24 January 2005
The great Egyptian Pyramids of Giza have inspired awe and wonder and, quite likely, fierce speculation from the moment they were built. In fact, even the date of their construction has become a topic of debate. Explorer, survival expert, and host Josh Bernstein takes a hard look at the competing theories as to who really built the pyramids--and when. Archaeologists say it was the ancient Egyptians, others argue for an even older civilization. Josh examines the evidence, explores secret chambers in the heart of the Great Pyramid of Khufu, visits the first pyramid ever built, and tries his hand at ancient stone-quarrying techniques. It's a hard-won perspective, but, with the discovery of a mysterious flooded chamber deep beneath the Sphinx, Josh learns what appears to be the final truth.
24 January 2005
Queen Nefertiti was once the most beautiful and powerful woman in Egypt, renowned throughout the ancient world. But she vanished without a trace, lost to the sands of Egypt for more than 3,000 years. Only in the last century did archaeologists discover that this legendary queen really lived at all. Since then, though, only fragments of her story have emerged. Host Josh Bernstein, an explorer and survival expert, is determined to put the pieces together and uncover the true story of Queen Nefertiti. Who was this mysterious woman? Why did she disappear? And can her mummy still be found today? To find out, he'll follow a trail of clues into Egypt's most sacred and secret places, exploring dark tombs and coming face-to-face with the truth of at least one ancient mummy's identity.
31 January 2005
In 79 AD, the volcano Vesuvius exploded in one of history's deadliest eruptions, burying the city of Pompeii and other Roman towns along the Bay of Naples beneath layers of ash and pumice. Pompeii was rediscovered in the 18th century, but only recently have archaeologists and vulcanologists come to understand exactly how the eruption unfolded, and why it took the people of Pompeii almost entirely by surprise. Intrigued, host Josh Bernstein visits the Bay of Naples, and learns the entire area is built on ancient volcanic rock, some of it still steaming. He climbs the world's most active volcano--Stromboli--an island near Sicily, where "fireworks" from the mountain are a nightly entertainment. Back at Pompeii, he searches for clues that might have enlightened the Romans to the growing threat in their midst. And he literally plays with fire as he follows the story right into the heart of Vesuvius.
7 February 2005
For centuries, adventurers, and archaeologists--the devout and determined, and even Indiana Jones--have all searched for the Bible's most sacred lost treasure: the Ark of the Covenant. Yet, despite all its fame, it mysteriously disappeared from the pages of history tens of centuries ago. How could something so powerful and holy simply vanish? That's what host and adventurer Josh Bernstein is determined to find out when he follows a trail that starts where the Ark's story begins--on Mount Sinai. Next, he explores a secret maze beneath Jerusalem's streets, and visits Deir es Sultan, an Ethiopian monastery located on the roof of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In Ethiopia, he climbs up a sheer cliff to reach Debre Damo, one of the country's most ancient monasteries, and travels across Lake Tana to the place where some say the Ark is kept today. But how close can he get to this mighty and mysterious treasure?
14 February 2005
For all its fame, the Holy Grail remains shrouded in mystery. What exactly was it? Could it have survived to this day? Why has it inspired so many treasure seekers? To Christians, it is the holiest of objects, the cup from which Jesus drank at the Last Supper, also believed to be the chalice that Joseph of Arimathea used to catch Christ's blood as he died on the cross. Though now thought of as a goblet, the actual word "grail" comes to us from the Latin word gradalis--a flat dish or shallow vessel brought to the table during various courses of a meal. The story itself did not originate until medieval times, when it helped inflame the Crusaders' quest. Host and adventurer Josh Bernstein follows the Grail's trail from Holy Land to medieval French castles to a dark chapter in the Nazi saga, when Hitler financed a search for the Grail to unite a secret society of knights. On the way, Josh learns its true meaning and power.
