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.
When ancient architects completed construction on the Great Pyramid at Giza, they left behind the greatest riddle of the engineering world—how did builders lift limestone blocks weighing an average of two and a half tons 480 feet up onto the top of the Pyramid? For centuries, adventurers and Egyptologists have crawled through every passageway and chamber of the Pyramid, measuring and collecting data in an attempt to determine how it was built. For the first time, a revolutionary theory argues that the answer may be inside the Pyramid. Architect Jean-Pierre Houdin and Egyptologist Bob Brier use 3-D software to unlock the secret.
Particle physicist Prof. Brian Cox asks, 'What time is it?' It's a simple question and it sounds like it has a simple answer. But do we really know what it is that we're asking? Brian visits the ancient Mayan pyramids in Mexico where the Maya built temples to time. He finds out that a day is never 24 hours and meets Earth's very own Director of Time. He journeys to the beginning of time, and goes beyond within the realms of string theory, and explores the very limit of time. He discovers that we not only travel through time at the speed of light, but the experience we feel as the passing of time could be an illusion.
The Taiga forest, on the edge of the Arctic, is a silent world of stunted conifers. The trees may be small but filming from the air reveals its true scale. A third of all trees on Earth grow here and during the short summer they produce enough oxygen to change the atmosphere. In California General Sherman, a giant sequoia, is the largest living thing on the planet, ten times the size of a blue whale. The oldest organisms alive are bristlecone pines. At more than 4,000 years old they pre-date the pyramids. But the baobab forests of Madagascar are perhaps the strangest of all.
Category:Nature Duration:50:00 Series: Planet Earth
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