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Secrets of Lost Empires I—Obelisk

Program Overview


Ancient structures may generate awe and provide information about the people who built them, but they leave many questions unanswered: How were they constructed? What technologies were available to the builders? What tools did they use?

In this four-part mini series, NOVA brings together experts from diverse fields to reconstruct how these monuments might have been built. For each structure, individual teams are challenged to create a scale model using the materials and scientific knowledge thought to be available at the time of original construction (although at times they resort to modern methods). By applying their knowledge of each culture, their expertise in building techniques, and a process of trial and error, the teams attempt to reconstruct these ancient technological wonders.

Obelisk
Obelisk iconPharaohs who built magnificent temples to preserve their names for eternity often graced temple gates with pairs of obelisks, four-sided shafts of granite that taper gently upward until the sides meet at the top to form a pyramid shape. NOVA's team of experts attempts to build, transport, and raise a scale model obelisk using those materials available to ancient Egyptian engineers: rope, dirt, sticks, and stones.

Teacher's Guide
Secrets of Lost Empires I—Obelisk
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