Smithsonian Channel features new season of archeology including in Middle East
Season Five premieres Monday, Sept. 24 at 8 pm with details on a 2,700-year old temple tied to the Biblical tale of Jonah and the Whale discovered in Iraq that was destroyed by ISIS.
JONAH AND THE WHALE kicks off the fifth season with a modern-day disaster. In war-torn Iraq, ISIS fighters in Iraq detonate explosives under the shrine of “Nebi Yunus” – the Tomb of Jonah – destroying a site sacred to three religions. But when ISIS flees, archaeologists discover that beneath the rubble lies a 2,700-year-old temple complex, an ancient Assyrian palace previously unknown to history. Dr. Katharyn Hanson is an archaeologist with the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum Conservation Institute. She was relieved to discover that ISIS’ destruction wasn’t complete: “The archaeological artifacts are still there,” she explains in the film. “That’s the part that gives me hope.” Massive sculptures, cryptic inscriptions and mysterious figures reveal the story of a cruel despot, a dark fertility cult and a character who may have inspired one of the Bible’s best-known tales.
Subsequent episodes of SECRETS are:
GRAVE OF THE VIKINGS
Premieres Monday, October 1 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
The 2012 discovery of a Viking tomb in suburban Denmark caught the archaeological world by surprise. Inside the vast underground chamber was a Viking lord’s weapons, his gold-encrusted jewelry and even the body of his horse … but no Viking. The empty grave unlocks the mysteries of the final days of the Age of the Vikings. Cutting-edge archaeology reveals how this war-like culture successfully competed with the finest armies of Europe. New revelations uncover the shocking force that caused the Viking Age to collapse and what made Viking corpses disappear from their tombs.
THE PHARAOH IN THE SUBURBS
Premieres Monday, October 8 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
In March 2017, construction work in Cairo’s urban outskirts is called to a halt, as the colossal stone head of an ancient pharaoh is uncovered by a forklift. The “Pharaoh in a Slum” makes international headlines, but the real news is that the massive statue represents a ruler lost to history. Researchers combine hieroglyphic research and ancient documents to put together the real story of this “Lost Pharaoh” who brought Egypt back from the brink of collapse and ushered in an artistic renaissance – before his name and memory were wiped out.
EGYPT’S LOST PRINCESS
Premieres Monday, October 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
In 2011, archaeologists in the Valley of the Kings discover a sealed entrance to a previously undiscovered tomb – the first sealed tomb found in 100 years. Inside are the remains of a dismembered mummy, a pile of rubble and a coffin that is apparently 500 years younger than the tomb it resides in. Scientists identify the dismembered body as a female from the royal court who lived during the golden age of Egypt. Further investigation reveals a tale of ancient Egyptian grave robbing and desecration, as well the rise of the new elite that would eventually overthrow the Pharaohs.
BEASTS OF THE PHARAOHS
Premieres Monday, October 22 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
In the cemetery of Egypt’s earliest rulers, archaeologists were shocked to find the carefully buried corpses of baboons, jackals, leopards and even a hippopotamus. Forensic evidence shows these animals were not native to Egypt, and were captured at faraway locations. Why did these ancient Egyptians treat these animals like honored guests, even burying them with the royal family? New revelations show that this “world’s first zoo” may have been the foundation for the ancient Egyptian religion – and the source of Egypt’s mysterious animal-headed gods.
KING SOLOMON’S MINES
Premieres Monday, October 29 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
For centuries, scholars, adventurers, saints and thieves have searched for the wealthiest treasure mentioned in the Bible: King Solomon’s mines. Though scripture calls Solomon “richer than any other king,” ancient Israel seems to have no silver or gold mines that could explain the gold-covered Temple and palaces of Jerusalem. But startling new discoveries in the remote Israeli desert finally reveal the truth behind the legend: a long forgotten mine, an ancient metal-working encampment, and traces of a metal far more precious than gold.
SECRETS is produced by Blink Films for Smithsonian Channel. Dan Chambers is producer for Blink Films. Tim Evans and David Royle are executive producers for Smithsonian Channel.
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