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Secrets of Lost Empires; Pharaoh's Obelisk


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Secrets of Lost Empires
Pharaoh's Obelisk
Program Number


Series Description

See Nova programs 2403, 2404, 2405, 2406 for first Secrets of Lost Empires series aired as Nova programs.

A NOVA Special Presentation: In the tradition of its acclaimed programs on the creation of the pyramids, Stonehenge, and other antique marvels, NOVA tackles five more unsolved engineering mysteries using historically accurate methods and materials. For added authenticity, each program is shot on location where the ancient deed was done. And each effort is guided by experts in the field, often with radically different theories about how to proceed.

Following the blueprint established in SECRETS OF LOST EMPIRES - an archaeology series that eschewed talking heads and inert artifacts - the second series follows teams of living, breathing, passionate, inquisitive people as they struggle to duplicate the technological feats of ancient civilizations, using the tools and materials available in antiquity.

Series release date: 2000

Program Description

102 "Pharaoh's Obelisk" - NOVA's second try at raising a massive stone obelisk the size of a rocket onto a tiny pedestal using nothing but ropes, sand, sticks, stones, and human muscle. Having failed in 1994, NOVA is energized with new ideas and a new determination to succeed. One approach is a mammoth cradle designed to rock the monument upright. Another is an enormous sand pit, through which the obelisk falls into place as sand is removed from below. Each method has its dangerous drawbacks, and just when defeat seems imminent, ingenuity comes to the rescue in a surprising place.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “Secrets of Lost Empires; Pharaoh's Obelisk,” 12/30/1999, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed December 9, 2018, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_09D65AC60C30476EA5EC7CC218AEEA97.
MLA: “Secrets of Lost Empires; Pharaoh's Obelisk.” 12/30/1999. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. December 9, 2018. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_09D65AC60C30476EA5EC7CC218AEEA97>.
APA: Secrets of Lost Empires; Pharaoh's Obelisk. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_09D65AC60C30476EA5EC7CC218AEEA97
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