Simon Schama explores one of our deepest artistic urges - the depiction of nature. Simon discovers that landscape painting is seldom a straightforward description of observed nature - rather it is a projection of dreams and idylls, as well as of escapes and refuges from human turmoil, the elusive paradise on earth.
2018 • History
If David Olusoga's first film in Civilisations is about the art that followed and reflected early encounters between different cultures, his second explores the artistic reaction to imperialism in the 19th century. David shows the growing ambivalence with which artists reacted to the idea of progress, both intellectual and scientific, that underpinned the imperial mission and followed the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution.
2018 • History
From Roman marbles and Egyptian mummies to Renaissance masterpieces and African sculptures, in this special accompanying programme to Civilisations, Mary Beard goes in search of extraordinary works of art from all over the world that can be seen here in Britain.
2018 • History
Archaeologist and historian Richard Miles looks at the winners, losers and survivors of the great Bronze Age collapse, a regional catastrophe that wiped out the hard-won achievements of civilisation in the eastern Mediterranean about 3,000 years ago. In the new age of iron, civilisation would re-emerge, tempered in the flames of conflict, tougher and more resilient than ever before.
Parts 1 and 2. Henry Louis Gates Jr. explores Africa's rich history. Journey with Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to Kenya, Egypt and beyond as he discovers the origins of man, the formation of early human societies and the creation of significant cultural and scientific achievements on the African continent. In part 2: Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. charts the ancient rise of Christianity & Islam, whose economic & cultural influence stretched from Egypt to Ethiopia. Learn of African religious figures like King Lalibela, an Ethiopian saint, and Menelik, bringer of the Ark of the Covenant.
Follows the UK's most ambitious and cutting-edge ancient DNA project to date. For the first time, a team of top scientists at the Natural History Museum and University College London have analysed the DNA of Britain's oldest complete skeleton. Known as Cheddar Man, this human male fossil was originally unearthed over 100 years ago in Gough's Cave in Cheddar Gorge, Somerset. Building on the advanced genetic testing of his 10,000-year-old bones, two of the most acclaimed palaeontological model makers in the world, Dutch identical twins Adrie and Alfons Kennis, have recreated Cheddar Man's entire head to give his extraordinary skeleton a real identity for the first time.
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.