Aired Wednesday July 20th, 2011 at 8:00 pm on KUED HD Ch. 7.1
The Great Inca Rebellion
Find out what really happened to an explorer who disappeared in the Amazon, discover the truth behind the Great Inca Rebellion and learn the startling secrets of an ancient Aztec massacre as KUED presents an evening of programs solving mysteries of the past.
On Wed. July 20 at 7:00 p.m. Secrets of the Dead: Lost in the Amazon looks at what really happened to famed adventurer Col. Percy Fawcett, who went looking for a city of gold in the Amazon in 1925 and disappeared in the jungles of Brazil forever.
At 8:00 p.m. Nova: The Great Inca Rebellion explorers visit an impoverished suburb of Lima, where they uncover an ancient cemetery crammed with more than 1,000 pre-Columbian mummies. There, Peruvian archaeologist Guillermo Cock makes a startling find. He discovers dozens of corpses that differ from all the rest: they were hastily buried and disfigured by appalling wounds and fractures inflicted by steel blades and crude bullets. Forensic experts diagnose these remains as victims of a little-known battle that pitted club-wielding Inca warriors against Spanish cavalry.
The battle turns out to be a decisive turning point that helps explain a long-standing mystery about the Spanish conquest of Peru. How, in 1532, did a tiny band of Spanish soldiers crush the mighty Inca empire, then the most powerful civilization in the Americas, with a network of roads that spanned over 2,000 miles? Were the conquistadors' obvious advantages -- steel arms, gunpowder and horses -- the key to their success, as is usually supposed? Or were disease and civil war more decisive factors that were downplayed by the Spanish chroniclers? With the help of this new evidence from the Lima cemetery, NOVA reveals the untold final chapter of the conquest: not the Spanish walkover familiar from popular accounts, but rather a protracted and complex war of astonishing brutality that almost led to the Spanish losing their precarious foothold in the Andes.
At 9:00 p.m. on Secrets of the Dead: Aztec Massacre, researchers make a startling discovery. Throughout recent times, historians have believed that when the Spanish Conquistadors arrived in Aztec territory in the 15th century, they were welcomed as returning light-skinned gods by the Aztecs, who put up little resistance to their conquest. But now, a new find outside of Mexico City is turning history on its head. The discovery: more than 400 bodies, many of which show signs of having been mutilated and even eaten. More importantly, more than 40 of the bodies appear to be European, indicating that the Aztecs not only resisted the invaders, they sacrificed them to their gods, pulling their still-beating hearts from chests and stringing their heads (along with the heads of their horses) on wooden skull racks for public display. Exploring the archeology of the site, the forensics of the bones and beautiful but grotesque codices that document the events, this program paints a new picture of the violent relations between the Aztecs and the Conquistadors and rewrites much of what we thought we knew about the Aztec civilization.
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