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Dinosaurs Myths and Monsters
From dinosaurs to mammoths, when our ancient ancestors encountered the fossil bones of extinct prehistoric creatures, what did they think they were? Just like us, ancient peoples were fascinated by the giant bones they found in the ground. Historian Tom Holland goes on a journey of discovery to explore the fascinating ways in which our ancestors sought to explain the remains of dinosaurs and other giant prehistoric creatures, and how bones and fossils have shaped and affected human culture.
In Classical Greece, petrified bones were exhibited in temples as the remains of a long-lost race of colossal heroes. Chinese tales of dragons may well have had their origins in the great fossil beds of the Gobi desert. In the Middle Ages, Christians believed that mysterious bones found in rock were the remains of giants drowned in Noah's Flood.
Tom encounters a medieval sculpture that is the first known reconstruction of a monster from a fossil, and learns about the Native Americans stories, told for generations, which contained clues that led bone hunters to some of the greatest dinosaur finds of the nineteenth century.
A team of Australian and Chinese scientists discover mysterious ancient human remains from a remote cave in South West China. The bones are unlike any living human or any ancient human known to science, yet they were alive at the same time as humans of our own kind. Could they represent a new human species? And if so, what happened to these people?
Could the fabled lost city of Atlantis have been located? Professor Freund explained how he led a pursuit to find the lost civilisation, believed by many to be an ancient Greek myth, by using deep-ground radar, digital mapping and satellite imagery. He contends that Atlantis, described by Plato in 360BC, in Spain's Donaña National Park, north of Cadiz, and was wiped out by a giant tsunami. Plato wrote it had been destroyed by a natural disaster in 9,000BC. Experts are now surveying marshlands in Spain to look for proof of the ancient city.
Hidden Worlds 3D Caves of the Dead
2013 History 3D
In the days of the Mayas, cenotes – deep, natural pits on the Yucatan peninsula - provided the only means of obtaining drinking water. But in the mythology of this advanced civilisation, these waterholes and caves were also the entrance to Xibalba – the underworld. All deceased were obliged to pass through Xibalba and wait there until they were called into heaven. It was a place in which one made sacrifices to the gods – objects of daily life, as well as bloody, human sacrifices. To this day, the relics of these acts are still in place preserved underwater for more than a thousand years. The entrance to the underworld begins at a dirty waterhole in the middle of the Mexican jungle overgrown and barely recognisable. But immediately after entry, a hall of breath-taking dimensions and beauty is revealed. As if they were sculptures, stalactites and stalagmites lend the underwater cave an almost sacred ambience. By now, one has succumbed to the fascination emanated by the world’s largest underwater cave system. We accompany four professional research divers to Yucatan – a team of specialists, able to squeeze their bodies through crevices and holes, barely larger than their bodies and who master dives that would push even the most experienced divers to their limits. With them, we penetrate worlds only a few people have ever ventured into. We encounter the remains of human victims, prehistoric fireplaces and primeval animal skeletons and undertake a dive, which takes us from the primeval forest to the open sea. We then enter Xibalba – the place of myths and the dead. In the days of the Mayas - a voyage of no return. Today, this is one of the greatest challenges one can face as a diver – the hidden world of the underwater caves of Yucatan – all filmed in 3D.
He was stalked, attacked and left to die alone. Murdered more than 5,000 years ago, Ötzi the Iceman is Europe’s oldest known natural mummy. Miraculously preserved in glacial ice, his remarkably intact remains continue to provide scientists, historians, and archeologists with ground-breaking discoveries about a crucial time in human history.
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