Ancient Apocalypse [BBC 4 parts]

Throughout the ages, civilisations have risen up and then disappeared. Traditionally, the disappearance of certain ancient civilizations has been left to the theologians and historians to explain. Now scientists have entered the fray. In this series geologist, archaeologists and climatologists explain their findings. Ancient Apocalypse seeks to explain how human achievements were destroyed by the forces of nature.

Part 1: Death on the Nile



Professor Fekri Hassan attempts to determine why the Egyptian Old Kingdom, the civilisation of the great pyramids, collapsed around 2200 BC. Can science show that terrible forces of nature were to blame - even driving people to cannibalism? Clues come from the remote deserts of southern Egypt, the glaciers of Iceland and a dramatic and unique archaeological find in the Nile delta.


Part 2: Mystery of the Minoans



A look at how the Minoan civilisation, situated on the Mediterranean island of Crete, was wiped out 3,500 years ago by one of the biggest volcanic eruptions since the Ice Age on the nearby island of Thira. 21st century science reveals the horror the volcano unleashed.


Part 3: The Maya Collapse



In the ninth century AD, the great Maya civilisation in Central America and southern Mexico all but disappeared. Millions died and great cities were abandoned to the jungle. Why this happened was a mystery, until science started unlocking the secrets of the past to reveal the brutality of nature.


Part 4: Sodom and Gomorrah



The Bible describes how Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed in a storm of fire and brimstone. Could the inspiration for this story come from a natural apocalypse around the Dead Sea in the Middle East? Science tests out the extraordinary geology of the region - could an earthquake trigger a landslide capable of sweeping away whole cities?

Ancient Apocalypse [BBC 4 parts]
Ancient Apocalypse [BBC 4 parts]