TAC International Film and Video Festival 




Films Available at the Video Bar 











This year, the Video Bar will be at the Baker Downtown Center, 975 High Street, Suite 110, in the Belize Room. Here you can watch any of the entered films on individual viewing stations for no charge. All the entered films are listed below. Films noted with an asterisk (*) are also to be shown on the big screen for the competition.


40 Years of Silence: An Indonesian Tragedy
This documentary is the first to explore the personal effects on the survivors of General Suharto's bloody purge of suspected communists throughout Indonesia in 1965. Under his authoritarian rule, any discussion, recognition or memorializing of the mass killings that differed from the official state narrative quickly was suppressed. The film follows the compelling testimonies of four individuals and their families from two regions heavily affected by the purge: Central Java and Bali. As they break their silence publicly for the first time, they narrate their struggles to survive, their feelings of hatred and revenge, and ultimately their journeys to reconciliation and redemption. The characters' stories illustrate that such violence creates tears in the social and political fabric of society that can take generations to heal.


Aeneas' Route
This documentary follows the voyage of Aeneas as portrayed in "The Aeneid." When the Greeks invaded Troy, Aeneas and his fellow survivors escape the city on a fleet of twenty ships. Now, more than two thousand years after the poem was written, the film recreates Aeneas' journey throughout the Mediterranean Sea. From island to island, Altiniluk to Tracia, to Lymnos, and finally to the coast of Italy, we follow this grand adventure and visit the many historical sites along the way. His love for history and passion for the ocean together guide a man on his journey of exploration of the past.


A Face for Prehistory, or the Adventure of the Piette Collection *
A hundred years after being donated to the National Archaeology Museum, the world's greatest collection of prehistoric art finally was opened to the public. This collection boasts some of mankind's masterworks, the most famous being the "Lady with a Hood," a face carved in mammoth ivory over 25,000 years ago. It remains the oldest known portrait in the history of humanity. Assembled in the 19th Century by an amateur archaeologist named Edouard Piette, this collection of carvings and sculptures tells us as much about our ancestors as it does about the man who dug them out of the ground when the science of prehistory was in its infancy. Tracing the footsteps of this pioneer of prehistoric art, A Face for Prehistory takes us on a thrilling scientific and human adventure amid the wealth of new discoveries and fierce debate that characterized the late 19th Century.


Ajanta: The History and Mystery
The Ajanta caves are some of the finest examples of rock-cut temples in the world. This pioneering endeavor was started almost 300 years after the death of The Buddha in 200 BC and completed in AD 600. For almost 1200 years before they were rediscovered, these magnificent temples were abandoned and forgotten. Today we can see that Ajanta is a three-dimensional canvas, capturing the changing forms of art, culture, architecture, attire, jewelry, fashion, and culinary rituals painted in the most earthen Indian colors. The film expresses the peace and tranquility of the ancient monastery with breathtaking images of painting and sculpture. Most of the caves now are closed to photography and the images seen in this film are rare. The film explores the historical, technological and ecstatic value of the caves and their sculptures and paintings, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.


Balancing the Cosmos
This documentary paints an intimate portrait of a modern indigenous Maya city, its people, traditions and rituals. Santiago Atitlán is considered by many to be the largest purely indigenous town in the Americas, with a population of over fifty thousand who speak the Maya language. The film searches for the meaning of tradition in this modern Maya city and how it survives in the face of the social, religious, and political pressures of today. Filmed over the course of eight years in the highlands of Guatemala, Balancing the Cosmos reveals a vibrant, living culture as it adapts to and embraces the modern world.


Before the Lake Was Champlain: An Untold Story of Ice Age America
Stories about "lost races" are usually labeled and then dismissed as "fantastic archaeology," but a surprising new discovery along a high beach terrace of the ancient Champlain Sea has introduced an unknown chapter in the history of Ice Age America that can not be overlooked. It suggests that an early and sophisticated Native American culture once existed in the Northeast that researchers are just beginning to recognize. The lives that these ancient peoples lived were far different from the anthropological models that have been developed for the Paleo-Indian, and the implications of the new discoveries reach through the entire history of eastern Native American civilization. Before the Lake Was Champlain chronicles the long and careful process that has unfolded one of the great archaeological mysteries of North America.


Berat: A 2400 Years Old Civilization Model
The city of Berat, in southeastern Albania, has been a center of trade, culture and religion in the area for many centuries. Its history begins in the 4th Century BC with the construction of its huge fortification walls. The city served as an important hub during Ottoman rule and never lost its role as a geographic center, even in modern times. The beauty of its forty-two churches, mosques, and hillsides layered with windowed houses is a view that, once seen, can never be forgotten. Berat's prominence, natural resources and historical identity that it represents make it one of the most important cities of Albania. This documentary played a fundamental role in Berat becoming a World Heritage Site under UNESCO.


Building Pharaoh's Ship
Depicted on the wall of one of Egypt's most impressive temples is a magnificent trading vessel that embarked on a royal expedition to a mysterious, treasure-laden land called Punt. Was this journey merely a myth, or was it reality? NOVA travels to the legendary temple, built some 3,500 years ago for the celebrated female Pharaoh Hatshepsut, in search of answers to this tantalizing archaeological mystery. Did Punt exist and, if so, where was it? Did the ancient Egyptians, who built elaborate barges to sail down the Nile, also have the expertise necessary to embark on a long sea voyage? NOVA follows a team of archaeologists and boat builders as they reconstruct the mighty vessel shown on the mysterious carving and launch it into the Red Sea on a unique voyage of discovery.


