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Secrets of the Dead: Lost Ships of Rome

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Product Details

  • Actors: Dr. Timmy Gambin
  • Directors: Dr. Robert Hartel
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: February 8, 2011
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0047H7Q90
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #236,836 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

In 2009 a team of marine archeologists carrying out a sonar survey of the seabed around the remote Italian island of Ventotene made an astonishing discovery. The wrecks of five ancient Roman ships were found in pristine condition, each one fully laden with exotic goods. Remarkably, much of the cargo remained exactly as the ancient Roman crews had loaded it, suggesting that these ships had not capsized but had gone to the bottom of the sea intact and upright. What happened to these ancient ships? What were they carrying and why had they traveled to this remote, rocky island in the first place? This summer (June 2010), the team is returning to Ventotene to investigate the wrecks, with the blessing of the Italian government. The island where this graveyard of ships was found holds significance in ancient Roman history: Emperors banished defiant women into exile there. But as this was essentially a royal prison, an extravagant palace was built on the island to house the captive women. The massive underground galleries that supplied the villa with water can still be explored today. Their walls are still covered in the original Roman plaster. Were the ships carrying supplies to this island of exiled misery? Lost Ships of Rome follows the team as they explore the sites in detail, salvage artifacts and piece together the history of the ships and why they were lost at Ventotene two thousand years ago.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By V. Phil on August 5, 2013
Verified Purchase
Bought this for use in my classroom. This documentary is excellent and multidisciplinary: art, history, archaeology, even a bit of biology and scuba diving facts. Definitely not for young children, but appropriate for juniors and seniors.
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By Paul Lawrence on August 29, 2013
Yeah yeah I know that isn't the record or anything but for the average recreational diver that is darn impressive!

What you are getting here is a documentary about a five day expedition to study a number of sunken Roman Empire era ships that were discovered near a small island off Naples. As such you are getting a bit of a history lesson, you are getting some archaeology and you are also getting some interesting dive action (as well as some discussion of ancient recipes!). The whole documentary slots in at just under 60 minutes and the narration is not overblown in its attempts to dramatize the action.

Overall it was nice to see the way that the above different aspects were woven into one show. It was nice in a way to see that the expedition had some successes as well as some challenges. There is no 'Disney' ending to everything here and some failure is experienced. One is left with a fascination for the ancients, a respect for the divers and probably a thirst to learn more about some of the subjects touched upon - such as the role of some of the important women of Rome.

I guess the main issue here is that with so many things thrown into the mix you aren't really getting a lot of the history, nor are you getting right into the nitty gritty of the archaeology and nor are you getting into the technical aspects of the diving.

A nice diversion for any diver or history buff. And if you are both then you'll probably rate this offering around the four star mark.
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By Timegoesby on October 24, 2012
I am in awe of Ancient Roman technology. The way they were able to build a harbor on the island of Ventotene, and to provide fresh water to the island through a system of cisterns and tunnels is amazing. I enjoy looking at ship wrecks and the divers take such risk to go down into the water several hundred feet. It's amazing that they have to spend hours decompressing before they can come to the surface.

It would have been nice if they could have explored the shipwrecks more extensively, I wish they had had more footage and more in-depth coverage of what they found. I like the narrator's voice, the film was clear and straightforward, and I liked how they made garum and tasted it.
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