The magnificent ancient city of pyramids at Caral in Peru hit the headlines in 2001. The site is a thousand years older than the earliest known civilization in the Americas and, at 2,627 B.C., is as old as the pyramids of Egypt. Many now believe it is the fabled missing link of archaeology – a “mother city”. If so, then these extraordinary findings could finally answer one of the great questions of archaeology why did humans become civilised?
Discover the science of the frozen past. Archaeologiests use the latest technology to discover the lives of our human ancestors through their frozen remains. These people were no differrent than you and I biologically. They had the same level of intelligence, and were capable of the same emotions, but they lived in a different time and place. Their values, ideas and technology is explored through the frozen remains of their dead. Episode 3 Frozen in Heaven – When the Spanish Conquistadors first conquered the Inca empire five hundred years ago, they wrote of the mysterious ceremony of capa cocha. Parents, they claimed, would voluntarily offer their children to their Inca priests, sending them to the top of the highest peaks for sacrifice to mountain gods. In the past, historians have dismissed this as fanciful European exaggeration. But then archaeologists began to find the children’s bodies.
2012 The Final Prophecy What if the Maya were right about the end of humanity as we know it? Would fire pour from the sky, buildings shatter, floods destroy Washington DC and Los Angeles slide into the Pacific? That’s how Hollywood has interpreted December 21, 2012, in the movie 2012 with John Cusack. The Maya believed that everything including creation and destruction occurred in cycles. Some believe the end of the current cycle on December 21, 2012, is an apocalyptic sign. And those who see a connection between the complex and incredibly accurate Maya calendar and a prophecy that the world will end in 2012 point to an unexpected discovery made in 2003. This captivating documentary looks for the truth behind the compelling myth is there evidence of global upheaval on a massive scale? We follow scientist Adam Maloof to three continents on a detective story that spans eons, with clues embedded in the oldest rocks on the planet.
The Tomb of the Red Queen is a burial chamber containing the remains of an unknown noblewoman located inside Temple XIII in the ruins of the ancient Maya city of Palenque, now the Palenque National Park, in the Chiapas state in southern Mexico. It has been dated to between 600 and 700 A.D. The tomb was discovered in 1994 by the Mexican archeologist Arnoldo Gonzalez Cruz. It takes its popular name from the fact that the remains of the noblewoman and the objects in the sarcophagus were covered with bright red cinnabar powder when the tomb was discovered. Discover the secrets of the identity of the Red Queen in this amazing documentary.
When the explorer Cortes arrived in the New World in 1519, he found the present day nation of Mexico dominated by the Aztecs. Skilled farmers, builders and merchants, the Aztecs were also savage warriors who practiced human sacrifice on a massive scale fueled by the belief that blood nourished their gods and sustained the world. This is the definitive profile of one of the most fascinating civilizations of the Ancient World where beauty was balanced by savagery, and mysticism was soaked in blood. Leading scholars trace the rise of the Aztecs from their island in present day Mexico City to the pre-eminent culture of ancient America, and reveal how the Spanish were able to bring this mighty society to its knees in mere months! Tour the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan in Mexico City, where ongoing excavations are unraveling some of the enduring enigmas of the Aztecs. Director Eduardo Matos Moctezuma provides a behind the scenes look at the seat of the ancient empire and reveals astonishing new discoveries. And see how the long vanished civilization’s influence is still felt in Mexico today.
In 1532, Pizarro defeated the great Incan emperor Atahualpa. This is the story of a poor, uneducated swine herdsman whose goal was gold and glory. At the time of the Spanish conquest of what is now Peru, the empire that the Incas had built up was the largest and most sophisticated to be found in the New World. Before Pizarro’s capture of the Inca emperor, Atahualpa, there had been little contact between the new and old worlds of Europe and the Andean region. However, once the contact was made there was no stopping the destruction that quickly followed. November 16th, 1532 With his army of just 180 mercenary soldiers, Spanish captain Francisco de Pizarro conquered the Inca fortress of Cajamarca with its defense force of 30,000 warriors. When the Inca god-King Atahualpa fell into the hands of the conquerors so did his people’s legendary treasure the Inca gold, blood of the Sun God. This documentary follows the history of a conquest that started with Pizarro’s greed for gold and glory and ended with the demise of a great civilization. This is the story of a poor, uneducated swine herdsman whose goal was gold and glory.
