Good morning, now we are going to move on to some documentaries from the Dark Ages. We will be looking at the year 536 AD and the year the sun disappeared. So why did the sun disappear? Watch this documentary to find out! The run time is 49:15.
The year 536 AD was the year dubbed the “year without something.” This was an event that terrified the people. The sun went dark and the rain the color of blood poured from the skies. Winter gripped the land for two years. Drought, famine, and plague followed. Whole cities were whipped out and civilization crumbled. What happened? What was going on? This catastrophe affected the people around the world and nobody knew the answers until now.
One historian is investigating this event and he is taking his search worldwide. There was a catastrophic climate event that happened and it completely altered the course of history. It was a mystery for him when he found out about the event in 1994. He had been listening to a dendrochronologist and this dendrochronologist talks about how all the tree rings went haywire during this period. The trees had hinted at an event that happened in past.
As trees grow, they add a layer to the bark as they grow and this is known as tree rings. The rings grew wider when the years were good but when the weather was bad the tree rings grew closer together. There was a pattern that was emerging with the trees. Each ring pattern can be matched with other trees. A computer program was developed to help map these patterns for comparison to other trees. This program is still used today in laboratories. Scientists can use these patterns to date buildings and other trees.
Many, many samples were collected over the years and the tree rings tell scientists about the weather for the past several thousand years. In a way, the trees were telling the scientists about their growing period. So what was the environmental information stored in these patterns? The Irish Trees where this program was built shows that something was happening. The tree rings were extremely narrow, hinting that the trees were no longer growing. One scientist compared the results to trees in Europe and found the same pattern. Whatever this event was affected Europe.
The search was expanded to trees from all over the world and there was a pattern emerging. In the mid-sixth century, trees were having a troubling time. The trees were no longer growing, hinting at a worldwide cold period. Why were the trees not growing? Was it the cold? Was it drought? Was it pollution? German trees were showing no growth. What was the implication of this worldwide evidence?
Additional to the trees, there was archeological evidence. The timbers from archeological sites a new type of house was built to shelter against the harsh environment. The cold would have forced a change in lifestyle for the people. They could no longer farm and had to turn to the water for their food. It would have been a bleak existence. The people were suffering during this period. So are there written accounts of what was going on during this time?
There were many Roman accounts of the bizarre weather. One bishop described the events taking place. The light of the sun had dimmed and it had lasted for eighteen months. Everyone declared that the sun would never come back again. The Romans documented extraordinary weather events. Another Roman historian wrote about the dimming of the sun ad well as the lack of rain. He talked about what happened as a result of these events.
What about other civilizations? There were additional sources from around the world. The civilizations documented the year without the sun and the starvation that followed these events. One civilization documented yellow dust in the air. People were starving. The research continued and it soon grew clear that the event enveloped the world. This event left an impact on the trees. What would have caused such a worldwide event? Tune into the rest of this episode to find out more.
This would be an excellent document to show to a science class as well as a history class because of the discussion on the weather.
The Germanic Tribes
Good morning, we are going to look at a documentary on the Germanic Tribes. The run time for this documentary is 49:33.
The Germanic peoples terrified Rome and the stories of these tribes were passed down from generation to generation. They offered their gods’ human sacrifices. The women priestess could determine the fates of their tribes. They built small settlements in the wild. Eventually, these settlements grew up into kingdoms. They would lay the foundation of modern Europe. Who were the Germanic tribes?
There were over seventy Germanic tribes. Many names came down through history, however, other tribal names were lost. None of these tribes referred to themselves as Germanic. That name came down from Julius Caesar. They settled throughout Northern Europe. This place was filled with lakes, rivers, and valleys. They were Indo-Europeans who spread out throughout nations.
Jastorf culture in Lower Saxony was the birthplace of the Germanic people. Eventually, these people spread and created villages. They created new clans and tribes. These people were connected by their way of life. At the start, they were peasants tending to their small plots of land. Life was simple and hard for the Germanic people, they had no surpluses and only fed themselves with what they found in nature. Eventually, things started to change, and people grew in status. There was a growing status distinction.
