Lost Kingdoms Of South America

9:00pm Monday 14 January on BBC FOUR

South America is the perfect place to keep secrets. Its jungles, mountain ranges and river systems are daunting obstacles for any explorer. It is a continent that has beguiled adventurers for centuries.

With temples hidden deep in the jungle, sprawling mountain citadels, dank underground tombs and exquisite images of long-forgotten gods and kings carved into stone, South America has only just begun to relinquish the secrets of some of the most ancient kingdoms in the world.

Presented by archaeologist Dr Jago Cooper, BBC Four reveals the extraordinary history of some of South America’s ancient civilizations, exploring spectacular ruins and investigating the myths and legends that surround these mysterious kingdoms. The four-part series will journey through Peru in two episodes before moving on to Bolivia and Colombia – revealing the true character of a stunning continent through its history, culture, people and landscapes.

The series explores some of the richest and most vibrant histories in the world, revealing fascinating stories of complex and sophisticated civilisations that existed for up to a millennium before their fall to the Incas and the Spanish in the middle ages.

In the first episode, Dr Jago Cooper embarks on an epic journey into the remote Peruvian Andes in search of the mysterious Chachapoya people. Known as ‘The People of the Clouds’, Dr Cooper reveals how they developed sophisticated methods of recording stories, traded in exotic goods found hundreds of miles from their territory, and had funeral traditions that challenge assumptions about ancient human behaviour. His search for evidence takes him to astonishing cliff tombs untouched for 500 years, and one of the most spectacular fortresses in South America, where their final fate is revealed.

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