Ancient Discoveries was a television series that premiered on December 21, 2003, on The History Channel. The program focused on ancient technologies. The show's theme was that many inventions which are thought to be modern have ancient roots or in some cases may have been lost and then reinvented. The program was a follow-up to a special originally broadcast in 2005 which focused on technologies from the Ancient Roman era such as the Antikythera mechanism and inventors such as Heron of Alexandria. Episodes of the regular series expanded to cover other areas such as Egypt, China and East Asia, and the Islamic world.Ancient Discoveries was made for The History Channel by Wild Dream Films based in Cardiff in the UK. Much of the filming was done on location across the world. The series used contributions from archaeologists and other experts, footage of historical sites and artifacts, computer generated reconstructions and dramatized reconstructions along with experiments and tests on reconstructed artifacts.Ancient Discoveries featuring Sean Barrett has one or more episodes streaming with subscription on History Vault (Via Prime Video), and available for purchase on iTunes. It's a documentary and history show with 55 episodes over 6 seasons. Ancient Discoveries is no longer running and has no plans to air new episodes or seasons. It has a high IMDb audience rating of 7.6 (232 votes).
Where to Watch Ancient Discoveries
Where to stream every episode from all 6 seasons of Ancient Discoveries. Filter these episodes by what's available to watch free or on your streaming services using the tabs above.
S01 E01Dec 21, 2003
Computing - Ancient Computer? Dec 21, 2003 "Computing" covers the advancement of time-keeping techniques, from the classic sundial to Ctesibius's use of constant water flow and primitive gear mechanisms, leading up to what is known as the Antikythera mechanism. An isolated artifact discovered in the wreckage of an ancient cargo vessel, the mechanism's origin and use are largely a mystery, but its elaborate system of gears suggest an advanced early device for calculating the positions of the heavenly bodies.
S01 E02Dec 21, 2003
Medicine - Galen, Doctor to the Gladiators Dec 21, 2003 "Medicine" is mostly devoted to Galen, a Greek physician in the Roman Empire who pioneered numerous medical techniques, honing his craft on wounded gladiators and soldiers on the battlefield. The unique discovery in this episode is a human skull that implies an effort to perform a rudimentary type of brain surgery.
S01 E03Dec 21, 2003
Robotics - Heron of Alexandria Dec 21, 2003 Robotics" is all about the great Heron of Alexandria, a clever machinist who used principles of air compression, wind power, and basic mechanics to swindle religious worshipers and entertain the masses at the theater. He also essentially invented the steam engine!
S01 E04Aug 21, 2005
Warfare Aug 21, 2005
S01 E05Aug 21, 2005
Ships Aug 21, 2005
S01 E06Dec 11, 2005
Machines II Dec 11, 2005
S02 E01Aug 21, 2005
Siege of Troy Aug 21, 2005 Warfare technology is examined, including the Helepolis, a square fortified tower on wheels; and “Greek Fire,” an incendiary liquid that stuck to people and objects and couldn't be extinguished with water.
S02 E02Aug 21, 2005
Cars & Planes Aug 21, 2005 The lake Nemi ships, large Roman vessels that were salvaged from the lake in the 1930s and burned in 1944, are discussed, including technological discoveries from the ships.
S02 E03Dec 11, 2005
Power (Machines II) Dec 11, 2005 Ancient mechanical devices are examined: A jar that appears to be an electric battery, a flour mill in France that is run by waterwheels, and Archimedes use of solar power to defeat the Romans.
S02 E04Feb 13, 2007
Super Ships Feb 13, 2007
S02 E05Feb 20, 2007
Ancient Mega Machines Feb 20, 2007
S02 E06Feb 27, 2007
Egyptian Warfare Feb 27, 2007
S02 E07Mar 6, 2007
Chinese Warfare Mar 6, 2007
S03 E01Jan 23, 2007
Ancient Super Navies Jan 23, 2007 In this episode, journey to the site in Turkey believed to be the location of the real Troy as ANCIENT DISCOVERIES analyzes one of the world's greatest historical battlegrounds for new clues. Uncover fascinating evidence illuminating Achilles' duel against Hector, the sailing of the vast Mycenaean fleet and the great wooden ship of Troy. Watch as we apply modern technology, archaeology and engineering to uncover the real story behind this legendary war.
