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NovaTopic: Ancient WorldsAncient Worlds

Building Wonders

See how three magnificent ancient structures were engineered in this three-part series.

(These programs not available for streaming.) In "Building Wonders", NOVA presents three groundbreaking shows that investigate engineering mysteries of the ancient world with the help of dramatic hands-on experiments. In "Colosseum: Roman Death Trap," NOVA explores how the ancient Romans built their vast stadium so they could reenact naval battles and stage spectacles involving hundreds of gladiators and wild animals. In the middle of Jordan's parched desert, a NOVA team investigates the "Petra: Lost City of Stone," once a thriving metropolis of temples, markets, and spectacular tombs carved into cliffs. How did Petra's architects supply running water to this bone-dry canyon for bathhouses, fountains and pools? In "Hagia Sophia: Istanbul's Ancient Mystery," modern architects use medieval tools to figure out why Turkey's massive 1,500 year-old cathedral dome has survived countless quakes in one of the world's most violent seismic zones.

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Major funding for NOVA is provided by the David H. Koch Fund for Science, the NOVA Science Trust, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and PBS viewers.