Caring for Country in Action: A Model for Community-driven Natural Resource Management
A community in Western Australia came together as a group, forming a heritage reference council to protect the heritage landscape of the Yoolberup wetland system. The council made a successful land acquisition proposal for a block of land adjacent to the wetland to develop a larger protected area. They became the lead agent in the development and implementation of a management plan to conserve and restore the natural and cultural heritage landscape. Their plan involves detailed archaeological investigations, training programs for local community members, the integration of other government and natural resource management programs, development of a legal framework for the protection of traditional knowledge and community ownership, and a number of direct conservation outcomes. This process has facilitated the expansion of the activities of the community group and directed other heritage management programs in other areas with similar results.


Come Together Home
The first wave of Chinese immigrants arrived in Portland in 1850. These new arrivals found jobs as railroad workers, loggers, and cannery workers, all greatly contributing to the construction of the city of Portland and the state of Oregon. Block 14 in Lone Fir Cemetery, the first Chinese burial ground in Portland and site of as many as 1,500 graves, now stands as a fenced-off void of gravel after most of the remains were exhumed and shipped back to China in 1928 and 1949. Sixty years later, director Ivy Lin follows the footsteps of the missing 1949 shipment of remains in an extraordinary journey from Portland to Tung Wah Coffin Home in Hong Kong.


Crossroads of Antiquity: Shipwrecks of the Albanian Coastal Survey
The RPM Nautical Foundation, the Albanian Institute of Archaeology, and the Albanian National Trust are in the middle of a multi-year collaboration surveying the entire Albanian coast for submerged cultural resources. This film explains the region's rich history, illustrated by the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Butrint, and the area's ongoing archaeological discoveries, particularly of a Fourth Century AD shipwreck. The project utilizes cutting edge underwater survey equipment while the film maker chose the rough footage of Super8 film, capturing the contradictions of Albania, a modern country with a deeply rooted identity from its history at the crossroads of antiquity.

The Day of Creation
Norooz, Persian for "the new day," is an ancient Iranian tradition still practiced in Iran and among other Persian speaking people. The new day is believed to coincide with the last of the six days of creation and is celebrated on the spring equinox as the first day of the new year. This film narrates the secrets, truths and myths of catharsis, a tradition often forgotten in modern time. With a series of original miniature paintings, architecture and abstract forms of modern life in an experimental style, the film maker attempts to remind the modern world of the Day of Creation and to experience the Norooz catharsis.


Easter Island: Back to the Past
Easter Island often is presented as the archetype of an ecological disaster of great magnitude. Deforestation plunged the island into famine and war, leading to the violent destruction of its sculptural heritage, the decline of its civilization and the near-extinction of its population. Nicolas Cauwe and a multidisciplinary scientific team have been studying and excavating the island, dating samples and re-examining historical documents to better understand the island's past. The results of this research contradict the many notions about tribal warfare and the violent destruction of the statues. The disappearance of the forest was not due to man alone and the evidence shows that there was not war and famine as previously believed. The history of Easter Island may not have been one of collapse but rather this Polynesian population's adaption to a climate crisis and their gradual shift towards a new social and religious organization.


Ellora: Faith, Religion, and Art
The Ellora Cave Temples in Mahashtra are among the most exciting examples of human craftsmanship on natural formations. The caves were carved out of the vertical, basalt face of the Charanandri hills, ideal for the kind of architecture and craftsmanship that Ellora represents, enabling the craftsmen to express their vision and art on the rock as a permanent memorial. The star attraction of Ellora is undoubtedly Cave #16, The Kailash Temple. It is the largest monolithic structure in the world and an unrivaled example of rock-cut architecture. Standing within these walls, it is difficult to ignore the tremendous spiritual energy that characterized its creation and preserved it through the warp and weft of unfolding centuries, making it one of the oldest wonders of our modern world. The film intricately traces the history and development of various religious cultures and their evolution over several hundred years.


The Exodus Decoded
Exodus. The very word evokes an epic tale of Pharaohs and Israelites, plagues and miracles, the splitting of the sea, the drowning of an army, Moses, and the revelation at Sinai. The story is at the very heart of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but many historians argue that the Exodus is a myth. The Exodus Decoded analyzes the latest archaeological findings and scientific papers, explores the dusty back rooms of out-of-the-way libraries and museums around the world and tracks down dozens of forgotten relics and ancient documents. Individually, these findings are historical curiosities. Together they tell what the film-makers argue is the true story of the Exodus.


The First Europeans
The history of Europe spans over a million years. From the very first species of humans to voyage out of Africa, Homo erectus, to the millions of modern humans living in Europe today, the people of the region have left behind clues to the past. Using DNA and gene comparisons, tooth analysis, and modern archaeological techniques, we have been able to piece together what the earliest European populations were like. Who were the Neandertals? Why did ancient people make magnificent paintings deep in the farthest chambers of caves? How did the myth of Noah's flood arise? These and many more questions are addressed in this documentary that tells the long history of people in Europe.


