When I was a lad, the “interweb” did not, of course, exist. Now, huge amounts of information are accessible at the click of a mouse. This allows your humble scribe to indulge his interest in history, human and natural, of an evening with the aid of the remarkable youtube. Here are banks of informative and engaging documentaries which stimulate and inform. For no particular reason, here is my list of 10 of the best:
1. Snowball Earth
Traditional science holds that although there may be periods of ice age, the world itself could never freeze over, and if it did, all life would be wiped out. But think again.
2. The Jurassic Mystery
Just why and how did dinosaurs evolve to be so diverse and rule the Earth?
3. Tutankhamun’s Fireball
What was the strange secret of the carved scarab worn by Tutankhamun? And what was its link to a shattering, world threatening event?
4. The Mystery of the Headless Romans
Romans. With heads cut off. Power, war, treason, and a Roman invasion of Scotland I had not heard of.
5. 1607 Tsunami in Wales
We are not immune from catastrophe. Do we still build houses by the River Severn? Will we never learn?
6. History Cold Case: Stirling man
Anything from the “History Cold Case” team is fascinating, but they can be disturbing too, because these are real life autopsies. This is one of the less distressing and a fascinating insight into the violence of the medieval world.
7. The Lost Gospels
This is a major and hugely informative documentary by the engaging Anglican priest Pete Owen Jones which explains much of the history of the early church which has been lost suppressed. Fascinating and thought provoking.
8. In Search of Athelstan Part 1
I have tried to only list “complete” documentaries, but this is one of my favourites. It was this documentary by the engaging Michael Wood that first inspired my interest in history. The story of the usually forgotten Athelstan; a mighty warlord that presided over the first British Empire, and laid the basis of modern England. Worth the effort to follow through to the end in the various installments.
9. The Mystery of the Black Death
I have written on the “Black Death” before. This is an entertaining detective story into the real cause and nature of a plague that carried off up to half the population of Europe.
10. Killer Cloud
More natural disasters. What was the cause of mass death, disease and famine in 18th Century Britain and Europe?
11. The Truth of Troy
Yes, I know I have gone over my allotted 10, but I really enjoyed this re-evaluation of the “myth” of Troy, which turns out to have been anything but a myth…
12. The Day the Earth Nearly Died
More natural disasters on an epic scale
Gildas the Monk