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Media Log: Archaeology and Anthropology

May 3, 2012 | By Public Programs Staff

Archaeology and Anthropology


Breaking the Maya Code

Documentary

The complex and beautiful Maya hieroglyphic script was until recently the world's last major undeciphered writing system. Breaking the Maya Code is the story of the 200 year struggle, often hampered by misconceptions and rivalries that has ultimately unlocked the secrets of one of mankind's great civilizations and re-connected modern Maya with their extraordinary past. It's an epic tale that leads from the jungles of Guatemala to the snows of Russia, from ancient Maya temples to the dusty libraries of Dresden and Madrid. The film is based on the book of the same title by Michael Coe, called by the New York Times "one of the great stories of twentieth-century scientific discovery." [Note: a second version released as Cracking the Maya Code]

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Night Fire Films, Los Angeles, CA
YEAR PRODUCED: 2008
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Nick Noxon
PRODUCERS: David Lebrun, Rosey Guthrie
DIRECTOR/WRITER: David Lebrun
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Amy Halpern, Steven Kline
EDITOR: David Lebrun, Eric Marin, Fatih Radle
NARRATOR: CCH Pounder

PRINT MATERIALS: Based on the book Breaking the Maya Code, available from the publisher (Thames & Hudson) and bookstores everywhere.

AWARDS/FESTIVALS: International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA)—Montreal, March 2008; Cinarchea (archaeology film festival)—Kile, Germany; April 2008; Maui Film Festival—Wailea, June 2008; Mesoamerican Mytholigies Symposium—Irvine, CA, October 2008

FORMAT: Video/DVD (116 min, NOVA Adaptation: 52 min)
DISTRIBUTORS: First Run Features and WGBH International


Living Maya

Documentary Series

Filmed in a small Yucatan village over the course of a year, this four-part series explores the ancient agricultural and religious customs that ground contemporary Maya communal and family life in traditional values, even as modern Mexico comes to the village.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: The Anthropology Project, Santa Monica, CA
YEAR PRODUCED: 1982
PRODUCER/DIRECTOR/WRITER/HOST: Hubert Smith
EDITOR: David Lebrun
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Peter Smokler

AWARDS: CINE Golden Eagle; Margaret Mead Film Festival, Honoree; Choice, Outstanding Nonprint Media Award (American Library Association).

FORMAT: DVD 4 (58:00) programs, in English, Spanish, and Maya, with English subtitles.

DISTRIBUTOR: Documentary Educational Resources.


Margaret Mead

Documentary Radio

A panel discussion about anthropologist Margaret Mead's legacy and her influence on current thinking about human culture and society.

 

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: WAMU, Washington, DC
YEAR PRODUCED: 2001
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Nancy Robertson
NARRATOR: Diane Rehm

FORMAT: Radio 2 hours
DISTRIBUTOR: WAMU


Margaret Mead: An Observer Observed

Documentary

This film is a portrait of one of the most influential women of our time. Using never-before-seen archival footage, stills, interviews, and dramatic re-creations, it weaves together a story of a scientist, adventurer, and international celebrity whose ideas shaped how we think about ourselves.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Mind Matters, Inc., New York, NY
YEAR PRODUCED: 1996
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Virginia Yans
PRODUCERS: Gail Jansen, Lance Pierce
DIRECTORS: Alan Berliner, Jeffrey Schon
WRITERS: Robert Seidman, Virginia Yans
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Neil Smith
EDITORS: Alan Berliner, Joelle Schon
NARRATOR: Nancy Marchand
CAST: Julie Boyd, Chris Coucill, Miriam Healy-Louie, Patrick O'Connell, Lutz Rath
INTERVIEWS: Luther Cressman, Roy Rappaport, Barbara Roll, Nancy Lutkehaus, Mary Catherine Bateson, Yolanda Moses, Christine Ward Gailey, Benjamin Spock

AWARDS/FESTIVALS: Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival; Margaret Mead Film Festival; Margaret Mead Touring Film Festival; Society for Visual Anthropology—Honorable Mention; American Historical Association; National Women's Studies Association; American Anthropological Association; National Educational Media Network—Silver Apple

PRINT MATERIAL: Filmakers Library has a brochure describing the film. Visit the website for additional information.