Garden Stories
This guerrilla film was made by a group of gardeners at a Cambridge College who were a bit fed up with the usual stereotypes of gardeners portrayed in the media. Contributions from students and staff capture the secret life of this unique and celebrated garden and mark the special role it plays within the life of the College. The film is presented in three parts: Transits, Identity and Summertime. Garden Stories answers the question of why we garden, whether it's for the love of nature, playing, romance, or poetry. It is a lyrical and intimate portrait of life in the gardens at Cambridge.


Ghosts of Machu Picchu*
Perched atop a mountain crest and mysteriously abandoned more than four centuries ago, Machu Picchu is the most famous archaeological ruin in the Western Hemisphere and an iconic symbol of the power and engineering prowess of the Inca. In the years since Machu Picchu was discovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, archaeologists have continued to develop countless theories about this "Lost City of the Incas," yet it remains an enigma. Why was it built on such an inaccessible site? Who lived among its stone buildings, farmed its emerald green terraces, and drank from its sophisticated aqueduct system? NOVA joins a new generation of archaeologists as they probe areas of Machu Picchu that haven't been touched since the time of the Incas. See what they discover when they unearth burials of the people who built the site.


A Girl Priestess in Cahuachi *
The maze-like pyramid and the geoglyphs of the Nazca Province of Peru long have been a mystery to archaeologists. This documentary, directed by Minoru Nakamura, presents the entire two-month excavation process of the pyramid in which the first ever Nazca human tomb was discovered. Beneath piles of leaves and corn cobs, three layers of bamboo floors and pacae leaves, they uncovered the mummy of a young priestess wearing a gold mask. Why would she have been entombed when all other people had been buried in simple, small holes? Perhaps she was one of the most revered prophets of her time. This discovery changes views of Cahuachi culture and suggests a new hypothesis on the research of the civilizations of South America.

Gobeklitepe: The World's First Temple
This film takes the audience back to twelve thousand years ago, to an archaeological site recently found in Sanliurfa, Turkey. Its date to well before the construction of other important symbols of ancient wisdom, such as Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids, challenges common beliefs on the history of civilization. The film maker lays out the facts and discoveries of this Neolithic site, addressing the questions of what caused the people to create such a monumental sacred complex and what the giant pillars and animal carvings mean. These and other mysteries are left up for interpretation by an open-minded audience's imagination.


Great Falls: Discovery, Destruction and Preservation in a Massachusetts Town
The town of turner Falls, Massachusetts, is attempting to expand the runway to its airport. The plan calls for the removal of a low hill that contains what Native American tribal representatives identify as a ritual site, a ceremonial stone landscape. This film explores the struggle between local and federal officials and Native American leaders over the recognition and preservation of the land. The surprising discovery and the ongoing effort to understand and protect what may be an extraordinary historic asset constitute a dramatic story of environmental and cultural preservation. The film has helped make the northeastern Native American ceremonial stone landscape eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places for the first time.


Guédelon: A Castle in the Making *
To visit this site is to take a journey into history. The reason is as simple as it is unbelievable: in the forest of Saint-Sauveur, France, fifty craftsmen are constructing a castle following 13th Century techniques. The forest provides them with their building materials: water, stone, earth, sand, and wood. Construction uses no excavator, no drill, no electricity, and no internal combustion engine is in use. Quarriers, stone hewers, masons, and carpenters are working as they would have seven centuries ago as more than 300,000 visitors come each year to watch. It is a continuous, lively, and progressive building yard where towers, curtains, and the keep will spend twenty-five years emerging from the earth. Reinhard Kungel and his film team began working at Guédelon in 1999.


Hangman's Graveyard *
In 2007, Archaeological Services Inc. began an investigation to uncover the Murderer's Graveyard, home to some of Canada's most infamous criminals. Hangman's Graveyard is a dark and haunting tale of rogues, rakes and villains as a modern day archaeological investigation seeks to uncover and identify the remains of the executed inmates of Toronto's notorious Old Don Jail. They discover the skeletal remains of fifteen men who went to the gallows between 1880 and 1932. Who were these men? What were their crimes? The film follows the lives of three of the men found in the forgotten cemetery and examines the history of the Don Jail, capital punishment in Canada, and the nation's most feared hangman, Arthur Ellis.


Helluva Way to Treat a Soldier
Private Thomas Smith, a 19th Century black soldier, was buried with military honors when he died at Fort Craig in 1865. A century after his death, the remains were stolen from a remote frontier cemetery in New Mexico. The perpetrator kept the soldier's bones in his home for thirty years. How this soldier wound up as a macabre trophy in someone's personal artifact collection is a focus of this documentary film. While investigating the Fort Craig case in 2005, federal authorities soon realized they were on the trail of one of America's most prolific looters. It was a case that ultimately emphasized the need for a shift in public attitudes regarding our nation's historic and archaeological treasures. This documentary, which was filmed as the Fort Craig investigation unfolded, takes the viewer on a bizarre yet informative journey. The film also chronicles federal efforts to address the desecration of fallen soldiers regardless of their rank, color or the time that has elapsed since their service.