In the First Century, all the Germanic tribes of Europe numbered two and a half million. Each village had no more than two hundred people. A village consisted of several clans. Each clan had a dozen or two dozen households. Each household had twelve people. Men led the households. They lived in a longhouse and it was both a home for the family and a stable for the animals. The longer the house, the wealthier the family.
In winter, fodder ran short and the animals were slaughtered. They were slaughtered for food and smoked to preserve the meat. Only the wealthy could eat meat multiple times during the week. The poorer in society ate porridge and bread. They also made beer, which would be an everyday drink. The Romans determined that the drink was disgusting and hated the Germanic tradition of carousing.
Fashion was important to the Germanic tribes, especially the men. They used butter in their hair and had tweezers and other ear cleaners. Germanic people had beautiful clothing. The Romans said they went naked; however, the evidence shows that the Germanic tribes used sheep wool, flax, and nettle to make clothing. They used bold colors and distinctive jewelry. Dresses were long and could be cinched at the waist. The men wore trousers. They did not invent the trousers but made them popular.
The reputation of the clan depended on the men. They could distinguish themselves on the battlefield, growing the most food, or becoming a member of the most superior clan. A tribal aristocracy emerged. These tribes raided other lands and shared the booty among the victors. Over time, small tribes banded together and were led by a warrior. The Medieval Feudal System emerged from the German tribes. Even the titles emerged from the German language.
However, there was a dark side. The Germanic Tribes glorified combat and saw it as necessary. Individual clans attacked each other. It could be seen as a matter of power and prestige. Every member of the clan was bound to protect life and property, even if it was by force. If a dispute arose, it had to be arbitrated publicly. They met at a certain place to settle their dispute. Everyone in the dispute had to meet there to settle the dispute. It was an open-air courtroom where they met. If the offense was against the community, the community had to decide. The tribal chief oversaw the court. Executions were immediate. Cowards were often executed immediately.
The Germanic tribes came into conflict with the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire was a dominant force in the world. How would Rome take on this Germanic Threat? Tune into the rest of this episode to find out more.
This was a speedy documentary in terms of flow. That said this was an excellent look at an unexplored topic: the Germanic Tribes. If you want an alternative documentary on the Roman period in history, this would be a good option for the classroom. Keep in mind that there was some German language in this documentary that was not translated.
House of Grimaldi
Good evening, now to wind down the week with something fun and frivolous. Today, we are going to look into the House of Grimaldi. The Grimaldis run the tiny principality of Monaco. The run time for this documentary is 52:42.
The Prince’s Palace in Monaco is the seat of power for one of the world’s smallest states. It is as high as the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Construction began in 1215 and was built on a high cliff. It was a stronghold on the Mediterranean. It was nearly demolished in a siege and was rebuilt. There are hundreds of tunnels underground. Historians are continuing to learn more about the palace. How did this palace become the seat of power for its rulers?
The palace has been on the landscape for over 800 years. It is perched on a rock that juts into the Mediterranean Sea. It is easy to defend and one could control the flow of ships. The palace houses administrative offices, a chapel, and a princely family. All around the palace were the walls of the fort. These walls were at the heart of the defense strategy for the princely family. The palace provides a link between the princely family and the people. The palace is protected around the clock and has welcomed a variety of powerful people over the years. Prince Albert believes that the palace has helped contribute to Monaco’s fame and independence.
In 1191, the Genoese army took charge of a territory: Monaco. Genoa wanted to grow its power by expanding its borders. They would have built this fort fast and used the materials available locally. The Genoese built the original fort, unfortunately, few traces remain of this original fort. However, archives describe what this fort would have looked like. In the attics of the current palace, there seems to be a hint as to the remains of the original fort. However, the defenses had one failing: the port. A second fort would have to be built. These forts would have been equipped with a variety of weapons. The lords of Monaco would have ensured that they had the best equipment available and would have kept up with the maintenance.
However, the threat to Monaco would have come within its walls. Two men knocked on the door. They were seeking shelter for the night, so they were allowed in. One of the men was a man named Grimaldi and he was dressed as a monk. Once inside, he turned on the soldiers and seized control of the Rock. He was the first Grimaldi ruler. A century later a wall was built around the fort and the fort itself was expanded.
