Guided by astrophysicist, Dr Thebe Medupe, a group of modern scientists engage in the first exploration of the scientific contents of the great manuscript archives of Timbuktu. As the ancient papers are in grave danger of being destroyed by the ravages of time – the team race against the clock to unlock the mysteries of this incredible library before this valuable history is lost forever in the sands of the Sahara.
For four hundred years Timbuktu flourished until being invaded by the Moors in the 1590’s. Academics were banished and Timbuktu slid slowly into insignificance. Miraculously thousands of documents have survived - safe-guarded by the ancestors of the ancient scribes.
Brittle and damaged the film reveals the painstaking work done by conservators and manuscript owners who face the daunting task of restoring and preserving the manuscripts for future generations and academic research.
Dr Medupe works together with noted Islamic Science Historian Dr Petra Schmidl on deciphering the meaning and significance of these fascinating papers. With comment from Islamic Science Historian Dr George Saliba and Dr John Steele we reveal the historical background to the information found in the manuscripts and the relevance of Timbuktu’s Islamic history.
Throughout the documentary recreations of life in medieval Timbuktu illustrate and enhance discoveries – bringing to life the ancient work of these African academics. Technical and scientific information is revealed in an informative and entertaining manner with the use of graphics.
The Ancient Astronomers of Timbuktu is a complex and intriguing documentary exposing ancient science to the present world. By using modern ‘state of the art’ digital technology we reveal the cosmology of an ancient time bringing the archives from sandy obscurity to global cyber access.