Ancient Origins 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.

  • Shah Cheragh and The Dazzling Dome of Mirrors
    by dhwty on 26 febbraio 2017 at 19:07

    Shah Cheragh is a religious monument located in Shiraz, the capital of the Fars Province in the southern part of Iran. The story of its founding and its awe-inspiring decoration have made it one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in the country. The combination of these two brilliant elements make it obvious why it is called King of the Light. This monument houses the tombs of Amir Ahmad and Mir Muhammad, the sons of the 7th Imam, Musa al-Kadhim, and the brothers of the 8th, Imam Reza. Although a mausoleum was first constructed over the site during the 12th century, most of the present structure dates to the late Qajar period and from the time of the Islamic Republic. Shah Cheragh is the third most venerated pilgrimage site in Iran, after the Imam Reza Shrine in Mashhad and the Fatima Masumeh Shrine in Qum. Shah Cheragh at night with pilgrims. (javier san felipe larrea/CC BY NC ND 2.0) Read moreSection: NewsAncient PlacesAsia […]

  • What Pearls of Wisdom are Held in the Animal Tales of the Panchatantra?
    by dhwty on 26 febbraio 2017 at 14:10

    The Panchatantra (which means the ‘Five Principles’ in Sanskrit) is a collection of interwoven short stories from India. The tales in the Panchatantra are told in both prose and poetry, and consist mainly of animal tales. This has led some scholars to note similarities between this collection of stories and Aesop’s fables. The Panchatantra is recorded to have migrated westwards into Persia, Arabia, and thence into Europe. In addition, these tales were also transmitted northwards into Tibet and China, as well as eastwards into Southeast Asia. Teaching Important Lessons It has been proposed that the Panchatantra was composed during the 3rd century BC by an Indian scholar and author by the name of Vishnu Sharma. Nevertheless, the tales were probably transmitted orally at first, and hence date to an earlier period of Indian history. These stories may have been first told by villagers as they gathered around campfires after a day’s work. The tales also contained valuable lessons, and served not only as light entertainment but also as a tool for teaching. Tracing Indo-Cambodian relations through Magnificent Stupa Architecture Incredible Megaliths of India: Star Maps and Headless Goddesses – Part I Read moreSection: ArtifactsAncient WritingsNewsMyths & LegendsAsia […]

  • Mothers, Madness and Music: A Study of the Parallels of Cybele and Dionysus
    by Ryan Stone on 26 febbraio 2017 at 1:44

    Though she was one of the most renowned goddesses in her day, the motherly, wise Cybele has long been over-shadowed in the mythology of ancient Greece by the later pre-Olympian goddesses, Rhea, Gaia, and even Hecate. In contrast, the mad, flamboyant Dionysus has been mistaken as a young Greek god for equally as long. The archaeological and literary evidence suggests that these two gods played much more significant roles in various cultures, both before the ancient Greek gods came to the forefront of Mediterranean religion and after their Roman counterparts faded into Christianity. It is not unlikely that this is why Cybele and Dionysus share so many characteristics in their worship and legends. Cybele The goddess Cybele is most commonly associated with the natural world, specifically exemplified in mountains, fertile wildlife, and wild animals. Further, she is often depicted as the Great Mother—creator or life-giver of all things—or as the three aspects of the Divine Feminine: Mother, Maiden, and Crone. As the Divine Feminine, Cybele represents the various aspects of female power, most specifically that of nurture, fertility, and wisdom. (A similar trinity is seen in many other religions, such as the Triple Goddess in the religions of the Celts and Britons.) Read moreSection: Myths & LegendsEuro […]

  • What English Site is So Favored that Human Activity Spans Across 12,000 Years There?
    by Mark Miller on 25 febbraio 2017 at 22:16

    Archaeologists in England digging to investigate the site of a future highway have found evidence of human occupation going as far back as 12,000 years. They call it a favored spot for human activity through the millennia. The site in Lincolnshire has turned up flint tools from thousands of years ago, part of a Bronze Age barrow cemetery, evidence of Iron Age burials and roundhouses, a strong Roman-era presence, medieval features, and post-medieval structures. A medieval era silver coin. (Lincolnshire County Council) “The archaeological work is already providing a fascinating glimpse into past communities, settlements and landscapes, illustrating that this area has been a continuously favoured spot for human activity from as far back as 12,000 years ago,” says a news release from the Lincolnshire County Council. Read moreSection: NewsHistory & Archaeology […]

  • Geo-Social Mystique: Origins of the Mystery Rock of Guatapé in Colombia
    by Caleb Strom on 25 febbraio 2017 at 18:37

