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Secrets of the Dead Uncovers Evidence That Could Rewrite History of the Americas

PBS Secrets of the Dead: Carthaginians
PBS Secrets of the Dead: CarthaginiansZDF

Did the Carthaginians flee the conquering Romans in 146 BC and take refuge thousands of miles away in South America? Professor Hans Giffhorns of Hildesheim University near Hanover, Germany believes they did.

In Secrets of the Dead, Carthage’s Lost Warriors, premiering Wednesday, April 2, 10 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings), Giffhorns offers the proof he has meticulously collected to support his hypothesis. “Over the course of time, I have come across such a large amount of evidence, from a wide variety of areas, which all points towards one theory: that in ancient times people from the Old World reached Peru and joined forces with the Chachapoya,” says Giffhorns.

Did Carthaginian sailors, with possibly Celtic Iberians, journey to Peru 2,000 years ago? Convinced there were Carthaginians, who survived when Carthage fell at the end of the Third Punic War, Giffhorns begins his search for clues about their fate on the Balearic Island. What clues does he find and what do they reveal?

Why does Giffhorn think the dead at Kuelap, the mountain fortress in Peru, are actually the descendants of the Carthaginians and Celts? Do the similarities between the Celtic-Iberian settlement in Spain and the mountain fortress in the Andes support his theory?

Professor Schultz, a paleopathologist, featured in Carthage’s Lost Warriors, has identified cases of tuberculosis among the Chachapoya mummies, 1000 years before the Spanish invaders brought the disease to the new world. Does this prove that there was transatlantic contact with the Chachapoya before Columbus?

Also featured in the documentary is molecular-geneticist Professor Manfred Kayser, whose team of scientists have identfied a special marker for hair color in the human genome. Could, Kayser theorizes, certain blonde-haired, blue eyed indigenous people, be direct descendants of Celtic warriors?