Ancient Origins Magazine

AO Magazine - February 2019

They say war never changes. War is a recurring and omnipresent human phenomenon that has existed throughout history. In the ancient world, warfare was more than fighting itself.  It was an integral part of daily life that encompassed political, economic, and cultural spheres. And then, there was the religious realm, where kings ruled by divine mandate and fortunes in battle were determined by heavenly forces and powerful war gods (ten of whom you’ll meet in this issue).

Ancient Warfare is often glorified in the mythologies and legends of these war gods and goddesses, as well as in tales of nobility, sacrifice, bravery, and conquests by powerful generals and warriors. But we contrast this view with a look at the brutality and horrors that are ubiquitous to war, told here through the story of Becerrillo, an attack dog of the Spanish conquistadors that left trails of blood and bodies in his wake. 

Warfare has left its imprint in the pierced armor and shattered remains of millions of warriors and civilians around the world, each carrying their own story. Our featured contributor, James McBride, a forensic anthropologist, recreates some of their stories through art, and shares how both ancient and modern soldiers have used therapeutic art practices to cope with the trauma of war.

Winston Churchill once famously said: “History is written by the victors”, and this applies most particularly to war. Featured author David G. Jones, a university lecturer and veteran of the Canadian Army, challenges the accepted view of Sun Tzu’s famous manual ‘The Art of War’, and claims that rather than being a ruthless tyrant, the First Emperor of China may have been one of the greatest peace-makers in history.

And was there ever really a Trojan War? Researcher Petros Koutoupis brings into question the traditional account of the Trojan War and the supposed discovery of Troy.

Today, wars may be fought from 30,000 feet up with precision GPS-guided bombs, combat drones, and stealth aircraft, but the art of forging ancient weapons has not yet died. Traditional Master Swordsmith Rob Miller tells us why he keeps this lost art alive in the modern day.

On a lighter note, we highlight a wonderful project by Cambridge University linguistics specialist, Dr Martin Worthington, who is reviving the ancient Babylonian language 2,000 years after falling out of use! We examine the odd phenomenon of mass hysteria which shows us that while social and political contexts—and even war—have changed over the centuries, human psychology has, for better or worse, largely remained the same.


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AO Magazine - January 2019

Over the last 20,000 years, North America has undergone an immense transformation, and, like most societies, many aspects of its history are controversial, divisive, and indeed tragic. But in our January issue, which throws a spotlight on North America, we examine some of its special achievements. We look at the accomplishments of the Hopewell Culture, which swept over a vast territory of the continent over 2,000 years ago, constructing great burial mounds and elaborate earthworks encoded with celestial alignments. We also feature the living images of the Hopewell people, and their predecessors the Adena, brought to life in vivid recreations by the sensational artist Marcia K Moore. 

Turning to the Colonial era, we travel along an ancient road of the 1600s – the King’s Highway. Stretching more than 1300 miles across 10 states, it is the oldest road still in continuous use in the United States, yet it is the events that took place along this road that also give it a special place in American history. 

The past hasn’t shared all its secrets though. We revisit an unsolved mystery and wonder what really happened to the early English settlers of Roanoke Island who vanished completely, leaving behind a coded message? What is the truth behind more than 1000 skeletons of giant stature found across the continent? And who really won the race to reach the New World first?

In our January issue, we cover a range of fascinating subjects from Medieval belief in fairies to Ancient Egyptian fashion. But this issue also holds a very personal connection to me. In ‘Mungalla: An Australian Story’, we hear of an early pioneer in Australia’s history who stood up to his peers and fought for the rights and safety of the Aboriginal people who were being decimated by Europeans at the time. That man is my great, great grandfather and it is only recently that his amazing story has become known to me. In the month that Australians celebrate their National day, what better story to tell than one in which indigenous and non-indigenous people lived and worked alongside each other in harmony. For me, it offers a positive vision for Australia’s future rather than simply a focus on its turbulent past.


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AO Magazine - December 2018

Christmas is just around the corner, so we couldn’t let December go by without shining a spotlight on the ancient origins of an occasion celebrated by an estimated two billion people every year.
Christmas preserves our roots as we live out the traditions our forebears started so long ago – gift-giving and feasts from the Romans; wreaths and evergreen trees from the pagans; cooked turkey from Native Americans; Santa Claus from an ancient Greek saint; and the Yule log from Old Norse traditions. 

From the Celts to the Christians and the Vikings to the Victorians, they have all added traditions to the rich tapestry of the holiday we call Christmas. 

And while we are talking about the endurance of old customs, we also turn to a particular luxury item beloved by many – chocolate. A rich concoction created in South America over 3,000 years ago, and once seen as a gift from the gods, chocolate has made its way from the hands of Aztec nobles to the pockets of children across the world. 

Along with beliefs and ritual, ancient wisdom has been passed down through the ages to help make the wintertime a little more bearable. We’ve included some easy-to-do traditional remedies that have been used since time immemorial to help you beat those winter bugs.