    In the Colombian department of Antioquia between the towns of Guatapé and El Peñol there is an enormous monolith which is called the El Peñón de Guatapé. It is also called the Rock of Guatapé or the Rock of Peñol - depending on which town the speaker is from. The monolith stands out in the landscape surrounded mostly be grassy plains and lakes. The stone was worshiped by the Tahamies who lived in the area before the arrival of the Spaniards. It is uncertain what the rock is, or how it formed, but it is very smooth and most likely part of a granitic pluton that was uplifted during the formation of the Cordillera Occidental mountain range in Colombia. Features of the Rock of Guatapé and Local Geological History The rock is 656 feet or 200 meters tall and is mainly composed of quartz, feldspar, and mica minerals. It is described as weighing about 10 million tons, though this may not be an exact estimation. The rock itself is about 70 million years old. The region surrounding the rock has a varied geological history. During the early Mesozoic Era, about 251 to 145 million years ago, most of Colombia was underwater - as evidenced by marine sedimentary deposits that date to that time. El Peñón de Guatapé. Source: Remi/CC BY NC SA 2.0 Read moreSection: NewsAncient PlacesAmericas […]

  • Star-Crossed Lovers? Criminals? Or Strangers? The Mystery of the Windeby Bog Bodies
    by dhwty on 25 febbraio 2017 at 13:45

    Windeby I (known also as the ‘Windeby Girl’ until recently) is a bog body hat was discovered in a peat bog located in the town of Windeby, near Schleswig, in the northern part of Germany. Read moreSection: NewsHistoryFamous Peo […]

  • Trading Treasures and Curiosity: The Fascinating History of Manila Galleons
    by Natalia Klimczak on 25 febbraio 2017 at 1:54

    Every remarkable story starts with curiosity. That is the primary reason why people travel and want to discover new lands. It applies to every period in history, from antiquity to our times. The story of Manila Galleons and the first massive trade route is a tale about gold and sailors who sold their lives to rulers, seeking adventure and extraordinary lives. The trading ships traveled between Manila and Acapulco for about 250 years. During the round-trips that took place twice per year (in the case of most of the ships) the galleons brought an incredible amount of goods from Asia to New Spain. Most of the ships carried goods from China, and thus the Manila Galleons were also called The China Ships. Their story is difficult to describe to those who focus on the controversies related to Europeans conquering new lands. However, it is a beautiful story for anyone who wants to hear a tale scented with the fragrance of exotic spices. Map showing the routes between Manila and Acapulco. (abagond.wordpress) A Beneficial Trade Discovery The one who opened the world of Asia to Spanish expeditions was Ferdinand Magellan, who traveled across the Pacific in 1521. After his journey, Spaniards believed they needed to continue the exploration of this region. It was a time when they knew about the existence of the Americas, so they wanted to create a trade route with New Spain (now Mexico). […]

  • Who Was Mithra? Sanctuary for a Mysterious Cult that Once Rivaled Christianity is Found on Corsica
    by Alicia McDermott on 24 febbraio 2017 at 22:59

    Archaeologists working in the ancient Roman city of Mariana on the French island of Corsica have unearthed the ruins of a sanctuary of a cult of Mithra. This is a surprising find as it is the first example of the mysterious religion known as Mithraism having been practiced on the island. IB Times reports that the discovery was made by French archaeologists in November 2016. The team from the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) was called in to check the site before roadwork began. So far, they have excavated what they believe to be a worship room and an antechamber related to the cult of Mithra. Speaking on the discovery, team leader Philippe Chapon told IB Times UK "This is a very rare and exciting find. It is the first time we find evidence that Mithraism was practised in Corsica. There are only a dozen similar sites known in all of France, the last one having been excavated near the city of Angers in 2010." Read moreSection: NewsHistory & Archaeology […]

  • What Wondrous Sights Have Been Seen in the Brilliant Hall of Mirrors at Lavish Golestan Palace?
    by dhwty on 24 febbraio 2017 at 18:50

    Golestan Palace (which means the ‘Roseland Palace’ in Persian) is a palace complex that once was part of a group of monuments situated within the mud-thatched walls of Tehran’s Arg (citadel). The Golestan Palace consists of a number of magnificent buildings with well-kept gardens. Read moreSection: NewsAncient PlacesAsia […]

  • What Was in Store for the Citizens of the Besieged City? The Battle of Megiddo—Part II
    by Cam Rea on 24 febbraio 2017 at 15:59