The Grimaldis worked to challenge Genoese domination. The Genoese wanted their heads and wanted to punish the Grimaldis for their occupation of the fort. So spies were sent to the rock to learn the layout of the fortifications. The Genoese planned a siege, dug tunnels, and deployed their artillery. They were going to take the fort. Finally, the Genoese were ordered to attack the form. The Genoese hit the walls with everything they had and a breach was opened. However, the soldiers did not attack right away and so the Grimaldis had another fortification built. When the Genoese started their attack, they were unable to take back Monaco. The Grimaldis demanded and were granted independence.
The fort was rebuilt and a palace was built for the sovereign of Monaco. The fort was rebuilt to the highest construction standards. High walls were constructed and holes were put in the walls so that the defenders could pour boiling oil on the attackers. The roads had sharp curves and there were many gates along the way. It was built quickly because the builders believed that attacks could happen at any time. How did this palace protect Monaco for decades to come? What did the Grimaldis do to continue to keep up the fort? Tune into the rest of this episode to find out.
It drove me nuts that the narrator called the Grimaldis a royal family, they are a princely family. I enjoyed Prince Albert talking about the palace. This would be a good documentary to show a geography class as well as a history class.
Metropolis - Rome
Good morning, we will conclude our Metropolis series with a look at ancient Rome. It would be interesting to see more ancient Metropolises of the ancient world. The runtime is 52:29.
Ancient Rome held one million inhabitants at one point. No one city was richer, more powerful, or more ruthless than Roman. It was the center of the ancient world and had the buildings to prove it. Like modern Rome, the city was noisy back then, so ox carts could not drive through the city during the day. When the Roman Coliseum opened, a one-hundred-day celebration was held in honor of its opening. What was it about Rome that made it the glory of the ancient world?
A group of archeologists is excavating a site. The site contains the ordinary-buildings of ordinary Romans. In the past, since they contained no marble statues or anything of wealth these sites were filled in once again. Today, there is a growing interest in ordinary Roman life, so the sites are busy once again. They hope to learn about the lives of these ordinary Romans. Finds emerge from the sites and help put together these lives. Ancient Roman lives were much like those living in modern cities.
One particular area is of interest and it is a block of tenement apartments these apartments could be up to four or five stories high. Living space in Rome was at a premium. The people in these apartments lived day to day and were often laborers. Poorer citizens lived a hand-to-mouth existence so they came to the city to have a chance at a better life. These apartments were cramped, dark, and noisy. Rents were high. However, the buildings were cheaply and quickly constructed. The walls were never repaired or painted leading to collapse. Construction companies recycled building materials.
The capital of the Roman Empire was also the capital of crime. The story of Drusus is examined during this episode. Drusus is a soldier in charge of law and the city. He goes into the Roman Underworld to catch a thief. Drusus is the head of the police force in Rome. This force is both respected and feared. Drusus goes after criminals whether they are watering down the wine or cheating the emperor on taxes. Punishments are brutal for the criminal.
The history of Rome is written in blood. Its founding legend begins with a crime. Two brothers fought to name a city and one brother murdered his brother and named the city for himself. In reality, Rome began as an Etruscan village that grew to be the center of the Empire. Where Roman soldiers went, the citizens followed. They took inspiration from their ancestors in Rome. Roman architecture set the style for the empire. How did Rome finance their building project?
One particular hill shows how Romans founded their empire. A million people left behind a lot of trash and these trash heaps became hills. One particular hill is just a pile of the broken-up amphora. These vessels would be filled up with what was needed to feed Roman citizens. These chards tell the tale of Roman trade. There were extensive trade networks throughout the empire. Despite being in pieces the amphora tells historians and archeologists what was held in them. Merchandise poured into Rome from all over the empire. This amphora hill represented the might of Rome. It was forbidden to remove the broken shards from the hill.
Rome built an extensive network of roads and had extensive sea networks too. Everything that came into Rome was carefully documented by government officials. Exact accounts were recorded and the taxman put their seal on every amphora. The government would not be cheated out of their share of taxes.
