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Secrets of Lost Empires; Roman Bath


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Secrets of Lost Empires
Roman Bath
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

104 "Roman Bath" - NOVA creates a working replica of a ubiquitous public institution throughout the Roman Empire. Not just a luxury, the baths also served as a test bed for architectural ideas later used in famous monuments such as the Colosseum and Pantheon. Very little survives to tell us how Roman baths achieved their renowned climate control and comfort in an age before thermostats and jacuzzis, so NOVA's experts have their work cut out for them. But at the end is a chance to doff their togas on national television for a relaxing hot soak. 105 "China Bridge" - NOVA explores the mystery and beauty of the fabled rainbow bridge of China's Song Dynasty, almost a thousand years ago. The structure's wooden arches of intricately interlocking timbers are unlike anything ever seen in the West. Of the hundreds that once spanned China's rivers and canals, only one rainbow bridge remains: a painted image on an old scroll. Relying on this slim clue, NOVA's Chinese and American engineers, scholars, and builders set to work to create the first authentic rainbow bridge in centuries -- an effort that turns out to be more like weaving than construction.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “Secrets of Lost Empires; Roman Bath,” 12/16/1999, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed January 22, 2019, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_3314E79A77DF47F2BFED08805A89A63F.
MLA: “Secrets of Lost Empires; Roman Bath.” 12/16/1999. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. January 22, 2019. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_3314E79A77DF47F2BFED08805A89A63F>.
APA: Secrets of Lost Empires; Roman Bath. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_3314E79A77DF47F2BFED08805A89A63F
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