He begins with an epic journey into the remote Peruvian Andes in search of the mysterious Chachapoya people. Once numbering half a million, they were known as the 'People of the Clouds'. Dr Cooper reveals how they developed sophisticated methods of recording stories, traded in exotic goods found hundreds of miles from their territory, and had funeral traditions that challenge assumptions about ancient human behaviour. His search for evidence takes him to astonishing cliff tombs untouched for 500 years and one of the most spectacular fortresses in South America, where the fate of the Chachapoya is revealed.
We visit ancient cities and battlefields, great ruins and wild countryside, all in his search to uncover how the ancient Greeks thought and lived. What he finds is that ancient Greece was a seething tornado of strange, unsettling and downright outrageous customs and beliefs, inhabited by a people who could be as brutal as they were brilliant.
Around 200,000 years ago, a new species, Homo sapiens, appeared on the African landscape. While scientists have imagined eastern Africa as a real-life Garden of Eden, the latest research suggests humans evolved in many places across the continent at the same time. DNA from a 19th-century African-American slave is forcing geneticists to re-think the origins of our species. The theory is that our ancestors met, mated and hybridized with other human types in Africa — creating ever greater diversity within our species.
World War II was one of the definitive events of the 20th century, if not all of human history. John Green takes a look at the causes of World War II, the key event, as well as, both the short and long term effects of the war. For those interested in looking at World War II from a world perspective, this video focuses on the war before United States involvement.
2012 • History
Alastair Sooke charts the decline and fall of the Roman Empire through some of its hidden and most magical artistic treasures. He travels to Leptis Magna in Libya, shortly after the overthrow of Gaddafi, and finds one of the best preserved Roman cities in the world and the cradle of later Roman art. Sooke discovers glorious mosaics which have never been filmed before but also finds evidence of shocking neglect of Libya's Roman heritage by the Gaddafi regime. His artistic tour takes him to Egypt and the northern frontiers of the empire where he encounters stunning mummy paintings and exquisite silver and glassware. As Rome careered from one crisis to another, official art became more hard boiled and militaristic and an obscure cult called Christianity rose up to seize the mantle of Western art for centuries to come.
Built over 500 years, spanning nearly two and a half miles and holding 63 tombs, Egypt's Valley of the Kings is a staggering, complex set of enigmas locked beneath the sands for 3,500 years. What drove Egypt's greatest pharaohs to seek out this secluded valley? How did the ancient craftsmen achieve such feats of engineering? And why was this sacred site finally abandoned? Join National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Zahi Hawass and a team of experts as they uncover new evidence about how early engineers were able to construct the elaborate structures of tombs and chambers.