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Secrets of the Dead is part detective story, part true-life drama that unearths evidence from around the world, challenging prevailing ideas and throwing fresh light on unexplained events.[NOTE: Episodes shown only in the UK are listed in Season 0, first digit of episode number indicated UK series.]

Genres: Mystery | History
Station: PBS (US)
Rating: 0/10 from 0 users
Status: Running
Start: 2000-08-14

Secrets of the Dead Season 18 Air Dates


S18E01 - The Woman in the Iron Coffin Air Date: 04 October 2018 02:00 -

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On October 4, 2011, construction workers were shocked to uncover human remains in an abandoned lot in the Elmhurst neighborhood of Queens, New York. So great was the level of preservation, witnesses first assumed they had stumbled upon a recent homicide. Forensic analysis, however, revealed a remarkably different story. Buried in an elaborate and expensive iron coffin, the body belonged to a young African American woman who died in the first half of the 19th century, before the Civil War and the federal abolishment of slavery. But who was she? Secrets of the Dead: The Woman in the Iron Coffin follows forensic archaeologist Scott Warnasch and a team of historians and scientists as they investigate this woman's story and the time in which she lived, revealing a vivid picture of what life was like for free African American people in the North.


S18E02 - The Nero Files Air Date: 21 February 2019 03:00 -

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The Roman emperor Nero is considered one of history's greatest criminals. His name has become synonymous with evil, as historical accounts have accused him of killing his stepbrother, his wife, and his mother, as well as persecuting Christians and instigating the devastating Great Fire of Rome. This is the judgment that is passed in history from one generation to the next, but are these accounts of Nero's reign accurate? New scientific discoveries and a closer examination of the ancient texts written about Nero cast a different light on the Roman emperor and the accusations leveled against him. Secrets of the Dead: The Nero Files follows internationally renowned criminal psychologist Thomas Müller and a team of scientists and historians as they investigate the new evidence in order to discover the truth about the controversial emperor.

Noteworthy Moments in Nero's Timeline

As his stepson, Nero should not have inherited the throne after Claudius' death. But Brittanicus, the rightful heir as Claudius' biological son, was too young to become emperor, allowing Nero to take control. It is believed that Nero had Britannicus killed by poisoning his drink to eliminate a potential adversary.

It is believed that Nero turned to matricide because of an ongoing power struggle with his mother He engineered a plan to have her swept off a boat and drowned at sea.

The phrase ‘fiddling while Rome burned," refers to the belief that Nero played music while watching the destruction of his city. He's also been accused of starting the terrible blaze in order to make room for his own construction projects and then, after blaming Christians for the fire, had them brutally and publically executed.

In one of the darkest tales of Nero's reign, it is believed the emperor killed his wife, Poppaea Sabina, by kicking her in the stomach while she was pregnant with their child.


S18E03 - King Arthur's Lost Kingdom Air Date: 28 March 2019 02:00 -

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After four centuries of occupation and leadership, the Romans left Britain in 410 AD and the island's fate was left hanging in the balance. History teaches that in the 5th century, the country descended into a tumultuous and violent period knows as the Dark Ages, leaving the nation vulnerable to invading Angle and Saxon hordes from northern Europe. With a nation divided, a great leader known as King Arthur emerged, uniting the lawless lands to fight off invaders – or at least that's what the fragmentary historical texts suggest. The truth is, no one really knows what happened, and this pivotal moment in history has been shrouded in mystery – until now.

The key to Professor Roberts' quest is the excavation of a stone palace complex on the Tintagel peninsula in Cornwall, England – long believed to be the birthplace of the King Arthur legend. More than folklore, was Arthur, in fact, ruler of a prosperous and sophisticated trading village, and the heroic defender of the native Britons against the invading Anglo-Saxons?


S18E04 - Egypt's Darkest Hour Air Date: 04 April 2019 02:00 -

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The discovery of a rare mass grave with the bones of nearly 60 people outside Luxor sends archaeologists on a quest to find out who the remains belong to, why they were buried the way they were and what was happening in ancient Egypt that would have led to a mass burial. Could the collapse of the empire's Old Kingdom provide any clues?

Following the long reign of Pepi II, a series of weak kings ruled ineffectively. Without a strong central government, local leaders asserted themselves, fracturing the country's power base. As the climate shifted all over the world, the country was then hit by a decades-long drought that caused a great famine and economic failure.

In Secrets of the Dead: Egypt's Darkest Hour, viewers will go behind the scenes with archaeologists and scientists as they venture through Africa – from the Pyramids to the glaciers of Mt. Kilimanjaro – in search of clues to solve the mystery of the mass grave, examining the political and environmental catastrophes that plunged Egypt and its people into anarchy. Were the bodies found victims of the famine, civil war or something else?


S18E05 - World War Speed Air Date: 26 June 2019 00:00 -

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Stories about drug use by Hitler and German forces during World War II have been widely told. What's less well known is the Allied commanders' embraced pharmacological "force enhancers" as well. By 1941, rumors about Nazi soldiers using a "super-drug" identified as the methamphetamine Pervitin were confirmed, and Allied commanders launched their own classified program to find the perfect war-fighting drug.

During the war, one in three Allied soldiers were incapacitated without a physical scratch on them. Modern weapons and warfare proved so terrifying that almost as many men were shredded by combat fatigue and shell shock — now known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) — as by bullets and shrapnel. Allied commanders believed Benzedrine, an amphetamine similar to Pervitin, was the answer, hoping the amphetamine would defeat not just the need for sleep, but anxiety and fear among troops. How this drug affected the course of World War II is an ongoing controversy.

In Secrets of the Dead: World War Speed, join historian James Holland on his quest to understand how the use of amphetamines affected the course of World War II and unleashed "the world's first pharmacological arms race."

Next Episode of Secrets of the Dead is

Season 20 / Episode 2 and airs on 28 October 2021 02:00

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