Episode 1 Death on the Nile – Professor Fekri Hassan attempts to determine why the Egyptian Old Kingdom, the civilization of the great pyramids, collapsed around 2200 B.C.. Can science show that terrible forces of nature were to blame, even driving people to cannibalism? Clues come from the remote deserts of southern Egypt, the glaciers of Iceland and a dramatic and unique archaeological find in the Nile delta.
Episode 2 Mysteries of the Minoans – A look at how the Minoan civilization, situated on the Mediterranean island of Crete, was wiped out 3,500 years ago by one of the biggest volcanic eruptions since the Ice Age on the nearby island of Thira. 21st century science reveals the horror the volcano unleashed.
Episode 3 Sodom and Gomorrah – Did the Biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah really exist? The Bible describes how Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed in a storm of fire and brimstone. Could the inspiration for this story come from a natural apocalypse around the Dead Sea in the Middle East? Science tests out the extraordinary geology of the region, could an earthquake trigger a landslide capable of sweeping away whole cities? Geologist Graham Harris cites evidence for his theory that the biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by earthquakes and sank into the Dead Sea. His team of scientists reveals that the area lies on a faultline.
Episode 4 The Maya Collapse – The ancient Mayan culture left behind some of the world’s largest pyramids, but the mystery remains unsolved of why the tribe suddenly disappeared around 800 A.D., with no evidence to suggest what happened to 11 million people. The Mayan ruins of Tikal are hidden. From the air only a handful of temples and palaces peek through the canopy. But 1,200 years ago, Tikal was one of the major cities of the Maya civilization that stretched across what is now southern Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. Their civilization was so stable and established, they even had a word for a 400 year time period. In the ninth century, the Maya world was turned upside down. Many of the great centres like Tikal were deserted and the Mayan civilization never recovered. For decades, archaeologists have been searching for an explanation of the Maya collapse. Many theories have been put forward, ranging from warfare and invasion to migration, disease and over farming or with a combination of these factors. But none of the controversial theories were good enough for Dick Gill. He believed that what had devastated the Maya was drought, however drought as the only explanation of the Maya collapse was highly controversial.