A Huntington native is taking a new dig into ancient history this week as PBS premieres its new series, “Ancient Invisible Cities,” which uncovers long-forgotten secrets, enigmatic structures and mysterious buried treasures hidden beneath three exciting ancient cityscapes.
The show, which premieres at 9 p.m. EST Wednesday, Aug. 29, stars Darius Arya, an archaeologist and professor, who is the son of Huntington residents Martha Arya and Dr. Sirous Arya, a veteran local surgeon.
Darius Arya, who is the CEO of the American Institute for Roman Culture, Rome, Italy, will take viewers on a journey across the world to celebrate and explore the civilization and culture of Athens, Cairo and Istanbul. He aims to bring a fresh perspective to more than 4,000 years of history in the new three-part series, produced by BBC Studios for PBS.
Armed with a cutting-edge arsenal of high-definition 3D scanners, subsea LiDAR and multi-spectral images, Arya takes viewers behind the scenes of these metropolises. Each scan uncovers ancient architectural and technological achievements in a new way, illuminating just how these structures continue to exist after thousands of years.
“I enjoy nothing more than crawling through a narrow tunnel 300 feet beneath the modern street level or repelling down into a hidden chamber to discover the wonders of these cities,” said Arya in a release. “Now, with the use of the scan lab team, we’re able to bring you along for the ride, no mater how challenging the site.”
Each episode culminates in an augmented reality adventure, in which Arya steps inside a hologram and interacts with visualizations of the past while set in present-day locations. Following each episode, he invites viewers to explore these sites themselves at home with VR technology.
The series will also be streamed on PBS.org, PBS mobile and OTT apps, and local PBS member station websites following broadcast.
The schedule for the new series is: n “Athens” — 9 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29
In this premiere episode, Professor Darius Arya uncovers the hidden secrets of ancient Athens, the city that gave the world democracy. Arya uses the latest 3D scanning to reveal Athens’ treasures, from the buildings on the Acropolis to the silver mines and quarries beyond the city.
• “Cairo” — 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5
See how 3D scanning is used to explore Egypt’s ancient treasures, including the Great Pyramid of Giza, the first pyramid ever built, a hidden Roman fortress and a well, deep in the rock below the Arabic citadel of Saladin.
• “Istanbul” — 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12
Take an extraordinary journey through ancient Istanbul, the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Arya uses the latest 3D imaging technology to see the city and its often invisible treasures as no human eye ever could.
Arya has long been appearing as a guest lecturer, expert and host in numerous documentaries for Discovery, History and National Geographic channels, and has been cited in articles in CNN, Time, The Guardian and BBC. Currently, amidst his international travel, Darius is the host of “Under Italy” in Italian on Rai5 (Italy’s national culture channel), exploring the underbelly of Bologna, Orvieto, Catania, Palermo and more.
Since 2002, Darius has served as the executive director of the American Institute for Roman Culture, leading programs and projects, including field school excavations and study programs.
He launched and directs the online educational platform Ancient Rome Live, and promotes and leads initiatives in heritage preservation with international collaboration.
A graduate from the University of Pennsylvania and Phillips Exeter Academy, Darius received his master’s degree and Ph.D. from University of Texas, Austin. He is a Fulbright Scholar and American Academy of Rome fellow.
To learn more, visit http://www.dariusaryadigs.com or http://www.pbs.org/ancient-invisible-cities/home/