Premiere Date:December 11, 2005
How did the ancients harness power? Did Archimedes use solar power to defeat the Romans? Was he the first to concentrate the power of the sun? Early historical accounts of the battle of Syracuse in 212 BC claim that Archimedes used polished shields to focus light onto the sails of the invading Roman ships and set them ablaze. We investigate this and other intriguing and incredible objects. An earthenware jar about the size of a man's fist sits in the National Museum of Iraq. Its existence could require history books throughout the world to be rewritten. The jar appears to be an electric battery pre-dating Christ. Did the ancient world master electricity nearly two millennia before the modern world? A recent discovery of a flour mill in Barbegal in southern France contained 16 waterwheels that operated the mill. Is this one of the first examples of Roman industrial-revolution technology–1,800 years before our own?
- no upcoming airings in the next two weeks