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DVD Review: Lost Kingdoms of Africa

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The documentary, Lost Kingdoms of Africa, was released on DVD on October 5, 2010. Originally broadcast on in the UK on BBC4 in May, 2010, it is hosted by British art historian, Dr. Gus Casely-Hayford.

Lost Kingdoms of Africa is a journey to Africa and the through four lost civilizations there: Nubia, Ethiopia, Great Zimbabwe and West Africa.  We learn about these ancient cultures by examining the archeological ruins of these forgotten civilizations and through interviews with experts, including archaeologists and religious figures.

Lost Kingdoms also explores how each culture developed and grew, and how the landscape and geography has changed in each area from ancient times to current. It shows how many areas of Africa once lush and green, where cattle were raised and lands were farmed, are now arid deserts.  

Episode one focuses on Nubia and takes us from the desert north of Khartoum in modern Sudan to the ancient site in Kerma to explore a long lost kingdom that scientists believe fell due to climate change. Episode two focuses on Ethiopia and explores whether or not the emperors of Ethiopia were really descended from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. It examines the land’s ancient art, language and architecture.

Episode three is about the ruins of Great Zimbabwe in Africa’s interior. It centers on an ancient gold trading route that goes inland from the eastern coast. Episode four focuses on Nigeria and Mali and how ancient metal working has influenced the Benin Bronzes.

This two-DVD, four-part documentary also contains a sixteen page viewer’s guide that includes information about the mysteries of Meroe, Great Zimbabwe, the Kingdom of Benin, Ethiopia, the Rastafar movement and biographies of prominent precolonial Africans. There are also profiles of Sudan, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Nigeria today.

I really enjoyed learning all about ancient Africa. I had no idea these ancient civilizations existed and it was fascinating to learn about how Africa has changed in the past two thousand years.

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About Ellen Christian

Ellen is a busy mom of two teenagers who left the corporate world in 2008 to focus on a more eco-friendly life. She lives in rural Vermont where she juggles family, two blogs and a career in social media. You can find her at http://www.confessionsofanover-workedmom.com/ and http://the-socialites-closet.blogspot.com/.
  • Toni Guy

    I’ve seen this a few times and finally bought it. Very educational, I never knew about these kingdoms before. Worth watching many times, I always learn somethiong new.