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News from Ancient Origins website - Ancient Origins seeks to uncover, what we believe, is one of the most important pieces of knowledge we can acquire as human beings – our beginnings.
Updated: 2 hours 8 min ago

Magnificent Tham Lod Rockshelter Sheds Light on Earliest Humans in Thailand

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 20:17

The Tham Lod Rockshelter (a shallow cave) in Mae Hong Son Province, in Northwest Thailand is a prehistoric area that had been the center for burial and tool–making in the late Pleistocene to the late Holocene phase. The magnificent cave, a photographer’s and archaeologist’s dream, continues to shed light on the earliest humans that inhabited Thailand.

The discovery of a wealth of archaeological remains inside the Tham Lod rockshelter, also known as Tham Lot cave, led to the protection of the site by the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Studies in 2001. Extensive excavations were carried out to establish and examine human activity at Tham Lod during the three major periods of occupation in the region.  The results revealed extensive long-term activity by early humans including hunting, food preparation, tool-making, and human burials.

The entrance of the Tham Lot cave, Thailand. (public domain)

Read moreSection: NewsAncient PlacesAsia

Aboriginal Australians Lived in Desert Interior 10,000 Years Earlier Than Thought

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 20:00

New evidence shows that Aboriginal Australians have lived inland in Western Australia for more than 50,000 years. That’s 10,000 years earlier than previously known for Australian deserts.

Read moreSection: NewsHistory & Archaeology

Do these Weapons Show the True Site of the Battle of Morgarten?

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 19:04

Archaeologists found knives, arrows, a cavalier's spur and silver coins from what may be the site of the important 1315 AD Battle of Morgarten, during which Swiss peasants repelled an attack of cavalry of the Holy Roman Empire.

The finding in 2015, from the Morgarten plain on the border of Zug and Schwyz cantons, is being called significant.

The battle marked the first time in Europe that peasant forces overcame a feudal host. The victory by the Swiss led to the consolidation of the Three Forest Cantons, which were the heart of modern Switzerland.

In the history of European warfare, the battle was important because Swiss forces demonstrated that men armed with pikes (18-foot/5.5-meter spears) could defeat men in armor whether they were afoot or mounted.

The Battle of Morgarten, painting by Benedicht Tschachtlan (Wikimedia Commons)

Read moreSection: NewsHistory & Archaeology

The Great Abu Simbel Rescue: The Tale of Two Ancient Temples That Moved Up A Hill

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 17:03

50-years-ago almost to the day, arguably the world’s most complicated archaeological missions concluded after the entire temple complex at Abu Simbel was dismantled, block by dusty block, and rebuilt on higher ground to save it from being flooded by the Nile River.

Read moreSection: NewsHistory & Archaeology

When Sailors from Ancient Egypt Discovered the World is Not Flat, No One Listened

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 12:53

The first ship to sail around Africa left from Egypt sometime around 600 BC. Their only goal was to find another way to the straits of Gibraltar. But by watching the sky overhead, they discovered something they’d never expected: the first hints that the world is not flat, but round.

Read moreSection: NewsHistoryImportant Events

From South to North, Africa is the Continent of Ancient Magic

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 09:39

The word ‘magic’ makes us think of sleight of hand, tricks and illusion, but historically African magic was a way to achieve goals by harnessing the creative powers of nature, which were regarded and revered as supernatural entities.

Read moreSection: NewsHistory

New Discoveries Show Child Labor is an Ancient Curse

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 08:02

Archaeological trends go through waves which are often inspired by the ripples of current social concerns. With many activists raising awareness of women’s and children's rights, it is almost of no surprise that the archaeological community has seen rising interest in the role of children and child labor in prehistoric societies.

Read moreSection: NewsHistory & Archaeology

2,400-Year-Old Healing Temple dedicated to Asclepius, God of Healing, Excavated in Greece

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 22:25

Archaeologists in Greece excavated an ancient healing temple in the acropolis of Feneos dedicated to Asclepius, god of healing, in 2015. Along with the foundations of the sacred temple, researchers also found an enormous statue of Asclepius, and his daughter Hygeia; an elaborate mosaic floor, marble podiums, and offering tables.

International Business Times reported that the 2,400-year-old temple, known as an Asclepion (a healing temple dedicated to the god Ascelpius) was first discovered in 1958. However, archaeologists have only recently carried out extensive excavations of the site and have been able to piece together the layout of the site, as well as unearth numerous important artifacts.

Asclepius, the God of Healing

Asclepius, a son of Apollo, was a god of medicine in ancient Greek mythology. We are all familiar with Asclepius in a way, since the symbol that is used for medicine, the snake entwined staff, was the rod of Asclepius. According to mythology, Asclepius was brought up by the mysterious figure of ancient Greek mythology, the centaur Chiron, who raised Asclepius and taught him about the art of medicine. Because Asclepius used his powers to bring people from Hades (meaning resurrecting them), the God of Hades complained to Zeus because Asclepius converted many people from humans to immortals. The result was for Zeus to kill Asclepius with thunder.

