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Palenque: Metropolis of the Maya

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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(Jun 30, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

Abandoned for more than 1,000 years, its spectacular tombs, palaces, and temples remained hidden amidst the Central American jungle for centuries. The discovery of this great city, however, has led to as many questions as answers: How was this magnificent metropolis built? What purposes did it serve? How did it appear at the peak of its glory?

Now, LOST WORLDS assembles a team of historical detectives to piece together clues about the extraordinary Mayan city of Palenque. The group uses evidence from recent excavations including the Mayans own sacred geometry, which underpins the city s grand design state-of-the-art scientific studies, and fascinating archival documents to digitally reconstruct the metropolis, resulting in a stunningly beautiful and historically accurate vision of Palenque at its zenith.

Using the latest technology to crack open the secrets of the past, PALENQUE brings to life one of the most glorious cities of the ancient world.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Directors: History
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: A&E HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: June 30, 2009
  • Run Time: 50 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0021SGOB8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,035 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Most of us know little of civilizations of the pre-Columbian Americas. These "lost worlds" were in their time some of the most vibrant places on Earth. Yet almost nothing was known, and much of that speculation. The stones had messages, but we didn't know how to read the writing until very recently. Now that we can read the inscriptions, a whole complex story of these people has come to light. This video is a good puzzle piece for understanding the mystery of the Maya.
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I showed this to my students (6-8th grade)during state testing, and they very much enjoyed the colorful, computer-generated reconstructions of Palenque, as well as the idea that there are still so many ruins yet to be discovered and explored. The special fit very neatly into their class time, and it was very easy to come up with comprehension questions for them to answer. I will definitively be using this in my class for years to come!
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The Mayan civilization rose and fell centuries ago on the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, long before Europeans came to pillage and settle the western hemisphere. There were great cities, a literature, advanced mathematics, astronomy and a complex morality--and then it all stopped, and the cities were buried so deep in the underbrush that they were not discovered for more centuries. Palenque was but one of those Mayan cities.

This video is a fair overview of what remains. Why Palenque was abandoned and why the Mayan culture disintegrated is yet to be determined. Only part of Palenque has been rescued from the thick forest. Before anyone waxes too poetic, Palenque was not a safe place to be at its height: human sacrifices to the gods were common, as they were with the Aztec successors to the north. An array of deities were considered angry and intolerant. There must have been some traffic between the two cultures, but that it is not firmly established. For now there is mere speculation, which is always dangerous.

Both the Mayas and Aztecs built great cities, stone structures and pyramids, produced fine artists, sacrificed humans, and had similar gods. There are certainly enough similarities to be more deeply explored by scholars. It seems most likely that some Mayan survivors drifted northward after ca. 800 AD when Palenque was abandoned and took cultural beliefs with them, beliefs that may have taken root later in Tenochtitlan.

This video shows the great palace of the Mayan ruler, the underground aquaduct, the sports field, houses etc. It is marred somewhat with the catch-words the History Channel is so fond of: "mystery, clues, secrets, revealed," etc. and with rhetorical questions that help not at all. Still this can be recommended to the viewer who wants to see more about what was on our continent before we arrived. Knowing more about those who preceded us is harder.
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We had the opportunity of visiting Mayan ruins this past January and wish we had seen this film first. Since those tours we are very interested in Mayan history and how it relates, in our opinion, to American history.
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Very useful background to anyone travelling to this area. Full of helpful history.
Invaluable resource before arriving in the area for what is usually a brief stay. Helped with the planning as we moved to Yucatan peninsula and then to Tikal.
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I thought this was excellent. It gives a lot of information on the site and its surroundings, how the people lived, etc. The filming is well done and it is put together well.
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