In September 2004, on 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.
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.
As the world approaches the 21st century, this 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 script, carved 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.
Throughout the ages, civilizations have risen up and then disappeared. Traditionally, the disappearance of certain ancient civilizations has been left to the theologians and historians to explain. Now scientists have entered the fray. In this series geologists, archaeologists and climatologists explain their findings. Ancient Apocalypse seeks to explain how human achievements were destroyed by the forces of nature. Series using science to solve riddles of the ancient past. 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. 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.
Journey into lush jungle foliage, up fog bathed mountains, under flaming desert sands, back in time. How would it feel to be the first one, to be a bold explorer, to make a one of a kind discovery? Return to the golden age of exploration as five men set out into the world to make their names. Episode 2 Machu Picchu Secrets of the Incan Empire – Seeking fame and fortune, Hiram Bingham treks into the mountainous central regions of Peru in search of the Lost City of the Incas. When he emerges, he is an exploration superstar, the recipient of such adulation, he is able to parlay it into a career in the U.S. Senate. Following a trail of rumor and legend, he wanders far into the sacred valleys, where he discovers a series of mountain top sanctuaries used by the Incas to hide from the Spanish Conquerors.
Through breathtaking discoveries, archaeologists 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.
Certain landmarks have captured the imagination and awe of modern architects and engineers around the world as they work to solve the mystery of how their ancient forebears were able to construct such beautiful, timeless and revolutionary structures with none of the machines and materials available to modern engineers. Episode Machu Picchu – Rediscovered only 100 years ago, Machu Picchu remains today one the most awe inspiring and mysterious monuments in the world. On the distant mountain range, located high in the Peruvian Andes, are the ruins of the ancient city. 600 years they stood under the onslaught of torrential rains and mudslides.
This documentary tour de force on the world’s greatest battles and the fearless men who won them. The Conquerors examines 12 legendary figures that altered the course of history through military brilliance and sheer willpower. Diary entries, interviews with scholars and heart-stopping reenactments examine the strategies, weapons of conquest and the significance of each engagement in the annals of history. Hosted by decorated war veteran Captain Dale Dye. Episode Cortes Conqueror of Mexico – See how a Conquistador ordered not to engage in combat destroyed the mightiest empire in the New World. He is one of the greatest conquerors in history, and among the most brutal. Hernan Cortes’ thirst for gold and power led him to Mexico in 1519, where he launched a conquest unlike any other in history. In approximately two years, Cortes owned the Aztec empire, and their once proud ruler Montezuma was dead. Through brilliant execution, from an often precarious military position, Cortes killed hundreds of thousands of Aztecs and brought down the 300 year old empire the first major American civilization to fall to the Spanish.
Machu Picchu is an iconic symbol of the power and engineering prowess of the Inca. Since it was discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911, there have been countless theories about this “Lost City.” Why did the Incas build it on such an inaccessible site? Who lived among its stone buildings, farmed its emerald green terraces, and drank from its sophisticated aqueduct system? This documentary joins a new generation of archeologists as they probe areas of Machu Picchu that haven’t been touched since the time of the Incas. See what they discover when they unearth burials of the people who built the sacred site.
Each half hour episode looks at a major fighting people or force and charts the reasons for their rise to dominance and subsequent fall. The show explores the motivations of ancient soldiers, as well as how they lived, fought, trained, died, and changed the world. It also uses battle re-enactments and computer graphics to demonstrate military strategy. This series from the Discovery Channel is especially good for the lesser known groups of warriors. Episode 15 The Aztecs – The Aztecs sacrifice captured enemies. “Dear son, you must understand that your home is not here where you have been born, for you are a warrior. You are a bird and the house where you have been born is just a nest. Your mission is to give the sun the blood of enemies to drink and to feed the earth with their bodies” In the time of Columbus, Europe discovered a strange new world, where every boy was born to fight and men fought for living flesh. Mortals to be sacrificed to slate the thirst of a god for blood.
