Nostalgia for the Light is a film by Patricio Guzman, on the high altitude desert in Chile called Atacama. Atacama is famous in archaeological circles for preserving the oldest known mummies in the world, and for being the perilous trade route used by both the Inca and Tiwanaku civilizations. Nostalgia for the Light presents the meaning of the Atacama, from billions of years ago as seen from astronomical observatories to the fallout from the Pinochet regime's massacres. Fascinating!
Unearthing the Roman Invasion is a collection of twelve episodes from the British reality TV program Time Team. This delightful educational romp takes the viewer through the villas and temples and way stations and forts and military cemeteries and shops of the ancient Roman Empire. Nearly 600 minutes of video on four DVD discs can be watched again and again. I loved it!
- Read more about the Time Team and buy the Video from the publisher
PBS's phenomenally successful science program NOVA has produced plenty of anthropology and archaeology related videos since it began more than 35 years ago. This new collection brings six videos covering the scientific search for clues as to how ancient people built Stonehenge, the Great Sphinx, Machu Picchu, the Parthenon, Easter Island moai, and the Song Dynasty Rainbow Bridge (a bonus). Nearly six hours of video in a boxed set.
See Shop PBS for additional details
While pretty much everyone has heard of Stonehenge, you might not be aware that there are thousands of stone circles, boulders, marked pathways, lines of sight, wooden poles, underground passageways, inscriptions, and astronomical alignments all over Europe. Standing with Stones is a terrific introduction to the megalithic monuments in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales from director Michael Bott and produced by Illuminated Word in 2009. Presenter Rupert Soskin takes the viewer on a geographic tour of dozens of sites within their pastoral or woodland or seaside environments.
- Read more about Standing with Stones on the publisher's site
Werner Herzog is a film director famous for such movies as Aguirre Wrath of God, who has turned his attention to documentaries of late, including the fascinating train wreck called Grizzly Man. Cave of Forgotten Dreams documents Herzog's visit to the fabulous Upper Paleolithic Chauvet Cave in France. This 32,000 year-old cave is decorated with beautiful paintings of animals, and Herzog's three-dimensional images of them are simply astounding. DVD and Blu-Ray formats available.
The ancient stone structures of the Mediterranean islands of Malta and Gozo are some 6,000 years old, and this video, produced by the Mediterranean Institute of Ancient Civilizations and the Old Temples Study Foundation focuses on four major above-ground temples (Ggantija, Hagar Qim, Mnajdra and Tarxien) and the underground charnel house/temple called Hal Saflieni Hypogeum.
Waking the Baby Mammoth is an hour-long video from National Geographic, published in 2009, on the recovery and study of an excellently preserved baby mammoth called Lyuba. The 1-2 month old female woolly mammoth died about 40,000 years ago, in what is today the Yamal region of Siberia. Narrator Victor Garber leads us to laboratories in Japan, Russia and the United States, where scientists tell us what they have learned about this amazing animal.
National Geographic's 90 minute The Human Family Tree is the product of the Genographic Project and National Geographic, describing the ongoing research of the famous investigative team up until 2009. The program is a fascinating look at ancient human migration patterns beginning with our evolution and exit from Africa, and how they are not, by and large, reflected in the perceived ethnic differences of today.
Of the Time Team programs from 2009, I believe I liked the Range Creek investigations best. Range Creek is a region in the Great Basin of Utah in the American southwest, where several Fremont culture sites are located. The Fremont culture were farmers, who lived in the arid high altitude canyon for some 800 years beginning about 600 AD. The Fremont are best known for their rock art, etched into the stones of the canyon.
- More on Range Creek from PBS
Lost Cities of the Amazon is a terrific video from National Geographic, combining history, archaeology and environmental issues in one highly entertaining package. The 90 minute video tells the story of the 16th Spanish conquistadors searching for what they called "El Dorado", and got lost in the Amazonian jungle; and the 21st century archaeologists who had far better luck finding the communities who lived and thrived there.