Roman ships sailed around the Mediterranean Sea. It was the only way that large amounts of goods could be transported. Many of these ships never made it to their destination. One team in Pisa has discovered sunken ships and they are excavating these ships. They were sung in the harbor during a storm. These ships’ remains tell about the Roman trade network as well as what was on these ships. To learn more about the history of Rome continue to watch this documentary.
This documentary is highly recommended for classroom viewing.
Metropolis - Carthage
Good morning, we are continuing with our exploration of the Ancient World by taking a look at Carthage. This has been an excellent series to view and review over the past few days. I would hope that there could be a second series in the future. There have to be additional ancient metropolises that deserve a good documentary. The run time for this documentary is 52:08.
Carthage was Rome’s greatest rival. It was a Phoenician trading base in the Mediterranean Sea and was a city of seafarers. Carthage was the greatest trading base in the Mediterranean Sea. It was a city that inspired envy and hatred around the world. It is where Africa meets Europe, where the past and present collide. In 180 BC Marco is going to go on a voyage that will have an impact on his life.
Today, Carthage is a suburb of Tunis. Its power was greatly diminished over the centuries. In 800 BC, the Phoenicians founded Carthage as a trading post. From here, they could control the western Mediterranean trade. It was rumored that the Phoenicians made their way to the Americas. Carthage was the meeting place for people all around the world. It was the New York of the Ancient World.
Outside the gates, a Roman aqueduct stands. It carried water to the new city that the Romans built on the ruins of Carthage. The huge aqueduct demonstrated Rome’s power and its claim to North Africa. It brought water to the huge baths. The baths showed Roman wealth and provide a meeting place for the people. The Romans stamped their mark on Carthage, which covered the remains of the ancient city founded by the Phoenicians.
There have been few findings regarding the daily lives of ordinary people. Archeologists have discovered a burn layer; this seems to hint at some sort of catastrophe that hit Carthage. The most important remains are the stone pillars. These stone pillars were placed in religious places and gravesites. Thousands have been found and preserved. They are priceless evidence of the distant past. On these pillars is the Phoenician language, a precursor to the Greek Alphabet.
Bones of a man were discovered in one of the graves. The bones show that there was no malnutrition. He was well-fed and strong. Was this man a merchant or was he a sailor? The trading port was the heart of the city. It was a marketplace where people could buy and sell. Anything was possible in Carthage and you could get rich if you were bold.
Marco was one of these bold sailors. He was on his way to sail the Atlantic and down the African coast to find new sources of gold and tins to bring back. He hopes to make enough money to marry his sweetheart. The sea was full of danger and many sailors never made their way back. Even if the ocean did not get the sailor, there were pirates and slave catchers who would get the captured sailor. Would Marco make his way back to marry his sweetheart?
So how did ordinary people live in Carthage? How was the city organized? One archaeologist searched for the ancient city walls. Many have tried before him and failed. With careful plotting and scanning, he may have a theory as to where the ancient walls were. The walls would have been built to protect the city from raids from ancient tribes. Over one thousand people lived in the city. There was no access to water in the city, so the city builders had to plan for drinkable water. Thousands of cisterns were discovered and each house had a cistern that was deep. These cisterns were filled with water that came from the roofs and flowed into the cisterns. This would have given the people a secure water supply.
Carthage was a true metropolis of the ancient world. It was sustained by fishing and trade. Trade made the merchants rich and powerful. Why did it become the envy of the world? So why did it come to an end? Tune into the rest of the episode to find out.
This would be a fantastic documentary to show for a history class. It went into dept about Carthage and showed details that you never really hear in the classroom. You always heard that the Romans captured Carthage and salted the earth. Now that I said that, I would show this episode to a history class.
Good morning, we are continuing with our exploration of the Ancient World and Ancient Metropolises with an exploration into the city of Alexandria. Alexandria was the greatest city in the world, so why is its history so mysterious? It was a city where two cultures met: the Egyptian and Greek Cultures. The run time is 52:13.
Alexandria was established by Alexander the Great, and it was a port on the Mediterranean Sea. Alexander the Great had just conquered Egypt and wanted to establish a great city in honor of the conquest. Architects designed it on a grid pattern. For a time, it was a construction project. It was home to the great lighthouse at Pharos, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. What was it about this city that made Alexandria so special?
