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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.
The Universe Season 7
The Real Garden of Eden
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.
Bible's Buried Secrets
The Revelation of the Pyramids
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
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.
The Story of China
The Universe Season 7 Stonehenge
Perhaps the most mysterious structure on Earth, Stonehenge has stood on a plain in Southern England for 5000 years. Its foundations predate the Great Pyramids. It is one of mankind's most ancient mysteries. Why is it here? Is it a temple? A burial ground? A place for sacrifice? Or could the mystery of Stonehenge be revealed in its builders' desire to explore the unknown heavens and touch the universe? Using the cutting-edge computer-generated imagery that takes us into deep space, we'll also go inside a virtual Stonehenge to see what the ancients saw and push this prehistoric marvel to give up its age-old secrets.
In this episode we explore the possibility that this was a prehistoric astronomical observatory. Here ancient astronomer priests may have divined the complex movements of the Sun and Moon, recognizing patterns that would not be discovered elsewhere for thousands of years. The primitive Shamans may have also been the first astronomers to predict eclipses.
The Universe Season 7
Conquest of the Skies
George Harrison Living in the Material World
The Sky at Night
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