Search - Secrets of the Dead - Amazon Warrior Women on DVD

Secrets of the Dead - Amazon Warrior Women
Secrets of the Dead - Amazon Warrior Women
Actors: Liev Schreiber, Joann Fletcher, Addison Bain, Martin Biddle, Linnda R. Caporael
Genres: Television, Documentary, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
NR     2004     1hr 0min

Stories of beautiful, bloodthirsty female warrior women thundering across arid battlefields have been told, re-told and speculated over for thousands of years. Greek myths are filled with tales of the Amazons. But are they...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Liev Schreiber, Joann Fletcher, Addison Bain, Martin Biddle, Linnda R. Caporael
Creators: Colin Case, David Flett, Graham Veevers, Terry Doe, Jay Taylor, Julian Rodd, Mark Elliot
Genres: Television, Documentary, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Television, Documentary, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
Studio: Pbs (Direct)
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 08/24/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Amazon Warrior Women on DVD- A Powerful Picture
Jen Wingard | Washington, DC | 07/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This film takes you along an Anthropologists hunt for the descendents of the infamous Amazons, a society of female warriors heralded in ancient literature and art. Follow along as Dr. Davis-Kimball, along with her colleagues, discovers an ancient burial ground in Russia that bears up tall skeletons dressed in gold beads, follow as they extract mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA, which is passed on from mother to daughter down through the generations) from the skeletons, follow as Dr. Davis-Kimball tracks the Amazons through Greek literature and art, and finally follow her to the steppes of southeast Russia to an isolated Nomad family that just might be descended from a small group of the Amazons. These lost Amazons, who were captured by the Greek army and then overtook their captors, found a new land and intermarried with and fought next to the men they found there.

I found very little to criticize about the film. The stories of the Amazons in Greek literature suggested that Dr. Davis-Kimball search out Caucasoid features in the nomadic peoples. And in the film she is surprised when a forensic scientist creates a skeletal reconstruction that looks like no known people and has brown hair. My question is, why does she make such a big deal about the brown hair when the hair color was entirely speculative anyway? In addition, between scenes, there are clips of skinny blond model-like women with swords (it is highly improbable that the Amazons would have been lightly built, as they would not have had sufficient strength for battle). I suppose they were shown as contrast to Davis-Kimball's actual discoveries and as illustrations of the Greek myths, but they were also somewhat distracting from the science of the film.

There is much to learn from this film, from Greek art, to the rarely seen culture of the steppes people, to the ancient topography of the land, to genetics. Being a scientist myself, I can say that the science is superb and it is refreshing to see the mitochondrial (maternal) DNA followed, as another recently popularized researcher erroneously stated that the only way to track human evolution is to follow the Y-Chromosome, only found in men.

The film is not intended to be a thorough investigation into the mythical Amazon culture, but is about discovering the true Amazon women, from whose stature and deeds the myths were borne.
Misleading and a little confusing.
J. Zieska | Palmdale, CA United States | 10/04/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)

"To start with, and to be fair, the "Secrets of the Dead - Amazon Warrior Women" is not uninteresting in and of itself. We do see how a young nomadic girl is linked genetically to a 2000 year old skeleton. Again, not an uninteresting bit of info.

However, I expected the show to be specifically about Amazons; their culture, the debate between myth and reality, etc. What we see, in reality, is an archeologist's attempts at genetically linking modern day nomads with "ancient" nomads. These ancient nomads are not necessarily Amazons though they sparked, in theory, the "Amazon myth".

Long story short, this PBS production is worth taking a look at if you are more interested in forensics and genetic research / testing than Amazons. Though, if you are like me and want to see a show dedicated specifically to Amazons then this may not be the production for you.

*As a side note, I would recommend "The Real Eve". It does not have anything to do with Amazons but it explains the theory of the origins of humanity by way of one women and a specific genetic strain.*"
This Is About Amazon Women
No Stone Left Unturned | Michigan, USA | 10/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I viewed this show on PBS, am happy to find it on DVD. This is actually about a search for the proof of the Amazon women( and I do not mean women!). It helps to purchase the book- Warrior Women, by Mona Behan and Jeannine Davis-Kimball, from which this documentary is derived. J Davis-Kimball is an archaeologist who discovered compelling evidence that supports the truth of legends of these women. She went on a quest through Southern Russia, Mongolia, etc, tracking her hunches, examining forgotten burial remains in back rooms, spending months on digs in remote areas, and as the DVD pointed out, sampling DNA and looking at links to the current cultural ways of the area. There were photos of burials of higher order- women in tall head dress and ornament, buried with bows and other weapons. The archaeologist found links between these Mongolian women and Scythians, other past peoples, who traveled far across the Roman Empire to fight as mercenaries. There are roots with peoples of horse cultures. The book is fascinating, and I found the documentary filled in with more info.
Although I watched this movie with the book's background info, a friend of mine with a longstanding interest in Amazon women, watched it without having any knowledge of the book, and stated it was very, very good. It IS an amazing achievement too, to be able to search for the genetic link with modern forensic technique. This documentary was presented as a mystery. Part of the program tracks a young Mongolian tribal girl, who is one of a very few born occasionally with more Caucasian type features and hair, looking for evidence of her genetic link with the women of legend. I highly recommend this PBS Special and the book by the same archaeologist- Jeannine Davis-Kimball called Warrior Women. Both great!"
Warrior Women
M. Brown | Monterey, CA USA | 01/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This movie is a documentary. It stars archaeologist Jeannine Davis-Kimball, who connects ancient remains found in the steppes of Russia to the infamous Amazon tribe. This documentary is actually a companion piece to her book, Warrior Women: An Archaeologist's Search for History's Hidden Heroines. I was so fascinated by the movie that I went to the library to get the book and read it in a day. I learned so much about ancient women and their ability to kick some serious butt. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who wants to learn more about women's history."