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.
John Rhys-Davies hosts this 1991 series that explores various archeological subjects and their link to stories of the past. The show explores the efforts of archaeologists and the methods they use to discover the answers to these mysteries. This series won a Cable Ace Award for Best Science Series. Select episodes have been shown with the series title: Time Travellers. Episode The Fall Of The Maya – Twenty-five years ago, the ancient Mayans were thought to be a mysterious and peaceful people governed by astronomer-priests. But in 1965, Russian linguist Yuri Knorosov cracked Mayan hieroglyphics. Today, researchers reveal stories of Mayan blood sacrifices as they uncover a world so foreign as to defy our understanding of it.
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.
Each turning point in history has behind it a story and a set of principal characters whose dilemmas and conflicts form its dramatic core, and whose unique personalities influenced the outcome of events. History’s Turning Points provides a fascinating and intriguing new perspective on the significant moments that have changed the world. The Conquest of the Incas – 1532 AD When Pizarro, 170 soldiers and a friar arrived, The Inca, scornful of the scruffy Spaniards, invited them to stay in the town. They kidnapped the Inca, collected a ransom and killed him. But the plunder had only begun. The Spaniards diseases wiped out 90% of the Incas.
This fascinating documentary examines the mystery surrounding the sailing exploits of the legendary Admiral Zhen and his 30 year command of a gigantic Ming fleet. The Chinese court burned all records of Admiral Zhen His daring voyages and achievements, and unwittingly created a mystery that tantalizes the world 500 years later. An account of new information uncovered by Gavin Menzies, a former British submarine commander who has spent nine years trying to prove that Zhen reached America decades before Columbus.
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 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 the cloud forests of Peru the stone walls of a mysterious mountain top fortress rise out of the jungle. These 60 foot walls are filled with the bones of the Chachapoya, the Cloud Warriors, who lived high in the Andes from A.D. 800 to the mid 1500s. Only after an intense struggle did the powerful Incan empire gain control of the fiercely independent Chachapoya tribes. But did the Inca ever conquer the Chachapoya stronghold of Kuelap? Archaeologists at Kuelap have uncovered hundreds of elaborate burial sites throughout the settlement that reveal tantalising clues about the identity of the Chachapoya people and how and why they built such a massive fortress.
Star-gazing reached incredible heights thousands of years before the Hubble. Using the latest scholarship, hands on demonstrations, and dramatic reenactments this documentary shows just how far ahead of their times they really were. Without the aid of magnifying technology or even a firm idea of where they stood on the planet, the Mayan grasp of the universe through astrological observation was simply stunning. Host Michael Guillen travels to Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula to get a firsthand look at the ancient world’s most skilled astronomers. Learn how the Maya used the sun to lay out their various temples and observatories and examine their incredibly complex and accurate calendar.
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.
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.
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.
Ancient and deadly spear points were found near Clovis, New Mexico in the 1930s. Many archeologists believed that this type of weapon originated with the first settlers of the New World, who supposedly migrated from Asia at the end of the last ice age. This documentary examines new evidence that challenges this widely held view. The hunt for clues takes this documentary to sites of stunning discoveries in western Pennsylvania and southern Chile, to southern France, to the high arctic, and to a remarkable find in central Texas that may hold the key to who invented the Clovis technology. Many archeologists concluded that hunters equipped with Clovis technology were the first settlers of the Americas and that they probably arrived from Asia at the end of the Ice Age about 13,500 years ago, when lower sea level allowed hunters to cross a land bridge connecting Siberia and Alaska. But there is growing evidence that humans were in the Americas long before the Clovis hunters.
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.
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.
Through the lens of modern science the grave has become a window on the past. Today we can learn intimate detail about how the ancients lived and how they died. Bit by bit their portraits emerge from flesh, bones and DNA. The unearthing of the past reveals the tangled roots ofvour family tree. But some see only the desecration of our ancestors. Through this documentary listen to the voices of the dead. Ancient human grave sites speak volumes to those who listen. These haunting human “time capsules” have been uncovered all over the world. Some even reach a certain level of fame, The Ampato maiden sacrificed on an Andes peak. The Alpine Ice Man, the oldest frozen mummy ever found. England’s 9,000 year old Cheddar Man. Others’ stories are known only to the ages, like a cache of elaborately adorned 7,000 year old mummies unearthed in Chile, and the thousands of Egyptian mummies actually burned as train fuel in the 19th century. Modern science now allows us to explore these human treasures without destroying them, and connects us all to the secrets of the ancient dead.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.