Today, the ancient city is buried under concrete and desert. It takes time and digging to find its mysterious past. What knowledge was stored in the Library of Alexandria? Where was the lighthouse? Why were people drawn to Alexandria? One young Athenian woman came down to Alexandria to seek her fortune, what is her story?
Jean-Yves Empereur is the head of the studies for Alexandria. He has concluded that Alexandria was a grand metropolis on par with Athens and Corinth. It would have impressed the ancient visitor. The lighthouse that guarded the harbor rose one hundred and forty meters into the sky. It was a symbol of Alexandria’s power. The lighthouse was built in 299 BC. It took twenty years to build. The lighthouse was the first sight that greeted the visitor to Alexandria. Unfortunately, nothing remains of the lighthouse, however, the site is now home to a Medieval fortress. Did the ruins of the lighthouse provide the building materials for the fort?
One engineer believes so and believes that the fort was built on the lighthouse’s foundation. So today, archeologists are putting probes around the Fort and through the fort to discover if the fort sits on the remains of the lighthouse. The lighthouse was toppled by an earthquake. Beneath the fort, there is a tunnel system that would provide water. This would have been helpful in a siege situation.
One young woman spotted it upon arrival in Alexandria. She ran into her uncle who was an engineer on the lighthouse site. She reunites with him. This woman has a bold plan, and it is only in Alexandria that she can see it through. She wants to study medicine and become a doctor. This was a shocking prospect even in Alexandria. She disguises herself as a man to study medicine, this is a dangerous prospect for her. However, she is determined to gain the knowledge to be a doctor.
Another archeologist explores an uninhabited island in the harbor. The site was untouched for generations and so this provides a rare opportunity to discover intact finds. This site was abandoned soon after it was built, and no one went to the island ever since. There was a building discovered on the site. On another area of the island, there was an extensive tunnel system found. Why was this island abandoned so soon after the building was done? Was this island a planning office for the city on the mainland? This island will remain a mystery.
In modern-day Alexandria, archaeologists have become rescuers. When there are construction projects around the city the construction workers discover something new about the ruins. When a site is discovered, the archeologists go to work to learn more about the ancient city before the ruins are covered again. On another site, known as the palace, clay pipes are discovered. These clay pipes would have provided water for the city. Thousands of pipes would have been laid in the ground before the building went in. This is a growing body of evidence that shows that Alexandria was planned extensively. The city planners even anticipated that the city would grow and built the roads to handle a high traffic volume. Ancient Alexandria was a modern city.
This documentary is an excellent documentary to show in the classroom. The story of Alexandria was woven together quite nicely and there was a nice flow to it. I would describe it as "no fuss, no muss," and the documentary was narrated simply.
Metropolis - Ancient Athens
Metropolis is a series about the biggest cities in the ancient world. People were drawn to the cities to find prosperity and happiness. The ancient world was colorful and merchants brought their wares from around the world as the trade networks ran far and wide. The first episode is about Athens. The run time for the episode is 51:47.
Athens rose 500 years before the birth of Christ. Its impact on history was large. Fine arts and sciences blossomed. The most famous philosophers taught in Athens. The people gave the world a new type of government: democracy. This documentary follows the story of a woman who lived in Athens. She was a woman of wealth and beauty, however, her pride led her to danger. What was life like for this woman in Athens?
In Fifth Century BC, Athens had 300,000 people. There was a period of decline in Athens. Athens finally regained its ancient size in the Twentieth Century. Presently, the Parthenon is in the process of being restored. The Athenians had built it to celebrate their victory over the Persians. The process of restoring the building involves taking it apart piece by piece and slowly repairing previous decades of restoration mistakes. When the work is done, it will still look like a ruin. Only pieces too damaged to use will be replaced. This opportunity is allowing scholars and architects to study the Parthenon closely and learn the techniques of the ancient builders. This restoration is revealing the secrets of the Parthenon.