S03 E02Jan 30, 2007
Ancient Cars and Planes Jan 30, 2007 Many ancient inventors imagined - and sometimes even constructed - machines for transport that would not be out of place today. This captivating episode reveals surprising new information about transportation technology invented by our distant ancestors.You will marvel at railway cars built in Greece in the 6th century BC and at the fantastic thirty-passenger wind-car designed in 6th Century AD China. You will trace the strings of evidence that hint at flying machines in ancient Greece, Egypt and China thousands of years before the Jet Age.
S03 E03Feb 6, 2007
Ancient Death Machines Feb 6, 2007 With so many gods to choose from and so many temples vying for the average worshiper's fidelity, Ancient Greece and Rome was a buyer's market for religions. Priests were desperate to demonstrate the supremacy of their particular god and his or her personal involvement in their temple. To that end, Wonders of the Ancient World were constructed, iron chariots were suspended in mid-air, and automatic soap dispensers were installed.
S03 E04Feb 13, 2007
Superships Feb 13, 2007 SUPERSHIPS reveals recent, extraordinary discoveries of ships from the ancient world. New scholarship and breakthroughs in underwater archaeology have vastly increased our store of knowledge regarding ancient navies.But with new information comes many questions. What do these finds say about the societies which created them, and the techniques they used in their construction? Who could have mustered the resources and know-how to construct such impressive nautical marvels? How did they build such remarkable ships? And, most intriguingly, why?Travel back to ancient Egypt and learn about the "Khufu Boat" which had not one metal nail in its construction, and uncover huge sailing vessels, dating from 3000 B.C., in Abydos near the Nile. Some of the most exciting discoveries that have been made include ancient warships, some massive enough to carry a crew of 7000.
S03 E05Feb 20, 2007
Ancient New York Feb 20, 2007 Today, when you have to move a three-ton limestone sarcophagus you just grab a heavy-duty forklift. But what options did ancient engineers have in an age when the only sources of power were humans and animals? What ingenious methods and machines were utilized to move phenomenally heavy objects and to create structures that would put even today’s machines to the test?From the Pharos Lighthouse of Alexandria to the Parthenon on the Acropolis, this episode reveals the ingenuity of the ancient heavy engineers and shows how their machines built and transported some of the most amazing structures in Antiquity.
S03 E06Feb 27, 2007
Egyptian Warfare (Warfare II) Feb 27, 2007 Egyptian monuments and great works of art still astound us today. But ANCIENT DISCOVERIES strives to reveal another surprising aspect of Egyptian life: their sophisticated weapons of war and their great might on the battlefield.A common perception of the Egyptians is of a cultured and civil people, yet there is fascinating evidence which reveals they were also an accomplished war-faring people. Visit the great tombs and search the ancient archives to discover the secrets to their military might. Discover how Ancient Egyptians pioneered weapons technology that is still put to use to this day, and experience their absolutely epic battles.
S03 E07Mar 6, 2007
Chinese Warfare (Warfare III) Mar 6, 2007 Exploring the military innovations of ancient China, including gunpowder, flame throwers, rockets, automated crossbows, siege machines, and the grand scale of their battles
Season 4History Vault
S04 E01Jan 28, 2008
Mega-Structures of the Deep Jan 28, 2008 Our modern day landscapes are littered with the remains of ancient superstructures. Now, cutting edge archaeology is beginning to reveal that this century's most exciting discoveries actually lie at the bottom of the ocean.
S04 E02Feb 4, 2008
Ancient Super Navies Feb 4, 2008 Using the latest scientific techniques to solve the greatest mysteries of the ancient world's naval technology, our team of modelmakers, underwater detectives and elite naval commandos are investigating legends that speak of lethal, high explosive grenades... covert underwater attack equipment... and highly toxic biological warfare. Their life-threatening experiments will forever transform our understanding of antiquity's greatest naval inventions.
