Secrets of the Dead: Carthage’s Lost Warriors

Air date: 04/02/2014

THIRTEEN’s Secrets of the Dead Uncovers Evidence That Could Rewrite the History of the Americas in Carthage’s Lost Warriors


Airing Wednesday, April 2 at 10 pm on PBS


Did the Carthaginians flee the conquering Romans in 146 BC and take refuge thousands of miles away in South America? Professor Hans Giffhorns of Hildesheim University near Hanover, Germany believes they did.

In Secrets of the Dead, Carthage’s Lost Warriors, premiering Wednesday, April 2, 10 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings), Giffhorns offers the proof he has meticulously collected to support his hypothesis. “Over the course of time, I have come across such a large amount of evidence, from a wide variety of areas, which all points towards one theory: that in ancient times people from the Old World reached Peru and joined forces with the Chachapoya,” says Giffhorns.

Did Carthaginian sailors, with possibly Celtic Iberians, journey to Peru 2,000 years ago? Convinced there were Carthaginians, who survived when Carthage fell at the end of the Third Punic War, Giffhorns begins his search for clues about their fate on the Balearic Island. What clues does he find and what do they reveal?

Why does Giffhorn think the dead at Kuelap, the mountain fortress in Peru, are actually the descendants of the Carthaginians and Celts? Do the similarities between the Celtic-Iberian settlement in Spain and the mountain fortress in the Andes support his theory?

Professor Schultz, a paleopathologist, featured in Carthage’s Lost Warriors, has identified cases of tuberculosis among the Chachapoya mummies, 1000  years before the Spanish invaders brought the disease to the new world. Does this prove that there was transatlantic contact with the Chachapoya before Columbus?

Also featured in the documentary is molecular-geneticist Professor Manfred Kayser, whose team of scientists have identfied a special marker for hair color in the human genome.  Could, Kayser theorizes, certain blonde-haired, blue eyed indigenous people, be direct descendants of Celtic warriors?

Religious symbols and images of gods that are similar, a traditional slingshot from Mallorca practically identical to a reconstructed original Chachapoya slingshot from Peru – more than 6,000 mile away – as well as the same technique of skull holes for medicinal and ritual purposes used by the Celts and the Chachapoya also point to a connection between America and the Old World in ancient times.

Secrets of the Dead Carthage’s Lost Warriors is a Doc.Station Production in association with ZDF, Arte, ZDF Enterprises, S4C and THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET.  Producer is Jasmin Gravenhorst. Director and writer is  Michael Gregor.  Executive in charge for WNET is Stephen Segaller. Executive producer for WNET is Steve Burns.  Coordinating producer for WNET is Stephanie Carter.

This program is among the full-length episodes that will be available for viewing after broadcast on Secrets of the Dead Online ( Along with the extensive online video catalog, the series website provides resources for educators with lesson plans for middle school and high school teachers.

As one of PBS’ 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 13th 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.



About WNET
As New York’s flagship public media provider and the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than 5 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 available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJTV News with Mike Schneider and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore iPad App where users can stream PBS content for free.


Sorry, photography is no longer in rights for the web. Please contact Thirteen's Communications Department at 212.560.3022.