Read moreSection: NewsHistory & Archaeology

Unknown Weapons of the Samurai: The Forgotten Warrior Arsenal from Feudal Japan

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 20:02

The Katana sword was considered as the Samurai soul. That is why some people treat Samurai and katana as synonymous words. It is true that a Samurai and his sword is inseparable, but believe it or not, there were times when the Samurai used a variety of different weapons aside from their swords.

Read moreSection: ArtifactsAncient TechnologyNews

Have Experts Finally Located the Wreck of Cook’s Ship HMS Endeavour?

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 16:56

Marine archaeologists are about to announce that they have solved one of the greatest maritime mysteries of all time. They believe that they have finally discovered the wreck of HMS Endeavour

Read moreSection: NewsHistory & Archaeology

For 3.3 Million Years Stone and Crystal Traditions Have Shaped Our Destiny

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 13:10

Magpies pervade European folklore for their compulsive urge to collect sparkly things. Similarly, humans share this affinity with shiny gemstones and sparkling crystals. All over the world ancient people wore talismans and amulets for good luck too. But to get to the ancient origins of these stone and crystal traditions we must begin our questioning at a time before humans had even evolved on earth.

The Pink Star Diamond was mined in 1999 in South Africa. (Diamondhistorygirl/CC BY SA 4.0) Weighing 59.6 carats it was sold by Sotheby's for a record $83 million: more than any other stone ever sold.

The earliest evidence of stones having been used as tools was discovered in 2014, when a collection of handmade tools were discovered near Lake Turkana in Kenya, Africa, which dated to 3.3-million-years-old. The oldest known fossil of the genus Homo is 2.8-million-years-old, which means stones were used to facilitate survival half a million years before we emerged on the scene.

Read moreSection: NewsHistoryAncient Traditions

New Discovery Suggests That Maya Elites Danced Wearing As Much As 25 Pounds of Jade Jewelry

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 07:59

A five-pound jade head pendant has been found at Ucanal, an archaeological site in what was once the Maya city of K’anwitznal.

Read moreSection: ArtifactsOther ArtifactsNewsHistory & ArchaeologyHistoryAncient Traditions

Analysis of Skeletons Reveals Harsh Punishment in Ancient Egypt

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 22:03

Egyptian kings and pharaohs conquered entire nations, but if a person stole so much as an animal hide he could be whipped with 100 lashes and stabbed five times in the back… and then be sent back to work.

Archaeologists studying skeletons of people buried in Amarna’s humble commoners’ cemetery have speculated five men with wounds to their shoulder blades were punished in this way. A wall carving from ancient Egypt spells out the punishment for stealing animal hides, but researchers did not know if the penalty was actually carried out, as reported by USA Today.

The alleged crimes of the men in question, who were in middle age at the time of their deaths, are not known, nor are their names or identities. But if the stab wounds on their shoulder blades were indeed punishment, they probably were able to return to work; an important consideration in Amarna, a labor-intensive city where workers were mustered to build huge temples and palaces for Akhenaten, the pharaoh who imposed a new religion on Egypt.

Read moreSection: NewsHistory & Archaeology

Spiky Bridge: Tasmania’s Quirky Wall with Convict Heritage

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 19:42

The Spiky Bridge is a well-known feature and attraction on Tasmania’s east coast in Australia, but you could easily miss the turnoff because the view is spectacular! It’s well worth stopping along the way to check out this very distinctive colonial construction.

Read moreSection: NewsAncient Places

The Tragedies that Befell the Five Civilized Tribes that were Forced to Trek the Trail of Tears

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 17:04

The Five Civilized Tribes of the American Southeast tried to assimilate into the European settlers’ society to keep their lands.

Read moreSection: NewsHistoryImportant Events

The Crooked Spire: Kicked Over by the Devil?

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 13:02

Saint Mary and All Saints, an Anglican parish church in Chesterfield, England is better known locally as The Crooked Spire for one very obvious reason: the spire, which was added in about 1362, twists 45 degrees and leans roughly 9 feet (2.9 m) from its true center.

Read moreSection: NewsAncient PlacesEurope

The Ides of March, Celebration of Roman Goddess Anna Perenna

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 10:36

The assassination of Julius Caesar on the 15th of March 44 BC was a turning point in Roman history. Centuries later, the expression ‘Beware the Ides of March’ was found in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in 1601 in the soothsayer's message to Julius Caesar, warning of his death.

Read moreSection: NewsHistory

Miners Strike Ice Age Gold Finding Two Beasts of Beringia in Yukon

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 07:59

The Yukon state government in the far north of Canada has announced that some miners have made significant discoveries in the permafrost. 

Read moreSection: NewsHistory & Archaeology

Creek Tribes Were Decimated by Disease but Thrived Through Skin Trade

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 20:01

The Native American Creek (Muscogee) tribes of the Southeast were actually an allied nation that came into existence in relatively recent history so they would be united in peace.

Read moreSection: NewsHistoryImportant EventsFamous People

Investigating the Invisible Color that Ancient People Couldn’t See

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 17:02

The story of “blue being invisible in history” begins in 1858 when William Gladstone who was mystified as to why the color blue was never refered to in ancient Greek writing. Further explorations have revealed an absence of the mention of the color blue in writing from many other ancient cultures. It was as if the color did not exist.

Read moreSection: NewsUnexplained Phenomena