Ancient Civilizations

A Big Circle named J1 in Jordan stretches 1,280 feet in diameter and the center has been bulldozed

These Giant Circles in the Mideast Are One of the World's Last Mysteries

Archaeologists have found more than a dozen ancient circles in Turkey, Syria and Jordan—but don’t know why they were built

Newest King Tut Theory: He Suffered Severe Disorders From Inbreeding

Problems included a club foot that prevented him from walking unaided

How Conversations Around Campfire Might Have Shaped Human Cognition And Culture

We can perhaps thank campfire story time for getting us where we are today

Neanderthal Carvings in a Gibraltar Cave Reveal Some of Europe's Oldest Known Artwork

Some argue, however, that Homo sapiens are responsible for the etchings

A closeup of jars, probably once filled with wine, at Tel Kabri in modern-day Israel.

Huge Wine Cellar Unearthed at a Biblical-Era Palace in Israel

Residue from jars at a Canaanite palace suggest the ruler preferred his red with hints of mint, honey and juniper

What Lies Beneath Stonehenge?

A new Smithsonian Channel show reveals groundbreaking research that may explain what really went on there

Flax yarn recovered from late Neolithic graves, heavily laden with resin.

The First Ancient Egyptian Mummies Might Have Appeared 1,500 Years Earlier Than Egyptologists Thought

Egyptians were embalming their dead as far back as 4,100 B.C.

Looking across old town towards The Citadel

Irbil, the Iraqi City the US Is Now Defending, Is One of the Oldest Continuously Inhabited Places in the World

Irbil, Iraq, has a long, long, long history

Mummies From Around the World Had Hardened Arteries

Mummies from cultures across the globe have one thing in common—plaque in their arteries

The skeleton of a young man, whose tooth plaque was used in the study.

Ancient Tooth Plaque Shows Our Ancestors Used to Feast on Weeds

Purple nutsedge is a pest today, but thousands of years ago it was probably valued for its cavity-preventing properties

Clay tokens that Assyrians used for a simple bookkeeping system.

Some Ancient Assyrians Ignored the Advent of Writing for Thousands of Years

It took thousands of years for Assyrians to finally give up primitive record-keeping methods

Constructed between 510 and 500 B.C., the base of a funerary kouros in Athens is decorated with the image of wrestlers fighting.

Wrestling Was Fixed, Even in Ancient Rome

New analysis of an ancient document reveals classical roots of fake wrestling

Floodwaters gushing through a dam on the Yellow River.

Humans Have Been Messing With China's Yellow River for 3,000 Years

When humans try to tame nature things rarely go according to plan

When Trees Are Cut Down, Angkor’s Temples Begin to Crumble

People usually think of trees' destructive impacts on Angkor, but they also protect those iconic temples

More Than 200 Hidden Paintings Were Discovered on the Walls of Angkor Wat

Researchers discovered the images by digitally enhancing photos of the temple's walls

These Cold War Satellite Images Revealed 10,000 Undiscovered Archaeological Sites

Images of the Middle East from the 1960s showed thousands of archaeological sites—some of which have already been destroyed

Noah's Ark by Edward Hicks, 1846.

Could Noah’s Ark Float? In Theory, Yes

Basic physics suggests that an ark carrying lots of animal cargo could float, but science doesn’t support other facets of the biblical tale

Panicum miliaceum, or broomcorn millet.

Ancient Wandering Shepherds Spread Crops Across Eurasia

The nomadic shepherds of central Asia joined east and west

Where Are All the Babies in Archaeological Sites?

To figure out whether ancient people cremated their babies, archaeologists set some piglets on fire

Conches Evolved To Be Smaller Because of Hungry Humans

Conches began maturing when they were smaller in order to breed before humans snatched them up

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