Athens allowed ideas to flourish. Such ideas include the Pythagorean theorem as well as the atom being the smallest piece of the universe. The math that was discovered in Athens allowed the Athenians to build the Parthenon. The ideas of democracy were also in place in Athens. Athenians would practice the ideas in the Agora. It was a place where citizens could interact with each other daily.
A team is working to excavate the Agora. The Agora was the village square of Athens. It was the place where the administrative buildings were housed. There were a variety of buildings: the senate, magistrates office, commissioners, and courts. It is where this woman Phryne would spend her day. She was a woman of wealth and success. However, this wealth and success brought suspicion. She was accused of a capital offense: blaspheme. There are rumors that she commissioned a statue of Aphrodite in her likeness. People portraying themselves as gods make the citizens fear that the gods would punish them for such cheek.
Part of the excavations of the agora included the discovery of the well. The well was very deep and dug at the time of the Parthenon. The well has been studied for three years and it is giving a team of archeologists a glimpse of what the site looked like. The agora was surrounded by houses and they were lived in by people who came from different backgrounds. The poorest people lived in densely packed houses around the agora. There were also villas where the rich lived near the agora.
There were a variety of finds on the site as well. Small bowls seem to indicate that the poorest Athenians made sacrifices in hopes the gods would give them a better life. The Parthenon also shows the ties the Athenians had with their gods. The gods demanded humility from their people, and so Phryne’s sculpture would have been an affront to them. If gods took on a human form it was an expression of their divinity, but for a woman to take the likeness of the gods, it would have been an affront. Phryne’s life and liberty would be in danger. Why would Phryne’s life be in danger? Tune into the rest of this episode to find out.
This documentary has an old-school feel. The recreation of Phryne’s life and crimes was an interesting look as well. The sections about the restoration of the Parthenon were fantastic and would be appropriate for a STEM classroom. There was also a good section on the crafts of Athens which would be interesting for an art class. Mine the Parthenon sections for STEM classrooms and you can show the rest of the documentary for a history class.
Decoding the Baqtun
I am continuing my exploration into the ancient world and I am looking into the Mayans and their calendar for today’s documentary. It is a surprising documentary to review for a history class.
Elisabeth Thieriot embarks on a journey to dispel the myths of the Mayan Calendar in Decoding the Baqtun. On December 21, 2012, everyone believed that the end of the world was going to happen. This was the result of the belief in the Mayan calendar that predicted the end of the World. The Mayan prophecy stated that there was going to be an apocalypse. The events in the world at the time seemed to lean toward that prophecy. However, December 21, 2012, passed and life went on as normal. So, what is the story of the Mayan Calendar? The runtime for this documentary is 1:21:20.
Everyone kept an eye on December 21, 2012, because the Mayans had predicted that it was going to be the end of the world. However, this myth was based on the wrong calendar. It was based on the Aztec Calendar. The modern-day descendants of the Mayan did not understand the fuss about this frenzy over the potential for the end of the world. For them, December 21, 2012, was going to be the beginning of a new cycle.
The Ancient Man tried to invent ways to measure time. Man used the night sky for navigation. The early man saw gods in the stars and these gods controlled their lives. Finally, in the third millennium BC, the Sumerians created a lunar calendar of 354 days and divided those days into twelve months. The Sumerians created their calendar after observing the cycle of the sun and the moon. The Hebrews and Greeks continued to use the Sumerian Calendar. The Romans took over the Sumerian calendar but then took inspiration from the Egyptian calendar to reform the Sumerians calendar. Finally, a pope adjusted the calendar to the calendar we have today.
So how did the Mayans work on their calendar? They created their calendar to mark their cycles and their celebrations. The calendar was the code of their life, it was carved into their games and their walls. The Mayans used math to create their calendar and this math was common to all cultures in Mesoamerica. Math was based on twenty. These numbers were tied to their gods and Mayans created the number zero. Zero had value for the Mayans, unlike other cultures. Zero both symbolized the begging and infinity.
The spiral was found in nature and was an essential part of creation. Spirals are found in nature, in galaxies, and in DNA. It is an infant sequence of numbers. It was known as the Fibonacci sequence. The Mayans created their calendar based on spirals. In fact, the Mayans were tied to nature and their environment. The environment where the Mayans lived was tied to their spirituality.
