Sacred Weeds is a four part series documentary investigating the cultural impact of psychoactive plants on a broad array of early civilizations. In each episode the series investigated one psychoactive plant and its cultural significance. Three specialists of various scientific disciplines were invited to monitor two volunteers who had taken each plant.
Since mankind’s beginning, in every civilization, human beings have found ways to alter their consciousness in search of something greater than everyday reality. To this end, we have indulged in and experimented with all manner of frightening, toxic, even potentially lethal substances, in many different rituals. Historians and spiritualists explore the ancient rituals of cultures worldwide that have sought visions and truth through altered consciousness, and illuminate the terrifying, exquisite visions that are revealed to those who journey beyond the constraints of the conscious mind.
The great mystery of our evolution is how an ape could have evolved into the extraordinary creature that is a human being. There has never been another animal like us on the planet. And yet ten million years ago there was no sign that humans would take over the world. Instead the Earth was dominated by the apes. More than 50 different species of ape roamed the world – ten million years ago Earth really was the planet of the apes. Three million years later, most had vanished. In their place came something clearly related to the apes, but also completely different: human beings!
When grave robbers ransacked a Bronze Age tomb in Germany, they had no idea that they had unearthed the find of a lifetime. But they knew that it was worth selling. It was a small bronze disc of exquisite design. So they contacted the archaeologist Harald Meller, offering to sell it to him. In intellectual achievement and also age, it surpasses anything yet found in Egypt or Greece. It seems that civilisation had already dawned in Europe.
Scientists have found more evidence that the Indonesian "Hobbit" skeletons belong to a new species of human - and not modern pygmies. The three foot tall, pound humans roamed the Indonesian island of Flores, perhaps up to 8,000 years ago. Since the discovery, researchers have argued vehemently as to the identity of these diminutive people. The team, which discovered the tiny remains in Liang Bua cave on Flores, contends that the population belongs to the species Homo floresiensis separate from our own grouping Homo sapiens .