Religious History

This 14th-century religious carving of a water spirit was part of a window decoration in a Kathmandu monastery.

Rubin Museum Agrees to Return Stolen Religious Artifacts to Nepal

An investigation launched by the New York cultural institution concluded that the 14th- and 17th-century carvings were "unlawfully obtained"

Finds unveiled in 2021 included a wooden falcon that originally belonged to doomed queen Anne Boleyn, an intact ancient chicken egg and a dress worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz.

Cool Finds

Ninety-Nine Fascinating Finds Revealed in 2021

The year's most exciting discoveries include a Viking "piggy bank," a lost Native American settlement and a secret passageway hidden behind a bookshelf

The newly discovered synagogue is the second found in the ancient community.

Cool Finds

Researchers Unearth 2,000-Year-Old Synagogue in Mary Magdalene's Supposed Hometown

The religious center is the second of its kind found in Migdal, an ancient community on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee

The term “Crusade” has always been an anachronism—a way of looking back at complex, often disconnected movements with a wide array of motivations, membership, tactics and results and organizing them into a single coherent theology or identity. Pictured: A 19th-century painting of the 1177 Battle of Montgisard by Charles-Philippe Larivière

The Many Myths of the Term 'Crusader'

Conceptions of the medieval Crusades tend to lump disparate movements together, ignoring the complexity and diversity of these military campaigns

The team found traces of an earlier temple beneath the famed sun temple of Nyuserra (pictured).

Cool Finds

Archaeologists Discover 'Lost,' 4,500-Year-Old Egyptian Sun Temple

Fifth-Dynasty pharaohs built six such structures. Until now, only two had been found

Virtual reconstruction of Krishna Lifting Mount Govardhan as it may have looked around 600 C.E., when it decorated a manmade cave temple in southern Cambodia

A Botched Restoration Left These Ancient Cambodian Statues With Swapped Limbs

Now properly pieced together, the sculptures of Hindu deity Krishna are on view at the Cleveland Museum of Art

The heads belong to statues previously discovered in the ancient city.

Cool Finds

Roman-Era Shops, Statues of Greek Deities Found in Ancient City in Turkey

Researchers in Aizanoi unearthed traces of a bone workshop and an oil lamp store, as well as the heads of sculptures depicting Aphrodite and Dionysus

Carved by industrious miners thousands of years ago, countless shafts wend through the desert of the Timna Valley.

An Archaeological Dig Reignites the Debate Over the Old Testament's Historical Accuracy

Beneath a desert in Israel, a scholar and his team are unearthing astonishing new evidence of an advanced society in the time of the biblical Solomon

The Srivijaya Empire was known for its wealth and dominance of maritime trade routes.

Cool Finds

Indonesian Divers Discover Treasures From Enigmatic 'Island of Gold'

Archaeological evidence of the Srivijaya Empire is limited, but recent finds made along the Musi River may shed light on the mysterious civilization

Houdini exposed fake Spiritualist practices by having himself photographed with the "ghost" of Abraham Lincoln.

For Harry Houdini, Séances and Spiritualism Were Just an Illusion

The magician spent years campaigning against fraudulent psychics, even lobbying Congress to ban fortune-telling in D.C.

During the Middle Ages, dragons more often figured in accounts about the lives of saints and religious figures than stories of heists and adventures.

Why Dragons Dominated the Landscape of Medieval Monsters

The mythical beasts were often cast as agents of the devil or demons in disguise

A new book by journalist Andrew Lawler chronicles an illicit 1909–1911 excavation in Israel's Holy City. Pictured here: a replica of the Ark of Covenant in front of an early 20th-century map of Jerusalem

The Secret Excavation of Jerusalem

A British aristocrat looking for the Ark of the Covenant launched history's most peculiar archaeological dig—and set off a crisis in the Middle East

Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes was serving as a consul general in France when the Nazis invaded the country.

The Untold Story of the Portuguese Diplomat Who Saved Thousands From the Nazis

As the German army marched across France, Aristides de Sousa Mendes faced a choice: obey his government or follow his conscience—and risk everything

A diver discovered the 900-year-old sword in a natural cove off the coast of northern Israel.

Cool Finds

Diver Discovers 900-Year-Old Crusader Sword Off Israel's Coast

The four-foot-long weapon is encrusted in marine organisms but otherwise in "perfect condition"

The white pipeclay Venus statuette before (right) and after (left) cleaning

Roman-Era Statue of Venus, Goddess of Love, Discovered in England

The seven-inch-tall figurine likely stood in a household shrine in what is now Gloucestershire some 1,800 years ago

The golden bowl may have been used in religious ceremonies honoring the sun.

Cool Finds

3,000-Year-Old Golden Bowl Adorned With Sun Motif Found in Austria

Researcher Michał Sip described the prehistoric vessel as the "discovery of a lifetime"

Researchers in Turkey have uncovered an all-but-forgotten ancient Greek temple and a 50,000-seat stadium (shown).

Entrance Gate to Greek Temple of Zeus Unearthed in Turkey

Archaeologists excavating the ancient city of Magnesia hope to fully restore the 2,300-year-old sacred structure

In this 2017 photo, employees set up scaffolding to remove stained-glass windows depicting Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson at Washington National Cathedral.

National Cathedral to Replace Confederate-Themed Stained Glass With Art Dedicated to Racial Justice

Artist Kerry James Marshall will create two new windows for the historic Washington, D.C. church

“Air temperatures rapidly rose above 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit,” writes study co-author Christopher Moore. “Clothing and wood immediately burst into flames. Swords, spears, mudbricks and pottery began to melt. Almost immediately, the entire city was on fire.”

Ancient City's Destruction by Exploding Space Rock May Have Inspired Biblical Story of Sodom

Around 1650 B.C.E., the Bronze Age city of Tall el-Hammam was wiped out by a blast 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb used at Hiroshima

Researchers say it's "highly likely" that the men died in battle in either 1253 or 1260.

Mass Graves of 13th-Century Crusaders Reveal Brutality of Medieval Warfare

Found in Lebanon, the 25 soldiers' remains bear unhealed wounds from stabbing, slicing and blunt force trauma

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