south america

Easter Island: Mysteries of a Lost World; The Search for Alfred the Great

Easter Island: Mysteries of a Lost World was a one-off 90 minute documentary about the history of Easter Island presented by Jago Cooper. The canonical story about the Easter Island culture is that they became so obsessed with building the Moai statues that they cut down all the trees to move them around, at which point the soil promptly eroded away and the culture collapsed due to being unable to grow food. Violence, destruction of statues and cannibalism followed.

Lost Kingdoms of South America; Rome: A History of the Eternal City

The last episode of Lost Kingdoms of South America looked at the Chimú people and their Kingdom of Chimor. They lived in the coastal areas of Peru from around 800AD through to 1400AD when they were conquered by the Incas. The coast of Peru is a desert broken up by river valleys created by the melt water from the Andes running down to the Pacific Ocean.

Lost Kingdoms of South America; Rome: A History of the Eternal City

The third episode of Lost Kingdoms of South America was about El Dorado - and the cultures that might've been the truth behind this Spanish legend. The legend as we know it today is about a golden city, but the original Spanish writers talk about a man who scatters gold dust over himself "as if it were salt" and washes it off in a sacred lake - a man who regards the wearing of solid gold ornaments as "vulgar".

Lost Kingdoms of South America; In Search of Medieval Britain

The second episode of Lost Kingdoms of South America is about the Tiwanaku people, who lived in what is now Bolivia between about 500AD to about 1100AD. The main area they lived in is a large plateau in the Andes over 3500 metres above sea level. Cooper opened the programme by visiting some modern subsistence farmers in the area & showing us how difficult life can be on the plateau.

Prehistoric Autopsy; Lost Kingdoms of South America

The last episode of Prehistoric Autopsy was about Lucy - one of the most famous fossils of our ancestors (and the only individual (as opposed to species) I'd actually heard about before this series). She was a member of the species Australopithecus afarensis and lived a little over 3 million years ago. She was discovered in the early 70s, and at 40% complete was one of the most complete specimens of a hominid from that era.

Andrew Marr's History of the World; In Search of Medieval Britain

Started off the evening with the third episode of Andrew Marr's History of the World - this one was about the Word and the Sword, basically the rise and spread of Buddhism, Christianity & Islam with a few side stories. He started off with the story of Ashoka who killed and conquered his way to ruling an empire that covers most of modern India. But then after witnessing the appalling slaughter he himself had caused he converted to Buddhism and spent the rest of his (long) reign promoting peace and tolerance throughout his land and actively spread Buddhism as a religion.

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