The Ancient Astronomers of Timbuktu

(TV movie)
South Africa / Mali, 2009, 60 min


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 was an academic centre of the world. Despite having fallen into insignificance by the seventeenth century, thousands of documents have miraculously survived. Brittle and damaged, the film reveals the painstaking work of conservators in restoring the manuscripts for future generations.
Dramatic recreations of life in medieval Timbuktu illustrate and enhance the discoveries, while technical and scientific information is explained with CGI.
This complex documentary brings ancient science into the modern world, bringing the archives from sandy obscurity to global cyber access. (official distributor synopsis)