Intro to Spartacus
Historian Bettany Hughes looks at the day in 73 BC that Spartacus, a Thracian gladiator fighting for the entertainment of the Romans, broke out of gladiator school and started a slave revolt. The republic's rulers were so panicked by the protest that they offered unprecedented power to a single, ambitious individual - Crassus - who promised victory in what would prove a dark foreshadowing of Rome's slide into dictatorship.
After finding strands of human hair buried in Greenland's permafrost, scientists are attempting the impossible: to be the first to reconstruct the identity of a Stone Age human through nothing but his ancient locks.
Historian Bettany Hughes recalls eight pivotal days that defined the Roman Empire and its establishment as the world's first superpower. She begins by exploring the day in 202 BC when the Roman army, led by Scipio, defeated the might of Carthage under Hannibal at the Battle of Zama in modern-day Tunisia. This was a decisive moment, setting Rome on the path to greatness and exemplifying the military muscle and supreme ambition on which its empire would be built.
A mysterious void has recently been discovered in the Great Pyramid of Giza, a scientific discovery so remarkable it sent shockwaves around the world. The new discovery comes out of the ScanPyramids project, an international mission under the authority of Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities. Launched in October 2015, this project aims to non-invasively peer into Egypt's largest pyramids using a battery of modern non-invasive technologies. The findings mark the latest in a millennia-long quest to understand the Great Pyramid of Giza, long an object of mystery and intrigue. This documentary tells the amazing story of this discovery.
The Great Pyramid of Egypt is the only survivor of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, but the secret of how it was built has been lost to time. Now a series of incredible discoveries is allowing archaeologists to finally unlock the answers; revealing how and why the pharaoh Khufu built the biggest pyramid of all time. Using stunning CGI the complicated security features of the Great Pyramid are exposed, and the extent to which the ancient Egyptians utterly transformed the landscape is uncovered in unprecedented detail.
The Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt is the oldest and most intact of the seven wonders of the ancient world. For more than 4000 years, this iconic structure has puzzled and astounded in equal measures. Through a unique combination of pioneering archaeology and engineering experiments, this program shines new light on the age-old mystery of who built the pyramids, and how exactly they did it.
The ancient Greeks finally reach the peak of civilisation, revolutionising art, architecture, drama, philosophy and government, leaving a legacy that still points the way forward.
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.
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.
The ancient Greeks emerge from the first dark ages to compose timeless epics, compete in the original Olympic Games, conjure early theories of nature, and construct the world's first democracy.
They were an extraordinary people born of white rock and blue sea. They invented democracy, distilled logic and reason, wrote plays to plumb the deepest recesses of the soul and captured the perfection of the human form in athletics and art. Quite simply, the Greeks created our world. Ancient Greece was born out of chaos. And yet, it alone became the cornerstone of Western civilisation. Archaeologists, historians, scientists, athletes, actors and artists excavate the past and explore its impact on our world's present, and ultimately on the future. As the early Greeks rise from nothing and change everything, they lay the groundwork for a revolution in human thought.
Bettany Hughes goes to Alexandria, Egypt, to look at one of the great cities of history. Founded by Alexander the Great, Alexandria was once one of the intellectual and cultural hubs of the world.
Egypt's boy-king Tutankhamun died aged 18. Hastily mummified and placed in an unfinished tomb, his existence remained unknown until the tomb's sensational re-discovery in 1922. Two American detectives investigate how and why he died and conclude the evidence points to murder, conspiracy and cover-up. It's an irresistible whodunit where real life detectives hunt down real life ancient killers.
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