Historic Archaeology: Beneath Kentucky's Fields and Streets *
This documentary film examines what archaeologists are learning about daily lives of Euro-American settlers, slaves, laborers, and immigrants during the 1800s. The storytellers travel to historic sites across the Commonwealth, blending interviews with video, artifacts, archival photographs, and original animation for a fascinating look into the lives of ordinary people of the historic era in Kentucky. The documentary is presented in four segments based on archaeological periods; the Frontier, the Antebellum, Civil War, and Industrial. Each segment features key scientific discoveries made by some of the states' top archaeologists of the past decade.


Hosap Castle
Hosap Castle in Turkey was an Ottoman military castle built in the 17th Century. Today, a group of archaeologists is working to save what remains of the historical site after over 300 years. This film gives a behind-the-scenes look at the many techniques the team uses to reconstruct the stone walls and arches and to preserve the castle's beautiful carvings and paintings. It is their hard work that carries on the history of Turkey for future generations to experience themselves.


Ice Age Discoveries: The Investigators
Recent archaeological digs have provided compelling evidence that humans inhabited Virginia at least 18,000 years ago, well before the Clovis culture and thousands of years earlier than previously thought. This film features the archaeologists, the investigators who uncover history. How are archaeologists solving these mysteries? Learn what archaeologists are finding and how they use science, the scientific method and "lines of evidence" to piece history together.


Ice Age Discoveries: New Evidence
Recent excavations at a number of sites, including Cactus Hill located along the Nottoway River in southwest Virginia, have provided new evidence and raised new questions about when people ventured into the Americas. For many years, archaeologists thought that people arrived approximately 11,500 years ago. However, stone artifacts, charcoal, soil and plant and animal remains point to human habitation at Cactus Hill at least 18,000 years ago during the late Ice Age.


The goddess Inanna was the first appearance of feminine belief in the world and its symbolic signs can be observed in Iranian women customs today. During the 4th Century BC in Mesopotamia, Inanna was the goddess of life, love, and fertility. Her origin comes from Old Iranian myths and the ancient name of "Nana Khatoon." The first episode, represented in present Iranian women's clothing, is based on the ancient inscriptions about Inanna's love. The second episode studies the unique women costumes to the east of Iran, costumes with various similarities with ancient costumes dedicated to the goddess Inanna.


Indigenous Lives of Taiwan
In April of 2010, anthropologists from the National Taiwan University were asked to travel to a small indigenous village in the south to document a fading traditional culture. The village leaders invited him in hopes of preserving their culture by sparking tourism in their town. As the younger generations become less fluent in the traditional language, Christianity replaces the old religion, techniques of cloth making disappear and the people struggle to carry on the ways of their past. The film shows how excavations, computer imaging, music recordings, and tourism just might be able to save the traditions of the ancestors in this small mountain village.


Ivanhoe: Kona Gale
The Ivanhoe was an iron-hulled ship-rigged vessel built in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1868. It began its life as an English emigrant ship carrying passengers to Australia. In time, the ship became a trade vessel and traveled all around the world. In December, 1915, the ship wrecked off the coast of Kauai. However, exactly what its cargo was or what brought it down remains a mystery. In fact, little documentation of her last ten years has been found. In this film, Maritime Studies field school for East Carolina University begins to document what remains of the ship and to see if any questions surrounding the last few years of her life can be answered.


The Jingle Dress
The Native American legend of the Jingle Dress and the Jingle Dance varies slightly from tribe to tribe. They all, however, have the same basic story. In 1900, a Native American chief began having a recurring dream of four women dancing, each wearing a jingle dress. The dream provided him instructions on how to make the dresses, how to do the dances and what types of songs to play with each dance. Upon awakening, he and his wife made the dresses and taught four women how to do the dance. The chief told his people about his dream at the drum ceremony and the women started to do the dance. Before the night was over, the chief's sick daughter was able to get up and dance with the women. The legend says the dress was given to the people from the Great Spirit for the purpose of healing and is still used for that purpose today.


Learning in the Bering Sea: An Archaeological Field School on Adak Island, Alaska
In the summer of 2010, three anthropology students embark on an adventure to an archaeological field school on Adak Island, Alaska, in the Bering Sea. Adak Island lies 1,300 miles southwest of Alaska's largest city, Anchorage. Here, the students learn not only the techniques and skills necessary to work at an archaeological site but also how to deal with the conditions archaeologists often experience in the field. Their boat ride across the Bering Sea and five weeks of living in a tent, enduring cold, wet weather and eating canned and dehydrated food are all examples of these sometimes unpleasant conditions. The students emphasize that the hard work is all worth it for developing their skills and forming family like relationships with their peers.


Legacy of a Lost Civilization
The magalithic temples of Malta and Gozo are the oldest freestanding buildings on earth. Built nearly 6,000 years ago, the huge stone complexes thrill the imagination. These sites have yeilded art and sculpture, tools and pottery, personal adornment, and human remains of the period in undisturbed tombs. Finely decorated objects discovered in the debris suggest a golden prehistoric age of peace and abundance. This pioneering film delivers compelling incentive to take another look at what we thought we knew about the past. The film is dense with information and imagery that has never been seen in North America, much less considered by most of our scholars. The angles of interest range from anthropology and architecture to art history and ancient religions and to physics and bio-behavioral science.


