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From Pictures to Words

   2020    History
We take it for granted, but every time we pick up a pen or type on the keyboard, we are employing the most powerful technology ever invented: the technology of writing. Explore how the invention of writing gave humanity a history. From hieroglyphs to emojis, the series is an exploration of the way in which the technology of writing has shaped the world we live in.
The invention of writing about 5,000 years ago made civilization itself possible, and every innovation of the modern world is based on the foundation of the written word. But how and where did writing begin, and who began it? In From Pictures to Words, the first of three films about the history of writing, we uncover the hidden links between all the diverse writing systems in use today and trace the origin of our own alphabet to a turquoise mine in the Sinai Desert and a man riding a donkey whose name was Khebded.
Series: The Secret History of Writing

Rise of Civilization

   2016    History
The Bronze Age covers 2,000 years of history in the Aegean/Mediterranean, Egypt and Near East from roughly 3000 BC to 1000 BC. New animations produced by Pixeldust include the reconstruction of four ancient capitals, including the Egyptian city of Thebes and the early Greek capital of Mycenae. What singled out this period and the new societies and cities that emerged? The development of formal writing is one among several important factors.
Series: Bronze Age

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.

Masters of Trade

   2016    History
Trade, and in particular trade in luxury goods, drove the commerce economies of the Bronze Age. This is the time when the first super powers in history, Egypt and Mesopotamia, emerge and dominate the 'world' stage of the Mediterranean and Aegean seas and surrounding areas.
Series: Bronze Age

Racism: A History
Racism: A History

   2007    Culture
The Incredible Human Journey
The Incredible Human Journey

   2009    History
Science and Islam
Science and Islam

   2017    History
Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle
Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle

   2018    History
Reel Rock
Reel Rock

   2014    Culture
The Men Who Built America
The Men Who Built America

   2012    History
Leaving Neverland
Leaving Neverland

   2019    Culture
Cosmos: Possible Worlds
Cosmos: Possible Worlds

   2020    Science