Wednesday, May 4 at 9:00 p.m.
Ghosts of Machu Picchu
Perched atop a mountain crest, mysteriously abandoned more than four centuries ago, Machu Picchu is the most famous archeological ruin in the Western hemisphere and an iconic symbol of the power and engineering prowess of the Inca. In the years since Machu Picchu was discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911, there have been countless theories about this "Lost City of the Incas," yet it remains an enigma. Why did the Incas build it on such an inaccessible site, clinging to the steep face of a mountain? Who lived among its stone buildings, farmed its emerald green terraces and drank from its sophisticated aqueduct system? NOVA joins a new generation of archeologists as they probe areas of Machu Picchu that haven't been touched since the time of the Incas and unearth burials of the people who built the sacred site.
Wednesday, May 11 at 9:00 p.m.
Secrets of Stonehenge
Dated to the late Stone Age, Stonehenge may be the best-known and most mysterious relic of prehistory. Every year, a million visitors are drawn to England to gaze upon the famous circle of stones, but the monument’s meaning has continued to elude us. Now investigations inside and around Stonehenge have kicked off a dramatic new era of discovery and debate over who built Stonehenge and for what purpose. How did prehistoric people quarry, transport, sculpt and erect these giant stones? Granted exclusive access to the dig site at Blue stonehenge, a prehistoric stone circle monument recently discovered about a mile from Stonehenge, NOVA cameras join a new generation of researchers finding important clues to this enduring mystery.
Wednesday, May 18 at 9:00 p.m.
Riddles of the Sphinx
For 45 centuries, the Great Sphinx has cast its enigmatic gaze over Egypt's Giza plateau. The biggest and oldest statue in a land of colossal ancient monuments, its scale is staggering: the mighty head towers as tall as the White House, while its body is nearly the length of a football field. This strange half-human, half-lion image has inspired countless fantastic theories about its origins. How was it built, and who or what does it represent? Searching for clues, NOVA's expert team of archeologists, including Mark Lehner (director, Ancient Egypt Research Associates), carries out eye-opening experiments that reveal the techniques and incredible labor invested in the carving of this gigantic sculpture.
Wednesday, May 25 at 9:00 p.m.
Secrets of the Parthenon
Erected by the ancient Greeks as a temple to Athena, the Parthenon has served as a church, a fortress, an ammunition dump and the model for countless banks, courthouses and museums across the world. It has been shot at, exploded, set on fire, rocked by earthquakes, looted for its magnificent sculptures and subjected to restorations that have been termed “catastrophic.” Despite so much abuse and renown as an icon of Western civilization, the question of how the Parthenon was built has been largely ignored until recently. Now, thanks to the Greek government’s $10 billion restoration program, scholars are finally probing the enigmas of its planning and construction.
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