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Aired on Jan 23, 2007
For 3000 years the Siege of Troy has remained steeped in mystery. Journey with us to the site in Turkey believed to be the location of the real Troy, as we analyze one of the world's greatest historical battlegrounds for new clues. This program takes us behind the Troy celebrated by Hollywood to uncover fascinating evidence in regard to Achilles' duel against Hector, the sailing of the vast Mycenaean fleet and the wooden horse of Troy. Watch as we apply modern technology, archaeology and engineering to uncover the real story behind the legend of Troy.
Aired on Jan 30, 2007
Aired on Feb 06, 2007
Gods and religion played an extremely important role in antiquity. The problem with so many religions being worshipped by the Greeks and Romans was how would the priests of these temples pay for their upkeep? Great scholars such as Philon, Ctesibius and Heron were patronized by the temples to create "magic". In return, they created intriguing and mind blowing objects. It was a heavy mix of religion and science. One of the most famous illusions was found in Alexandria at the temple of Serapis, where an iron chariot was suspended in mid air. It appeared to be the work of the gods.
Aired on Feb 13, 2007
In recent years there have been a number of extraordinary discoveries of ships from the ancient world. But what do these finds say about the societies which created them, and the techniques they used in their construction? Travel back to ancient Egypt and learn about the "Khufu Boat" which had not one metal nail in its construction, and uncover huge sailing vessels, dating from 3000 B.C., in Abydos near the Nile. Some of the most exciting discoveries that have been made include the warship, and one carried as many as 7000 crewman.
Aired on Feb 20, 2007
In 2004 the American School of Classical Studies in Greece made a surprising discovery of two limestone coffins which dated back 3000 years. Archaeologist Guy Sanders was not only surprised by the quality of the sarcophagi but shocked by their size and weight. The coffins weighed 3 tons, and he concluded that the people of the Geometric Period must have used massive machines to move them. From the Pharos of Alexandria to the Parthenon on the Acropolis we will delve into the world of the ancient heavy engineers, and discover how their machines were used to build and transport some of the most amazing structures in Antiquity.
Aired on Feb 27, 2007
Egyptian monuments and great works of art still astound us today. We will reveal another surprising aspect of Egyptian life--their weapons of war, and their great might on the battlefield. A common perception of the Egyptians is of a cultured civilization, yet there is fascinating evidence which reveals they were also a war faring people, who developed advanced weapon making techniques. Some of these techniques would be used for the very first time in history and some of the battles they fought were on a truly massive scale.
Aired on Mar 06, 2007
Many of the modern military innovations we take for granted all stem from ancient China. It was the Chinese who invented gunpowder, and in the tenth century the Chinese created a substance that allegedly powered flame throwers and ancient rockets. From automated crossbows to siege machines able to fire over 3,000 yards, we uncover the secrets of China's most awe-inspiring weaponry. Amongst many fascinating stories, we uncover insights into the legendary rotating crossbow and the Cloud Bridge Siege Engine that was used to transport hundreds of troops to the battlefield. We will recreate some of China's legendary battlefield creations to see how the designs would have fared in combat.
Aired on Mar 27, 2007
One thousand years ago, when Europe was still in the dark ages, China was at the forefront of technology. We unveil the remarkable story of how China created a myriad of ingenious devices including cosmic machines able to collect data on the stars, hydraulic hammers, water-controlled clocks, and mass production plants powered by water. We visit a reconstruction of an ancient Chinese iron furnace to unravel how the Chinese created a forty-ton iron artifact five centuries before the West discovered cast-iron technology. Meet the leading clay expert Professor Ye Hongming who has spent a lifetime seeking to discover the secrets of how the ancient Chinese created their vast terracotta army.
Aired on Apr 17, 2007
Is there any truth in the amazing and sensational idea that the ancients had robotic devices? Heron and Philon would be the masters of ancient robotic inventions including famous automatic devices such as robotic temple doors and the automatic serving girl. Included in the machines of the ceremonial halls of the Byzantine Emperor of 830 AD are stories of a gold pear tree with singing birds, two lions which roared whilst twisting their heads and several wild animals that surrounded the throne roaring. Attempts will be made to reconstruct some of these awe inspiring machines--and show for the first time that the ancient engineers and inventors knew how to harness robotic technology 2000 years ago.
Aired on Apr 24, 2007
While the ancient Greeks had amazing engineers like Heron and Ctesibius, the Islamic world had Al-Jazari--a prolific writer and a talented craftsman. Working in what is now modern Turkey, he produced books which featured fifty mechanical devices in six different categories; including water clocks, hand washing devices, machines for raising water and geared mechanisms. In 1976 The Science Museum in London, reconstructed one of Al-Jazari's water clocks. It would take the shape of an elephant with an intricate clock mechanism which would chime automatically. For the first time watch as some of Al-Jarazi's most important inventions are recreated and see how sophisticated the inventors of the ancient Islamic world had become.