Leptis Magna: Rome in Africa *
In the 3rd Century AD, the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus, known as "the African" because he was born in Leptis Magna, turned the ancient Cathaginian trading center into a metropolis of 300,000 inhabitants. It was the third largest in the Empire, but soon was abandoned to the desert and lay covered in sand until its discovery in the 20th Century. The excellent condition and beauty of the excavated sites conjures a vision of what the city must have been like 1700 years ago. Leptis Magna was an influential, bustling, cosmopolitan city with a prosperous port and a market which was renowned as far away as Rome. All in marble with flowing water, Leptis Magna rivaled the wealth of Rome and flaunted its power to the people of Africa. Based on recent research by teams of Italian, German and French archaeologists, this film tells the story of mad ambition by a civilization which decided to transform a trading center into a capital city and did everything it could to succeed at making the "desert blossom."


London's Olympic Waterscape
The water of London is a political substance. With the Olympics coming in 2012, the East London landscape, an area with a rich industrial history built around a series of braided waterways in the Lea Valley, is under constant construction and restructuring. This collaborative effort between six PhD candidates in the Geography Department at Royal Holloway, University of London, has set out to record these changes. The film provides an accessible platform for a range of people to voice their opinions regarding the changes to the Olympic waterscape and concerning archaeology, heritage, urban planning, and cultural protests. The film makers hope that the immediate accessibility of the film will inspire greater engagement, debate and discussion around the issues facing East London among local residents, bureaucrats, academics, artists and other stakeholders.


Mammoth in the Wenas
Following the discovery of mammoth remains on ranch land in south-central Washington, a scientific team has hastily formed to determine the next steps, if any, that should be taken. Eye-witness accounts and the land owner's own agenda complicate the endeavor. Earlier concerns about whether or not there was enough evidence of a mammoth skeleton to justify an archaeological field school to extract the remains change to a race with time to find, document and recover as much scientific data as possible before the summer field school's digging season ends. This film utilizes direct observational cinema and techniques to document the "raw edge" of archaeological excavation and paleo-environmental inquiry.


Manhattan, 1609
Some four centuries ago, on September 1609, the navigator Henry Hudson dropped anchor in front of the island of Manhattan. A few years later, Protestants from Wallonia and northern France, chased from their region by war and religious persecution, left to build a life in the New World. Upon their arrival, they purchased virgin lands from the Indians where they started a settlement, never imagining that one day it would become the most famous city in the world: New York. This film is about the early history of New York: it explains that many years before Peter Stuyvesant arrived on the scene, the original thirty families from the north of France and the south of Belgium, including governor Peter Minuit, were the real founders of what became the state and the city of New York.


Merowe Dam: Archaeological Salvage
In Sudan, a group of archaeologists make a salvage mission into the desert to recover pages of the country's history that may be lost under the water of a new lake formed by the Merowe Dam. The dam will change a land that has remained unchanged for thousands of years, dislocating many people and destroying fundamental archaeological sites. Large ancient boulders covered with engravings and stones from ancient pyramids are collected and trucked out of the desert into safe keeping and museums. The lives of the many relocated farmers may in fact be easier in their new, more modern villages, but they can't compensate for the loss of history, culture and the homes they leave behind.


Mike Williams: Duck Decoys and Tule Work
Mike Williams is a member of the Walker River Paiute band from Fallon, Nevada. Inspired by his study of the tule work duck decoys and other archaeological materials found in the local Lovelock Cave excavations of the 1920s, he began to experiment with prehistoric tule work methods. He has inspired a revival of interest in this craft through his own work and teaching, which was recognized in the 2008 Governor's Art's Awards. In this film he explains some of the background, the connection of his craft to the Stillwater area, and the technique for constructing and decorating the duck decoys. Around him as he demonstrates the decoy construction techniques, we see some of the other tule work he has done and a tule boat model developed with his son Jesse, who is now learning the craft.


Naia and the Moon *
This animated film is based on an indigenous tale from the Amazon Forest, in which young Naia learns from her tribe's elders stories of how the stars in the sky came to be. According to legend, the moon came out at night in search of the most beautiful Indian women. When he fell in love with a beautiful woman he would shine his light on her, transforming her blood into light, making her a star so she could be by his side forever. Naia falls in love with him instead and runs deep into the jungle to let his light shine on her. Seeing the moon's reflection in a deep lake, Naia believes that the moon came from heaven to take her. The young girl is not transformed into a star, but still finds her place close to the moon.


The Naked Archaeologist: A Nabatean by Any Other Name
The Nabateans were an ancient and mysterious people who built the beautiful hidden city of Petra as the capital of their trading empire in the 1st Century BC. But who were they? Almost nothing is known about them. The Naked Archaeologist is determined to find out, and along the way he finds a surprising link to Moses and the Exodus. This episode takes viewers on yet another fun, fact-filled journey into the fascinating world of Biblical archaeology.