FORMAT: Video (85:00)

DISTRIBUTOR:  Filmakers Library


The Mystery of the Lost Red Paint People

Documentary

The Mystery of the Lost Red Paint People sheds light on an early Indian culture of northeastern North America as it follows scientists to various sites in America and Europe in their search for links between seafaring cultures across great distances.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Northeast Archaeology Project, New York, NY
YEAR PRODUCED: 1987 (first broadcast on NOVA)
PRODUCER/DIRECTOR: T.W. Timreck
WRITER: William N. Goetzmann
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Peter Stein

AWARDS: CINE Golden Eagle; American Film and Video Festival, Red Ribbon; National Educational Film and Video Festival, Bronze Apple; Booklist, Editor's Choice (American Library Association)

FORMAT: Video (56:00)

DISTRIBUTOR: Bullfrog Films, Inc.


Odyssey I

Documentary Series

This series follows the work of anthropologists and archaeologists as they attempt to understand the complexities and similarities of human societies at different times and in different places.

Program 1
Seeking the First Americans
follows archaeologists from Alaska to Texas as they search for clues to the identity of the earliest inhabitants of North America.

PRODUCER/DIRECTOR: Graham Chedd

Program 2
Franz Boas (1852–1942)
tells the story of the German physicist who shaped the methods of American anthropology, bringing discipline and order to a field that had previously dealt in subjective "race classification."

PRODUCER/DIRECTOR: T.W. Timreck

Program 3
The Incas
examines the sixteenth-century Inca Empire through the work of three archaeologists.

PRODUCERS: Anna Benson-Gyles, Marian White

Program 4
Other People's Garbage
explores the work of historical archaeologists across the United States: the excavation of slave quarters in Georgia; an investigation of a nineteenth-century multi-ethnic community near northern California coal mines; and an urban archaeology project in the Boston area.

PRODUCERS: Ann Peck, Claire Andrade-Watkins

Program 5
The Chaco Legacy
explores the puzzling technological achievements of the inhabitants of the Chaco Canyon in New Mexico and speculates on their demise.

PRODUCER/DIRECTOR/WRITER: Graham Chedd

Program 6
N!ai, The Story of a !Kung Woman
focuses on changes in the life of the !Kung of Namibia through the reflections of one woman over a twenty-eight year period.

PRODUCERS: John Marshall, Sue Marshall Cabezas
DIRECTORS: John Marshall, Adrienne Miesmer

Program 7
Ongka's Big Moka
explores the lavish ceremonial presentations of gifts, called moka, in the New Guinea highlands through the preparations of one man.

PRODUCER/DIRECTOR: Charlie Naim
PRODUCER (Odyssey version): Melanie Wallace, Sanford Low

Program 8
Maasai Women
looks at the women of the Maasai tribe—from childhood through marriage and old age—in the East African Rift Valley.

PRODUCER: Christopher Curling
PRODUCERS (Odyssey version): Melanie Wallace, Sanford Low

Program 9
The Sakuddei
considers how government development programs in tribal Indonesia may disrupt traditional ways of life among the Sakuddei.

PRODUCER/DIRECTOR: John Sheppard
PRODUCER (Odyssey version): Sanford Low

Program 10
Shipwreck: La Trinidad Valencera
examines the wreck of La Trinidad Valencera, the fourth largest ship in the Spanish Armada, which was discovered in thirty feet of water off the coast of Ireland.

PRODUCER: Ray Sutcliffe
PRODUCER (Odyssey version): Terry Kay Rockefeller, Sue Simpson

Program 11
Key to the Land of Silence
illumines the history of the Rosetta stone and its contribution to an understanding of life in ancient Egypt.

DIRECTOR: Anna Benson-Gyles
PRODUCERS: (Odyssey version): Ashton Peery, Terry Kay Rockefeller, Vivian Ducat

Program 12
Cree Hunters of Mistassini
looks at the Cree Indians of Canada who trek northward every winter to hunt and trap game.

DIRECTORS: Tony Lanzelo, Boyce Richardson
SERIES PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Public Broadcasting Associates, Inc., Boston, MA
YEAR PRODUCED: 1980
SERIES EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Michael Ambrosino

PRINT MATERIALS: Educator's Guide available with the programs distributed by Documentary Educational Resources

FORMATS: 16mm, Video
12 (58:00) programs

 

DISTRIBUTORS:

·  PBS Video (Programs 1-5)

·  Documentary Educational Resources (16mm only: Programs 1-5,12; 16mm and video: Program 6)

·  YouTube (Program 7 Preview)

· YouTube (Program 8)

· Filmakers Libary (Program 9)

· National Film Board of Canada (Program 12)

·  Programs  10 and 11 are currently unavailable


Odyssey II

Documentary Series

The second Odyssey series continues to explore the diversity of past and present cultures.

