For ‘NOVA,’ exploring mysterious tombs in the sky
PBS series examines the ancient cultures that lived in the Himalayans
January 4, 2017
The Himalayan mountains are arguably among the most beautiful places in the world, with their soaring cliffs and rolling valleys.
They’re also among the most mysterious. Little is known about the tribes that sprang up on these mountainsides, and the territory itself almost seems reluctant to reveal its secrets, buried deep in cliffsides.
A team of determined scientists explores those cultures in the latest “NOVA” documentary, airing tonight at 9 p.m. on PBS. “Secrets of the Sky Tombs” follows their often dangerous hunt high above sea level as they search for evidence of ancient cultures in the caves and crevices along the Himilayas.
Hoping to find DNA and other evidence, the scientists investigate the difficult landscape, which led the area to be settled much later than virtually every other part of the ancient world.
They find tombs filled with human remains, Chinese silk and other artifacts that help them piece together more about the people who lived and died there.
This is “NOVA” at its best, which is also its most niche. The series excels when it deep-dives into an obscure topic, such as the sky tombs.
That’s what attracts the small but loyal PBS audience, who are also the folks who will contribute to the public broadcaster’s pledge drives, keeping the money flowing in. Prestige shows such as “NOVA” are, as such, vital to PBS’s survival.
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