The New Antiquarians: Unlocking the Mysterious Stone Ruins
This film chronicles the rediscovery of the old stone ruins in eastern North America. It tells the story of a working partnership that is forming among professional scientists, Native American representatives and avocational researchers around the identification and preservation of the stone monuments and earthworks. Long thought of as the mysterious remains of ancient cultures who once visited the New World before Columbus, but most often dismissed as the unimportant artifacts of early colonial settlement, the Native American ceremonial landscapes represent an astounding cultural legacy that can still be found in the Eastern environment. The merger of scientific, Native American and antiquarian research brings a new perspective to one of America's most perplexing archaeological mysteries.


New Beijing: Reinventing a City *
"Better take a photo now as it will be no more," comments a local man as activist Zhang Jinqi snaps a photo of the man's traditional home in one of Beijing's narrow lane-ways. Zhang Jinqi's photography project, Memories of China, documents the remaining heritage districts of the old city which soon will be demolished. Focusing on the transition from old to new, the documentary gives a panoramic view of the biggest construction boom in history while charting the modern face of Beijing and its newly iconic buildings such as Watercube, Birds Nest Stadium and the National Theater. Wallace-Crabbe's film is a fascinating record of a period of extraordinary change in one of the oldest cities on earth.


One Step before Archaeology: the Formation of a Deposition
When a human occupied site is abandoned, a series of chain reactions begin that lead to the site's total alteration and eventually destruction. Moussai is a small village in the region of Mylopotamos, abandoned in the late 1960s. In only a few decades, the village has been transformed into an advanced stage of decay. The houses are dilapidated and all that was left behind is gradually disappearing. The site is being reused to cultivate land, breed domestic animals and mine stones, all of which contribute to the alteration and destruction of the site. This, however, is an example of the formation of an archaeological site, leaving behind architectural remains, ecofacts and artifacts for future archaeologists to discover. This documentary is one step ahead of archaeology, as it follows the formation of a deposition that may be part an excavation many years from now.


The Passion of Memory: Working In Situ *
The Wat Phou archaeological site in Laos has brought to light proof of an entire Khmer city contemporary with the city of Angkor in Cambodia. The director of the excavations, Patrizia Zolese, began the excavation campaign during the Nineties, basing her intuition on some rather scarce mappings and scientific documents which were handed down by her French predecessors from the beginning of the century. Following some extended and difficult scouting and excavation works, she managed to obtain permission from the Laotian government to systematically continue her scientific research. Today, the area has become the most important archaeological park of Southeast Asia and has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. One of Professor Zolese's young students follows daily life on the excavation site and discovers the relationship that has been built up over this twenty-year collaboration period between the Italian mission, government authorities and the local population that is doing its best to rediscover its own cultural identity.


Poto Mitan Haitian Women: Pillars of the Global Economy
Told through the lives of five compelling Haitian women, Poto Mitan gives the global economy a human face. While the documentary offers in-depth understanding of Haiti, its focus on women's subjugation, worker exploitation, poverty, and resistance demonstrates that these are global struggles. Jean Marie details dual struggles as a woman and worker. Living and braving death in Cité Soleil, Solange tells of Haiti's current violence, which stems from a long-brewing economic crisis and the global apparel industry's inherent instability. Frustrated with male-dominated unions, Frisline joined a women's organization, offering the film a gender and class analysis of Haiti's contemporary situation. Thérèse brings a historical perspective from working for thirty years, while her ailments highlight the critical state of public health. Hélène leads a new grassroots campaign against violence, encouraging women to defend themselves. These five brave women demonstrate that despite monumental obstacles in a poor country like Haiti, collective action makes change possible.


Queen of Jerusalem
Professor Trude Dothan, 86, is the first lady of Israeli archaeology. She is an Israel Prize laureate and an international expert on the Philistines. Her son, musican, writer and filmmaker Dani Dothan, decides it is time to "excavate" his mother's energetic life, only to have her fall ill and become house bound. Dani returns to her home, where the real excavation begins. He searches through cabinets and drawers and discovers a life that his mother kept hidden from him. Trude catalogs objects, drawings, even death masks. Layer after layer, Dani uncovers a world he never knew; as the layers unravel so does the relationship between mother and son.


Quest for Solomon's Mines *
Countless treasure-seekers have set off in search of King Solomon's mines, inspired by the Bible's account of splendid temples and palaces adorned in glittering gold and copper. Yet to date, the evidence claimed to support the existence of Solomon and other early kings in the Bible has been highly controversial. In fact, so little physical evidence has been found of the kings who ruled Israel and Edom that many contend that they are no more real than King Arthur. In the summer of 2010, NOVA and National Geographic embarked on two cutting-edge field investigations that illuminate the legend of Solomon and reveal the source of the great wealth that powered the first mighty biblical kingdoms. These groundbreaking expeditions expose important new clues buried in the pockmarked desert of Jordan, including ancient remnants of an industrial-scale copper mine and a 3,000-year-old message with the words "slave," "king," and "judge."


Returned: Child Soldiers of Nepal's Maoist Army
How did Nepal, a peaceful landlocked country, become home to the most dramatic Maoist insurgency in modern history? This film tells the personal story of Nepali boys and girls as they attempt to rebuild their lives after fighting for the Maoist revolution. Through the voices of former child soldiers, the film examines why they joined the Maoists and explores the prevention of future recruitment. The children describe their dramatic recruitment and participation in the Maoist People's Liberation Army during the eleven-year civil war between the Maoist insurgents and the Hindu monarch of Nepal. The girls' stories demonstrate how joining the violent Maoist struggle was their only option to escape the sex discrimination and sexual violence of traditional Hindu culture in Nepal. With the major conflict ended, these children are now forced to return home to communities and families that want nothing to do with them. For many of the children of Nepal's Maoist army, the return home can be even more painful than the experience of war.


