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Secrets of the Dead: Lost Ships of Rome

4.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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, fully laden with exotic goods. This film 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.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: .
  • Directors: Dr. Robert Hartel
  • 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: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: February 8, 2011
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0047H7Q90
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,575 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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I thought this documentary was very well done and quite informative. The footage is beautiful. I felt that the program had a great balance between the underwater footage, history of the site and objects, and communications and personal interaction between the crew. The computer imaging of objects, etc. and recreation overlays over the remains of the ruins of Julia's exile villa really helped bring the site to life. Also, showing the modern usage of some of the ancient objects and recreating some Roman dishes brings the subject home; the Romans no longer seem so "ancient".

As a scholar of ancient Greece & Rome, I found this documentary fascinating. However I think that anyone interested in underwater archaeology, Roman civilization, or history in general would find this documentary quite entertaining whether you know anything about the subjects at hand or not. Check it out!
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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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