21 February 2005
In 1991, a pair of vacationing German hikers stumbled onto one of the most remarkable finds in the history of archaeology: the perfectly preserved body of a 5,000-year old man. What made the discovery so important was more than just his state of physical preservation, but also the period of time from which he came--the very cusp of the age between stone and steel. Host and adventurer Josh Bernstein heads for the high Alps on the Austrian-Italian border to discover the latest secrets revealed by the clothes, weaponry, and body of Ötzi the Iceman. Josh faces down a deadly blizzard, helicopters out of near disaster, and comes face-to-face with a stone-cold, stone-age killer. Along the way, he discovers that the Iceman is rewriting our ideas about the life of our ancestors at the dawn of civilization--and he learns much about the character of Ötzi!
28 February 2005
Of all the rulers mentioned in the Bible, King Solomon was purportedly the wisest...and the richest! The reason? His access to vast quantities of gold. According to the Bible, the source of his legendary wealth was the goldmines located in the mysterious land of Ophir. Yet, what the Scriptures can't tell us is where Ophir might be found today. Host Josh Bernstein leads us on an epic 4,000-mile journey in search of the lost gold of King Solomon--sailing across the Red Sea, plunging down a Zimbabwean gold mine, and traveling deep into the Ethiopian Bush.
7 March 2005
The Maya of Central America were the greatest pyramid builders of the ancient world. The Egyptians built less than a 100 pyramids--the Maya built thousands. But what was the significance of these towering structures? Determined to solve the meaning of the Maya pyramids, host and explorer Josh Bernstein sets out on a remarkable journey that takes him from the great Maya cities of Southern Mexico to the hinterland of Guatemala. Josh explores ancient tombs, dives in flooded caverns, and shoots whitewater rapids. Finally, he reaches a secret place in the high jungle of Guatemala where a mountain, a cave, and a river converge. It's here, according to the Maya, that the world was born, and it's this mystical place upon which all Maya pyramids are modeled.
14 March 2005
The mystery of the 10 Lost Tribes of Israel has fascinated people through the ages. Explorers claim to have discovered evidence of the "lost tribes" all over the world, from Australia to Siberia, but few if any such claims have been backed up by solid evidence. But now a provocative possibility about the whereabouts of one of the tribes has emerged--and it's 4,000 miles from Israel--in Southern Africa. Host and explorer Josh Bernstein retraces the amazing journey that the Lemba people claim they made centuries ago. It stretches from the heart of modern South Africa to the ancient stone cities of Zimbabwe...and then onto the shores of the Mediterranean and the city of Jerusalem. And the evidence for this journey is more than anecdotal. As Josh discovers, recent DNA studies point to the Lemba's true origin in the Middle East.
21 March 2005
Etched into the driest desert in the world, the mysterious lines and figures of Nazca in Southern Peru are invisible from the ground. Thought to have been made by the Nazca people, who flourished between 200 BC and 600 AD, in fact, these huge drawings were not discovered until the 1930s--and only then by commercial airline pilots who happened to over-fly them. Ever since, they have intrigued the world. Who built them, and why? Host, explorer, and survival expert Josh Bernstein takes on the secrets of the Nazca Lines, while flying micro-lites and powered para-gliders, clambering through thousand-year old irrigation tunnels, and even recreating rituals with contemporary Native Americans.
4 April 2005
It was a fable that fueled a thousand fevered explorations into the mountains and rain forests of South America. The mere idea of El Dorado--a city of gold buried in the jungle--fired the imagination of Spanish conquistadors for centuries. But when no city appeared, so the legend faded. Now explorer and survival expert Josh Bernstein begins the search anew. The recent find of a remarkable document has given new life to the search for El Dorado. Eager to follow up on these latest developments, Josh throws himself into an exciting journey that takes him from the icy waters of Lake Titicaca in Southern Peru, to the frozen Altiplano of the high Andes, then deep into the Amazon jungle as he struggles to discover the truth, once and for all, behind the legend of El Dorado.
