CGI rendering of the vast ancient city of Pompeii, Italy including the forum and housing. (Credit: National Geographic)

Lost Treasures of Rome revealed in new series

The ancient city of Rome has long been a subject of fascination for people around the world. Now, a new six-part series follows an international team of archaeologists on the front line, as they embark on new excavations to unravel the secrets of life in the Roman Empire. Lost Treasures of Rome, premieres on National Geographic on Fridays at 19:00 (CAT) from 27 May (DStv 181, Starsat 220).


This series charts the discoveries of archaeologists spread out across the ancient Roman Empire over an entire dig season. From crawling beneath Pompeii, to unearthing an enormous lost coliseum, and hauling a 2000-year-old battleship ram from the depths of the ocean, they race to unlock the secrets of this ancient civilization. Drone photography, passionate researchers and 3D CGI will bring the sites and their discoveries vividly to life.


Episodes include:


Hidden Secrets of Pompeii

Archaeologists embark on new digs in Pompeii, to unravel the stories of the people that lived and died here. They work around the clock to unearth a sacrificial skull, uncover clues from the tomb and mummified body of a curiously wealthy freed slave, and venture into stiflingly narrow tunnels beneath the central bathhouse.


Rome’s Sunken Secrets

How did Rome rise to dominate so much of the ancient world? Off the coast of Sicily, investigators discover traces of a crucial naval battle. Using divers, an underwater robot and a crane, they haul a long-lost battleship relic to the surface. In Terracina, south of Rome, a team of archaeologists dig inside an ancient mountaintop temple, and in Carthage, Tunisia, clues reveal how one deadly rivalry tilted the scales of power in favour of Rome.


Secrets of the Colosseum

How did the Colosseum – an arena for bloody gladiatorial battles – become the greatest symbol of the Roman Empire? Archaeologists venture into the Colosseum’s ruins, and launch digs across the Empire, to hunt for clues. As teams descend into hidden tunnels and unearth long-lost amphitheatres in Tuscany and Britain, they piece together the surprising truth about Rome’s iconic Colosseum.


Nero’s Lost Palace

Buried beneath Rome lies a forgotten treasure: the Golden House – a vast palace built in the first century AD. It was the most extravagant construction in the history of Rome. Why was it buried? And what can its fate reveal about its builder – Rome’s most notorious emperor – Nero? As experts race to save the remains of the Golden House, archaeologists uncover new clues to its fate and its connection to Nero’s reputation.


Pompeii’s Lost Twin: Herculaneum

The deadly volcanic eruption that buried Pompeii in AD79 also claimed another victim: Herculaneum. Positioned closer to the Vesuvius crater, this seaside town was covered in ash five times as thick as Pompeii, yet miraculously is even better preserved. Now, the discovery of an intact skeleton here, the first excavated in 25 years, helps investigators piece together the final hours of Herculaneum and unravel why Vesuvius stuck so violently here.