Archaeology, History and Philosophy (Video and Audio)

(All links to resources validated April 8, 2018).

The War on Consciousness - TED Talk by Graham Hancock in 2013 in London (Whitechapel).

The Science Delusion TED Talk by Rupert Sheldrake in 2013 in London.

Rewriting Stonehenge's history (UCL) Professor Mike Parker Pearson (UCL Archaeology) re-evaluates the timeline of Stonehenge's construction and sheds light on how it was used. The first Stonehenge began life as a cemetery with the original stone circle built 500 years before the version that we know today.

Chronicle | Cracking the Stone Age Code CHANNEL | BBC 2 FIRST BROADCAST | 31 October 1970 DURATION | 47 minutes 52 seconds

Professor Alexander Thom puts forward his theory that Stonehenge and other megalithic sites were used to record time and predict solar and lunar eclipses. Magnus Magnusson looks at Thom's evidence and hears what different archaeologists think of the suggestion that Stone Age Britons could make such elaborate calculations. If Thom's theory is correct, previous archaeological certainties about the knowledge and ability of people in the Stone Age would be overturned.

Alexander Thom's book 'Megalithic Sites in Britain', published in 1967, caused huge controversy within academic archaeology. Thom's premise that Stone Age culture used complex mathematics and applied this to constructing monuments undermined the progressional idea of culture as continually advancing from savagery to civilisation. Glyn Daniel commissioned the eminent astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle to consider Thom's evidence for 'Archaeology' magazine. Hoyle found that Thom's theories were essentially accurate.

Black Athena  documentary from 1991. Another copy
Black Athena  debate from 1996

"Professor Joann Fletcher explores what it was like to be a woman of power in ancient Egypt. Through a wealth of spectacular buildings, personal artefacts and amazing tombs, Joann brings to life four of ancient Egypt's most powerful female rulers and discovers the remarkable influence wielded by women, whose power and freedom was unique in the ancient world.

Throughout Egypt's history, women held the title of pharaoh no fewer than 15 times, and many other women played key roles in running the state and shaping every aspect of life. Joann Fletcher puts these influential women back at the heart of our understanding, revealing the other half of ancient Egypt."

The Topography of Ottoman Athens Archaeology and Travel – Symposium

A two-day symposium (April 23-24,2015) Featuring twelve lectures that explore the topography of Ottoman Athens in conjunction with the exhibition "Ottoman Athens, 1458-1833". Organised by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

Secrets of the Aegean: Apocalypse.  BBC Documentary on the Late Bronze Age Collapse of civilization. The Influence of Climatic Change on the Late Bronze Age Collapse and the subsequent  Dark Ages recorded by Homer.

Two History Channel Documentaries: The Military History of Ancient Assyria, and The Military History of Ancient Macedonia. The documentary on Assyria makes good use of the Assyrian Palace reliefs. By the eighth century BC, the Assyrians had created the largest empire to date - stretching from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean, and encompassing the whole of the Middle East.
Philip of Macedonia transformed a largely peasant society into one of the most effective and successful armies of antiquity.

Ancient Assyrians starts at 00:10 Assyria was a major Semitic kingdom or empire of the Ancient Near East, existing in various forms during a period of approximately nineteen centuries from circa 2500 BC to 605 BC, spanning the Early Bronze Age through to the late Iron Age.
Ancient Macedonians starts at 23:38 The Macedonians were an ancient tribe from the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, in the alluvial plain around the rivers Haliacmon and lower Axios.

Hartmut Kühne, University Professor at the Institut für Vorderasiatische Archäologie, presents "The Collapse of the Assyrian Empire and the Evidence of Dur-Katlimmu" at the University of Chicago.

Israel, Aram and Assyria: Between Bible and Archaeology  [The Fifteenth World Congress Of Jewish Studies Jerusalem, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem,  3.8.2009] Chairperson: Mordechai Cogan

Tallay Ornan (E) Northern Inspiration: Aramean and Neo-Hittite Finds in Ninth/Eighth Century BCE Israel Aren Maeir (E) Hazael in Southern Israel: The Campaign to Philistia and the Conquest of Philistine Gath Amihai Mazar (E) Israel, the Arameans and Assyria: A View from Tel Beth-Shean and Tel Rehov Doron Ben Ami and Nili Wazana (E) Enemy at the Gates: The Phenomenon of Fortifications in Israel and Judea Re-examined

The Gospel of Thomas -Yale Courses. Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152)
This lecture is pure gold. The lecturer is Dale B. Martin.

"We have known of the existence of the Gospel of Thomas from ancient writers, but it was only after the discovery of the Nag Hammadi Codices that the actual text became available. The Gospel of Thomas is basically a collection of sayings, or logia, that sometimes seem similar, perhaps more primitive than sayings found in the canonical Gospels. Sometimes, however, the sayings seem better explained as reflecting a "Gnostic" understanding of the world. This involves a rejection of the material world and a desire for gnosis, a secret knowledge, in order to escape the world and return to the divine being."

