Through breathtaking discoveriesarchaeologists are uncovering the early years of the ancient Maya to reveal a dynamic, sophisticated culture that was flourishing before the time of Christ. The Preclassic Maya once dismissed as primitive created massive pyramids, elaborate art, early writing, and more. Join National Geographic’s Dawn of the Maya as it investigates the rise one of the world’s greatest and most mysterious civilizations.
Sixteen hundred years agoa mysterious left-handed warrior seized control of the Mayan city of Copan, founding a dynasty that would last for 400 years. Eventually the Maya abandoned Copan and all other Mayan cities, which lay undisturbed for over 1,000 years. Then, in the 19th century, explorers John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood stumbled on the vine strangled remains of huge complexes of temples and monuments covered with strange portraits and hieroglyphs. This documentary takes viewers deep into the Central American rain forest to the resurrected ruins of Copan, a once majestic jewel of Mayan civilization which was inexplicably abandoned over a thousand years ago.
How could a civilization which thrived for over two thousand years just suddenly disappear? Today many believe that a giant drought killed off the Maya but is this really the case? World Maya Expert, Nikolai Grube began by looking at the Maya’s own historical records their fantastic hieroglyphic writing. Hidden within them he found two extraordinary figures: Dark Bat King and a Cold Killer Queen. Never before has the story of these remarkable individuals been brought to life. By resurrecting their spirit, Grube has come to the groundbreaking theory that the Maya collapse cannot be blamed on natural forces, but on the violent world of human politics and power struggles.
In September 2004on the last remaining site on the Mall in Washington D.C., the Smithsonian Institution opened the National Museum of the American Indian, inaugurating a new era in the education of all people about Native America. In conjunction with this event, and in response to popular demand 500 nations was broadcast on the Discovery Channel. Episode 1 Wounded Knee Legacy & The Ancestors – Explore three early North American cultures. Tour the 800 room Pueblo Bonito in the arid southwest, view the Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde, and visit Cahokia, the largest city in the U.S. before 1800.
In September 2004on the last remaining site on the Mall in Washington D.C., the Smithsonian Institution opened the National Museum of the American Indian, inaugurating a new era in the education of all people about Native America. In conjunction with this event, and in response to popular demand 500 nations was broadcast on the Discovery Channel. Episode 2 Mexico – Follow the dramatic and tragic history of the Mexican Indian nations from pre-Colombian times, through the period of European contact and colonization. Witness the rise and fall of the Toltecs and the growth of Tenochtitlan, the Aztec city of an empire.
As the world approaches the 21st centurythis new series hosted by Michael Woods and produced in 1991, reminds us that other nations and cultures prospered for hundreds or even thousands of years. Now all that remains is the legacy of their civilizations, present and influential in our own. Shot on location on four continents, Legacy takes a different viewpoint from other series that concentrate primarily on the the Western view of history. Visiting China, India, Egypt, the Middle East, Greece and Meso-America, this series traces the rise of both Asian and western civilization. Central America The Burden of Time – Isolated from the rest of the world, the Mayans and Aztecs created sophisticated civilizations that in many ways paralleled ancient Mediterranean empires. god like kings and a priestly ruling class dominated splendid cities of temples and pyramids.
The ancient Maya civilization of Central America left behind an intricate and mysterious hieroglyphic scriptcarved on monuments, painted on pottery, and drawn in handmade bark paper books. For centuries, scholars considered it too complex ever to understand until recently, when an ingenious series of breakthroughs finally cracked the code and unleashed a torrent of new insights into the Mayas’ turbulent past. For the first time, NOVA presents the epic inside story of how the decoding was done traveling to the remote jungles of southern Mexico and Central America to investigate how the code was broken and what Maya writings now reveal.