It was perhaps the most spectacular flourishing of imagination and achievement in recorded history. In the fourth and fifth centuries BC, the Greeks built an empire that stretched across the Mediterranean from Asia to Spain. They laid the foundation of modern science, politics, warfare and philosophy, and produced some of the most breathtaking art and architecture the world has ever seen. The Greeks recounts the rise, glory, demise and legacy of the empire that marked the dawn of Western Civilisation. In the season premiere, The Revolution tells the story of the troubled birth of the world's first democracy, Ancient Athens, through the life of an Athenian nobleman, Cleisthenes. In the brutal world of the fifth century BC, the Athenians struggle against a series of tyrants and their greatest rival, Sparta, to create a new "society of equals." The program closes on the eve of the new society's first great test: invasion by the mighty empire of Persia.
Historian Bettany Hughes, archaeologist Raksha Dave, and John Sergeant describe what happened when Vesuvius, which had lain dormant for 700 years, finally erupted, unleashing its full horror on Pompeii and killing everyone who remained. Bettany tries to understand why so many stayed behind, John retraces the route of Pliny the Elder as he tried in vain to get his fleet to Pompeii to pick up survivors, and Raksha uses scientific analysis to solve the mystery of some of the city's most famous skeletons.
This program presents new insights into ancient Mesopotamia and the birth of civilisation. Archaeologists on the ground, backed by the world's leading research institutes, are at the forefront in this race against time to save and reveal our common heritage. Northern Iraq has become their new Eldorado, and these findings will broaden our understanding of Assyrian history when the great cities of the Empire thrived 3000 years ago.
Historian Bettany Hughes, archaeologist Raksha Dave, and John Sergeant investigate what happened on the eve of the eruption, with John diving under the streets of Naples to find the extraordinary remains of one of the wonders of the ancient world: the Aqua Augusta. Raksha also climbs into the crater of Vesuvius to uncover what could have been happening inside the volcano in the fateful moments before the eruption.
Historian Bettany Hughes, archaeologist Raksha Dave and John Sergeant reveal fresh evidence surrounding the volcano's eruption. They begin on October 22, 79 AD, two days before Pompeii is destroyed, and piece together the final hours of the doomed city. Raksha joins a live dig, and John visits nearby Naples to find out how the Roman way of life has survived for 2000 years.
Dr Michael Scott takes us on an extraordinary journey through the often invisible treasures of one of the greatest ancient cities in the world, Istanbul. But with many of the secrets of its cathedrals, aqueducts, and the Roman chariot-racing track out of sight or underground, he turns to the latest 3D-imaging technology. The scanning team helps us to see the city as no human eye ever could, peeling back the layers of history, showing how the city has had to reinvent itself over and over through its turbulent past.
The Arabs have been bringing knowledge of the ancient world to Europe since the eighth century. In the fields of medicine, mathematics or philosophy, the scholars in their civilisation were far beyond their time and still affect our world today. For a long time the Arabs were estranged, not united by one nation or leader. They had little in common but a shared language. This didn't change until Mohammed ended polytheism, founded a new religion and united all of the Arabic tribes in their faith in one God: Allah.
Dr Michael Scott uses the latest 3D-scanning technology to reveal the historical secrets of ancient Athens. He tells the story of how it created the world's first democracy. He begins his journey on the Acropolis where, in the late 6th century BC, the people of Athens overthrew a tyrant and set up the world's first democracy. There, he investigates a mysterious, asymmetrical temple called the Erechtheion that sits in the shadow of the world-famous Parthenon, and reveals it to be one of the most important buildings of Ancient Athens.
Two of Britain's leading archaeologists and world-renowned experts on Stonehenge, Professor Tim Darvill and Professor Geoff Wainwright, believe they have finally unlocked the mystery of the monument. They are convinced that Stonehenge was a place of healing. An ancient Lourdes. A place where people came on a pilgrimage to get cured. And in world without modern medicine the stones had magical powers.
There is barely a country in Europe that can't look back on Germanic roots, though there has never been one unified people. The term 'Germanic' actually refers to a number of tribes and clans that lived in central and northern Europe from the sixth century BC. Gaius Julius Caesar is said to have used it when talking about the Gallic war. However, the Romans were full of contempt for the Germanic peoples and their civilisation, Tacitus calling their home a hideous blood-curdling place full of dark woods and swamplands.
For the first time in 90 years, the incredible treasures buried with King Tut are brought back together in the Grand Egyptian Museum, an impressive display that allows for a more in-depth analysis than ever before.
Dr Michael Scott uses the latest 3D-scanning technology to reveal the historical secrets of Cairo and Ancient Egypt. He explores the first pyramid ever built at Saqqara, and finds out how it helped inspire the Great Pyramid of Giza. The 3D scans confirm just how accurately the Great Pyramid was designed and constructed. Michael also investigates the sphinx to try to determine which pharaoh it represents.
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.
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.
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.
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