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Lost Kingdoms of Africa

4.4 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Four epic journeys into ancient Africa’s art and culture

Now home to a billion people, Africa produced powerful art, stunning architecture, and vibrant cultures long before the first Europeans arrived. Join Dr. Gus Casely-Hayford as he investigates the continent’s great "forgotten" civilizations. Visit the spectacular monuments of Nubia, explore the mysterious ruins of Great Zimbabwe, and discover the art and technology of ancient Benin. See magnificent Ethiopian monasteries carved out of solid rock, and hear spellbinding stories drawn from the silent objects of the past.

This eye-opening, four-part series reaches back, long before written history, to expose realms that rivaled Egypt, buildings as inspiring as medieval cathedrals, and art that still speaks to us across the centuries. Most of all, the series casts new light on a long-neglected part of our world’s cultural heritage.

British art historian and trustee of the U.K.’s National Portrait Gallery, Dr. Gus Casely-Hayford has presented several documentaries on African culture and acted as an arts consultant for the United Nations.

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  • 16-page viewer’s guide includes questions to consider; stories about the mysteries of Meroë, Great Zimbabwe, and the kingdom of Benin; Ethiopia and the Rastafari movement; and much more.
  • Biographies of prominent precolonial Africans
  • Profiles of Sudan, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria today
  • SDH subtitles

Special Features

16-page viewer’s guide includes questions to consider; stories about the mysteries of Meroë, Great Zimbabwe, and the kingdom of Benin; Ethiopia and the Rastafari movement; and much more.
Biographies of prominent precolonial Africans
Profiles of Sudan, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria today
SDH subtitles

Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Athena
  • DVD Release Date: October 5, 2010
  • Run Time: 216 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003V5CTN2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,402 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Harold Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWER on August 13, 2010
Format: DVD
This is a travelogue high-aesthetic-level of filming with depth in the ancient history provided through visuals of sites, artifacts, and enjoyable narration. Presenter, Dr. Gus Casely-Hayford, is a sophisticated, intellectual, black, Indiana Jones with a British accent. He hates snakes, is handsome, and tackles physical challenges well. He engages local guides and experts in each country. "Lost Kingdoms of AFRICA" offers geography, archaeology, and anthropology of 4 African locations for the viewer's mind-expanding education.

With SUBTITLES, family friendly, aimed at older youth through adult. Highly informative without getting too far over anyone's head. That's typical of highly entertaining, educational DVDs from Athena, dedicated to that purpose. 4 episodes average 54 minutes in length, originally BBC aired in 2009.

1 NUBIA--now Sudan, below Egypt, a desert wasteland or spectacular civilization? More pyramids than in Egypt. History includes 7000-year-old rock gongs; 5-6000-year-old cattle drawings on rock; a time when the Sahara was green. Nile town Kerma was the heart of Nubia. See the largest man-made structure in Africa; pottery; burials (30000 including human sacrifices.) Egyptian invasion/conquest was followed by a century of Nubian duel rule. A cattle-based people.

2 ETHIOPIA--Land of Biblical Solomon & the Queen of Sheba? 1974 was this kingdoms end. What of the 950 BC beginning? See 1st and only black owner castle, a connection to Solomon? Holy honey found in another place. Also visuals of religious buildings of Debro Damo & Labibela, & the Ethiopian emperor burial stones (stelai) from 2000 years ago.

3 GREAT ZIMBABWE--Southern Africa land of gold, the ancient history of the Swahili Coast, Rhapta (ancient trade center.
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As a french man I was shocked by what president Sarkosy said in Dakar last year : "The african man hasn't really entered history yet". This document proves again and again what cultural and human riches Africa showed centuries before colonization. It is clear that it was colonization and slave trade that ruined those great civilizations. Western countries owe Africa a great deal and probably most of its riches. This has to be said and this document says it clearly.
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I am shocked that there are only 3 reviews on this great documentary. This is a must have dvd for anyone interested in African history or to educated people about African history. What I like most about this dvd is that they did not use computer graphic to recreate any of the ancient sites nor did they use actor to recreate scenes. What you get is Dr Gus Casely-Hayford on location taking you to different ancient sites showing and telling you the history behind the area and asking questions to local historians, the local people and archaeologist that have been studying the area. As mentioned above the documentary covers 4 kingdoms, Nubia, Ethiopia, Great Zimbabwe and West Africa. You will not be disappointed with this dvd you will learn something new from one of the 4 episodes. I also recommend this book for those who would like more detail on Nubian history. The Nubian Pharaohs: Black Kings on the Nile

Edit: 3/05/2012
For those who have already purchase this DVD, series 2 will soon be available for purchase. Series 2 covers four parts:
1.The Kingdom of Asante
2.The Zulu Kingdom
3.The Berber Kingdom of Morocco
4.Bunyoro & Buganda
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This collection, once one viewer had seen it, became wildly popular in our Library. Now faculty and maintenance styaff alike are on a waiting list for this item. Visuals are superb.
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Order this DVD. You will not be disappointed. Video/audio quality is perfect. Information and presentation is great. You will be amazed at the wealth of know and research that this video contains. A MUST BUY!
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I really loved this. The host is so British it's adorable, and the subject matter is both fascinating and never covered in American schools. The history of civilization in Africa gets glossed over, confined to Egypt if anything, and this is a hugely interesting examination of the cultures that got swept under the rug by colonialist imperialism.
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Format: DVD
This was a fascinating series on current and potential archeological sites of the African Continent. I purchased the 'on demand' version here at Amazon due to pricing (only $15 for the first season). I hope the producers will consider a second season to this series.
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Format: DVD
This was an awesome documentary series. This is up their with "Eyes on the Prize" and "Africans in America".

I would highly recommend this to any educator wanting to get a very light coverage of sub saharan precolonial Africa. The series and narrator touches on big picture topics of history and archaeology of the region from Sudan to Benin.

My only wish is that more of this material is produced and incorporated into mainstream high school/college history texts. In addition, I'd love to see more of this alongside the traditional pantheon of documentary series such as those covering ancient Egypt and European cultures.
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