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Choose one of the following documentaries relating to archaeology, watch the film, and prepare no less than 3 and no more than 5 pages (following the same instructions for other written assignments) addressing the following questions:
(1) What are the most significant things I learned watching this film?
(2) How does the information in this film compare to and/or supplement the information I learned in class relating to the same topic?
(3) Is there something mentioned in this film relating to archaeology that I would like to learn more about?
(4) What questions regarding archaeology does this film leave me with?
Your papers should be submitted via Canvas by the end of Reading Day at 5 PM. If you have technical issues, you may print your paper and deliver it to my office or place it in my mailbox in the mail/copy room in the central corridor on the fourth floor of Heroy Hall.
A URL to watch each film is embedded in its name, so all you should need to do is click on the name, and it will take you to the SMU Libraries entry so that you can watch it online. Some of these links may not work correctly if you are connecting from off campus. If this is the case, simply connect to the SMU Libraries catalog and search for the title of the film or film series.
Ancient Worlds Series (BBC) 2010
Ancient Worlds is a fascinating voyage of discovery through the birth of nations and nationhood, from the development of religion and first uses and abuses of power and inheritance, to the delicate balance between the rule of law and the freedoms of society. The Middle East, Egypt, the Russian Caucasus and the Mediterranean all feature alongside interviews with eminent historians, local experts and archaeologists. From the cities of Mesopotamia to the Bronze Age, the Persian wars, Alexander the Great and Rome, this landmark series brings kings, warriors, merchants and philosophers back to life, showing how the successes and failures of the ancients shaped the world that we have inherited.
Republic of Virtue (Links to an external site.)
Come Together (Links to an external site.)
The Age of Iron (Links to an external site.)
The Greek Thing (Links to an external site.)
The World After Stonehenge (Links to an external site.) (BBC) 2014
In this sequel to The World of Stonehenge, Neil Oliver continues his landmark investigation of how Britain and its peoples came to be. He visits amazing sites, gets to work with top experimental archeologists, and marvels at wonders created two millennia ago. The four-part series tells the story of a developing nation, from a population of self-sufficient farmers in 500BC through the Iron Age, the druids, and the Roman conquest. One of the greatest mysteries of history is addressed: who, what, and where were the Celts?
Age of Iron (Links to an external site.)
Age of Warriors (Links to an external site.)
Age of Invasion (Links to an external site.)
Age of Romans (Links to an external site.)
(Links to an external site.)
Messages from the Past: Reassessing Ancient Civilizations Series (Films Media) 2000
The stories of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and ancient China are, in a sense, the stories of their life-giving rivers. In this fascinating four-part series, the disciplines of archaeology, anthropology, sociology, engineering, agriculture, climatology, and metallurgy contribute to a thought-provoking examination of these civilizations, their contributions to world culture, and the central role of their vital waterways.
Egypt: Journey to the Global Civilizations (Links to an external site.)
Mesopotamia: I Have Conquered the River (Links to an external site.)
Indus: The Unvoiced Civilization (Links to an external site.)
China: Heritage of the Wild Dragon (Links to an external site.)
Prehistoric Autopsy (PBS) 2018
At the Prehistoric Autopsy HQ in Glasgow, anatomist professor Alice Roberts and biologist Dr George McGavin go on an extraordinary evolutionary journey to meet three of our ancient ancestors. They travel the globe to gather evidence from leading scientists and work with model makers to reconstruct our predecessors-revealing how they lived and comparing them genetically to modern humans. Episode 1 covers the latest research on Neanderthals, and brings us face to face with our 70,000 year old relative. In Episode 2, the team recreates 1.5 million year old Nariokotome Boy. One of our most successful and longest lasting prehistoric ancestors, Homo Erectus was skilled at hunting, likely controlled fire, and may have helped others. . In Episode 3, the team recreates 3.2 million year old child Lucy and learns how Australopithecus afarensis traded life in the trees for walking, what they ate, how they gave birth, and the origins of childcare.
Episode 1: Neanderthals (Links to an external site.)
Episode 2: Homo Erectus (Links to an external site.)
Episode 3: Lucy (Links to an external site.)
Archaeology: A Secret History (BBC) 2013
Archaeologist Richard Miles presents a series charting the history of the breakthroughs and watersheds in our long quest to understand our ancient past. He begins (In the Beginning) by going back 2,000 years to explore how archaeology began by trying to prove a biblical truth—a quest that soon got archaeologists into dangerous water. He then (The Search for Civilization) shows how discoveries in the 18th and 19th centuries overturned ideas of when and where civilization began, as empires competed to literally ‘own’ the past. In the last segment (The Power of the Past) he shows how 20th-century attention turned from civilization and kings to the search for the common man against a background of science and competing political ideologies.
In the Beginning (Links to an external site.)
The Search for Civilization (Links to an external site.)
The Power of the Past (Links to an external site.)