    Pharaoh Thutmose III pushed his 12,000-strong army towards the banks of the Orontes River. His scribe, Tjaneni, kept a daily journal in order to have the Pharaoh’s military exploits inscribed by his artisans on the walls of Amun-Re's temple at Karnak. The men lay siege to the coalition of Canaanites led by the King of Kadesh. What lay in store for the citizens of Megiddo? Read moreSection: NewsHistory […]

  • Why Would Medieval Siberian Nomads Ritually Sacrifice Their Seriously Ill Companions?
    by ancient-origins on 24 febbraio 2017 at 13:56

    Unique crouched burials for this period - comprising a seriously ill quartet - presents archaeologists with a puzzle. The find of four graves from the 11th century site Yur-Yakha III are unlike anything else seen from this era in Yamal, say scientists. Two of the dead were young women aged around 18 to 20 and all had 'serious diseases'. Read moreSection: NewsHistory & Archaeology […]

  • A Symposium in Homage to Eduardo Matos Moctezuma
    by ancient-origins on 24 febbraio 2017 at 2:32

    Speaker(s): Eduardo Matos MoctezumaElizabeth BooneDavid CarrascoJohn D. PohlKarl TaubeEvent Date(s): 21/04/2017 - 18:00 to 22/04/2017 - 19:15This Mesoamerican Symposium in homage to Eduardo Matos-Moctezuma, organized by the Art History Society of California State University, Los Angeles and Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), promises to be spectacular.  It will take place on April 21 – 22 of 2017 in both locations.  This year is particularly unique.  In addition to our highly regarded featured speakers, we will present a very special event in conjunction with the symposium: all attendees and participants are invited to the inaugural viewing of a special exhibit of antique books of Mesoamerica and Colonial Mexico in the John F. Kennedy Library at California State University, Los Angeles after the closing of Saturday’s Symposium presentations.  The title of the exhibit is: Transcultural Dialogues: The Books of Mesoamerica and Colonial Mexico.  This exhibit shows some jewels of the Ruwet, Glass and Nicholson collections of California State University, Los Angeles that are open to scholars, students and general public and are an integral part of a proposed center for the advancement of Mesoamerican Studies in our campus. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE PROGRAM SCHEDULE As you all know, events of this nature are […]

  • The Library of Pergamum: A Contender for the Greatest Library of the Ancient World
    by Veronica Parkes on 24 febbraio 2017 at 1:58

    Pergamum, Anatolia, now the modern Turkish town of Bergama, was one of the most important cities in the Hellenistic Greek age. It was culturally rich, with an extensive library at its heart. The city gained renown as an administrative center when it was ruled by King Eumenes II from the Attalid dynasty. It was under this king that Pergamum severed ties with Macedonia and made an alliance with the Roman Republic. Drawing of ancient Pergamon (Pergamum). Source: Public Domain One of the Key Libraries of the Ancient World The city boasted a population of over 200,000 citizens. Culturally, it rivaled both Alexandria and Antioch with its many works of art, including sculptures and advanced architecture such as the Great Altar of Pergamum. It was also an important religious center, being mentioned in the New Testament as one of the Seven Churches of Revelation. Around 133 BC, Pergamum was bequeathed to the Roman Republic, and in the Middle Ages it fell under the rule of the Ottoman empire. Read moreSection: NewsAncient PlacesAsia […]

  • Skull Analysis Concludes the Americas Were Settled by More than One Wave of Migrants
    by Mark Miller on 23 febbraio 2017 at 22:48

    Has there ever been a more exciting adventure than when humans spread out across the globe with their primitive tools and not so much as a hand-drawn map? A new study of cranial shapes of prehistoric people shows it’s possible there were several migrations of Asians and possibly Australian or Polynesian people who undertook this great trek into the Americas thousands of years ago. The researchers’ paper says prehistoric human skull morphology of earlier South Americans more closely resembles Polynesian or Australasian peoples. They write that the cranial shapes can fill in gaps that scientists may never be able to close with studies of genes and DNA. There is a contentious debate between anthropologists and Native Americans about whether there was one migration into the Americas via the Bering Strait land bridge between Alaska and northeastern Russia many thousands of years ago. That land bridge has been under water for millennia. Some researchers say the people of one big mass migration were the ancestors of all natives of the Americas. Rare Bones and DNA of tiny children surprise scientists, support ideas about migration into the Americas 11,000 years ago Did Paleoamericans Reach South America First? Many natives deny this theory and say the people came to what they call Turtle Island from many places. This new research supports their viewpoint. Read […]

