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June No. 3
Skaði, The Norse ‘Giantess’ with a Godly Vendetta
In Norse mythology, Skaði (also anglicised as Skadi, Skade, or Skathi) is a giantess and goddess. She is most often associated with winter. Apart from that, Skaði is also connected with hunting, skiing and mountains. According to Norse belief, Skaði is the daughter of Thjazi, who was murdered by the Aesir. Additionally, Skaði is believed to be the wife of Njord, a Vanir. The death of Skaði’s father and her marriage to Njord are connected in a well-known Norse myth...
Kailasa Temple: How Was This Massive Hindu Temple Carved out of a Single Rock?
The Kailasa Temple has been dubbed as ‘Cave 16’ of the Ellora Caves, and is notable for being the largest monolithic structure in the world that was carved out of a single piece of rock. Apart from the temple’s impressive size, it is also remarkable for its sculptures, as well as for the fine workmanship of its other architectural elements. The Kailasa Temple [known also as the Kailasanatha (which translates as ‘Lord of Kailasa’) Temple] is an ancient Hindu temple located in the western Indian region of Maharashtra...
Invisible 2500-Year-Old Hebrew Inscription Brought to Light by Advanced Technique
Although many people seek out unknown artifacts and sites, it is worthwhile to re-examine previously discovered relics as well. New information can be attained from taking a subsequent look at an artifact, especially if updated technology is involved. For example, researchers have found “hidden” text on a pottery shard which has been on display in The Israel Museum for over half a century. The recently detected inscription adds to the knowledge of the First Temple period...
Over 80 Strange Bronze Age Holes Discovered in Sweden. Why Did People Gather there 3000 Years Ago?
If preliminary analyses of the excavations are right, it appears food preparation and large gatherings have gone hand in hand in Sweden for millennia. 82 holes of varying sizes and a more modern ceramic pot with unknown contents have been found in a recently unearthed archaeological site. Although unconfirmed, the pits have been associated with an ancient cooking practice and the site is linked to ceremonial rituals; together these elements suggest rituals and feasting, but what exactly was going on in Sunnsvära, Sweden 3000 years ago?...
The Double-Headed Eagle: An Everlasting Symbol of Power
The double-headed eagle has been a popular symbol associated with the concept of a powerful Empire. Most contemporary uses of the symbol are exclusively associated with its use by the Byzantine Empire and the Greek Orthodox Church. However, the double-headed eagle has been in use for thousands of years – way before the Greeks identify it with the Byzantine Empire and Orthodox religion – while its original meaning is debated among scholars. The eagle was a common symbol representing power in ancient Greek city-states...
Wei Zhongxian: When China Yielded to the Terrifying Power of a Notorious Eunuch
Wei Zhongxian is often considered to be the most powerful and notorious eunuch in Chinese history. He had powers almost equivalent to that of the emperor’s and those who opposed him were ruthlessly eliminated. Wei Zhongxian (written in Chinese as 魏忠贤) lived between the 16th and 17th centuries, during which China was under the rule of the Ming Dynasty. This eunuch served the Tianqi Emperor, who reigned from 1620 to 1627, and was an extremely influential figure in the late Ming court - the empire was practically ruled by the eunuch...
Where Did the Polynesians Really Come From?
Oceania was the last region to be settled by humans and the last part of Oceania to be settled by humans was Polynesia. Polynesians are famous for their voyages to remote islands in distant parts of the Pacific. Using outrigger canoes, they founded a society across islands stretching in a triangle from the Hawaiian Islands to Easter Island to New Zealand, that was reasonably well connected by trade, language, culture, and religion, for being distributed over such a large area...
Beaver's teeth 'used to carve the oldest wooden statue in the world’
Ouija boards, also known as talking boards or spirit boards, are a relatively modern tool/game that strikes fear and wonder in the hearts of many people. Almost everyone has heard stories of someone connecting with malevolent beings or suffering unfortunate events following the use of a Ouija board. But what’s the real story behind these terrifying tales? Spirit boards have been in use since at least the 19th century in America and rose in popularity with the interest in spiritualism – the belief that the dead can communicate with the living...
Did Ancient Humans Acquire Nautical Knowledge by Sailing the Prehistoric Megalakes of Africa?
There is increasing evidence that anatomically modern humans (AMH) left Africa 100,000 years ago. Archaeological evidence indicates that AMH were in Arabia, China, Crete, and Brazil over 100,000 years ago. It has been shown that AMH left Africa before 60 thousand years ago. The archaeological evidence from the Americas and Eurasia make it clear that people left Africa over 100,000 years ago to settle other parts of the world. The presence of AMH in Crete and Brazil suggests that some of these ancient AMH were skilled navigators who used some sort of sailing vessel to reach...
Within Walls: The Archaeology of Magical House Protection
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Dried cats, horse skulls, witch bottles, concealed shoes, written charms: all these artifacts and more were used to protect people and homes from invisible menace and the supernatural. But was it enough to keep witches at bay?
In this intriguing Ancient Origins Premium Webinar by author and independent researcher Brian Hoggard, we delve into the archaeological evidence for magical house protection from the late medieval period onwards. Strange artifacts and protective marks will be discussed and explanations for the thinking behind their use will also be explored.
The evidence clearly indicates a strong belief in witchcraft which permeated all levels of society and led people to spend huge amounts of energy in deploying counter-witchcraft measures throughout their homes and other buildings.
Brian Hoggard is an independent researcher who has been working on the archaeology of folk magic since 1999. He has written about Bredon Hill in Worcestershire, Crusader Castles, and lots of pieces dealing with the archaeology relating to witchcraft beliefs. When not researching or writing he runs a music teaching business. | Bredon Hill: A Guide to Its Archaeology, History, Folklore and Villages
Brian is currently writing a book all about this topic. Details will be announced via his website: apotropaios.co.uk soon. Due to the success of the Hidden Charms Conference of 2016, he and his colleagues are now organising Hidden Charms 2 which will take place in the Medieval Hall, Cathedral Close, Salisbury, UK on Saturday 21st April 2018. Details and tickets available from Apotropais.
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