This is a journey to the roots of the modern world: from the eclectic Germanic tribes that defied the mighty Romans, to the seafaring Carthaginians that established the first global trade network, and the pioneering Arabs and their advances into modern science. Meet the ancestors that have shaped the world. The Carthaginians were sly merchants and cruel child killers - at least according to the Ancient Romans and Greeks. But research shows that they weren't as bad as their reputation. The story of their civilisation began around 3000 years ago, when settlers left their homes in what is now Lebanon to set up colonies around the Mediterranean. The most powerful was Carthage, a bustling metropolis in what is now Tunisia, with a port that was the envy of the entire world.
Since being uncovered, the objects found with the body of King Tutankhamun have perplexed Egyptologists. Now, with new technology, their secrets are revealed and a new vision of the boy king's rule comes to light.
A nation of seafarers and merchants, the Vikings revolutionised exploration and trading in the Middle Ages and discovered America 500 years before Columbus. Their bad reputation as wild, murdering and pillaging norsemen will be unveiled as misguided and a strikingly tolerant people with an elaborate trading network that stretched right through Europe will be revealed. For 900 years, their light, manoeuvrable sailing-ships could not be matched. As the best seafarers of their time, daring, tolerant explorers and expert merchants, they set new benchmarks and left their mark everywhere. Alternative episode title: How the Vikings Changed the World.
Professor Alice Roberts tells the story of the iconic Irish artefacts that have helped to shape and create modern Ireland, both North and South. The programme reveals the surprising tales behind treasures such as the Tara Broach, the Broighter Hoard, the Waterford Charter Roll and others, revealing new stories behind the artefacts that we thought we knew. It also reveals the most recent astounding finds, that are adding to the list of Ireland's Treasures. Using key access to Ireland's two largest museums, in Belfast and Dublin, the programme brings together archaeologists and curators who have spent their lives working to understand the true context for these emblematic treasures. Alternative title: Digging for Britain's Secrets.
What kind of a place was Britain before the Romans invaded? With no written history, only archaeology can provide the clues. Alice uncovers a world that is complex, sophisticated and pretty strange. She examines the two Hebridean Bronze Age skeletons known as the Cladh Hallan mummies. Not only do they appear to have been mummified, new analysis has revealed they are made up of a jigsaw of different people. What did our ancestors use the mummies for? And are there more British mummies out there? In Norfolk, Alice gets her hands dirty helping to pull up timber from a huge prehistoric monument that has been hidden in mud for at least 2000 years. And she visits the famous Roman town of Silchester, near Reading, where archaeologists are digging below the Roman layers to reveal the Iron Age settlement that lies beneath, uncovering evidence for a sophisticated pre-Roman lifestyle. Alternative title: Digging for Britain's Secrets.
Orkney - seven miles off the coast of Scotland, and cut off by the tumultuous Pentland Firth, the fastest-flowing tidal race in Europe - is often viewed as being remote. However it is one of the treasure troves of archaeology in Britain, and recent discoveries there are turning the Stone Age map of Britain upside down. Rather than an outpost at the edge of the world, recent finds suggest an extraordinary theory - that Orkney was the cultural capital of our ancient world and the origin of the stone circle cult which culminated in Stonehenge. In this episode, Andy dives below the waves in search of the inspiration for the first stone circle, Chris and Neil spend the night on an abandoned island as they hunt for clues as to why cultures change, Shini tests the technology behind a Bronze Age sauna, and the archaeologists uncover a remarkable find.
Dr Alice Roberts travels back to the Viking Age and visits excavations that are revealing a different side to these seafaring pirates from Scandinavia. She looks for signs of the earliest Viking settlers in the Outer Hebrides, and in Orkney - where Viking dominance outlasted anywhere else in Britain - she visits the excavation of a Viking chief's citadel and finds evidence of their way of life. There's an extraordinary collection of silver and gold that demonstrates the furthest reaches of the Vikings' trading empire, and excavations in York - famously the capital of Viking England. This episode also includes a fresh look at some of Britain's most celebrated Viking finds, such as the fantastic Lewis Chessmen, which are currently the subject of major new research. Alternative title: Digging for Britain's Secrets.
