Secrets of the Dead: After Stonehenge

Air date: 10/26/2016

THIRTEEN’s Secrets of the Dead: After Stonehenge Reaches Back 3,000 Years to Uncover Life in Bronze Age Britain Wednesday, October 26, 10 p.m. on PBS

Three thousand years ago, the Egyptians were building the pyramids, but little is known about what was going on in Europe during this same time. Scholars have long believed that nothing nearly as advanced was happening in Britain. Could a new discovery prove historians wrong?

On the edge of Must Farm Quarry in an area southeast of Britain known as the Fens, archaeologists are uncovering the charred remains of a 3,000-year-old English settlement.

Secrets of the Dead: After Stonehenge, airing Wednesday, October 26 at 10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), follows a team of archeologists, scientists, historians and specialists, as they shed new light on the ancient history of the western world.  Perfectly preserved in mud, the prehistoric British Bronze Age Village – built at least one thousand years after Stonehenge – has been called the “British Pompeii.”

“The Pompeii analogy: it’s as if we’ve got a pristine settlement,” says Mark Knight, site director, Cambridge Archaeological Unit. “A pristine image of exactly what was going on within a settlement 3,000 years ago.”

Because the site is so delicate, the experts have been working in secret inside the quarry. But now they are rushing to complete their work and map the site before the land is returned for its owner’s use.

Have their findings forever changed what we know about life in Bronze Age Britain? What revelations about the villager’s lives can be gleaned from the cache of finds, unprecedented in number and quality, emerging from the marshy Fens?

“This is the crown jewels in terms of what it will tell us about past humanities and the way that people lived in this landscape 3,00o years ago,” says Knight after taking stock of the extraordinary findings. Has this English settlement rewritten Western history?

Secrets of the Dead: After Stonehenge is a production of 360 Production and THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET in association with ARTE France. Narrator: Jay O. Sanders. Producer/Director: Sarah Jobling. Executive Producer for 360 Production: Emma Parkins.  Executive-in-Charge for WNET: Stephen Segaller. Executive Producer for WNET: Steve Burns. Supervising Producer for WNET: Stephanie Carter.

This program is among the full-length episodes that will be available for viewing after broadcast on Secrets of the Dead Online (pbs.org/secrets). As one of PBS’s ongoing limited primetime series, Secrets of the Dead is a perennial favorite among viewers, routinely ranking among the 10 most-watched series on public television. Currently in its 16th season, Secrets of the Dead continues its unique brand of archaeological sleuthing employing advances in investigative techniques, forensic science and historical scholarship to offer new evidence about forgotten mysteries. Secrets of the Dead has received 10 CINE Golden Eagle Awards and six Emmy nominations, among numerous other awards.

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About WNET
WNET is America’s flagship PBS station and parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21. WNET also operates NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its broadcast channels, three cable services (KidsThirteen, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings. WNET’s groundbreaking series for children and young adults include Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase as well as Mission US, the award-winning interactive history game. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the daily multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. In addition, WNET produces online-only programming including the award-winning series about gender identity, First Person, and an intergenerational look at tech and pop culture, The Chatterbox with Kevin and Grandma Lill. In 2015, THIRTEEN launched Passport, an online streaming service which allows members to see new and archival THIRTEEN and PBS programming anytime, anywhere: www.thirteen.org/passport.

Photos
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Alice Roberts kneeling and talking to Dr. Karl Harrison, forensic archeologist, Cranfield University, in a trench (Lake Constance). Credit: Paola Desiderio ©360 Production

Alice Roberts and Dr. Karl Harrison, forensic archeologist, Cranfield University talking in the trench and being filmed. (Lake Constance). Credit: Paola Desiderio ©360 Production

Mark Belshaw and Robert Brooks, Hotspur School of Defence, battering shields. Credit: Paola Desiderio ©360 Production

Mark Belshaw and Robert Brooks, Hotspur School of Defence, doing battle with their bronze swords. Credit: Paola Desiderio ©360 Production

Sunset over stilt houses in lake. Credit: Paola Desiderio ©360 Production

Sunset over stilt houses in lake. Credit: Paola Desiderio ©360 Production

Must Farm overview. Credit: Paola Desiderio ©360 Production

Five archaeologists in shot all working on different parts of the site Credit: Paola Desiderio ©360 Production

Mark Knight, site director, Cambridge Archeological Unit, and Archaeologist both with their hands to their mouths looking out of frame. Credit: Paola Desiderio ©360 Production

Mark Knight, site director, Cambridge Archeological Unit, kneeling with his hands gesturing about a post in the ground. Credit: Paola Desiderio ©360 Production