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.
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.
Each turning point in history has behind it a story and a set of principal characters whose dilemmas and conflicts form its dramatic coreand 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 entriesinterviews 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.
Long before Columbusthe 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.
Time Life’s Lost Civilizations combines cutting edge digital effects technology (for 1995) with powerful dramatization. Dazzling spectacles re-create rituals and eventsoriginal 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.
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 Chachapoyathe 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.
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.
Time Life’s Lost Civilizations combines cutting edge digital effects technology (for 1995) with powerful dramatization. Dazzling spectacles re-create rituals and eventsoriginal 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.
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?
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.
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. Episode Clash Of The Maya Kings – From the early ideas that the Maya were a peace loving society to the slow realisation that they were state controlled, warring and bloodletting cities of warriors and priests, this programme looks at city sites such as Calakmul and Tikal. Maya kings were the centers of power for the Maya civilization. Each Maya city-state was controlled by a dynasty of kings. Maya kings and queens felt obliged to legitimize their claim to power. One of the ways to do this was to build a temple or pyramid. Pacal’s Temple of Inscriptions still towers today amid the ruins of Palenque, as the supreme symbol of Pacal’s influence and power in Palenque.
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 Palenquenow 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.
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 soldiersas 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 sonyou 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.
Ancient and deadly spear points were found near ClovisNew 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.
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.
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 storiesif 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.
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 fameThe 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.
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 storiesif any, in history match these for sheer drama, endurance and distance covered. Michael Woods travels in the footsteps of the Spanish adventures. The Conquest of the Incas – Fancisco Pizarro hoped to find great riches in the land of the Inca when he set off on his third voyage to the new world in 1527. Learn how Pizarro ransomed the life of a king for a room full of gold and silver. Through letter and drawings from the 16th century and film from modern day south America, discover this remarkable story of greed, faith, dishonor and valor.
In 1532Pizarro 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.
Decoding the Past is a series that decodes the past by looking for unusualparanormal, 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?