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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

The Lost Gardens of Babylon

   2014    History
Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Hanging Garden of Babylon is the most elusive of these constructions of classical antiquity. While traces have been found of the Great Pyramid of Gaza, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes and the Lighthouse of Alexandria, centuries of digging have turned up nothing about the lost gardens of Babylon – until now.
Why, in the nearly 3,000 years since the gardens were presumably built, has no archeological evidence ever been found to support their existence? Is the Hanging Garden of Babylon a myth or a mystery to be solved?
Travel with Dr. Stephanie Dalley of Oxford University’s Oriental Institute and author of The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon, to one of the most dangerous places on earth, as she sets out to answer these questions and prove not only that the gardens did exist, but also identify where they most likely were located, describe what they looked like and explain how they were constructed.
Series: Secrets of the Dead

A Passage to India

   2004    Nature
Travelling from K2 in Pakistan to Ladakh in India. It is a short distance as the crow flies but, due to politics, a huge loop. He passes through the Sikh city of Amritsar, with its Golden Temple, and through Shimla with its Vice Regal Lodge, Gaiety Theatre and cosy half-timbered tea-houses. He then meets the 14th Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, where the Tibetan government is in exile.
Series: Himalaya with Michael Palin

The Story of India: Ages of Gold

   2007    History
Presenter Michael Wood seeks out the achievements of the country’s golden age, discovering how India discovered zero, calculated the circumference of the Earth and wrote the world’s first sex guide, the Kama Sutra. In the south, he visits the giant temple of Tanjore and sees traditional bronze casters, working as their ancestors did 1,000 years ago.
Series: The Story of India

The Serpent and the Lotus

   2012    Culture
In ancient Greece the Asclepian healing temples recognized the power of the primordial spiral which is symbolized by the rod of Asclepius. To this day, this symbol of our evolutionary energy remains as the logo of the American Medical Association and other medical organizations worldwide. The snake, the downward direction, is the manifested spiral, the evolutionary energy of the world.
Series: Inner Worlds Outer Worlds
The Human Body
The Human Body

   1998    Medicine
The Art of Russia
The Art of Russia

   2009    Art
Life of a Universe
Life of a Universe

   2017    Science
Life In Cold Blood
Life In Cold Blood

   2008    Nature
In Search of Beethoven
In Search of Beethoven

   2009    Art
Absolute Zero
Absolute Zero

   2007    Technology