Riddles of the Sphinx *
The Great Sphinx has cast its enigmatic gaze over Egypt's Giza Plateau for forty-five centuries. The biggest and oldest statue in a land of colossal ancient monuments, its mighty head is as tall as the White House and its body is nearly the length of a football field. Surprisingly, the scribes of Egypt's Old Kingdom passed over it in silence, inspiring countless theories of its mysterious origins. Adding to the enigma, archeologists found that its creators abruptly discarded their tools and abandoned the Sphinx near completion. Searching for clues, NOVA's expert team of archeologists, including Mark Lehner, director of Ancient Egypt Research Associates, carries out eye-opening experiments that reveal the techniques and incredible labor that was invested in the carving of this gigantic sculpture. The team also unearths new discoveries about the people who built the Sphinx and why they created such a haunting and stupendous image.


A River Runs Under It *
This film takes us on an exploration of the Watermill Theater in Berkshire and its change in uses from a corn mill to a fulling mill, a paper mill and eventually a theater. Its three hundred year history is represented today through remnants of the past and even a rumor of a ghost. The theater combines the past with the present, creating a great harmony of new and old. As the river flows under it, people flow through it, adding to its ever-changing history along the way. This film also explores the ideas of recording ephemeral actions such as performance in the archaeological record.


Route to Tradition
Throughout the entire country of Albania, from Kruja to the 2000 year old city of Shkodra and to the small Zogaj village, traditional artisans are working hard to continue their way of life. The film makers travel to each of these cities, searching for heroes who still practice traditional artwork to interview. Many struggle to get by but find true satisfaction in their work. Costume making, carpet making, metal smithing, and shoe making all survive, hidden in the cities and overlooked by many people who go by.


Samucha: The Last Journey of a Shepherd *
Samucha lives in the mountains of Tusheti, a tiny region in Georgia on the border with Chechnya. He is a fabulous horse rider, a shepherd, a musician, a singer, and a storyteller. His name is legendary and he has led a tough existence, living mostly outdoors in the Caucasus Mountains against harsh weather conditions and sometimes dangerous wildlife. This year, as every springtime, Samucha migrates with his flock of 2,000 sheep to reach the high plains of the Caucasus. He feels tired and old and after this season it will finally be time for him to retire. He will spend the summer on the plateau accompanied by his two sons, David and Kwiria, to whom he will soon hand over his herd. Their time has come to become true Caucasian shepherds like their father and perpetuate the traditions of their ancestors.


The Secrets of the Pyramid of Djoser *
Latvian scientists, archaeologists, radar and photogrammetry specialists, architects, geologists, historians, computer programmers, and others alike banded together to create a unique technology for exploring archaeological sites. With their new techniques they made a sensational discovery in 2007. In the oldest stone building in the world, Egypt's Pyramid of Djoser, the Latvian scientific expedition discovered new underground rooms as well as a network of galleries. This new information has forced a re-evaluation of previous assumptions about the role and function of pyramids.


Secrets of Stonhenge *
Dated to the late Stone Age, Stonehenge may be the best known and most mysterious relic of prehistory. Every year a million visitors are drawn to England to gaze upon the famous circle of stones, but the monument's meaning has continued to elude us. Now, investigations inside and around Stonehenge have kicked off a dramatic new era of discovery and debate over who built Stonehenge and for what purpose. How did prehistoric people quarry, transport, sculpt, and erect these giant stones? Granted exclusive access to the dig site at Bluestonehenge, a prehistoric stone-circle monument recently discovered about a mile from Stonehenge, NOVA cameras join a new generation of researchers finding important clues to this enduring mystery.


Songs of a Sorrowful Man
This film is a follow-up to the previous Singing Pictures (2006) and deals with the life and work of a legendary painter, composer and singer in rural West Bengal. Dukhushyam is a charismatic figure, one who has departed from convention in many ways, most importantly by encouraging women to take up the traditional crafts of scroll painting and musical composition pursued almost exclusively by men. This new film chronicles his vision of the decline and rebirth of his art; his tolerant Sufi Muslim spirituality; his engagement with Hindus, Muslims and the modern world; his encyclopedic knowledge of music and painting; and his teachings for future generations of painters and signers in his community.


Sticks, Stones, Bricks, Bones
This film, a documentary about people and the objects that represent their work, play or passion, follows an array of characters as they hang from the tallest trees or gather stones for an upcoming native sweat lodge. It tours curling clubs, museum bone collections, a furniture salesman, and the shop of a casket maker working out of a garage. Together, the characters grapple with a central question: what will last beyond us and leave a legacy, and what won't? As one heritage building is knocked down, another is put back up, brick by brick. Whether carving sticks, throwing stones, placing bricks, or dating old bones, these people hold the city together; they are as important as the materials they work with.


