Contributor: Brian Anthony. Lesson ID: 11173

News Flash: Scientists discover that ancient mythology is true! Well, at least partly true. Discover how scientists and historians use mythology to uncover precious information about the distant past!



learning style
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


The word "myth" has become synonymous with words like "false," and "made-up." What if I told you that researchers now believe there is truth in the myths of old? Some scientists are using world mythology as a way to uncover ancient natural disasters!

  • What is your favorite myth?

Take a look at a few summaries in this Mythology page, courtesy of University Press ( In the myths you read, can you detect any historical facts, or any information that can be used to understand history? Share the myths you find with a parent or teacher and discuss:

  • What value could stories like these have for a historian?

The myths of the many cultures of the world can be fun, fanciful, inspiring, and confusing. We don't normally think of them as true, but every story — even stories that are made up — contains some element of truth.

As it turns out, scientists are discovering more truth in ancient myths and legends than they ever expected. How is that possible? Read this article, Ancient legends give an early warning of modern disasters, by Robin McKie, retrieved from The Guardian. As you read, record:

  • at least three examples of myths.
  • the cultures that transmitted those myths.
  • the confirmed information revealed by the myths.

Reflect and discuss with your parent or teacher:

  • What methods could scientists possibly use to confirm the content of ancient stories?
  • Write down the steps or the evidence you think they could employ to uncover forgotten truths.

There are thousands upon thousands of myths and legends. These stories have many different purposes — they are told to teach moral lessons, to celebrate identity, and to entertain, among other things. The challenge is to read them for possible historical fact!

Carry on to the Got It? section to examine some myth sources.

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