The lecture is in three parts -
00:00 - Chapter 1. The Nag Hammadi Codices and Thomasine Literature
10:35 - Chapter 2. The Sayings of the Gospel of Thomas
28:15 - Chapter 3. Proto-orthodoxy and "Gnosticism"

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website:  This course was recorded in Spring 2009.

Published on 21 Sep 2008. Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114) Yale. Steven B. Smith. Recorded, Fall, 2006. Lecture 4 introduces Plato's Republic and its many meanings in the context of moral psychology, justice, the power of poetry and myth, and metaphysics. The Republic is also discussed as a utopia, presenting an extreme vision of a polis--Kallipolis--Plato's ideal city. 00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction 03:04 - Chapter 2. What Is Plato's "Republic" About? 17:38 - Chapter 3. I Went Down to the Piraeus 22:05 - Chapter 4. The Seventh Letter 30:00 - Chapter 5. Analyzing the Beginning of "Republic" and the Hierarchy of Characters 38:13 - Chapter 6. Cephalus

Bitter Lake (a film by Adam Curtis, available on the BBC iPlayer in the UK. Elsewhere too, if you have VPN). The BBC's description of this interesting film (almost everything by Adam Curtis is worth watching) is as follows:

Politicians used to have the confidence to tell us stories that made sense of the chaos of world events. But now there are no big stories and politicians react randomly to every new crisis - leaving us bewildered and disorientated. Bitter Lake is a new, adventurous and epic film by Adam Curtis that explains why the big stories that politicians tell us have become so simplified that we can’t really see the world any longer. The narrative goes all over the world, America, Britain, Russia and Saudi Arabia - but the country at the heart of it is Afghanistan. Because Afghanistan is the place that has confronted our politicians with the terrible truth - that they cannot understand what is going on any longer. The film reveals the forces that over the past thirty years rose up and undermined the confidence of politics to understand the world. And it shows the strange, dark role that Saudi Arabia has played in this.

But Bitter Lake is also experimental. Curtis has taken the unedited rushes of everything that the BBC has ever shot in Afghanistan - and used them in new and radical ways. He has tried to build a different and more emotional way of depicting what really happened in Afghanistan. A counterpoint to the thin, narrow and increasingly destructive stories told by those in power today.

Unlike most modern film-makers Curtis is prepared to take his time unfolding his argument, often involving unexpected and multi-layered narrative. Who would have thought Tarkovski's Solaris would be referenced in connection with the Russian experience of Afghanistan?

The film is 138 minutes long, but it is comfortable to watch in two halves. As always, his use of music and sound is excellent. Recommended.

This brief was written and delivered by Maj. Stephen Coughlin Published on 13 Jul 2012.

Alan Watts -The Architecture Of Insecurity (Lecture, n.d. or location, 58m)
Alan Watts - Reality & Illusion... (Lecture, n.d. or location. 153m)
Alan Wilson Watts (6 January 1915 – 16 November 1973) was a British-born philosopher, writer, and speaker, best known as an interpreter and populariser of Eastern philosophy for a Western audience.

George Berkeley Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous The philosopher George Berkeley in nine minutes. Based on Berkeley's "Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous." Philonous explains to Hylas why matter doesn't exist. Hylas becomes a skeptic and then an immaterialist.

BBC Chronicle series

Roman Goose March BROADCAST 1966 10 MINUTES
A waddle along the Ridgeway discovers how much ground a goose can cover.

The Fall of Constantinople BROADCAST 1967 33 MINUTES John Julius Norwich brings the Byzantine Empire alive for a fleeting moment in Istanbul.

Silbury Dig: The Heart of the Mound BROADCAST 1968 39 MINUTES Television and archaeology unite to discover Bronze Age Britain.

The Lost World of the Maya BROADCAST 1972 60 MINUTES Journey into the heart of the rainforest in search of Mayan civilisation and mythology.

The Key to the Land of Silence BROADCAST 1977 50 MINUTES How the Rosetta Stone translated ancient Egypt to the modern world.

Tomb of the Lost King BROADCAST 1979 48 MINUTES Spectacular archaeological discoveries of ancient tombs in northern Greece.

Lost Kings of the Desert BROADCAST 1979 49 MINUTES An exploration of a lost city in the middle of the desert in Iraq.

Lost City of the Incas BROADCAST 1984 59 MINUTES Special 'Chronicle' expedition across the Andes and into the Peruvian jungle.

Sutton Hoo BROADCAST 1989 48 MINUTES Excavations at Sutton Hoo cast new light on Anglo-Saxon culture.

The Last Days of Minos BROADCAST 1967 49 MINUTES Myth and history merge in this account of archaeological discovery on Crete and Santorini.

Aphrodite's Other Island BROADCAST 1978 49 MINUTES Follow the results of an excavation at the Bronze Age site of Phylakopi.

Digging for Slaves BROADCAST 1989 49 MINUTES Archaeology unearths the past histories of African slaves in America.

CHRONICLE Cracking the Stone Age Code BROADCAST 1970 48 MINUTES What was Stonehenge for? One man thinks he knows.

The Great Iron Ship BROADCAST 1970 50 MINUTES Brunel's huge iron ship, SS Great Britain, returns to Bristol.

Archive Archaeology at the BBC, via Iplayer

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