25 April 2005
On the remotest island on the face of the planet stand the massive, enigmatic stone statues of Easter Island. Who carved them? And why? Ever since Easter Island was first discovered, this tiny pinprick of land in the middle of the Pacific Ocean has baffled scientists. How did the ancients who peopled this place even find it? Host Josh Bernstein sets out to unveil the mysteries of the island and of the remarkable stone heads that its first inhabitants left behind. Delving into the world of ancient Pacific Islanders, he relearns the lost art of Polynesian navigation, recreates the techniques of Easter Island masons, and participates in dangerous ancient rituals--all to solve one of the greatest enigmas of our time: the mystery of Easter Island.
9 May 2005
In the American Southwest, there is no more puzzling mystery than the magnificent stone cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde. Why did the Anasazi Indians suddenly move their villages to these perilous cliffs in the 13th century--and then abandon them just decades later--and seemingly disappear from history? Was it drought? Invading tribes? Or an insidious "cancer" from within that may have caused them to turn to fierce warfare and even cannibalism? In search of answers, our host, the intrepid explorer and survival expert Josh Bernstein, travels from Mesa Verde, Colorado to remote canyons in Utah where the Anasazi took refuge. Piecing together the story from both archaeologists and Native Americans, he finally ends up, in his search for the truth, in the eerie and desolate ruins of the Anasazi's greatest cultural center--Chaco Canyon.
23 January 2006
Join Josh Bernstein as he braves the Peruvian Amazon in search of the ancient civilization of Chavin de Huantar. There, he'll explore the secrets of a real 3,000-year old temple of doom. Complete with sacred idols and bizarre rituals, the temple was at the heart of an ancient cult that controlled society - not by war or force - but through mind control and hallucinogenic plants like the San Pedro cactus. To investigate this civilization, Josh goes croc hunting in the Amazon; crawls through the deep, dark tunnels of the mysterious temple; and finds out just how potent the San Pedro cactus was in the cult of Chavin.
30 January 2006
By the 16th century, the Spanish conquistadors had conquered the Incas of South America and the Aztecs of Mexico. Seemingly invincible, they looked to North America next. They left a trail of destruction from Florida to the Mississippi River, but then - among a sophisticated community of pyramid-building Native Americans - the conquistadors met their match. Who were these people and how did they fight off - and defeat - what was then the most powerful army in the world? The secret is in the pyramids. Josh Bernstein will scale these great earthen mounds, build his own pyramid, and even face death by fire ants all in a quest to unlock the secrets of America's pyramids.
6 February 2006
Stonehenge is one of the most famous prehistoric monuments on earth. But, who built it, how did they build it and why? As Josh Bernstein investigates, he'll discover the truth behind the stories of druids, cults and human sacrifice. He will take to the air to get a rare birds-eye view of the massive structure; scale down ancient mine shafts; test the tools that would have moved the giant stones, and meet a man whose journey from a foreign land changed the Stonehenge world forever. This is Stonehenge like you've never seen it before!
13 February 2006
Josh Bernstein hits the high seas and takes on the history books, challenging the age-old assumption that Columbus was the first to cross the Atlantic and the first to discover America. According to the Viking sagas, Eric the Red's son Leif Erikson was the first European on the continent. Using the sagas as his guide, Josh makes a grueling 4,000 mile journey from Scandinavia to Iceland to Greenland and then onto the edge of the New World. He's on the hunt for archaeological evidence of the sagas' claims and to prove the Vikings got to America before Columbus.
20 February 2006
Josh Bernstein investigates America's oldest missing person's case-- the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island. In 1587, over 100 settlers landed in the New World to build England's first permanent colony in North America. But, three years later, they had vanished. Did they starve to death? Were they killed by natives? Were there any survivors? Josh travels across two continents to examine the archaeological evidence. He flies high above Roanoke Island in a powered paraglide to scan the terrain; climbs and cores a cypress tree to find out what the climate was like when the colonists disappeared; and conducts a new DNA study that reveals groundbreaking evidence about the fate of the lost settlers.