The cities of the Maya were abandoned to the jungle 1000 years ago. They were rediscovered in the 19th century. Explorers came to try and learn what was here and what it meant. Now scholars are beginning to see the individuals involved, their names, the dates, their arrivals, all of this very specific information is now coming out through epigraphy, the study of hieroglyphics. The Maya ruins of the central american jungle are are full of hieroglyphs, but the missionaries of the Spanish conquest deliberately wiped out the memory of how to read these stones. The Maya kept calendars of immense complexity and accuracy. The view developed that these cities were centers of a wise and peaceful civilization that had a deep understanding of nature and the universe. But now we are learning the truth about the classic Maya cities, and the truth is that the Lords of the Maya set up a form of rule that destroyed human lives and even nature itself. This documentary charts the rise and fall of a specific Mayan Lord Yax K’uk’ Mo (pronounced yash-cook-moe), and through it the brutal world the Mayans lived in without passing judgment on the Mayans themselves.
The Spanish conquest of the Americas in the sixteenth century was one of the most cataclysmic events in history. Spanish expeditions had to endure the most unbelievable hardships to open up the lands of the New World. Few stories, if any, in history match these for sheer drama, endurance and distance covered. Michael Woods travels in the footsteps of the Spanish adventures. The Fall of the Aztecs – Hernan Cortes left Cuba in 1519 seeking riches in the island to the west. Instead he discovered, and ultimately destroyed, a hitherto unknown civilization. Spanish eyewitness accounts that describe the conquistadors’ awe at the Aztec achievements and the lust for native treasure. Learn the Aztec side through pictographs that tell of the agonizing fall of the empire.
Time Life’s Lost Civilizations combines cutting edge digital effects technology (for 1995) with powerful dramatization. Dazzling spectacles re-create rituals and events, original location cinematography in 25 countries. Computer graphics make lost worlds live again! Episode 7 Maya The Blood of Kings – Witness the dark rituals of human mutilation as the Maya rulers draw their own blood to offer to the gods. This episode reveals Maya culture at its peak while its cities matched the sophistication and power of those in Europe in AD 800, this civilization declined suddenly a century later leaving behind questions and enigmas.
Sixteen hundred years ago, a 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.
Decoding the Past is a series that “decodes” the past by looking for unusual, paranormal, and mysterious things written about throughout history that may give clues as to what will happen in the future. Doomsday 2012 – The End Of Days – The year famously red flagged by the Maya has popped up in many other end of the world prophecies. Could we be so short time away from annihilation? A surprising number of prophets from ancient oracles to contemporary internet crawling software called bots point to December 21, 2012 as the End of Days. Consider the ancient Mayan Calendar, the medieval predictions of Merlin, the Book of Revelation and the Chinese oracle of the I Ching, all highlighting the same terminal date. Then learn of a new technology a web bot crawling the internet to predict the future that has independently concluded there’s no need to plan a New Year’s 2013 Party. Hear from skeptics who point to a long history of Failed Doomsdays then reflect on the disturbingly accurate track record of many oracles of doom throughout history. As the year 2012 ticks ever closer is there any reason to believe these doomsayers?
Time Life’s Lost Civilizations combines cutting edge digital effects technology (for 1995) with powerful dramatization. Dazzling spectacles re-create rituals and events, original location cinematography in 25 countries. Computer graphics make lost worlds live again! Episode 8 Inca Secrets of the Ancestors – Witness the conquest of an Inca ruler at the pinnacle of his power. Follow Inca roads into the past and explore the secrets of their ancestors, the Moche, the Nazca, and the Paracas, whose legacies inspired the greatest South American empire ever.
Long before Columbus, the Maya established one of the most highly developed civilizations of their time in the jungles of Mexico and Central America. Yet this advanced society of priests, astronomers, artisans, and farmers suddenly and mysteriously collapsed more than a thousand years ago. Accompany archeologists to Copan, Dos Pilas, and other spectacular Classic Maya ruins as they unearth artifacts and huge temples of incredible beauty. Recently deciphered hieroglyphics and other new discoveries offer astounding clues to the lives of these ancient people.