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NOVA; Secrets of Lost Empires


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Secrets of Lost Empires
Program Number

2403, 2404, 2405, 2406

Series Description

Premiered March 1974 NOVA is a general-interest documentary series that addresses a single science issue each week. Billed as "science adventures for curious grown-ups" when it first aired in March, 1974, NOVA continues to offer an informative and entertaining approach to a challenging subject. 1996 marked NOVA's 23rd season, which makes it the longest-running science program on national television. It is also one of television's most acclaimed series, having won every major television award, most of them many times over. Series release date: 3/3/1974

Program Description

Broadcast in 1997. The second set of programs aired under the series title Secrets of Lost Empires as a special Nova presentation.

STONEHENGE/INCA The first hour of SECRETS OF LOST EMPIRES addresses one of the biggest riddles in archaeology: How did the Stone Age people of Britain drag enormous stones weighing up to 40 tons across 20 miles of rolling hills, and then erect and arrange them according to a precise solar alignment that is still accurate today? "Stonehenge" has the answer. Directly following "Stonehenge,", "Inca" explores an equally deep, New World mystery: How did the Incas of South America build magnificent temples and fortresses from huge blocks of tightly-fitting stone, and span deep chasms with gossamer grass bridges? The Incas had no arch, no wheel, no codified mathematics, no system of writing. And yet they did it. OBELISK/COLOSSEUM "Obelisk" explores how the ancient Egyptians used ropes, dirt, sticks and stones to carve and raise solid granite obelisks weighing hundreds of tons that would tax the most modern construction site equipment from our own era. "Colosseum" employs expert circus-tent riggers to show how the biggest big top of all was raised: the awesome awning that once shaded the Roman Colosseum during gladiatorial duels, mock sea battles and the spectacle of wild animals feasting on helpless captives. The surprising engineering difficulty of the awning proves that Romans took their comfort very seriously.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “NOVA; Secrets of Lost Empires,” 03/19/1997, GBH Archives, accessed July 16, 2024,
MLA: “NOVA; Secrets of Lost Empires.” 03/19/1997. GBH Archives. Web. July 16, 2024. <>.
APA: NOVA; Secrets of Lost Empires. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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