Ancient Discoveries

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  • TV-PG
  • 2003
  • 6 Seasons
  • 7.6  (262)

Ancient Discoveries from History is a documentary television series that aired from 2003 to 2009. Hosted by British actor Sean Barrett, the show explores ancient technologies and innovations that were ahead of their time. Each episode covers a different topic, ranging from ancient weapons to engineering feats to medical advancements. Through expert interviews, computer-generated reconstructions, and historical reenactments, Ancient Discoveries helps bring the past to life.

The show's extensive research and attention to detail make it an informative and engaging viewing experience. Drawing on a wide range of sources, including archaeological evidence, historical texts, and scientific research, Ancient Discoveries presents a nuanced and fascinating portrait of the ancient world. By exploring the ingenuity and resourcefulness of ancient cultures, the show challenges our assumptions about human progress and encourages us to look at the world with fresh eyes.

One of the most striking things about Ancient Discoveries is the way it blends modern technology with ancient knowledge. Computer graphics and reconstructions allow viewers to see what ancient structures and inventions might have looked like, while expert interviews provide insights into the motivations and processes behind these innovations. The result is a compelling and immersive look at the past that feels surprisingly relevant to the present.

One of the recurring themes of Ancient Discoveries is the idea that ancient peoples were far more sophisticated than we often give them credit for. From the hydraulic systems of the ancient Greeks to the intricate clockwork mechanisms of the Chinese, the show presents evidence of advanced technological and engineering skills in cultures that are often dismissed as primitive or backward. By highlighting these achievements, Ancient Discoveries challenges the Eurocentric view of history and invites viewers to consider the contributions of non-Western cultures.

Another strength of the show is its focus on the practical applications of ancient technologies. Rather than just marveling at the ingenuity of the ancients, Ancient Discoveries explores how their inventions were used in day-to-day life. For example, an episode on ancient medicine looks at the use of herbal remedies and surgical techniques in cultures from around the world. By showing how these techniques were used to actually improve people's lives, the show makes ancient history feel more immediate and relatable.

Overall, Ancient Discoveries is a fascinating and informative show that offers a fresh perspective on the ancient world. The combination of expert interviews, reconstructions, and historical reenactments provides a multifaceted view of each topic, while Sean Barrett's engaging narration keeps viewers interested and invested. Whether you're a history buff or just curious about how the world worked before modern technology, Ancient Discoveries is well worth checking out.

Ancient Discoveries is a series that is currently running and has 6 seasons (52 episodes). The series first aired on December 21, 2003.

