When I was in school we were taught about the different continents on earth. I learned where each continent was located on the map. World Geography was one of my favorite subjects. I loved hearing about other countries other than the United States.

One continent in particular though I don’t remember learning much about. That continent is Africa. When I first saw this DVD set, The Lost Kingdoms of Africa, I realized I didn’t really know much about the countries in Africa at all.

Here we have a four part series that goes back long before written history to expose realms that rivaled Egypt buildings as inspiring as medieval cathedrals and art that speaks to us across the centuries. A lot of the ancient kingdoms in Africa have been forgotten about because there are no written records about them, but they do exist.

Dr. Gus Casely-Hayford, a British art historian and trustee of the UK’s National Portrait Gallery, investigates Africa’s great forgotten civilizations. On this DVD he brings us to visit the spectacular monuments of Nubia. He explores the mysterious ruins of Great Zimbabwe and discovers the art and technology of ancient Benin. We see some of the magnificent Ethiopian monasteries that were carved out of rock and he tells of some spellbinding stories drawn from the quiet objects of the past.

He visits the Kingdom of Nubia which is south of Egypt in present day Sudan. Amazing unique pyramids and a sacred mountain are explored. Then he takes his camera crew to the Kingdom of Ethiopia which is now a very prominent Christian country. The emperors of Ethiopia are said to have roots going back to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba from the bible’s Old Testament. We are shown a church that was carved out of the side of a cliff and a monastery perched atop of a mountain. You would have to climb on a long rope made from goat hide in order to visit this place.

The second part of this series takes us to the Great Kingdom of Zimbabwe. Shrouded in mystery, the ruins of Great Zimbabwe rise from an unlikely spot in Africa’s interior. Our guide traces an ancient gold-trading route inland from the eastern coast and explores the city that served as its source. Then in West Africa the final Kingdom called Benin is visited where the famous bronze plaques in the British Museum entices Casey-Hayford to start a quest for their origin. It leads him to the modern day Nigeria and Mali where the fine art of the fine metalworking has been for generations.

This set has a bonus feature package as well:

  • 16-page viewer’s guide includes questions to consider, stories about the mysteries of Meroe, Great Zimbabwe and the kingdom of Benin, Ethiopia and the Rastafari movement and much more.
  • Biographies of prominent pre-colonial Africans
  • Profiles of Sudan, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Nigeria today

Lost Kingdoms of Africa covers these lost kingdoms in a way that makes it interesting. It casts a new light on a long-neglected part of our world’s cultural heritage. To get your copy click on the Amazon link above and reserve your copy. It goes on sale on October 5th, 2010. It is a 2-volume boxed set and the approximate total run time is 216 minutes.

Jan Barrett

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