Ancient Greece - the cradle of modern Europe. Around 3000 years ago, the cultural foundations of western civilisation were laid, on the shores of the Mediterranean. It's the birthplace of democracy, where great thinkers forged the beginnings of scientific reasoning, where theatre was turned into mass entertainment, and where the Olympic Games began. Imaginative animation, stunning visuals and an entertaining narrative combine in an extraordinary exploration of Greece and the rise of an ancient super power that would leave a permanent mark on western society. Alternative episode title: How the Greeks Changed the World.
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. But 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 series, Neil Oliver, Chris Packham, Andy Torbet and Dr Shini Somara join hundreds of archaeologists from around the world who have gathered there to investigate at one of Europe's biggest digs. Chris Packham uncovers the secrets revealed by the DNA of Orkney's unique vole, Neil Oliver explores Orkney's tombs and monuments, Dr Shini Somara experiments to discover how the Orcadians could have moved giant blocks of stone over rough ground, and archaeological adventurer Andy Torbet climbs Orkney's most challenging sea-stack to unlock the story of Orkney's unusual geology.
They've been called the greatest manuscript discoveries of modern times - but was the unearthing of the 981 fragmented texts 1300 feet below sea level in the caves near the ancient settlement of Qumran between 1947 and 1956 actually just the beginning of one of one of history's great religious conspiracies? What was written on them? What do they reveal about the time of Jesus? Why did the Catholic Church keep them out of the public eye for nearly thirty years? And what else lies buried here? Jamie is off to Israel to find out.
The Ancient Egyptian elite were more than just rich with history. In this series, with exploits that could've been ripped from the pages of modern magazines, experts will recount tales of excess wealth and discuss the scandalous sins of the era.
An act of horrific destruction by ISIS in Iraq offers archaeologists a unique opportunity to investigate one of the Old Testament's most enduring and mysterious tales: the story of Jonah and the whale.
Everyone has their favourite Bond actor, their favourite Bond film and their favourite Bond villain. From the mind of Ian Fleming came a series of spy novels that spawned one of the most successful movie franchises of all time, and captured the imagination of generations. But where did the idea of James Bond actually come from? It turns out that the world of Bond, M and Q isn't complete fiction. Jamie enlists the help of Bond experts, and a real former MI6 spy, to find out where Bond originated.
It's a land of pyramids, gold, and ancient treasure, but it's not Egypt - it's the Sudan. Now, archaeologists are using every means possible in their search for clues about this long-neglected culture.
In 2008, two archaeologists in search of ancient, lost civilisations proved that such cities were right in front of our eyes. Ten years later, we once more travel deep into the Amazon as more discoveries are made.
Solomon is lauded in the Old Testament as one of the wisest and richest rulers ever. Now, a new archaeological investigation may have finally found the source of his legendary wealth and established the location of the real King Solomon's mines.
What are the provable historical facts behind the story of the world's most famous religious figure? Jamie travels to Jerusalem to research and attempt to uncover the real story of Jesus Christ. It's Jamie's job to take a long, hard, dispassionate and even-handed view of a fascinating subject and he'll have a team of world-renowned experts to help him sift through the latest evidence and theories. They'll be drawn from both sides of the argument - we'll hear from those that passionately believe there is firm proof that the man we know as Jesus existed and from those that contest that he simply did not.
For years gladiators have been legendary figures of the Ancient World; the stuff of Hollywood blockbusters like Spartacus, or Gladiator. But our knowledge has been based largely on speculation - until now. Timewatch have secured exclusive access to the biggest archaeological gladiator research project of all time. As it approaches its conclusion, Gladiator CSI reveals the secrets of how gladiators lived, fought and died, not from speculation but from forensic science. In the 1990s a survey for the ancient course of the Holy Procession Path between the temple of Artemis (one of the seven Wonders of the World) and the city of Ephesus in Turkey came upon an unexpected find: a mass burial site. But most of the cadavers did not bear the signs of death from natural causes. Instead, they seem to have met a violent end. In 2002 two forensic anthropologists went to investigate: this was a gladiator graveyard. Although the corpses of gladiators had been found before, they tended to be isolated examples. In this graveyard, no less than 67 were buried. The amount of data was unprecedented. Employing two of the world's leading forensics anthropologists as our two crime scene investigators, this is the story of their investigation. Their research makes ground-breaking conclusions probing popular myths about gladiators: Is the currently fashionable thesis that although gladiators fought vicious contests, they rarely battled to the death, really true? Were the losers of gladiatorial contests really dispatched in the arena by the turning of the emperor's thumb? Were gladiators treated as no more than animals, with no provision for their health or well-being? Spanning two centuries, our 67 corpses reveal great technological changes in fighting equipment and wounds from weapons that were hitherto thought only to be the stuff of myth (like the cubic fore dent).
Trade has a civilising effect - promoting wealth, cooperation and trust. Nowhere was this truer in the ancient world than in the Indus Valley - between modern-day India and Pakistan - home to the first civilisation in Asia. Archaeologist Uzma Rizvi reveals this was a civilisation built upon the production and exchange of precious stones and copper-based ornaments. As demand for these goods grew, the trade network expanded and civilisation flourished.
Having lived as mobile foragers for 99 percent of our time on Earth, why did our ancestors stop moving and start settling in villages, towns and cities? The process started in the hills of southern Turkey at a site known as Gobekli Tepe. The impulse to be social brought large numbers of people together for seasonal feasts. The site was so important to them, that they marked it out with huge carved pillars - the world's first monument. But to stay on a permanent basis, they needed a permanent supply of food. Archaeologist Jens Notroff explains that the solution came around 10,000 years ago, when people in this region worked out how to plant, cultivate and harvest wheat. In doing so, they changed the trajectory of human history. Tied to the land, farmers needed to live in one place on a year-round basis, thus the village was born.
Religion has always been the soulmate of civilisation; they are meant for each other. This connection was first made in Ancient Egypt, which is still the longest lasting civilisation in world history. All civilisations since have borrowed something of the blueprint established by the Egyptians. Remarkably, it is possible to trace the birth of organised religion to a specific site known as Nabta Playa in the Egyptian desert. Here, 8000 years ago, herders built stone circles and erected megaliths as a place of worship. Archaeologist and series consultant Jeff Rose believes the site was a prototype church where people tried to understand their place within the ever-changing rhythms of the natural world.
Could a remote island chain in Polynesia have been the centre of a thriving civilisation? New archaeological and geological evidence reveal an ancient world of human sacrifice and epic voyages.
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