Last Watched

"Archaeology"  Sort by

The Lost Pyramids of Caral

   2002    History
The magnificent ancient city of pyramids at Caral in Peru is a thousand years older than the earliest known civilisation in the Americas and, at 2,627 BC, is as old as the pyramids of Egypt. Many now believe it is the fabled missing link of archaeology - a 'mother city'. If so, then these extraordinary findings could finally answer one of the great questions of archaeology: why did humans become civilised?" For over a century, archaeologists have been searching for what they call a mother city. Civilisation began in only six areas of the world: Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, China, Peru and Central America. In each of these regions people moved from small family units to build cities of thousands of people. They crossed the historic divide, one of the great moments in human history. Why? To find the answer archaeologists needed to find a mother city - the first stage of city-building. Caral, is so much older than anything else in South America that it is a clear candidate to be the mother city. It also is in pristine condition. Nothing has been built on it at all. Instead laid out before the world is an elaborate complex of pyramids, temples, an amphitheatre and ordinary houses. Scientists developed a number of theories. Some said it was because of the development of trade, others that it was irrigation. Some even today believe it was all because of aliens. Gradually an uneasy consensus emerged. The key force common to all civilisations was warfare. Crucially, there is not the faintest trace of warfare at Caral; no battlements, no weapons, no mutilated bodies. Instead, Ruth's findings suggest it was a gentle society, built on commerce and pleasure. In one of the pyramids they uncovered beautiful flutes made from condor and pelican bones. They have also found evidence of a culture that took drugs and perhaps aphrodisiacs. Most stunning of all, they have found the remains of a baby, lovingly wrapped and buried with a precious necklace made of stone beads.

The Pyramids

   2014    History
The Great Pyramids of Giza remain one of the enduring wonders of the ancient world. This mesmerizing monument have eluded astronomers and archeologists for centuries. Why and how the ancient pyramids of the pharaohs were built? Were they merely burial tombs, or a cosmic vehicle to the celestial world? What were the motives and methods behind the orientation of the pyramids to face the four cardinal directions with extreme accuracy?
The world's renowned Egyptologists, astronomers and engineers join forces to solve some of the long-held mysteries about the pyramids.
Series: The Universe Season 7

The Real Garden of Eden

   2011    Culture
Can we find the Garden of Eden? Bible scholar Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou thinks so. In the final episode of her series re-examining conventional readings of the Bible, she argues that the Garden of Eden has nothing to do with the origins of humanity, but is rather a story concealing dramatic events about a particular figure in a particular place, two and half thousand years ago. Marshalling compelling evidence from archaeology, Islam and the Bible text itself, she identifies and visits the exact site of Eden. It's a revolutionary theory which challenges some of the most cherished preconceptions about Eden in both Christianity and western culture.
Series: Bible's Buried Secrets

The Revelation of the Pyramids

   2010    History
An apocryphal view on the pyramids, starting in awe at the amazing achievement of the Pharaonic architecture and sculpture, most specially at Gizeh, given Cheops's pyramid's size, weight, incredibly precise carving, four pairs of slightly shifted half sides, stunningly precisely measured shapes and symmetry. Then it questions and challenges conventional Egyptology beliefs, which it calls unproven or even impossible to verify, such as the absence of machines, a wharf duration of only 20 years or accidental equinox-orientation. Next it elaborates the theory that other major pyramid technology sites in Precolombian America, Easter Island and China can't coincidentally lie on two lines intersecting at Gizeh, even if not contemporaneous and without known contacts in their ages, and have several improbable things in common, like some of their cultures. Elaborate mathematical theories and measurements indicate the Egyptians must have known some astronomy, pi and the golden number

The Story of China Ancestors

   2016    History
Michael Wood embarks on a great historical adventure, exploring the stories, people and landscapes that have helped create China's distinctive character and genius over four thousand years. Is the history of the world's newest superpower, from its ancient past to the present day.
Starting in Wuxi, Michael joins the Qin family reunion, when 300 relatives gather to worship their ancestors on Tomb Sweeping Day. 'Like the nation, the family has been through so much,' one says. 'Now everyone wants to know - what are our roots?'
Looking for the origins of the Chinese state, he visits the excavations at Erlitou and sees an exquisite turquoise dragon sceptre from 2000 BC. China's first writing is found on 'oracle bones' dug up from the Shang royal tombs at Anyang in the 1920s. At the Beijing Planetarium, Michael travels back in time as astronomers plot the planetary conjunction that the ancients believed foretold the overthrow of the Shang Dynasty. Next, the Age of Philosophers and Confucius, whose book Analects has had greater influence worldwide than even the Bible, according to some. In Xi'an, we hear how the First Emperor united China and created the authoritarian Qin state that gave us the word China. Finally, Michael returns to the temple fair in Henan for a dramatic night ceremony to give thanks to the ancestors. China, Michael concludes, is rising again, not just because of its economic strength, but because of the incredible solidarity of the Han Chinese view of their own civilisation, their sense of family and, of course, the presence of the ancestors.
Series: The Story of China
The Universe Season 8
The Universe Season 8

   2016    Science
Earth, the Power of the Planet
Earth, the Power of the Planet

   2007    Nature
Seven Ages of Rock
Seven Ages of Rock

   2007    Art
Space Deepest Secrets
Space Deepest Secrets

   2020    Science
Planet Dinosaur
Planet Dinosaur

   2011    Science
Atom
Atom

   2007    Science
Africa with David Attenborough
Africa with David Attenborough

   2013    Nature
Conquistadors
Conquistadors

   2002    History