27 February 2006
Cleopatra has been heralded as Egypt's great beauty, a queen so irresistible that she seduced the likes of Caesar and Marc Anthony and nearly brought Rome to its knees. But, as Josh Bernstein finds out, it wasn't her beauty that captivated. Cleopatra was perhaps the most intelligent and cunning of Egypt's rulers. Unlike her predecessors, she took pains to learn the different languages of the region she controlled and she knew the value of good PR. So, how did she become the last of the pharaohs? Josh goes beyond the legend to uncover the real Cleopatra. He digs deep beneath the desert for ancient mummies; searches towering temples for forgotten clues; and with a little help from The History Channel's Deep Sea Detectives, dives Alexandria Harbor in search of Cleopatra's Palace.
6 March 2006
The City of the Gods (Teotihuacan) is home to the third-largest pyramid in the world; is many times larger than the largest Mayan and Aztec cities ever built; and today it's the world's biggest ghost town. At its height, more people lived in the City of the Gods than in any European city for centuries to come. But it now lies in silent ruins with no inhabitants left to explain what happened here -- or why. That's about to change. Josh Bernstein soars above the great city; crawls down dangerous mining shafts below it; and even plays one of the world's oldest sports...all in the hunt for clues to Mexico's most mysterious mecca.
13 March 2006
Traveling back through time along the ancient incense trails of the Near and Middle East, Josh Bernstein seeks to unearth the real story behind the legends of the mysterious Queen of Sheba. He explores underground churches and ruined temples in northern Ethiopia, and journeys into the volatile tribal deserts of Yemen, where he must first earn the trust of machine gun-toting Bedouin tribesmen before he can explore a forgotten city named for the Bible's most famous queen.
20 March 2006
Homer's Iliad and Odyssey describe an epic story of the legendary Trojan war fought over the most beautiful woman in the world: Helen of Troy. It is said her face launched a thousand ships. But, did this ten year war actually take place? Was Achilles a true warrior? Did Greek soldiers really hide in a giant wooden horse and overrun the Trojans to finally declare victory? Setting out across the Aegean Sea with Homer's works as his guide, Josh Bernstein follows a trail of clues - up mountains, under the sea and aboard a chariot - to find the real story behind the Trojan War. And, he uncovers new research by explorer Robert Bittlestone, who believes he has unearthed proof of Odysseus' kingdom in Greece!
27 March 2006
The line between fact and fiction is elusive and nowhere more so than in the pages of Dan Brown's bestseller, The Da Vinci Code. Now Josh takes on the most controversial of the book's many claims: that the bloodline of Jesus Christ came to Europe and lived on in a line of French kings. In a world exclusive, The History Channel has been given permission to extract DNA from the founding queen of the Merovingian monarchy and to compare it with the living members of a genetic group to which Jesus Christ is thought to have belonged.
3 April 2006
Patagonia or 'The Land of the Big Feet' is, perhaps more than any other place on Earth, home to stories and legends about giants. Since the 16th century, explorers like Ferdinand Magellan and Sir Francis Drake have told of seeing giants along the Patagonian coast. Could such stories be true? According to the Argentine newspaper, El Tribuno, gauchos in the region have filed over twenty sightings in the area since 2000. Josh Bernstein investigates an intriguing connection between centuries of historical accounts and an amazing ancient creature known to science as the Mylodon. Could this creature, long thought extinct and commonly referred to as a giant ground sloth, somehow have survived the epochs and into the present era? Josh sets sail along the Patagonian coast; treks across the region's treacherous glaciers; and descends into prehistoric caves as he tries to catch sight of the elusive beast and uncover the truth behind the giants of Patagonia.
17 April 2006
24 April 2006
Ever since the first Spanish explorers told tales of cities in the middle of the jungle-choked Amazon, explorers, archaeologists and treasure-hunters alike have been searching for them, and many have died trying...including the most famous Amazon explorer Col. Percy Fawcett. Now, Digging for the Truth is mounting its own expedition, and a striking new discovery will be revealed. Josh Bernstein accompanies University of Florida's Michael Heckenberger deep into Brazil's Mato Grosso region. Following Fawcett's trail to the point of his last known location, they then take buses, planes, trucks and river boats five days deep into areas of massive deforestation until they finally reach the untouched jungle. There, among a people called the Kuikuru, they discover the archaeological evidence that points - not only to the existence of huge cities in the jungle - but also to the fact that their descendants are still very much alive today.