The first episode concentrates on Roman Britannia, where finds include the thickening mystery of 97 baby skeletons found by the Thames, a newly discovered town in rural Devon that turns history on its head, and a Roman cult figure buried for 1700 years beneath a fort. Alternative title: Digging for Britain's Secrets.
The Romans created one of the greatest empires in history, built with the help of an incredible army of professional legionnaires and a well-oiled political machinery. At its height, a few hundred men ruled over a fifth of mankind and an area stretching from Britain to Syria and from Gibraltar to the Euphrates. They undertook some of the most ambitious building-projects of their time: endless roads, gigantic bridges and imposing aqueducts formed a complex infrastructure and left a lasting legacy on civilisation. Alternative episode title: How the Romans Changed the World.
Dr Alice Roberts goes in search of the Tudor age, a time that saw momentous changes across all aspects of British life. She visits excavations at Shakespeare's first theatre in London's Shoreditch and also joins a team sifting through Shakespeare's rubbish at his last home in Stratford-Upon-Avon. In a remote corner of Wales, Alice meets a team of archaeologists uncovering the brutal realities of Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries, a conflict that would change the very fabric of Britain. On the muddy banks of the Thames, she discovers the rich history of a forgotten royal palace, which was home to the Tudor kings and queens. And she learns about a mysterious Tudor shipwreck which dates from this age of exploration and trade. Alternative title: Digging for Britain's Secrets.
Experience the epic ancient Battle of Thermopylae; the titanic clash in which King Leonidas and 300 Spartan warriors fought to the death against Xerxes and his massive Persian army.
Professor Alice Roberts explores the year's most exciting archaeological finds in the north of Britain. A team discovers clues to Scotland's first kingdoms, metal detectorists unearth a hoard of Viking treasure, and a new housing development reveals a graveyard of Iron Age warriors. Alternative title: Digging for Britain's Secrets.
The Anglo-Saxons - they divided our land and heralded the arrival of the Dark Ages. But were they really just barbarians? Dr Alice Roberts visits the royal seat of power at Bamburgh, Northumbria and sees how the skeletons tell tales of violent death, but also of tenderness. There's a remarkable community project in a shopping centre in Sittingbourne where people are curating the grave goods of their own ancestors. And there are treasures that make her wonder just how dark the Dark Ages really were. Alternative title: Digging for Britain's Secrets.
Orkney - seven miles off the coast of Scotland, and cut off by the tumultuous Pentland Firth, the fastest-flowing tidal race in Europe - is often viewed as being remote. However it is one of the treasure troves of archaeology in Britain, and recent discoveries there are turning the Stone Age map of Britain upside down. Rather than an outpost at the edge of the world, recent finds suggest an extraordinary theory - that Orkney was the cultural capital of our ancient world and the origin of the stone circle cult which culminated in Stonehenge. In this episode, Andy and some local seafaring volunteers build a boat made of just willow and cow hide and set out to cross the dangerous Pentland Firth as the ancient Orcadians would have done. Neil investigates the extraordinary discovery of some human bones, Chris goes in search of whales, and Shini uncovers the powers of the tides.
From the western steppes of China to the moors of Northern Europe, well-preserved ancient humans continue to be found, and with each comes a unique and compelling glimpse into life in the past.
In Norfolk, newly unearthed flint tools push the earliest human occupation back by 200,000 years, to around 1 million years ago. In Orkney, an early farm yields glimpses of our ancestors' earliest religious beliefs and customs - cattle skulls buried within building walls, and tiny household goddesses. In Devon, we find one of the oldest known shipwrecks. And a bronze age burial holds a mystery, and touching evidence of grief echoing down over 2000 years. Alternative title: Digging for Britain's Secrets.
Jamie meets a real Freemason in a Lodge in London and gets a rare glimpse of what actually goes on behind closed doors. He discovers the astonishing truth that the Freemasons have indeed been shaping our society for centuries and examines the claim that they may have been responsible for democracy itself.
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