Archaeology

NOVA
Petra: Lost City of Stone

 

More than 2,000 years ago, the thriving city of Petra rose up in the bone-dry desert of what is now Jordan. An oasis of culture and abundance, the city was built by wealthy merchants who carved spectacular temple-tombs into its cliffs, raised a monumental Great Temple and devised an ingenious system that channeled water to vineyards, bathhouses, fountains and pools. But following a catastrophic earthquake and a slump in its desert trade routes, Petra’s unique culture faded and was lost to most of the world for nearly 1,000 years. Now, in a daring experiment, an archaeologist and several sculptors team up to carve an iconic temple-tomb to find out how the ancient people of Petra built their city of stone.

 

 

NOVA
Hagia Sophia: Istanbul’s Ancient Mystery

 

Istanbul’s magnificent Hagia Sophia has survived on one of the world’s most active seismic faults, which has inflicted a dozen devastating earthquakes since Hagia Sophia was built in 537 AD. As Istanbul braces for the next big quake, a team of architects and engineers is investigating Hagia Sophia’s seismic survival secrets. NOVA follows the team’s discoveries as they examine the building’s unique structure and other ingenious design strategies that have insured the dome’s survival. The engineers build a massive eight-ton model of the building’s core structure, place it on a motorized shake table and hit it with a series of simulated quakes.

 

SECRETS OF THE DEAD
Teotihuacan’s Lost Kings

 

Follow a team of scientists exploring royal tombs beneath the ancient Mexican city of Teotihuacan. After decades of research, these imperial burial chambers may reveal clues about the long-lost Teotihuacan culture and its mysterious people.

 

NOVA
Animal Mummies

 

From baboons to bulls, crocodiles to cows, a vast menagerie of animal mummies lies buried in Egyptian tombs. Hi-tech imaging reveals what’s inside the bundles and the strange role that animals played in ancient Egyptian burial beliefs.

 

Rise of the Black Pharaohs

 

Around 800 BC, Kush, a little-known subject state of Egypt, rose up and conquered Egypt, enthroned its own Pharaohs and ruled for nearly 100 years. This unlikely chapter of history has been buried by the Egyptians and was belittled by early archaeologists, who refused to believe that dark-skinned Africans could have risen so high. Now, in the heart of Sudan, archeologists are finding indisputable evidence of an advanced African society with powerful armies, vast reach and spiritually driven imperial aspirations to rival the Egyptians’.