S04 E03Feb 11, 2008
Ancient Super Ballistics Feb 11, 2008 Since the first time a rock was thrown in anger, mankind has endeavored to deliver larger, deadlier payloads further and faster. ANCIENT DISCOVERIES reveals how the science and technology of ballistics — a seemingly modern, cutting edge technology — actually dates back thousands of years to the ancient world. Using state of the art forensic techniques and the world's leading firearms experts, this groundbreaking show reveals the accuracy, power and range of ancient bullets, rockets and bombs.
S04 E04Feb 25, 2008
Ancient Death Machines Feb 25, 2008 ANCIENT DISCOVERIES digs for the roots of today's war machinery. Throughout history, military requirements — killing more effectively than the enemy — have driven the leading edge of technological innovation. Almost all technology on the planet today owes its origins to inventions driven by the imperatives of war. This episode surveys the ANCIENT DEATH MACHINES that have left a legacy on today's battlefield. From apocalyptic skyscraper siege machines to ancient landmines and flamethrowers which had the potential to extinguish hundreds of lives in minutes, ANCIENT DISCOVERIES puts the lethal tech of yesterday to the test.
S04 E05Mar 3, 2008
Ancient Chinese Super Ships Mar 3, 2008 The master shipbuilders of the Far East created the most deadly warships of ancient times in their quest for supremacy of the seas. Uncover the extraordinary ingenuity of the ancient engineers whose innovations would take shipbuilding to new heights and create some of the largest and most fearsome navies of the ancient world.
S04 E06Mar 10, 2008
Ancient New York Mar 10, 2008 Long before Wall Street and Broadway, before even the Dutch, New York was a special place. It's unique topography and resources made it an ideal settlement and so its history stretches far back before the arrival of Europeans. ANCIENT DISCOVERIES journeys back in time to experience the Big Apple when it was still the "Island of Many Hills." While New York's towering skyline and world-leading technology have made it the ultimate modern city, breathtaking new discoveries reveal that the blueprints for this megalopolis were in fact laid thousands of years ago. Now, through the wonders of CGI and dramatic reenactment, you can see first-hand how people have been "making it there" for thousands of years. Witness brutal blood sports staged in ancient Madison Square Gardens. And mark the passage of time — as if in Times Square on New Year's Eve — with a gigantic Neolithic calendar.
S04 E07Mar 17, 2008
Lost Cities Mar 17, 2008 Some of the most fascinating archaeological finds in recent times have been those that lie on the ocean floor.
Season 5Rent or Buy
S05 E01Oct 23, 2008
Death Weapons of the East Oct 23, 2008 Comparison test between a shotgun and a staff, the oldest known weapon; the deadly Chinese ermei underwater attack weapon; examining whether Chi warriors can really kill a man with a single touch; ancient Chinese crossbows.
S05 E02Oct 30, 2008
Impossible Naval Engineering Oct 30, 2008 Citizens of ancient Tyre use fire ships against Alexander the Great's besieging fleet; Roman Emperor Nero builds a death yacht to kill his own mother; a 15th-century weapon designed to pierce enemy hulls; ancient paddle-wheel boat.
S05 E03Nov 6, 2008
Ancient Tank Tech Nov 6, 2008 The history of the elephant as the ancient tank, right up to the addition by the Indian emperors of a fully rotational cannon. The ancient battering ram - the king of siege machines - how did it work, and could the ancients have really discovered the secrets of chemical fire-proofing? The amazing flexibility of the medieval fully armoured cavalry knight. An investigation into English civil war bullet-proof armour. Anti elephant rockets - how the rocket ended the elephants 2000 year domination of the battlefield.
S05 E04Nov 13, 2008
Ancient Torture Tech Nov 13, 2008 Revealing the terrifying truth behind torture; ancient inventors go to great lengths to develop precision devices to exact pain; the rack; burning at the stake; Vlad the Impaler.
S05 E05Nov 20, 2008
Ancient Mining Machines Nov 20, 2008 Unique technologies of ancient miners, including a Roman hydraulic system, sappers who could undermine castle walls and the 1689 origination of gunpowder mining in England.
