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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.
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Reign of Terror Victims Found Hidden in the Walls of a Paris Church

Wed, 07/01/2020 - 12:32

Evidence of Reign of Terror victims found hidden in the walls of a Paris church is changing the narrative of one of the bloodiest episodes in modern European history. It is now believed that many of those guillotined during the French Revolution were buried in Chapelle Expiatorie

Read moreSection: NewsHistory & Archaeology

Natural Cave Helps Explain Teotihuacan’s Pyramid of the Moon

Wed, 07/01/2020 - 08:05

Archaeologists in Mexico City have answered a long outstanding question by having identified the purpose behind a natural cave beneath Teotihuacan’s Pyramid of the Moon.

Read moreSection: NewsHistory & Archaeology

Hyperborea: Mythical Land That Fascinated Writers of the Ancient World

Tue, 06/30/2020 - 19:14

Hyperborea is a location in Greek mythology. The inhabitants of this mythical land are known as Hyperboreans, whom the ancient Greeks believed enjoyed extremely long lives. Hyperborea is mentioned by a number of Greek and Roman writers, including Herodotus, Pliny the Elder, and Pindar.

Read moreSection: NewsMyths & LegendsEuropeAncient PlacesEurope

Mysterious Shipwreck Artifacts Found Off England’s Coast To Be X-Rayed

Tue, 06/30/2020 - 16:51

A sum of £150,000 (US$ 168,000) has been pledged to deep scan a hoard of mysterious artifacts found off England’s coast. The £150,000 grant from The Wolfson Foundation to the Historic England scientific and archaeological analysis center

Read moreSection: NewsHistory & Archaeology

Greed and Decline: The Treasure of the Knights Templar and Their Downfall

Tue, 06/30/2020 - 14:43

The ‘Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon,’ more commonly known as the Knights Templar, or the Templars, was one of the most renowned military orders during the Middle Ages. The source of their fame came not only from their prowess on the battlefield, but also from the wealth they amassed during the Crusades. These riches eventually led to their downfall, and became the so-called ‘Treasure of the Templars’ in the popular imagination.

The Finances of the Knights Templar

The Knights Templar were not only great warriors, but formidable financiers as well. One of the two ranks of non-fighting men, for instance, was known as the farmers, who were responsible for the administration of the Order’s worldly possessions. The other rank was the chaplains, which tended to the spiritual needs of the Order.

As they had the official endorsement of the Church, the wealthy of Europe provided the Templars with a large amount of donations in the form of money, land, and fighting men. Additionally, they were exempted from all taxation, including the ecclesiastical tithes that were due to the clergy. Thus, the Knights Templar became one of the most affluent institutions during the Middle Ages.

Read moreSection: NewsMyths & Legends

Seals Tell of Jewish Return to Jerusalem After Babylonian Exile

Tue, 06/30/2020 - 12:51

In Jerusalem, the discovery of two homemade seals may provide unprecedented insights into an extremely critical period in Jewish history and the Bible. The artifact is showing that the city remained an administrative center, even after the destruction of Jerusalem (587 BC).

Read moreSection: NewsHistory & Archaeology

Mysterious Ancient Cross Found in Northern Pakistan

Tue, 06/30/2020 - 08:03

Researchers have unearthed a massive ancient cross in a remote mountain area of northern Pakistan. The evidence suggests it is a Christian object from the Middle Ages, but there is also the possibility that it is a Buddhist symbol. 

Read moreSection: NewsHistory & Archaeology

In Hoc Signo Vinces: In This Sign You Will Win

Mon, 06/29/2020 - 21:15

On the night of October 27, 312 AD at Saxa Rubra, Rome, Emperor Flavius Valerius Constantinus, (Constantine) son of Constantius I Chloros and Helena, was set to engage with the armies of Maxentius, a contender challenging the emperor for his coveted position. 

Read moreSection: NewsHistory

Restormel Castle, What the English Call ‘A Romantic Scene’

Mon, 06/29/2020 - 20:05

Restormel Castle is one of the four principal Norman castles of Cornwall and among the most notable in Britain for its circular design. Built in the 13th century, it was a luxurious residence and hunting retreat for its medieval owners.

Read moreSection: NewsAncient PlacesEurope

Predynastic Egypt: Life Before the Pyramids

Mon, 06/29/2020 - 17:02

The history of Ancient Egypt spans several millennia and is filled with wonders and achievements which are veiled in mystery and the enigmatic secrets of distant times. 

