A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this interesting series -- which shows how science can be used to identify ancient remains -- discusses death, death rituals, and mummification from a scientific context. It also includes footage of ancient skeletons, unearthed mummies, and scattered bone fragments and features some brief but violent re-enactments of each victim's death (including one who's stabbed in the head). Mature kids who are interested in the subject matter will likely be able to handle it, but these images are too strong for younger children.
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What's the story?
BONE DETECTIVES is an informative "edutainment" series that shows how archeology and modern-day science can help unlock the mysteries surrounding the ancient dead. It's hosted by Scotty Moore, an archeologist who travels the world to unearth the identity of centuries-old mummies, bodies, and bones. From the deserts of Egypt to the Andes Mountains in Bolivia, Moore works with native experts to understand ancient death rituals and interpret the ancient clues that those who practiced them left at burial sites.
Is it any good?
It's apparent that Moore views the deceased not just as relics but as human beings who once lived and belonged to an ancient community. Using his archeological experience and modern technology like X-rays, he attempts to explain who these individuals were and how they died. His work opens the door for others to learn more about these people and the society they came from.
All of that is quite interesting, but the show includes some awkwardly staged exchanges between Moore and various experts, as well as graphic re-enactments of the possible ways these ancient people may have died. Some of these images are extremely violent (for example, one scene shows a victim being stabbed in the forehead). While these scenes end quickly and don't show blood or gaping wounds, they make the show pretty iffy for younger viewers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how science is used to investigate history. Can researchers really know what happened to people who lived thousands of years ago? Families can also talk about how different cultures around the world deal with death. What are some of the practices and rituals surrounding death today? How do you think they've changed over the course of history?