Program 1
The Ancient Mariners
considers excavation from three shipwrecks, with special emphasis on techniques of modern underwater archaeology, the attempted reconstructions of ships and cargo, and theories about ancient shipbuilding processes.

PRODUCER: Sanford Low
DIRECTOR: Werner Bundschuh

Program 2
On the Cowboy Trail
explores the lives of contemporary cowboys in southeastern Montana.

PRODUCERS: Randy Strothman, Margot Liberty
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR/WRITER: Barry Head

Program 3
Lucy and the First Family
traces anthropologist Donald Johanson's discovery of "Lucy," the oldest skeleton of any human ancestor, and at least thirteen of her contemporaries in Ethiopia

PRODUCER: Milton B. Hoffman
PRODUCER (Odyssey Version): Vivian Ducat

Program 4
The Kirghiz of Afghanistan
relates the story of the Kirghiz nomads, who relocated in Pakistan after being forced out of their home territory in Afghanistan.

PRODUCERS/DIRECTORS: Charlie Nairn, M. Nazif Shahrani
PRODUCERS/WRITERS (Odyssey Version): Robert Burns, Melanie Wallace

Program 5
Bath Waters
follows a group of archaeologists as they excavate the famous two thousand year-old Roman baths in Bath, England, to learn more about the Romans and their influence in Great Britain.

PRODUCER: Antonia Benedak
PRODUCER/WRITER (Odyssey Version): Marian White

Program 6
Little Injustices: Laura Nader Looks at the Law
introduces anthropologist Laura Nader's fieldwork in a small Zapotec village in Mexico and her comparison of Mexican and American systems of settling disputes and consumer complaints.

PRODUCERS: Terry Kay Rockefeller, Laurie Manny, Ashton Peery

Program 7
Myths and the Moundbuilders
reviews the evolution of theories on Indian-built mounds scattered throughout the eastern half of the United States.

WRITER/PRODUCER/DIRECTOR: Graham Chedd

Program 8
The Three Worlds of Bali
explores the pageantry, poetry, and song that permeate daily life on the Indonesian island of Bali.

PRODUCER/DIRECTOR: Ira R. Abrams

Program 9
Masters of Metal
traces the way new dating techniques have allowed archaeologists to challenge the once widely accepted notion that Europeans learned how to work with metal from peoples in the Middle East.

PRODUCER: Dominic Flessati
PRODUCER/WRITER (Odyssey Version): Kathleen Bernhardt

Program 10
Dadi's Family
explores family relationships in a household in northern India in light of socio-economic change that threatens its cohesion.

PRODUCERS: James MacDonald, Michael Camerini
DIRECTOR/WRITER: Michael Camerini, Rina Gill

Program 11
Ben's Mill
looks at one of the few water-powered, wood-working mills left in this country.

PRODUCERS: Michel Chalufour, John Karol

Program 12
Margaret Mead: Taking Note
reveals Mead's personal history and intellectual contributions through interviews held shortly before her death, archival materials, and conversations with friends, family, and former students.

PRODUCER/DIRECTOR/WRITER: Ann Peck

Program 13
Some Women of Marrakech
explores the lives of a group of Islamic women in Morocco, who share their feelings about friendship, marriage, family, and religion.

PRODUCER: Melissa Llewelyn-Davis
PRODUCER (Odyssey Version): Melanie Wallace

Program 14
Maya Lords of the Jungle
reviews a number of theories concerning the rise and fall of the great Maya Civilization of Central America.

PRODUCER/DIRECTOR/WRITER: John Angier

Program 15
We Are Mehinaku
shows how a small Indian tribe of the Brazilian Amazon River Basin sustains its group harmony through rituals that play out the tensions between the sexes.

PRODUCER/DIRECTOR: Carlos Pasini
PRODUCERS (Odyssey Version): Melanie Wallace
SERIES PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Public Broadcasting Associates, Inc., Boston, MA
YEAR PRODUCED: 1981
SERIES EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Michael Ambrosino

AWARDS: Academy Award nominee, Best Documentary Feature; Cinema du Reel, Grand Prize; The International Festival of Grand Reporting Films, First Prize; Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University, Special Citation; International Film and TV Festival of New York, Gold Award, Documentaries; Bronze Award; CINE Golden Eagle; American Film Festival, Blue Ribbon, Red Ribbon; Chicago International Film Festival, Gold Plaque; Cindy Award; ANZAAS International Scientific Film Exhibition, Australia, Commendation

PRINT MATERIAL: Educator's Guide available with programs distributed by Documentary Educational Resources

FORMAT: 16mm, Video
15 (58:00) programs

DISTRIBUTORS:

·  Documentary Educational Resources (16mm only: Programs 1-2, 6-8,10-12,14)

·  Programs 3, 4, 5, 9, 13, 15 are currently unavailable


Out of the Past

Documentary Series

Examining the limits and possibilities of contemporary archaeology and anthropology, this program shows how physical evidence from long-ago societies can be studied alongside the practices of contemporary cultures to give new insights into the evolution of humankind.

