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Ghosts of Machu Picchu

4.4 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Perched atop a mountain crest, mysteriously abandoned more than four centuries ago, Machu Picchu is the most famous archeological ruin in the Western hemisphere and an iconic symbol of the power and engineering prowess of the Inca. NOVA joins a new generation of archeologists as they probe areas of Machu Picchu that havent been touched since the time of the Incas and unearth burials of the people who built the sacred site.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: .
  • Directors: Owen Palmquist, Ricardo Preve
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, 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: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: April 27, 2010
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0032KC36Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,912 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steve Ramm TOP 100 REVIEWER on March 31, 2010
I had the wonderful experience of visiting Machu Picchu - the lost city of the Incas - in 1980 and it was - along with seeing the Great Wall of China - one of the most breathtaking sights I've ever seen. Since then, I've been fascinated by this "hidden city" from the 16th Century discovered by explorer Hiram Bingham in 1912. There have been a few documentaries made but they tend to be more of a travelogue. This show is different.

Produced by PBS as part of its NOVA science series - it is really a co-production of National Geographic magazine (which first published Bingham's own story in 1915). This not only gives it creditability but some entertainment value too. (National Geographic's own specials are always well done.). There are a few interviews with scientists and researchers as well as some "recreations" (which, personally I found distracting and the reason for four stars, rather than five.) but mostly it is beautiful camera work showing, not only Machu Picchu from every angle, but the neighboring cities.

There is also NEWS here. The researcher who analyses bones has been able to determine the sex of the bodies found at the site as well as the level in society. These were "middle class people.. They don't have all the answers yet but there are new discoveries revealed here. The film runs about 54 minutes and so it doesn't go in to the depth it could but it will hold your attention.

If you already know about Machu Picchu, you will learn more. If you don't, you'll probably find yourself calling a travel agent after watching this, wanting to see this amazing place in person!

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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Years ago, I saw a doc on Machu Picchu (hereinafter "MP") and it was dull. It only spoke of the stone structure and not the people and culture who made it. Stonehenge is impressive as it shows human ingenuity and how it spans the millennia. However, it's also just some rocks. Some docs on MP discuss it in that same dull matter. This work breaks that unfortunate pattern.

This work spoke about skeletons found, how Incan descendants have blended pre-Colombian and Christian practices, irrigation, etc. MP is not just some stones; this work shows that it has an elaborate system to deal with all the rain in that high region. It speaks of how a culture without the wheel, iron, or writing could make such a fantastic site. It discusses why the conquistadores never found MP.

This work has a blend of experts interviewed: Latino and Anglo; male and female. There are reenactments here, but they are well-done, rather than cheesy. I think parents who have children that love "The Emperoro's New Groove" may want to show this to their young ones for educational purposes. Some anthropologists have lamented that their field is dismissed as "just stones and bones." This doc really brought a "dead" subject to life.
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I found this documentary to be an excellent introduction to the subject of Machu Picchu and the social structure of the Inca Empire. What particularly impressed me was how the structure of the documentary was set up in such a way that it modeled the process of scientific inquiry: hypothesis, information gathering, and proposed results. It didn't just tell the viewer the "facts" of the site but positioned him or her as a scholar testing the the ways that the site been interpreted over the years. I think this would be a good documentary to show a class, as they would get both the information and experience the process of creating and testing information. The music is somewhat History Channel, but I suspect PBS has to do things like that or people won't watch. Pedagogically, it still strikes me as a useful documentary.
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It never ceases to amaze me how people hundreds and even thousands of years ago were able to accomplish feats of architecture that puzzle modern day scientists and engineers. Not only did they accomplish this, they did it without the technology that we have now.

This video isn't long and there is a lot more information out there but it definitely was nice to have the visuals and a good overview. If you are interested in more info, I would suggest looking to other sources.
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This is a fascinating armchair tour of this ancient city high in the mountain in South America with a deep historic and archaeological analysis of the structure, design and building.

This new world wonder helped us understand and appreciate the wisdom of Inca people who used their brain and hand to labor this massive precise structure. I cannot help admire their ability and knowledge in mechanical, civil and management engineering without a college degree. Did these ancient people offer a systematic approach in making a strong stone shelter with convenience and comfort in fung shui design? The smart terrace structure creates harmony in nature, human and land without the worry of landslide and erosion.

Why ancient made awesome wonders and modern makes concrete jungle? Why come and conquer by converting, destroying and exterminating?

Is Machu Picchu the Inca place to communicate with the gods to learn their secrets?
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