The Mayan Calendar was circular, much like a wheel. It could be described as gear and this gear cycled for 290 days. Then there were two smaller gear-like wheels that went around this larger circle. There were a variety of cycles that were marked by the calendar. It would take many rotations to repeat a day. When the calendar was reset, it would mean a new beginning for the Mayans, much like January First of the new year in Western Cultures.
However, when the Spanish came, Mayan culture was changed. The bishops burned the Mayan records and the codex. They imposed the Spanish Inquisition on the people. This would prevent Mayan future generations from understanding the Mayans and Mayan culture.
This was a fascinating look at the Mayan calendar and Mayan culture. Despite this, this was a challenging documentary to write a review on. It was hard to follow at times with a lot of bouncing around the subject. It potentially could have been better by talking more about the Mayans and their culture and how it was discovered that the Mayan Calendar was worked out. This would be an interesting episode to show in a science class because the Mayans based their calendar heavily on science. Additionally, this could have a potential application for a Spanish class. This would not be a documentary I would show in a history class.
The Emperor's Lost Harbor
Thank you, the Odyssey YouTube Channel, for making it easy to find ancient world documentaries to expand my Ancient World list that way I can do a good list of the recommended documentaries for school.
Istanbul is a city of 17 million people, spread over two peninsulas. Only two bridges and several ferries serve those 17 million people who cross the Bosporus straight. The Turkish Government is looking to build a train under the Bosporus to help with people crossing the straights. The tunnel will have to be put fifty meters under the surface. This would be the deepest tunnel in the world. However, as the tunnel was put into place there have been amazing finds that tell us about the history of the harbor in Istanbul. The Run time is 41:48.
The Tunnel was supposed to open up in 2010, however, the building of that tunnel is being delayed. Why is this building project so delayed? As the tunnels are being built, these tunnels are finding artifacts. These find talk about the history of the Harbor and the history of Constantinople. Yards and yards of finds are being found and processed as soon as they are being dug up. There is an amazing array of finds from the Byzantine period. Animal bones and skeletons have been found on the site.
Additionally, wooden poles were found. These poles supported an ancient pier. Then a boat appeared on the site. Thirty-seven shipwrecks were found on the site. These ships were well preserved and shocked the world. The old harbor had been found and it had been lost for over eight hundred years. Seventy meters beneath the surface, additional treasures are being found.
The delays and discoveries have cost the tunnel project over thirty million dollars and those costs are increasing. Construction of the train station has begun, so archeologists are working alongside the construction crews. The Archeologists are working as fast as they can to remove the objects from the site. It is particularly challenging when bulldozers are working on the site as well. There is also a deadline to excavate the area.
On the harbor sites longships, round ships, and small coastal ships have been found on the site. The archeologists prepare to remove one last We have only known about the ancient harbor through paintings and there was no evidence found for the harbor until the tunnel. The city had a large harbor and was a trading capital.
Constantinople was known as the new Rome and the New Jerusalem. It was the largest and wealthiest city in the world. It was a grand city with grand columns. There were grand bath buildings as well as grand palaces for the Byzantine Emperors. The key to its power was the harbor. This power lasted for nine hundred years. Much of the old city is buried under the new city and with this tunnel project going on, new secrets are being revealed. Time is of the essence to reveal this old city. Archeologists are working day and night to dig the site. The company building the tunnel has provided lights for the site that way the archeologists can work day in night. Eventually, the site will be covered with a train station and a giant mall.
Will the archeologists discover why this harbor disappeared in such a short time? What was thy key to this port that enabled Constantinople’s trading power? What will its recovery tell us about the history of Constantinople? As work continues for both construction crews and archeologists, an older shipwreck is being rescued. The archeologists work digging on the ship, and the timbers and cargo are being discovered on the ship. Did some of the items belong to a crew member? Or was this merchandise to be sold? The finds are hinting that there was a golden age of Byzantine. What else will the archeologists learn about Constantinople? Continue to watch this documentary to find out more.
