being looted by the English during their sacking of the Old...
Woman crossing the Queshuachaca Inca rope bridge near Huinchiri in Peru. Source: Danita Delimont / Adobe Stock

Dizzying Inca Rope Bridges Were Grass-Made Marvels of Engineering

Spanish conquistadors couldn't believe their eyes while exploring the rugged terrain of the Andes during their invasion of Peru. On entering Inca territory in the 16th century, they were bowled over...
The Japanese Waseda he-gassen handscroll depicted farts so powerful they could uproot trees. Source: Public domain

Fart Battles of the He-gassen Handscrolls Brought Toilet Humor to Life

Japanese art is full of surprises, including rowdy depictions of phallic contests, intercourse tournaments, and the unforgettable he-gassen fart battles. Bawdy, boisterous and downright delightful,...
Representational image of a curious dinosaur. With such curious resident dinosaurs, why don’t we know more about the long-lost continent of Appalachia? Source: simon / Adobe Stock

Long-Lost Appalachia Was Filled with Dinosaurs You’ve Never Heard Of

Believe it or not, but once upon a time, in the area we now know as North America, there existed a forgotten continent which was inhabited by a cast of peculiar dinosaurs you’ve probably never heard...
Walrus ivory snow goggles, created by the proto-Inuit Thule culture of Alaska, dating back to about 800 to 1200 AD. Source: Public domain

Snow Goggles Are Masterpiece of Inuit Indigenous Innovation

While most readers would never expect to see the terms “snow goggles” and “ancient history” in the same sentence, snow goggles are actually nothing new. Despite being a modern-day necessity in snow-...

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