Watch Ancient Discoveries

This docuseries presents conjecture that some apparently modern inventions may in fact have been first invented by ancient societies. The series includes some theories that are supported by evidence and others that are merely speculation without any verifiable evidence. The series aired between 2003 and 2009 on the History cable network.

History
1 Season, 44 Episodes
December 21, 2003
Documentary & Biography
7.6/10
Cast: Phil Crowley
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Ancient Discoveries Full Episode Guide

  • Ancient Record Breakers

  • 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.

  • find out how revolutions and riots changed fighting tactics and weapons to give each party the upper hand.

  • Check out the anciently terrifying weapons of the East.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • Ancient crude and barbaric medicine.

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