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Aberlemno Pictish Stone, Scotland

Signed, Sealed and Delivered: ‘Savage’ Pictish Warriors of Scottish Highlands Had Written Language

The Picts were an ancient race of people that inhabited the northern territories of what is known today as Scotland. Recorded as uncultured savages in defamatory Roman accounts, new findings suggest...
Detail of the runic inscription found on one of the copies of the golden horns of Gallehus housed at the Moesgaard Museum.

Futhark: Mysterious Ancient Runic Alphabet of Northern Europe

Runes are the characters of the earliest written alphabet used by the Germanic peoples of Europe called Futhark. The runic alphabet was used within Germanic languages but primarily in Nordic...
A Blombos Cave with ochre pencil on silcrete stone thought to be the earliest drawing.

Discovery of the Earliest Drawing – By at Least 30,000 years

What is a symbol? This is a tough question to answer when tasked with analyzing the earliest graphic productions. What we might today interpret as figurative representations might just be an ancient...
From the royal tombs of Ur, the Standard of Ur mosaic, made of lapis lazuli and shell, shows peacetime.

A Functional and Fertile Crescent: Technological Advancements in the Cradle of Civilization

The Fertile Crescent is the name given to the arc-shaped area of land that stretched across the Middle East from the northern end of the Gulf in the East to the Nile Valley in the West. It was here...
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...
A clay tablet with an engraved inscription has been discovered at the archaeological site of Olympia in Greece. It contains 13 verses of a rhapsody from Homer’s Odyssey.

Clay Tablet Found at Olympia May Be the Oldest Excerpt from Homer’s Odyssey

Archaeologists excavating the ancient site of Olympia, one of the largest archaeological sites in Greece, have found a rare and important artifact – a clay tablet inscribed with 13 verses of a...
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...
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...
One side of the ancient alphabet primer.

Ancient Language Learning: This May be the Oldest Example of Not One, But Two Alphabet Primers

A studious ancient Egyptian may have been trying his hand at learning not one, but two different languages some 3,400 years ago. New research on a limestone tablet found near Luxor suggests that it...
This rare manuscript is the only recorded palimpsest of a Qur’an copied on to a Christian text

Eagle Eyed scholar Discovers a Rare Manuscript with Bible Text Hidden Under Quran

A rare manuscript has become a unique one thanks to the eagle eyes of a French scholar. Dr. Eléonore Cellard noticed that there was barely visible text beneath an 8th century copy of holy scripture...
Ancient art in the Altai Mountains, Russia. While the world’s best-known cave art exists in France and Spain, examples of it abound throughout the world.

Did Humans Speak Through Cave Art? Ancient Drawings and Language's Origins

When and where did humans develop language? To find out, look deep inside caves, suggests an MIT professor. More precisely, some specific features of cave art may provide clues about how our symbolic...
Tablet hypothesized to be the oldest writing ever discovered.

An 8,000-year-old Slab Holds the “Oldest Writing” Ever Discovered! Or Does It?

A tiny ceramic slab dated to around 6000 BC with “written signs” has been discovered by archaeologists at a prehistoric settlement near the town of Nova Zagora in Southeast Bulgaria. And, they...
The comb was discovered in Ribe, West Denmark.

Objects with Viking Rune Inscriptions Unearthed in Denmark’s Oldest Town

Ancient objects with rare Viking rune inscriptions have been discovered in Denmark. Experts suggest that the runic inscriptions could possibly shed new light on a very important period of the early...
The notes in the Book of Deer are the first written examples of Scottish Gaelic and they hint at the location of the monastery where it was written

Search for Long-Lost Monastery Linked with the Medieval ‘Book of Deer’ May Be Over

The monastery where the significant Scottish text called the ‘Book of Deer’ was created disappeared from the pages of history about 1,000 years ago. After a decade of excavations looking for the site...
Egyptian mummy mask

Secret Text in Ancient Mummy Cases to Be Revealed With New Tech

The hieroglyphics that adorn the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs are pure propaganda, designed to present the pharaoh or noble person in the best light possible. But scraps of papyrus paper used with...
A cylinder seal impression, ca. 2100 BC, sometimes interpreted as Ur-Nammu (seated) bestowing governorship on Ḫašḫamer, ensi of Iškun-Sin.

The Code of Ur-Nammu: When Ancient Sumerians Laid Down the Law, Everyone Obeyed

The Code of Ur-Nammu is the oldest surviving law code. This text was written on clay tablets in the Sumerian language and is reckoned to have been produced towards the end of the 3rd millennium BC...

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