The Sun on Chaos
After more than ten years of multi disciplinary research, this film attempts to offer a general presentation of the Iron Age rock art station of A Ferradura in Spain and of the nearby fort of San Cibrán on the plateau of Chaos. The site displays engraved rocks and, most interestingly, a monumental gate decorated with a double calendar system. The film aims to use the value of a research program on heritage to give back to the local population. The people have the right and the duty to receive extensive knowledge about the place and to protect it for future generations. The archaeoastronomical features are presented in a conservative landscape as well as in a natural one, as in other material culture features through time.


They Turned Our Desert into Fire
In July of 2005, Mark Brecke was invited to Capitol Hill to give a presentation of his work in Darfur to members of Congress. The traintrip from San Francisco to Washington D.C. presented an opportunity for him to raise awareness about the crisis and became the subject for this documentary. In dramatic contrast to the rural American landscape outside the train, Brecke reveals to the passengers images of human suffering in Darfur and the refugee camps of Chad. In many cases, they had no idea the Sudanese conflict was so grave, nor the situation so dire. Some were shocked, others were reduced to tears. Complementing his photographs are his moving accounts of his experiences and comprehensive expert analysis, which illuminate the full dimensions of the crisis and raise serious questions about the world's apparent indifference. For the passengers, and thus the film's audience, a cross-country train ride becomes an enlightening and emotional journey which raises the central question; "Why does the public not know about this epic crisis and how can the world continue to do nothing?"


The Town Below
Known since antiquity, the cisterns of Alexandria long have attracted the admiration of voyagers. There were said to be hundreds of them, indeed the components of a true underground city. However, by the beginning of the 1990s, only one example was accessible. Since then, the Alexandrian Studies Center has used documentation from the Graeco-Roman Museum, the memories of elderly Alexandrians and on-site research during salvage excavations to set about the task of rediscovering these cisterns. Many of these monuments now have been inventoried and some of them closely studied. The next step is restoration and presentation to the public. This film offers a visit to the most beautiful of the town's cisterns along with the history of their development.


Treading the Pharaoh's Dust
For the first time in the history of the world's cultural heritage preservation, a Latvian scientific expedition is exploring the millennia-old Karnak temple in Egypt using the modern technique of three-dimensional laser scanning. The new method has advanced the temple's exploration and made it possible to precisely restore what has been destroyed. This documentary shows the everyday work of the expedition in Egypt and Latvia, led by the creator of the new exploration method, Bruno Deslandes, with the scanning operator, Klaus Kipsch, and the total station operator, Maris Kalinka.


Twelve Canoes *
This artful film paints a compelling portrait of the people, history, culture, and place of the Yolngu people of the Arafura Swamp of north-central Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory of Australia. Ramingining is an isolated town about 500 kilometers east of Darwin, within the Yolngu homeland. Set up by the government in 1972 to bring together the different peoples of the region, Ramingining consequently is a mixed settlement of primarily Yolngu people. Many are close to or on their traditional tribal lands, but others are some distance removed from them. The film makers decided upon twelve key subjects, each dealing with a particular aspect of Yolngu culture, place or history. These modules, poetic in nature with strong and sometimes ethereal imagery, are generally accompanied by words from different Ramingining storytellers.


Viking Venture
On the surface, this film is about a three member crew going on a journey to discover whether people's current perceptions of Vikings are correct. However, on a deeper level, it is an experiment with different techniques in filming the archaeological process, particularly those parts that are not easily or cannot be seen. Additionally, Viking Venture tests different ways of engaging the audience in and involving them with the narrators of the journey. It uses the locations of Bath, England, and Flat Holm, Wales, to introduce the general public to methods of archaeology that they are less accustomed to, such as phenomenology and landscape archaeology. The film makers look for the truth about Vikings which contrast to the modern public perceptions of Vikings.


The Whale Mystery *
In February 2000, a team of cavers exploring for the Earth Centre Association raft the wild coast of the island of Madre de Dios, in the archipelago of Chilean Patagonia. There, in a giant cave eight meters above sea level, they discover a variety of large whale bones. Returning in 2008 to solve this mystery, the team struggles to set foot in the Whale Cave. On their journey, they discover other caves retaining traces of a people almost extinct, the Kawesqar Indians, nomads of the sea. Braving the weather, the team finally reaches the entrance of the Whale Cave, where they encounter many surprises that allow the scientists to propose an original hypothesis to explain this extraordinary phenomenon.


Written in the Earth
In the early 19th Century, in a cluster of cabins near the home of Mohawk Chief Thomas Davis, a few remarkable individuals sought to use the power of education and religion as a way to master the massive tide of change which was transforming the lives of the native people. In the summer of 2002, Dr. Gary Warrick and his archaeological team began searching the banks of the Grand River in Southern Ontario for traces of this long-lost hamlet of Davisville. The film includes interviews with Six Nations member and Aboriginal Studies specialist Dr. Susan Hill; University of Calgary historian D. Donald Smith; Max King, Education Director of the Missusages of the New Credit; and Paul General, Director of the Six Nations Eco-Centre. Dr. Warrick takes us on the search for Davisville, painting a picture of the inhabitants' lives through the traces they left behind. The film instructs viewers on Chief Davis and his Methodist Mission, the famous native preacher Reverend Peter Jones, and their role in a little-known episode of Canadian history.