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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

Magical Egypt

       History
In this documentary we moved to Ancient Egypt to learn their vision of the world, life and death, gods and magic. For the ancient Egyptians, the Nile was the main connection between their lives and an infinite supply of provisions. But its waters hid an underworld of darkness and mystery for its first settlers. The Nile was one the spiritual paths that combined life and death, the real world and the underworld.

Machu Picchu Decoded

   2009    History
Deep in the Andean mountains lays a mysterious ruin named Machu Picchu. For 400 years it sat abandoned on its misty cliff, the quintessential lost city in the jungle. Rediscovered in 1911, it contained no written records or carvings, nothing that could shed light on its history. For a century since, it has defied the endless scores of visitors and scientists who attempted to understand its purpose. Who were the mysterious people who built it and why did they build it here? Today an international team of archaeologists, engineers and scientists are finally piecing together the clues. Together they are discovering astonishing new burials, revealing the intricacies of its ingenious engineering and finally decoding the secrets of Machu Picchu.

More Human Than Human

   2006    Art
Embark on a thrilling journey through time and five continents to the heart of creativity. Fusing social history, politics, science, nature, archaeology and religion, this international landmark series unravels a universal mystery - why the world around us looks like it does. Modern-day mysteries are answered by journeying back to the beginning of civilisation via some of the most amazing man-made creations in the world. In the first episode, one image dominates our contemporary world above all others: the human body. How Art Made the World travels from the modern world of advertising to the temples of classical Greece and the tombs of ancient Egypt to solve the mystery of why humans surround themselves with images of the body that are so unrealistic.
Series: How Art Made the World

Ancient Aliens Debunked: Anunnaki

       History
The word Anunnaki means "princely seed" or "princely blood". The idea is that the Anunnaki were direct creations of Anu, who was regarded as the father and king of the gods. Ancient Aliens: "In the ancient texts of Sumeria we have descriptions of these being descending from the sky called the Anunnaki. The term Anunnaki means 'those who from the heavens came."
Series: Ancient Aliens
The Last Dance
The Last Dance

   2020    Culture
Walking with Cavemen
Walking with Cavemen

   2003    History
The Human Body
The Human Body

   1998    Medicine
Life of a Universe
Life of a Universe

   2017    Science
Evolution
Evolution

   2004    Science
Catalyst
Catalyst

   2017    Science
The Beauty of Maps
The Beauty of Maps

   2010    Art