Program 1
New Worlds
explores how the Age of Discovery 500 years ago revealed a broad range of cultures, that, like biological species, have evolved independently and on a global scale—from roving bands of hunter-gatherers to the vast empires of the Aztecs and Incas.

Program 2
The Hearth
examines how enculturation and economic cooperation have shaped the homes and families of people, past and present.

Program 3
Artisans and Traders
explores the link between economic and cultural evolution, from hunter-gatherers and early agriculturalists to the present.

Program 4
Signs and Symbols
traces the way archaeologists reconstruct and interpret the meaning of the symbols they find—from the deciphering of ancient scripts to an understanding of status symbols.

Program 5
Power, Prestige, and Wealth
examines the different methods archaeologists use to study the way in which rulers gain and keep power.

Program 6
Realms
shows how archaeologists can reveal much of the internal workings of societies, as well as their external relations, by looking at marriage alliances, trade, and warfare.

Program 7
The Spirit World
looks at the way archaeologists study ritual behavior and sacred spaces and objects to understand the nature of spiritual life in communities past and present.

Program 8
Collapse
investigates the decline and fall of civilizations, focusing on the Mayan city of Copan, whose collapse may have been brought on by overpopulation and the over-exploitation of resources.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATIONS: WQED, Pittsburgh, PA and Cambridge Studios, Newton, MA
YEAR PRODUCED: 1992
PROJECT DIRECTOR: Joanna Baldwin-Mallory
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Jay Rayvid
SERIES PRODUCER/WRITER: Sanford Low
PRODUCERS/DIRECTORS/WRITERS: Werner Bundschuh, Lance Wisniewski, Sheila Bernard, Kate Raisz
EDITORS: Eric Handley, Bill Anderson, Peter Rhodes

AWARDS: CINE Golden Eagle (Programs 3 and 8)

FORMAT: Video, 8 (60:00) programs

DISTRIBUTOR: Annenberg Lerner

 


Popol Vuh: The Creation Myth of the Maya

Documentary

Using images from Maya ceramics of the Classic Period, this animated film recounts the first part of the heroic adventures recorded in the Popol Vuh, a narrative account of the myths and legends of the Maya of southern Mexico and Central America.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Film Arts Foundation, San Francisco, CA
YEAR PRODUCED: 1987
PRODUCER/DIRECTOR/WRITER: Patricia Amlin
ANIMATION: Patricia Amlin, Joanne Corso, Martha Gorzycki
LIPSYNCH ANIMATION: Bud Luckey
CAMERA: Martha Gorzycki
EDITORS: Yasha Aginsky, Jennifer Chinlund, Louis Hough
NARRATOR: Tony Shearer (29:00 version), Larry George (59:00 version)
VOICES: El Teatro Campesino, directed by Luis Valdez, and others

AWARDS/FESTIVALS: National Educational Film and Video Festival, Bronze Apple; Latin American Studies Association, Award of Merit; CINE Golden Eagle; American Film and Video Festival, Finalist; Media and Methods Award; Native American Film Festival, Honoree; American Anthropological Association, Honoree

PRINT MATERIAL: Teacher's Guide for elementary and secondary schools available

FORMAT: 16mm, Video (two versions, 29:00 and 59:00)

DISTRIBUTORS: University of California, Extension Media Center and Annenberg Lerner

 

 


Pulse of the Planet

Documentary Radio

 

A series of short segments, Pulse of the Planet offers snapshots of the planet using a mix of modern sound, interview, and voice-over narrative to help tell its stories. Listeners travel the globe tracking the rhythms of nature and culture and exploring the horizons of scientific discovery. The series focuses on the ways we celebrate the seasons, interact with our local environment, and follow the seasonal and cyclical activities of life on Earth.

