4 x 60 minutes • Documentary Series • Produced in association with: National Geographic Channel, Vision TV • Production year: 2013
Biblical Forensics: Real Faces of the Bible is a four-part documentary series that blends myth-busting archaeology with dramatic recreations and forensic investigation. Having been granted unprecedented access to four ancient skulls from the Holy Land, each episode seeks to accurately reconstruct a “biblical” face. Travelling across the globe, archaeologists and scholars separate fact from myth, while a team of forensic anthropologists and artists put flesh on bone, using both traditional and state-of-the-art methods of facial reconstruction.
Biblical Forensics: Real Faces of the Bible pushes the envelope of biblical archaeology.
Because of religious sensibilities, it is very difficult to do forensic work on human remains excavated in Israel. Utilizing CAT scans and other cutting edge 3D technologies, forensic anthropologists, doctors and police facial reconstruction experts have managed to side step those sensibilities by minimizing the need to handle the skulls of the deceased. The results are extremely dramatic.
For the first time ever the face of a Philistine woman has been reconstructed. Not only that, she lived at the time of Delilah. In other words, this is the closest we have come to looking at the face of the biblical enchantress, Delilah. More than this, this is the first time that the face of a sacrificial victim has been “brought to life”. The baby was found in a sacrificial setting inside a millennia old Canaanite jar. We have also reconstructed the face of a warrior who lived in pre Canaanite times. Finally, for the first time ever, the face of a Galilean man who lived at the time of Jesus has been reconstructed. If Jesus was a famous healer, then this man surely knew him. In other words, we can literarily come face to face with a man who came face to face with Jesus.
The host is David Berman, well known from CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
EPISODE ONE: DELILAH REVEALED
In this episode of Biblical Forensics: Real Faces of the Bible, an extremely rare archaeological discovery has put a 3000-year-old female skull into the hands of our forensic team. The skull dates to the Iron Age, the time of the Biblical strongman, Samson, and his treacherous lover, Delilah. Our team of archaeologists, scholars and forensic anthropologists gather the evidence in order to provide our forensic artists with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reconstruct the face of a Philistine woman.
EPISODE TWO: THE SACRIFICED CHILD
Archaeologists made a shocking discovery while excavating an ancient village in Israel - the skeletal remains of a tiny infant stored inside a clay jar. Six millennia ago, someone carefully buried this child under the foundations of a house - but why? Did a grieving mother decide to keep close at hand a child lost too soon? Or was this innocent sacrificed to appease the gods? Was the Biblical Abraham stopped as he was sacrificing Isaac precisely so as to avoid this kind of ritual? In this episode of Biblical Forensics: Real Faces of the Bible our team of archaeologists, scholars and forensic anthropologists explore humanity's long history of sacrifice. All the while they gather information to help our forensic artists reveal the face of this unfortunate child. By the end, for the first time, we come face to face with a sacrificed infant from Biblical times.
EPISODE THREE – THE WARRIOR
During a time when many societies were transitioning from nomadic lifestyles to more permanent village settlements, a long-lived man was given a special burial in a remote desert cave. Placed around him were various personal objects carefully stained with blood red ochre, including a broken bow, a flint knife, a walking stick and a pair of leather sandals. The presence of weapons inspired the moniker, “The Warrior”, but the other artifacts could indicate the roaming existence of a hunter. Biblical rivals and twins Jacob and Esau also lived during a time of transition; Jacob was a “tent dweller” and herder, whereas Esau was a hunter and nomad. Did our “Warrior” live the challenging life of a desert nomad like Esau? Six thousand years later, the Biblical Forensics: Real Faces of the Bible team of archaeologists, forensic anthropologists and artists try to determine how this ancient man lived and what he looked like in his final hours.
EPISODE FOUR – THE MAN WHO SAW JESUS
Archaeologists stumble across a rare discovery in the Galilee - a burial cave with the remains of a man whose bones were interred using a unique funerary practice that was popular in Jerusalem from approximately 20 BCE to 70 CE. Not only did this man live in a region strongly associated with the ministry of Jesus i.e., the Galilee, he lived – as C-14 has established – during Jesus’ lifetime! If Jesus was a well-known miracle worker and/or healer, this man surely knew him. In this episode of Biblical Forensics: Real Faces of the Bible, our team of scholars and archaeologists journey across the region, from remote villages in the mountains to one of the oldest synagogues by the Sea of Galilee, to reconstruct his life. Meanwhile, our forensic anthropologists and artists work together to unveil this 2,000 year-old man’s face. By the end, for the first time, we come face to face with someone who most probably came face to face with Jesus.
- Intermedia-globe Silver, WorldMediaFestival
- Silver World Medal, New York Festivals
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