Ancient Discoveries
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Ancient Record Breakers
12. Ancient Record Breakers
December 22, 2009
Ancient Record Breakers
Mega Ocean Conquests
11. Mega Ocean Conquests
February 22, 2009
From conquering the depths of the oceans to defending the freedoms of the seas--ancient man pushed the technological boundaries to the limits in the mega battle for the oceans. New discoveries will reveal how an ancient destroyer rammed its way to victory in one of the most significant battles in human history. In Denmark, a team of divers build and test the world's first ever deep sea diving suit that was designed 350 years before the history books tell us it was possible to walk along the seabed. Can CSI science unravel the mystery of a time traveling ghost ship? And in a groundbreaking sea cannon experiment, naval experts will discover how a 16th century war fleet blasted their way to victory against an enemy armada seven miles wide, without the loss of a single ship.
Riots and Revolution
10. Riots and Revolution
December 18, 2009
find out how revolutions and riots changed fighting tactics and weapons to give each party the upper hand.
Twisted Weapons of the East
9. Twisted Weapons of the East
Check out the anciently terrifying weapons of the East.
Rituals of Death
8. Rituals of Death
December 22, 2009
Travel to Egypt to discover the mysteries of the mummified crocodiles of Kom Ombo. We'll x-ray an ancient mummy that has held a secret for 2000 years, and reveal the lengths that people will go to to ritualize death. New discoveries at the site of the world famous terracotta army in China reveal incredible insights into the mind-state of the great first emperor of China and his people; and what they believed about death. In Britain, forensic scientists solve a year old murder using 15th century forensic science, as well as hundreds of mini-detectives--blowflies. And using virtual reality techniques doctors will now look inside the body of a victim during a live crucifixion to discover horrific new truths about the suffering on the cross.
Ancient Special Forces
7. Ancient Special Forces
December 22, 2009
The show reviews ancient Roman navy SEAL techniques of capturing enemy ships from underwater and replicates the feat. The tactics of ancient Roman war dog units are explored including a historically savage breed of dog, the Mastiff. Finally, the secrets of the samurai sword and how it was made is reviewed and they build and test an ancient Horro, a Japanese device that could protect a galloping cavalryman from arrow fire using thin silk.
Ancient Commandos
6. Ancient Commandos
December 22, 2009
Ancient commandos fought deep behind enemy lines in some of the harshest terrains know to man. The show examines such exploits through storms and snowdrifts, revealing the tech and truth behind the world earliest known ski commandos. A journey to the deserts of Egypt reveals how a tiny army beat off a major invasion force using deception and a bunch of farm animals. The Bayeux tapestry is featured as well as one of the ancient worlds most feared and successful commando units, the Naftun.
Secret Science of the Occult
5. Secret Science of the Occult
December 17, 2009
In Mexico, explorers use a sacred ancient Mayan temple code to search for an occult underworld engineered in the depths of the earth--a mysterious site where no TV cameras have ever ventured. In Britain, investigators uncover the secret technologies behind a life size statue of Jesus Christ that miraculously came to life. Weapons experts reveal the science that saved a holy military order from certain annihilation in the bloodiest siege in history. In Greece, archaeologists solve the mystery of the oracle of the dead; an eerie sanctuary where flying ghosts appeared from the depths of hell.
Ancient Secret Agents
4. Ancient Secret Agents
December 10, 2009
Investigate the systems by which ancient intelligence services transmitted messages over thousands of miles--the fire beacon, the horse and the pigeon. This episode sets up a great race between these three systems to see which communicates the swiftest. Learn how ancient spies sent secret messages using invisible ink made of human sperm and how they wrote on the inside of a raw egg. Discover how Japan's covert assassins, the ninja, used more than darts and poisons--they were pretty good with explosives as well. Find out how a Roman James Bond used a suit made of cork to support him in full armor during a covert operation across a river.
The Ancient Mega-Fort
3. The Ancient Mega-Fort
December 3, 2009
Explore the defenses of ancient forts and cities. Discover the invisible underground defensive systems of Cappadocia and how they proved so successful. Test the ancient Mayan killer bee castle defenses, and release bees in an attack. A replica section of the ancient Roman fort of Alesia is built. And the most impregnable walls in history - the multi-layered defenses of Constantinople are investigated and along with the type of cannon that destroyed them in 1453.
Guns n' Ammo
2. Guns n' Ammo
November 12, 2009
Some of the strangest and deadliest weapons ever built were prototypes of the modern gun. ANCIENT DISCOVERIES finds out whether a simple bamboo tube could have been the world's first gun. Hidden in an ancient manuscript lays a secret recipe for ancient tracer fire, but does it really work? How far and how high could the mega-mortar "Roaring Meg" have fired its shots to take out a Royalist stronghold? Can a team of experts discover the truth behind the bizarre battlefield phenomena of “wind of the cannonball,” when men were seen to drop dead without apparently having been touched by a shot? And did a nine-barreled medieval volleygun mark the birth of the modern machine gun?
Airborne Assault
1. Airborne Assault
December 4, 2009
Assault from the air didn't begin with the era of the airplane. The kite bomb was a medieval siege weapon that dropped bombs from a kite over cities. Ancient bouncing bombs that actually skipped across water terrorized shipping in Turkey in 1453. Ancient China's whistling arrows, the world's earliest rocket-powered explosive missile, and the earliest known successful parachute, are also examined.
Where to Watch Ancient Discoveries
Ancient Discoveries is available for streaming on the History website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Ancient Discoveries on demand at Apple TV Channels, Amazon Prime, Amazon, History Vault and Apple TV.
  • Premiere Date
    December 21, 2003
  • IMDB Rating
    7.6  (262)