  • Evidence of Ancient Megalithic Culture in Massachusetts Revealed For the First Time
    by Josiah Vigneau on 23 febbraio 2017 at 18:50

    In the gorgeously rustic country hills of Northern Ireland, about an hour north of Derry, is the tiny hamlet of Laraghirril. In the distant southwestern fields of this town sits an ancient cairn with beautifully placed megalithic stones. The cairn is perhaps 4000 to 6000 years old, with crafted slabs protruding in dramatic symmetry out of the ground.  If you want to learn more about this ancient cairn at Laraghirril, interestingly enough, it will not be from this article.  Amazingly, the ancient Celtic altar in the image above is found in Heath, Massachusetts, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean in the northeastern United States, otherwise known as New England. Mysterious Megalithic Works in New England New England is a small set of states about the size of Ireland, in terms of square kilometers. It stretches from Connecticut, northward along the Atlantic coast of Rhode Island, into the mountainous forests of upstate New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine. The old-growth forests and rocky mountain ridges of this area contain the same megalithic wonders that Celtic countries endear as part of their ancient mystical past. The images below are of Celtic megalithic works all within the region of New England. This includes: eloquent stone-chambers, ancient stone-linings of massive proportion at high elevations, cairns in practically every forest, altars on high […]

  • Searching for the Lost Footsteps of the Scorpion Kings
    by Natalia Klimczak on 23 febbraio 2017 at 13:57

    In the pre-dynastic period of ancient Egypt, there were two rulers by the name of ‘Scorpion’. They were long forgotten for most of the world until Dwayne Johnson played one of the rulers in the famous movie ‘The Scorpion King’. While the character depicted in the movie bears little resemblance to the real pharaohs, their history is even more thrilling. Read moreSection: NewsHistoryFamous Peo […]

  • Eliminating the Competition: Selim I, A Grim Conqueror Who Vastly Extended the Ottoman Empire
    by dhwty on 23 febbraio 2017 at 1:48

    Selim I (known also by his epithet ‘Yavuz’, which, translated from Turkish, means ‘the Grim’) was the 9th sultan of the Ottoman Empire who lived during the second half of the 15th century and the first half of the following one. He is remembered today as a conqueror who significantly extended the domains of the Ottoman Empire. Read moreSection: NewsHistoryFamous Peo […]

  • Puzzling Stone Age Labyrinth Discovered in Denmark, What Was It Used For?
    by Theodoros Karasavvas on 22 febbraio 2017 at 22:52

    A team of archaeologists have recently uncovered a large, puzzling labyrinth from the Neolithic period in Denmark. Some researchers suggest that it could have been used as an ancient sun worship site, but for now the structure’s exact purpose remains a mystery. Latest Mysterious Construction Added in Long Series of Stone Age Finds The peculiar Stone Age labyrinth was recently discovered at Stevns in Denmark. Its purpose and usage remains a mystery for now, but this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, since there have been many finds spotted from the same time period that puzzle the archaeological world. For example, in 2015, archaeologists investigating caves on Blå Jungfrun, Sweden, discovered another mysterious labyrinth and caves, where they suggest that strange rituals and performances dating back 9,000 years might have taken place. Additionally, as we reported in Ancient Origins a few months ago, there was another puzzling find discovered in Scandinavia – a mysterious stone found in a ditch on Bornholm, a Danish island in the Baltic Sea – which is speculated to be one of the earliest maps in human history, even though its exact purpose and usage remains unknown to this day.   Read moreSection: NewsHistory & Archaeology […]

  • The Last of the Siberian Unicorns: What Happened to the Mammoth-Sized One-Horned Beasts of Legend?
    by Veronica Parkes on 22 febbraio 2017 at 19:01

    Elasmotherium, also known as the Giant Rhinoceros or the Giant Siberian Unicorn, is an extinct species of rhino that lived in the Eurasian area in the Late Pliocene and Pleistocene eras. They have been documented from 2.6 million years ago, but the most recent fossils come from around 29,000 years ago.  Read moreSection: NewsMyths & LegendsUnexplained Phenomena […]

  • A Pharaoh’s Exploits Recorded for All Time: The Battle of Megiddo—Part I
    by Cam Rea on 22 febbraio 2017 at 16:10

    With the death of the famous female Pharaoh – Hatshepsut – Thutmose III rose to power and knew there would be trouble. On the banks of the Orontes River, a revolt was brewing. Amassing a huge army and heading out on a forced march, the Egyptian king prepared for battle. Read moreSection: NewsHistory […]