This would be a good documentary to show in an ancient history class as well as a Middle School Classroom. If you are a teacher who wants to take a break from Ancient Rome documentaries then this would be a documentary to show in a classroom.
The Family of Tutankhamun
The Family of Tutankhamun is a documentary about the Tutankhamun family and their fall. They were one of Egypt’s greatest families, so why did they disappear? Was there a hereditary disease in the family? How did the family fall? The answers to those questions lie in the tomb of Tutankhamun and the genetic studies that have been done. This story beings with the discovery by Howard Carter of the tomb. The Tomb’s discovery would change history. The runtime for this documentary is 49:09.
Howard Carter was struggling to find the tomb of Tutankhamen. He hoped that this tomb would have been so unimportant the tomb was not raided by grave robbers. Carter had one last chance to find the tomb. After two days, a step was found. It might have been nothing, however as Carter’s team dug, they continued to go deeper and deeper. Sixteen flights later, at the end of those steps there was a horde of treasures was discovered. For the first time, Tutankhamun became a worldwide figure. His tomb was the most complete in Egyptian history.
Additional to the treasures in the tomb there were two other bodies discovered, they were in two miniature coffins. They were two unborn children. Were these the unborn children of Tutankhamun? Would these children hold the key to the sudden end of the family? The questions have never been answered until now.
Tutankhamun’s treasure takes off half of the Cairo Museum. His treasures give a glimpse of the life he lived. So why did this family die out? They were a powerful family that carved out an empire for over two hundred years. They left behind many monuments that proclaimed their achievements. Unfortunately, the family came to an abrupt end. Why was this? How could a family vanish so suddenly?
The 18th Dynasty began with a brother and sister marrying and in each successive generation, a brother continued with this tradition? Was this inter-sibling marriage the cause of the collapse of the 18th Dynasty? Was this family so inbred they could no longer sustain themselves? How inbred was this family? The Egyptian Museum is providing answers.
The Pharaohs are on the move and this is the first time the museum directors will have access to the pharaohs themselves. This will allow them to collect DNA samples from the pharaohs. After the pharaohs are sealed in their climate-controlled boxes, they will be protected for generations. Two genetic scientists from America are helping the Egyptians with their testing. These genetic scientists have experience in DNA as well as in genealogy. As well as testing the pharaoh’s DNA they hope to test the DNA from the two babies found in the tomb. What will these DNA tests reveal about the pharaohs?
One by one the Pharaohs were tested as they were moved into their climate-controlled cases. Additionally, these two scientists went on a search for the two babies. The coffins were found on-site, but where are the bodies? So while the Egyptian authorities look for the babies, the two scientists work on the Pharaohs to build a genetic profile of the family. The DNA of Thutmose III is going to be tested. He is the only mummy properly identified so his DNA will be important to provide a baseline for the rest of the family.
Would these DNA tests prove in-breeding? Would these DNA tests show a genetic disease in the family? Researchers seem to think that there was a genetic disease in the family and the Pharoah Akhenaten may have had it. He was a man who overthrew the traditional gods of the Egyptians and created a new god. Art changed under the king as well. Images of Akhenaten show him with wide hips and elongated limbs. Was this a result of a genetic disease or artistic license? Other researchers studied the skulls of the pharaohs to see if there are similarities. Would the evidence show that there was a disorder in the Egyptian dynasty? Tune into the rest of the episode to find out.
This sounded like a Secrets of the Dead Episode that was repackaged for Odyssey. Additionally, there was some glitching at 17:00 minutes and that lasted until 18:00. Periodically there were additional glitches throughout the rest of this episode. Other than the glitches, this would be a good episode to show in a classroom.
I'm a librarian with an active imagination who likes to create. Genealogist and Researcher.
My Teachers Pay Teachers Store! Worksheets available as a Word Document.
I am also on Lulu! If you're interested in genealogy I have several books available!
HistoryDocTube will not collect any personal information and will not sell any personal information to a third party. We will not request any personal information.
The purpose of this blog is to share information on what can be used in a classroom, private school, or home school setting as well as serve as a portfolio of my personal and professional work.
The reviews are my opinions and should be treated as such. I just want to provide a tool for teachers to select documentaries for their classrooms.