Around 200,000 years ago a new species was born - us. The first men and women led a fragile existence in a dangerous world. So how did they flourish and go on to colonise first the African continent, and then the rest of the world?
The second instalment of this two-part journey into the evolution of man. Using dramatic re-enactments, it examines the emergence of Homo sapiens and highlights the similarities between modern day practices and the everyday lives of our prehistoric ancestors. The history of humankind took a decisive turn 12,000 years ago, as Homo sapiens invented a new kind of life. Turning away from nomadic lifestyles, people settled into the first villages and invented the cornerstones of civilisation - farming, irrigation, commerce, religion, medicine, and much more.
In late 2004, two Iron Age "bog bodies" were found in the prehistoric peat bogs of the Republic of Ireland - victims of an ancient ritual sacrifice - just 25 miles apart. As two of the three bog bodies ever found, the discovery of Old Croghan Man and Clonycavan Man was a turning point in archaeology and Irish history.
Deep in the Andean mountains lays a mysterious ruin named Machu Picchu. For 400 years it sat abandoned on its misty cliff, the quintessential lost city in the jungle. It is the most famous archaeological ruin in the Western hemisphere, an iconic symbol of the power and engineering prowess of the Inca - and yet it remains an enigma. Rediscovered in 1911, it contained no written records or carvings, nothing that could shed light on its history.
Pompeii: one of the most famous volcanic eruptions in history. We know how its victims died, but this film sets out to answer another question - how did they live? Gleaning evidence from an extraordinary find, Cambridge professor and Pompeii expert Mary Beard provides new insight into the lives of the people who lived in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius before its cataclysmic eruption. Using the latest forensic techniques it is now possible to determine what those who perished in the disaster ate and drank, where they came from, what diseases they suffered, how rich they were and, perhaps even more astonishingly, the details of their sex lives. Mary takes us on journey from the cellar to a small ancient town which nevertheless boasted more than 50 fast food joints, dozens of rowdy bars, a 200-foot-long swimming pool and even its own brothel. The film opens the lid on this most famous of ancient towns to reveal Pompeii as it's never been seen before.