You will also find a feature on a very unique Australian town, where 80 percent of residents live underground. Plus, we examine the bizarre and unexplained phenomenon of raining objects, from frogs to fish, snakes, rocks, and even money!
No matter how you observe or relive ancient traditions, we hope you will enjoy our last issue for 2018 and join us in celebrating the season of new beginnings.

Not a member yet? Enjoy our 20-page teaser of the magazine here.


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AO Magazine - November 2018

Our ability to change perspectives and accept new interpretations of past events is what makes history vital and meaningful. Just when a consensus is reached about how our ancestors once lived and what knowledge they possessed, another discovery occurs that upends it all. 

A key example of this was the discovery of Göbekli Tepe, now recognized as one of the most important archaeological and architectural discoveries of the 21st century. Massive carved stones, some 11,500-years-old, were crafted and arranged to precisely align with astronomical phenomena by prehistoric people who had not yet invented the wheel, let alone agriculture. They were hunter-gatherers, yet they had constructed the first, largest, and most complex religious sanctuary the world had ever seen. In this issue, we unravel the secrets of Göbekli Tepe. Through an exclusive interview with Dr Robert Schoch, we learn about the sophisticated science behind its construction and how its builders sought to cope with cataclysmic disasters, while Freddy Silva throws a spotlight on the site’s astronomical alignments. 

In the spirit of shaking up old ideas and seeking new perspectives, we also turn to Thanksgiving, an annual celebration in November that is considered a vital part of American history and identity. We share the traditional story that is taught across schools, from podiums, and around dinner tables, but we also challenge this familiar narrative by relaying the perspective of the Wampanoag native people who encountered the newly arrived colonists all those generations ago, presenting a very different outlook on this famous historic holiday!

Elsewhere, you’ll find features on the samurai warriors of Feudal Japan, and one of their most shocking practices – ritual self-disembowelment.  We also take you back to ancient Greece, where you’ll hear about one of the most bizarre deaths in history – it involves an eagle, a tortoise, and one very unfortunate chap with a bald head! And don’t miss our mouth-watering Medieval recipe – cinnamon chicken soup. 
In this issue, we hope to spur some new perspectives in our readers, as well as ignite excitement about our ever-changing understanding of our past. Happy reading! 


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AO Magazine - October 2018

Given the insatiable appetite for all-things ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, it is somewhat of a surprise that so little is known or shared about a mysterious civilization that emerged in the Indus Valley at least 5,000 years ago in what is now Pakistan and India. With impeccably-planned cities such as Mohenjo Daro and Harappa, advanced hydraulic engineering, precise measuring systems, impressive metallurgy, and an intriguing writing that remains undeciphered, the Indus Valley civilization was every bit as impressive as their ancient Egyptian counterpart. Yet, without being able to read the records they left behind, much about this ancient civilization remains a giant mystery. 

In this issue, we investigate one of the greatest puzzles to emerge out of the Mohenjo Daro excavations: the shocking case of more than 40 skeletons found scattered in the streets of the ancient city. What caused such seemingly instant mass death? Was it a gruesome massacre? A powerful ancient weapon? It turns out the truth is something else altogether! 

And while we are throwing a spotlight on the Indus Valley civilization, we also turn to a country and culture shaped by its people – India. From marvellous megaliths to mystical mudras, and even a plant cultivated in India thousands of years ago that most of us still have on hand in our own kitchens. 

Readers who hear the call of the Norsemen in their hearts will enjoy the account of the ‘mythical’ Viking sunstone that turned out to be very real. Speaking of hearing – have you heard of the perplexing archaeoacoustics in Malta’s Hypogeum? And you’re not alone if you’ve ever had difficulty with a salesman; you’ll appreciate the oldest known customer service complaint ever found.

Never fear! We couldn’t let October go by without delving into the ancient origins of this month’s most famous holiday and tradition – Halloween! Did you know that this night-time festival, most popularly celebrated in North America, can trace its deepest roots to the Celts who lived 2,000 years ago? Become a ghost hunter, and track Halloween back through the millennia. 

Not a member yet? Enjoy our 20-page teaser of the magazine here.


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AO Magazine - September 2018

In creating this very first issue of Ancient Origins Magazine, we scoured the planet to showcase unique histories, inspiring stories, and incredible experiences. We constantly seek to break down boundaries into research, exploring all aspects of history. Our vision is to collect stories from all over the world to deliver inspiration and challenge you to keep asking the questions, ‘how?’, ‘why?’ and ‘why not?’ 

Issues will be chock-full of interviews and news from experts in the field, articles on intriguing finds and theories, thought-provoking reviews and notable authors, tasty and surprising ancient recipes, ancient puzzles and mysteries, and expeditions and journeys for the adventure-lovers.

This magazine has come about as a result of requests from you, our readers, and the passions of our dedicated team. So, welcome to the first edition of Ancient Origins Magazine! 


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