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Warrior Graveyard

 

Ghosts of the Crusades

       History
The series Warrior Graveyard uncovers some extraordinary warrior skeletons from history. Archaeologists and forensic scientists use remains to tell the story of famous warriors of the past and unleash the full force of modern forensics upon them: battle scars, bone deformations and recoverable scraps of DNA will all be tested and explored. CGI and drama will then bring them dramatically to life, revealing a revolutionary new picture of how these warriors lived - and died.
An archaeological and forensic examination of six crusaders' bones brings to life the 1179 Battle of Jacob's Ford, revealing the wounds that killed the warriors in the Holy Land. With every sword slash comes an insight into an historic day. Excavations along the Israel/ Jordan border are unearthing skeletons and rewriting the history of the First Crusade. The site at Jacob's Ford is the only known Crusader battle site with complete skeletons. To secure the road between Akkon and Damascus, King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem had a mighty castle built at the Jacob's Ford of the Jordan River in October 1178. The fortress was a thorn in the side of Sultan Saladin, so he had it stormed a year later, before it was completed.
Excavations have been taking place on the site of the legendary crusader castle since the early 1990s. Archaeologists and forensic experts have examined the remains of six fallen crusaders and uncovered fascinating details about the Battle of Chastellet. The programme has secured access to the excavation and remains of some of the 80 Crusader Knights and 750 foot soldiers stationed at the fort when it was attacked and its Crusaders massacred by Saladin's army in 1179, in the battle that changed the course of history in the Middle East.

Samurai Massacre

       History
The unearthing of a gruesome grave filled with thousands of skeletons at the beach of Kamakura in Japan could be about to unlock the true extent of the merciless violence and mystery surrounding the true origins of one of the most feared and revered warriors of all time: the Samurai.
In the Middle Ages, Kamakura was the capital of Japan. The 'Shogun', a kind of aristocratic military dictator, ruled here. This shogunate ended in 1333 with the Battle of Kamakura. A drastic event in Japanese history, because this resulted in not only political, but also social, philosophical and technical innovations. The remains of the samurai warriors who fell near Kamakura now provide scientists with detailed insights into the time of the Kamakura shogunate and the bloody conflict between the shogun and the emperor.
The chilling burial ground dates back to 1333. Kamakura was one of the most heavily fortified regions of Japan. When the Emperor became angered by the growing powers of the ruling Hojo family, he sought to retake control of the region, setting the stage for a war that would change the shape of the nation. Among over 4000 sets of remains, six have a unique story to tell: the husband and wife involved in a sword fight to the death; the warrior monk; a peasant boy soldier; and members of the ruling Hojo family, captured and decapitated, with their heads displayed as trophies of victory. These remains reveal the secrets of the Samurai, their ferocious fighting skills and their merciless killing techniques.

Navy of the Damned

       History
Recent archaeological sites in England offer a whole new perspective on the life and death of the seafarers and marines who built the British Empire in the 18th and 19th centuries. The bones of sailors reveal surprising and shocking facts. Apparently not only seasoned men but also half children did their service in the Royal Navy; according to the investigations, the youngest were no older than 13 years. A forensic archaeologist studies the injuries on bones discovered at the site of an battle and suggests how these people may have died.
Three-hundred-and-fifty skeletons, exhumed from Royal Navy graveyards from the age of Nelson's Navy, are throwing an extraordinary new light on how these sailors lived, fought, outwitted their enemy, and, from the oldest to youngest, suffered for victory. These men were the beating heart of the most victorious fleet in history and never have so many of these sailors' remains been available for forensic investigation.
Six remarkable stories stand out: the child sailor, the top man, the American gunner, the freed slave, the marine and the victim of the sailor's most dreaded disease: syphilis. Broken bones, amputations, injuries from blows with a saber or cutlass, sexually transmitted diseases, but also malnutrition - the list of causes of death is long. There is definitely no tale of seafaring romance. These fighters and sailors sailed the globe as cannon fodder, conquered an empire for the crown, and were themselves forgotten. No longer just bones in a box, the men of Nelson's Navy are back from the dead.
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