Ancient Civilizations

Israel isn’t the first country where fingerprints found during archaeological research have elicited curiosity and spurred questions about who left them behind.

What Fingerprints Tell Us About Jerusalem's Ancient Artisans

In an unusual collaboration, archaeologists in Israel are working with police to analyze prints left on fifth- or sixth-century pottery shards

Throne 1, KK'in Lakam Chahk (785)

Rarely Seen Ancient Maya Masterpieces Go on View at the Met

It's the first exhibition of its kind in the United States in a decade

If Yonatan Adler's theory proves correct, then Judaism is, at best, Christianity’s elder sibling and a younger cousin to the religions of ancient Greece and Rome.

Is Judaism a Younger Religion Than Previously Thought?

A new book by an Israeli archaeologist makes the stunning claim that common Jewish practices emerged only a century or so before Jesus

The comb is made of ivory and inscribed with the sentence: "May this tusk root out the lice of the hair and the beard."

Scientists Translate the Oldest Sentence Written in the First Alphabet

Inscribed on a Canaanite comb, the words reveal a struggle with head lice

The burial chamber of King Tut's tomb

How Howard Carter Discovered King Tut's Golden Tomb

A hundred years after the legendary find, archival records tell the definitive story of the dig that changed the world

Put together, recent research on Tutankhamun—from new interpretations of X-rays and CT scans to studies of his footwear and mortuary temple—presents quite a different portrait from what is frequently seen in popular media.

Reimagining Tutankhamun as a Warrior

Recent research contradicts the image of the Egyptian boy-king as a frail, sickly pharaoh

Researchers excavating a large wooden post

Ancient Maya Salt Makers Worked From Home, Too

Archaeologists in Belize have found 1,500-year-old salt kitchens attached to workers' homes

Moai statues on Easter Island

Fire Irreversibly Damages Easter Island Statues

The isolated island is home to hundreds of the mysterious monuments

The archaeological site at Himera in Sicily

Mercenaries Were More Common in Greek Warfare Than Ancient Historians Let on

New research finds that many soldiers who fought in the fifth-century B.C.E. battles at Himera were born outside of the empire

Fragments of the Hercules statue (left) and an archaeologist excavating the artwork (right)

Archaeologists in Greece Unearth 'Larger-Than-Life' Statue of Hercules

The team discovered the 2,000-year-old artwork in Philippi

The pink granite sarcophagus of Ptah-M-Wia, an important official during the reign of Ramses II

Sarcophagus of Ramses II's Chief Treasurer Discovered at Saqqara

Egyptian archaeologists unearthed the empty, 3,200-year-old coffin of Ptah-M-Wia, a high-ranking New Kingdom official

“The first people to look at the Rosetta Stone thought it would take two weeks to decipher,” says Edward Dolnick, author of The Writing of the Gods: The Race to Decode the Rosetta Stone. “It ended up taking 20 years.”

Two Hundred Years Ago, the Rosetta Stone Unlocked the Secrets of Ancient Egypt

French scholar Jean-François Champollion announced his decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs on September 27, 1822

Bakhtiari nomads in the Zagros Mountains of Iran in June 2017

How Nomads Shaped Centuries of Civilization

A new book celebrates the achievements of wanderers, whose stories have long been overlooked

A fresco in Pompeii possibly depicting Lanassa and Demetrius, circa 50 to 40 B.C.E.

Why Demetrius the Besieger Was One of History's Most Outrageous Kings

The ancient Macedonian monarch specialized in siege warfare, polygamy and sacrilege

Over the past century, archaeologists have uncovered more than 1,600 Proto-Elamite inscriptions, but only about 43 in Linear Elamite, scattered widely across Iran.

Have Scholars Finally Deciphered a Mysterious Ancient Script?

Linear Elamite, a writing system used in what is now Iran, may reveal the secrets of a little-known kingdom bordering Sumer

A pair of rock reliefs found at Rabana-Merquly may depict Natounissar, an ancient Adiabene king linked to the lost city of Natounia.

Why Archaeologists Think They've Found the Lost City of Natounia

New research draws on rock reliefs and ancient coins to link the Rabana-Merquly fortress in Iraq to a vassal state of the Parthian Empire

A fresco depicting the abduction of Europa by Zeus, in the form of a bull

See the Hidden, 500-Year-Old Frescoes Discovered at the Prince's Palace of Monaco

Restoration experts spent years preserving the artworks, which are now on view as the royal residence reopens for the summer

One reader wonders: Since purple dye was scarce, why didn’t people just combine blue and red?

Why Was Purple the Color of Royalty? And More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts.

Reconstruction of marble finial in the form of a sphinx (detail), 2022, by Vinzenz Brinkmann and Ulrike Koch-Brinkmann

See the Vibrant, Long-Overlooked Colors of Classical Sculptures

A new exhibition at the Met features brightly hued reconstructions of ancient Greco-Roman artworks

Archaeologists found the remains of roughly 350 frogs near an Iron Age roundhouse.

How Did Thousands of Frog Bones End Up Buried at an Iron Age Settlement?

Archaeologists are trying to make sense of the remains, found in a ditch in England

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