sat 18/08/2018

archaeology

Civilisations, BBC Two review - no shocks from Schama

Lord Clark –  “of Civilisation”, as he was nicknamed, not necessarily affectionately – presented the 13 episodes of the eponymous series commissioned by David Attenborough for BBC Two in 1969; it was subtitled “A Personal View”, and encompassed...

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John Man: Amazons review - the real warrior women of the ancient world

As Wonder Woman hits screens worldwide, the publication of a book that explores the myth and reality of the Amazon seems timely. The latest of John Man’s works of popular history is opportunistic enough to end with a fascinating account of the...

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Sunken Cities: Egypt's lost worlds rediscovered

In a gallery darkened to evoke the seabed that was its resting place for over a thousand years, the colossal figure of Hapy, the Egyptian god of the Nile flood, greets visitors just as it met sailors entering the busy trading port of Thonis-...

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China: Treasures of the Jade Empire, Channel 4

Here comes the President, and with him a timely reminder about what the Chinese have been digging up over the past 40 years or so to further demonstrate their exceptional imperial history over the past two millennia. Treasures of the Jade Empire...

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The Celts: Blood, Iron, and Sacrifice, BBC Two

Not a ray of sunshine illuminated the landscapes that were explored in this stormy programme, the first of a three-part history of the Celts. It aimed not only to show the latest investigations into the Bronze and Iron Age tribes who inhabited...

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Building the Ancient City: Athens, BBC Two

Heaven, or a lot of pagan gods at least, may know what was in the air 2500 years ago. Bettany Hughes has just finished her trilogy of philosophers from that millennium, and now we have Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill taking us genially around...

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This World: World’s Richest Terror Army, BBC Two

You haven’t had to actually watch the brutal executions staged by Islamic State (IS, or ISIS or ISIL, as it’s also known) to register them: just a single image registered has been more than enough to horrify. Managing to penetrate the world’s...

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Saints and Sinners: Britain's Millennium of Monasteries, BBC Four

When in Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies Thomas Cromwell exclaims in exasperation,  “to each monk, one bed; to each bed, one monk. Is that so hard for them?” he sums up the state of moral decay into which the monasteries had apparently...

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Jungle Atlantis, BBC Two

Angkor Wat in Cambodia is the biggest religious complex ever built. It is also one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring structures ever created, even now still a working temple with both Buddhist and Hindu connections. It was at the heart not...

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Art of China, BBC Four

If, like me, you switched this on feeling sheepish about your sketchy knowledge of Chinese art, you would have welcomed as a ready-made excuse the news that some monuments synonymous with Chinese culture are relatively recent discoveries. It seems...

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Archaeology: A Secret History, BBC Four

“A bunch of beardies rooting around with trowels. On the lookout for shinbones and such. It’ll be knockout.” There will have been naysayers at the meeting when they first pitched the idea for a series about archaeology and yet nearly 20 years on...

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Heritage! The Battle to Save Britain's Past, BBC Four

He may have been lampooned in his lifetime as the man who kept a pet wasp, but Britain owes much to John Lubbock, the Victorian MP whose legislation gave the country its first bank holiday. His Ancient Monuments bill of 1882 (nicknamed the “...

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