22 January 2007
Is Atlantis, the story of the fabled continent, a myth or based in fact? One of the most enduring legends of all time, Atlantis was described as a perfect society--peaceful, artistic, and technologically advanced--but it was destroyed in a cataclysm that literally drowned the continent. Could Atlantis still be waiting to be discovered? Join host Josh Bernstein as he heads to the Mediterranean Sea in search of Atlantis. Walk in the footsteps of Plato in Greece, and dive the blue waters of the Mediterranean to discover a mysterious sunken city. Equipped with state of the art technology, Josh leads an exclusive boat expedition off the coast of Crete in search of the "true" Atlantis.
29 January 2007
5 February 2007
The mysterious death of King Tut continues to puzzle archaeologists and scholars alike. From the moment the "Boy King's" mummy was discovered in the Valley of the Kings, rumors of foul play emerged. Recent x-ray's of King Tut's mummy show signs of a possible attack, but new evidence may point to another cause of death. In his quest for the truth, host Josh Bernstein climbs into King Tut's tomb, fires the weapons King Tut took to his grave, and uses modern science to dig deeper into the rumors of King Tut's murder.
12 February 2007
For nearly a century archaeologists place the height of the Maya civilization during the First Millennium AD. However, revolutionary discoveries in Guatemala are now challenging those views. When did the Maya Civilization truly reach its peak? Join host Josh Bernstein as he tracks the origins of the Maya throughout Mexico and the Central American rain forest. He climbs the tallest Maya pyramid, shovels muck from a jungle swamp, and reveals the known oldest mural in the Maya world.
26 February 2007
Was Ramesses II Egypt's Greatest Pharaoh? He built soaring statues, grand temples, and monuments to himself throughout Egypt. He even declared himself a living god. What forces drove him to be the greatest pharaoh? Join host Josh Bernstein as he travels to Egypt to try his hand at stone masonry, decodes the propaganda of the pharaohs, and gets hi-tech to discover if Ramesses II was as "great" as he thought he was.
5 March 2007
In 1911, Hiram Bingham, famed American explorer, stumbled across a remote Inca city atop a high peak in the Andes. The site was called Machu Picchu--perhaps the most famous ruin in the world. Was it, like Bingham believed, a military fortress or did this glorious ruin have a secret purpose? From the mountains of Peru, host Josh Bernstein will follow in the footsteps of Hiram Bingham. He builds a log bridge across a raging river, examines the stonework at the site, and reviews ancient manuscripts to discover the "true" purpose of Machu Picchu.
12 March 2007
For over 3,000 years, ancient Egyptians preserved their dead in the desert sands. Today the secrets of the Egyptian afterlife are being revealed! Join host Josh Bernstein as he enters a realm of temples, tombs, and mummies. How did the Egyptians prepare the dead for the afterlife and why did these sacred practices disappear? On his exploration, Josh explores the royal tombs at Giza, mines the key ingredient used to preserve the dead, and uncovers a secret cache of golden mummies!
19 February 2007
26 March 2007
2 April 2007
9 April 2007
16 April 2007
3 September 2007
10 September 2007
17 September 2007
24 September 2007
1 October 2007
15 October 2007
Season 4, Episode 7: Timbuktu22 October 2007
Few names conjure as much mystery as that of Timbuktu. For centuries, Europeans heard legends of a mythical city in the heart of the Sahara, the source of endless caravans of gold. But it took 500 years to find it, and by then the glory was gone.
29 October 2007
Travel deep into the heart of the Cambodian jungle to discover a magnificent stone temple that was built on a scale unparalleled in human history.
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