As popular and as steeped in History as the Ashes is, few truly know where and how the Ashes came into being.
Folklore and legend has taken over from the actual history of what occurred in the first few series' between Australia and England from 1877.
Some believe the ashes contained in that little urn are the burned bails from a match played just north of Melbourne, some say it's a ball, while others suggest the ashes are a score card from when England fist lost to Australia, signifying the 'death of cricket'.
As the great 20th century philosopher Fox Moulder once said "The truth is out there". So what actually happened?
Just 89 years after the arrival of 162,000 convicts from England to Australia as part of the first fleet, Australia travelled to England to play the first match between the two countries. However, it wasn't for another 5 years before the Ashes legend was born.
1882 is widely recognised as the birth of the Ashes and is officially recorded so – even though the two teams had ever heard the term.
In 1882 the unthinkable happened for the Mother Country – they lost.
It was unthinkable not only because it was any colony, but it was a colony founded on criminals and the loss was handed to them on home soil.
One newspaper delivered the following in death notice section of the paper
In Affectionate Remembrance of ENGLISH CRICKET, which died at the Oval on 29th AUGUST 1882, Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing friends and acquaintances
N.B.â€"The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.
This was the beginning of the Ashes legend.
Later in the year England send a team to Australia. The English captain, Bligh, declared he would collect the ashes and bring them home.
The term caught on in the media, particularly in Australia, however, by 1905 the term had all but disappeared.
Over the following years, various forms of urns were presented to the winning captains but it wasn't for some years that Lord Darnley (Captain Bligh) came forward with an urn he claimed was given to him following a private match in Sunbruy, just north of Melbourne.
And so the ashes, as we now know it, was born.
But just what is in that urn?
As we all know they were variously reported to be the remains of a stump, bail or the outer casing of a ball, but in 1998 Darnley's 82-year-old daughter-in-law made an outrageous claim they were the remains of her mother-in-law's veil.
In these days, by simply opening the urn and doing some basic testing, I am sure we could all know once and for all what is contained in the urn. But do we want to?
The Ashes legend has helped drive a fierce rivalry between the two countries and to find out the contents of the urn are actually the remains of a veil, or someone's pet poodle would simply lessen the significance of this great sporting rivalry.
The truth might be out there, but in this case it will never be found.