Emperor’s Ghost Army (Links to an external site.) (PBS) 2014
In central China, a vast underground mausoleum conceals a life-size terracotta army of cavalry, infantry, horses, chariots, weapons, administrators, acrobats, and musicians, all built to serve China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang Di, in the afterlife. Lost and forgotten for over 2,200 years, this clay army, 8,000-strong, stands poised to help the First Emperor rule again beyond the grave. Now, a new archaeological campaign is probing the thousands of figures entombed in the mausoleum. With exclusive access to pioneering research, “Emperor’s Ghost Army” explores how the Emperor directed the manufacture of the tens of thousands of bronze weapons carried by the clay soldiers. NOVA tests the power of these weapons with high-action experiments and reports on revolutionary 3D computer modeling techniques that are providing new insights into how the clay figures were made, revealing in the process the secrets of one of archaeology’s greatest discoveries.
Rome’s Invisible City (Links to an external site.) (BBC) 2015
With exclusive access deep beneath Rome’s streets and stunning new visualisation techniques, classicist Dr. Michael Scott leads a team of experts to reveal the full story of the ancient world’s most awe-inspiring city and the extraordinary people who created and lived in it. Rome’s spectacular skyline is as breathtaking today as when it was built. But that iconic city-scape is only half the story. There is another Rome that few people have ever seen. From huge underground quarries, subterranean aqueducts, vast water cisterns to ornate temple and tombs and the elaborate lifts, trap doors and mechanics beneath the Coliseum, this film reveals for the first time the buried story of the ingenious Romans and how they planned, created and lived in their captivating city more than two millennia ago.
Decoding Neanderthals (Links to an external site.) (PBS) 2013
Over 60,000 years ago, the first modern humans–people physically identical to us today–left their African homeland and entered Europe, then a bleak and inhospitable continent in the grip of the Ice Age. But when they arrived, they were not alone: the stocky, powerfully built Neanderthals had already been living there for hundred of thousands of years. So what happened when the first modern humans encountered the Neanderthals? Did we make love or war? That question has tantalized generations of scholars and seized the popular imagination. Then, in 2010, a team led by geneticist Svante Paabo announced stunning news. Not only had they reconstructed much of the Neanderthal genome–an extraordinary technical feat that would have seemed impossible only a decade ago–but their analysis showed that “we” modern humans had interbred with Neanderthals, leaving a small but consistent signature of Neanderthal genes behind in everyone outside Africa today. In Decoding Neanderthals, NOVA explores the implications of this exciting discovery. In the traditional view, Neanderthals differed from “us” in behavior and capabilities as well as anatomy. But were they really mentally inferior, as inexpressive and clumsy as the cartoon caveman they inspired? NOVA explores a range of intriguing new evidence for Neanderthal self-expression and language, all pointing to the fact that we may have seriously underestimated our mysterious, long-vanished human cousins.
Breaking the Maya Code (Links to an external site.) (First Run Features) 2007
For almost 2000 years, the ancient Maya of Central America recorded their history and ideas in an intricate and beautiful hieroglyphic script. Then, in the 16th century, Spanish invaders burned their books and ruthlessly extinguished hieroglyphic literacy. By the 18th century, when stone inscriptions were discovered buried in the jungles of Central America, no one on earth could read them. Breaking the Maya Code is the story of the 200-year struggle to unlock the lost secrets of this ancient civilization.
First Face of America (Links to an external site.)(PBS) 2019
Discover the extraordinary remains of a 13,000 year-old teenager in an underwater cave in Mexico.
Secrets of the Dead: After Stonehenge (Links to an external site.) (PBS) 2016
A new discovery of an ancient site began to emerge from a quarry in England. What archaeologists found is simply unheard of: a 3000-year-old settlement that would have risen above the marshy fens, made up of well-built houses on stilts. The ancient artifacts are telling a new story about Bronze Age life in Britain.
Ghosts of Murdered Kings (Links to an external site.) (PBS) 2016
A corpse found in a bog in the hills of Ireland’s County Tipperary dates to the Bronze Age, more than 3,000 years ago. This film reveals a violent demise: the body covered in axe marks, the spine snapped and the arm broken in two places. NOVA follows archaeologists and forensic experts in their hunt for clues to the identity and the circumstances of this and other violent deaths of victims unearthed in bogs. A new theory suggests that they were ritually murdered kings, slain to assure the fertility of land and people.
Rise of the Black Pharaohs (Links to an external site.) (PBS) 2014
Around 800 BC, Kush, a little-known subject state of Egypt, rose up and conquered the Egyptians, enthroned its own Pharaohs, and ruled over the empire of King Tut for nearly 100 years. This unlikely chapter of history has been buried by the Egyptians and belittled by early archaeologists, who refused to believe that dark skinned Africans could have risen so high. But now, in the heart of Sudan, archeologists Geoff Emberling and Tim Kendall are bringing the truth about the Black Pharaohs to life. In a royal tomb beneath an ancient Kush pyramid and at the soaring heights of a mountain sacred to both Kushites and Egyptians, they are finding indisputable evidence of an advanced African society with powerful armies, vast reach, and spiritually-driven imperial aspirations that rival the Egyptians