Read moreSection: NewsAncient PlacesAfricaHistory

Mummified Body Parts Among Artifacts Now Banned on Facebook

Mon, 06/29/2020 - 10:40

Following a 2019 BBC News exposé and an academic campaign, the social media giant Facebook has now banned all sales of ancient artifacts on the social network, fearing stolen and looted treasures from Iraq and Syria are being traded on its platforms.

Read moreSection: NewsHistory & Archaeology

Medieval Inscription Found in Teutonic Knights’ Castle of Cēsis

Mon, 06/29/2020 - 08:01

The famous Cēsis Castle in central Latvia has given up an ancient secret carved within its bloodstained stone walls. Cēsis Castle is one of the most iconic medieval castles in Latvia. Founded in 1213 or 1214 AD by the Livonian Brothers of the Sword, it prospered from 1237 AD during its time as one of the key administrative and economic centers of the Teutonic Order. 

Read moreSection: NewsHistory & Archaeology

Could the King Richard II’s Gold Still Be Hidden at Beeston Castle?

Sun, 06/28/2020 - 16:20

Perched on a large crag, Beeston Castle is one of the most dramatically situated medieval castles in England. Although what remains today represents the feats of medieval builders, much of what is important about Beeston is no longer visible.

Read moreSection: NewsAncient PlacesEurope

Bronze Age Settlement Uncovered in China Reveals Silk Road Origins

Sun, 06/28/2020 - 12:57

Archaeologists working in the north-west of China have made a very important discovery in relation to the Silk Road’s origins and development. They have found the remains of a Bronze Age settlement on what would become the ancient world’s most famous trade route.

Read moreSection: NewsHistory & Archaeology

Diamond Secrets: Crown Jewels Gem Formed 400 Miles Deep

Sun, 06/28/2020 - 08:02

Discovered at the Premier No.2 mine in Cullinan, South Africa, on January 26, 1905, the famous “Cullinan diamond” is the largest gem-quality diamond ever found. Weighing an incredible 3,106.75 carats, this monstrous and deeply-ancient stone was eventually cut into smaller stones

Read moreSection: ArtifactsOther ArtifactsNewsGeneral

Ancient Pipes Reveal What Natives Americans Were Smoking

Sat, 06/27/2020 - 17:01

American researchers have used ground-breaking technologies to make discoveries about Native American smoking habits. They have, for the first time, found traces of a non-tobacco plant in a pipe. This is helping them to better understand how and what pre-contact Native Americans smoked.

Read moreSection: NewsHistory & Archaeology

The Ancient Maya Poisoned Tikal’s Drinking Water

Sat, 06/27/2020 - 11:00

Reservoirs in the heart of an ancient Maya city were so polluted with mercury and algae that the water likely was undrinkable. Researchers from the University of Cincinnati found toxic levels of pollution in two central reservoirs in Tikal

Read moreSection: NewsHistory & Archaeology

Ancient Texts Strongly Suggest Jesus was Literate and Multilingual

Sat, 06/27/2020 - 08:02

The gospels do not provide definitive evidence of the language spoken by the historical Jesus of Nazareth. There is evidence in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 2:41-51) that suggests Jesus, despite having a humble upbringing...

Read moreSection: NewsHistoryFamous People

Did Visayan Raiders Plunder the Coast of the Song Dynasty?

Fri, 06/26/2020 - 17:13

Roughly between the Song Dynasty years of 1174 AD to 1189 AD there were little-known accounts of ferocious tattooed bandits that terrorized the south-eastern shores and islands of China.

Read moreSection: NewsMyths & LegendsAsia

This is What a Man from the Tomb of Sunken Skulls Looked Like

Fri, 06/26/2020 - 12:50

When archaeologists were excavating a dry prehistoric lake bed in Motala, Sweden in 2009, they stumbled upon one of the most peculiar archaeological discoveries the nation had seen – the so-called ‘Tomb of the Sunken Skulls’, a collection of skulls dating back 8,000 years, which had been mounted on stakes. Now one of these skulls has been reconstructed to reveal the image of a man who met his fate at the gruesome archaeological site.

The Tomb of the Sunken Skulls

The Tomb of the Sunken Skulls is located on the eastern shore of Lake Vättern in the south eastern corner of Sweden. In 2009, a new railway line was to be built over a site known as Kanaljorden, where there once was a shallow lake. Before construction could commence, however, an excavation had to be conducted on the dry riverbed to determine if anything archaeologically important was buried beneath it. What the archaeologists found was a mysterious site dated back to Sweden’s Mesolithic period.

The Tomb of the Sunken Skulls is located on the eastern shore of Lake Vättern in Sweden. (Allie Caulfield /CC BY 2.0)

Read moreSection: NewsAncient PlacesEuropeUnexplained Phenomena

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