Ötzi the Iceman is the modern nickname of a well-preserved natural mummy of a man from about 3300 BC, found in 1991 in a glacier of the Otztal Alps, near the border between Austria and Italy. The nickname comes from the valley of discovery. He rivals the Egyptian “Ginger” as the oldest known human mummy, and has offered an unprecedented view on the habits of Chalcolithic (Copper Age) Europeans.
Understanding of humans' earliest past often comes from studying fossils. They tell us much of what we know about the people who lived before us. There is one thing fossils cannot tell us; at what point did we stop living day-to-day and start to think symbolically, to represent ideas about our environment and how we could change it? At a dig in South Africa the discovery of a small piece of ochre
Skulls are humanity's foremost symbol of death, and a powerful icon in the visual vocabularies of cultures all over the globe. Thirteen crystal skulls of apparently ancient origin have been found in parts of Mexico, Central America and South America, comprising one of the most fascinating subjects of 20th Century archaeology. This documentary takes a look at the history of all four known skulls
Egypt, land of the pyramids, mighty monuments constructed in the early days of history. Monuments that endure to this day attracting visitors across the world. Many visitors come to Egypt to see one pyramid in particular, the Great Pyramid of Cheops at Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the most celebrated man-made constructions of all time. Of the seven, only the Great Pyramid of Che
When our early ancestors entered new lands they encountered a variety of strange new creatures, monsters that no longer exist. What were they like and where are they now? What are the real answers to the mystery of the missing megafauna? Some scientists believe there is damning evidence that humanity hunted the megafauna to extinction. The 'overkill' hypothesis holds that the megafauna vanished
This is the extraordinary story of how a small metal disc is rewriting the epic saga of how civilisation first came to Europe, 3600 years ago. When grave robbers ransacked a Bronze Age tomb in Germany, they had no idea that they had unearthed the find of a lifetime. But they knew that it was worth selling. It was a small bronze disc of exquisite design. So they contacted the archaeologist Haral
Stonehenge, located on the Salisbury Plain in Southern England, has long been associated with Druids, a group of wise men present in England more than 2000 years ago. Still today at Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, Druid celebrations are held at Stonehenge. But were they the actual designers? Excavations underneath the stones have revealed artifacts, like antler horns, carbon dated
250 million years ago, long before dinosaurs roamed the Earth, the land and oceans teemed with life. This was the Permian, a golden era of biodiversity that was about to come to a crashing end. Within just a few thousand years, 95% of the lifeforms on the planet would be wiped out, in the biggest mass extinction Earth has ever known. What natural disaster could kill on such a massive scale? It is