 

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Jim Metzner Productions, Inc., Yorktown Heights, NY
YEAR PRODUCED: 1999
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Jim Metzner
PRODUCERS: Shawn Dudley, Rachael Teel
HOST: Jim Metzner

 

PRINT MATERIALS: Press Kit

 

AWARDS/FESTIVALS: 2001 American Institute of Biological Sciences Media Award; 1999 Silver Reel, National Federation of Community Broadcasters

 

FORMAT: Audio; multiple two-minute segments
DISTRIBUTOR: Pulse of the Planet 


The Royal Archives of Ebla

Documentary

The film discusses the importance of 17,000 cuneiform tablets and fragments found in 1975 at the site of the ancient kingdom of Ebla in northwest Syria.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Milberg Productions, Inc., Norwalk, CT
YEAR PRODUCED: 1980
PRODUCER: Mildred Freed Alberg
DIRECTORS: Richard Ellison, Mildred Freed Alberg
WRITERS: Mildred Freed Alberg, Fred Warshofsky
NARRATOR: Arthur Kennedy

AWARDS: New York International Film and Television Festival, Gold Medal; Chicago International Film Festival, Certificate of Merit; San Francisco Film Festival, Honorable Mention

FORMAT: 16mm, Video (58:32)

DISTRIBUTOR: not currently available 


Search for a Century

Documentary

Search for a Century chronicles the archaeological discoveries at Martin's Hundred and Wolstenholme Towne, a seventeenth-century settlement on the banks of the James River in Virginia.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, VA
YEAR PRODUCED: 1980
PRODUCER: Arthur L. Smith
DIRECTOR/EDITOR: Gene Bjerke
WRITER/NARRATOR: Ivor Noel Hume
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Ronald Gertz, Michael Durling

AWARD: International Film and Television Festival of New York, Gold Medal; International Archaeological Film Festival (Paris), Grand Prix

PRINT MATERIAL: Discussion Guide available

FORMAT: 16mm, Video (58:30)

DISTRIBUTOR: Amazon.com

 


Sons of the Moon

Documentary

This film, told from the point of view of a Ngas bard, traces the moon's influence on the Ngas who live in Nigeria's Jos Plateau.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Institute for the Study of Human Issues, Philadelphia, PA
YEAR PRODUCED: 1984
PRODUCER: Michael Camerini
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER: Bankole Bello
WRITER: Deirdre LaPin
EDITOR: Paul Marcus
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Francis Speed

PRINT MATERIAL: Accompanying guide available

FORMAT: 16mm, Video (29:00)

DISTRIBUTOR: Smithsonian Institution 

 


 

Tree of Iron

Documentary

Set in Tanzania on the western shores of Lake Victoria, Tree of Iron explores the subject of African iron smelting, presenting evidence that early indigenous technologies were far more complex than previously believed.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATIONS: Foundation for African Prehistory and Archaeology, Gainesville, FL, and Audio-Visual Institute, Tanzania
YEAR PRODUCED: 1988
PRODUCERS: Peter O'Neill, Peter Schmidt
DIRECTOR/WRITER: Frank Muhly
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Peter O'Neill
EDITORS: Peter O'Neill, Winnie Lambrecht

AWARDS: National Film and Video Festival, Gold Apple; Society of Visual Anthropology, Award of Excellence; American Film and Video Festival, Red Ribbon

FORMAT: 16mm, Video (57:50) English and Swahili

DISTRIBUTOR: Documentary Educational Resources

 


 

Wayfinders: A Pacific Odyssey

Documentary

This documentary sweeps viewers into a seafaring adventure with a community of Polynesians, as they build traditional sailing canoes, learn how to follow the stars across the open ocean, and embark upon a 2,000-mile voyage in the wake of their ancestors. Wayfinders is told primarily from the point of view of the Pacific Islanders, who use archival sources, oral traditions, archaeological discoveries, and experimental voyages to resolve controversial issues of their own history and reclaim their heritage as accomplished oceanic explorers.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Maiden Voyage Productions, Half Moon Bay, CA
YEAR PRODUCED: 1999
PRODUCER/DIRECTOR/WRITER: Gail Evenari
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Ray Day, Robert Elfstrom, Stephen Lighthill
EDITORS: Yasha Aginsky, Nathaniel Dorsky
NARRATOR: Patrick Stewart

AWARDS/FESTIVALS: Gold Apple-National Educational Media Network

PRINT MATERIAL: Curriculum available through Maiden Voyage Productions

FORMAT: Video (60:00)

DISTRIBUTOR: PBS Video