S05 E06Dec 1, 2008
Impossible Army Machines Dec 1, 2008 The amazing successes and stunning failures of ancient military engineers influence today's weapons and tactics; an ancient Greek weapon is still used on aircraft carriers; rapid-firing Chinese catapult; Hannibal crosses the Alps.
S05 E07Dec 15, 2008
Lost Science of the Bible Dec 15, 2008 Might the stories of the Bible have their basis in ancient scientific fact? How big was the giant Goliath, and what was the tech of the sling that brought him down? We'll demonstrate that the tower of Babel could have been as tall as two miles in height, create fire from water as Elijah may have done, and in a never before attempted investigation, watch as archeologists fully levitate a replica of the Ark of the Covenant.
Season 6History Vault
S06 E01Nov 5, 2009
Airborne Assault Nov 5, 2009 Assault from the air didn't begin with the era of the airplane. The kite bomb was a medieval siege weapon that dropped bombs from a kite over cities. Ancient bouncing bombs that actually skipped across water terrorized shipping in Turkey in 1453. Ancient China's whistling arrows, the world's earliest rocket-powered explosive missile, and the earliest known successful parachute, are also examined.
S06 E02Nov 12, 2009
Guns n' Ammo Nov 12, 2009 Some of the strangest and deadliest weapons ever built were prototypes of the modern gun.ANCIENT DISCOVERIES finds out whether a simple bamboo tube could have been the world's first gun. Hidden in an ancient manuscript lays a secret recipe for ancient tracer fire, but does it really work? How far and how high could the mega-mortar "Roaring Meg" have fired its shots to take out a Royalist stronghold? Can a team of experts discover the truth behind the bizarre battlefield phenomena of “wind of the cannonball,” when men were seen to drop dead without apparently having been touched by a shot? And did a nine-barreled medieval volleygun mark the birth of the modern machine gun?
S06 E03Dec 4, 2009
The Ancient Mega-Fort Dec 4, 2009 Explore the defenses of ancient forts and cities. Discover the invisible underground defensive systems of Cappadocia and how they proved so successful. Test the ancient Mayan killer bee castle defenses, and release bees in an attack. A replica section of the ancient Roman fort of Alesia is built. And the most impregnable walls in history - the multi-layered defenses of Constantinople are investigated and along with the type of cannon that destroyed them in 1453.
S06 E04Dec 10, 2009
Ancient Secret Agents Dec 10, 2009 The systems by which ancient intelligence services transmitted messages over thousands of miles is investigated. Methods by which ancient spies sent secret messages are reviewed such as invisible ink made of human sperm and how they wrote on the inside of a raw egg. Discover how the ninja used explosives, not just darts and poisons. How a Roman James Bond used a suit made of cork to support him in full armor across a river is also explored.
S06 E05Dec 18, 2009
Gruesome Medicine Dec 18, 2009 Explores ancient medical techniques and possible new applications in the modern era. Techniques reviewed include blood letting by leeches, reading from a torpedo fish, trepanning to relieve pressure on the brain, and Roman battlefield surgery and tools. Other items reviewed include how snake venom was used as medicine and using replica tools and virtual surgery in a computer to see how an arrow was removed from the skull of Prince Henry V of England.
S06 E06Dec 18, 2009
Riots and Revolution Dec 18, 2009 The show tracks down the secret manual that explained how the Vietnamese defeated not only the US in the 20th century, but the Mongols 700 years earlier. It reveals the largest booby trap in history, one that snagged an entire battle fleet, how king Mithridates used a substance called burning mud in his revolt against Rome, and how the terrorist booby-traps and letter bombs of today were invented hundreds of years ago.
S06 E07Dec 18, 2009
Ancient Commandos Dec 18, 2009 Ancient commandos fought deep behind enemy lines in some of the harshest terrains know to man. The show examines such exploits through storms and snowdrifts, revealing the tech and truth behind the world earliest known ski commandos. A journey to the deserts of Egypt reveals how a tiny army beat off a major invasion force using deception and a bunch of farm animals. The Bayeux tapestry is featured as well as one of the ancient worlds most feared and successful commando units, the Naftun.