Mount Nemrut, considered the eighth wonder of the ancient world and located in one of the most inaccessible areas of Eastern Turkey, has been cloaked in mystery for more than 2000 years. The Mount Nemrut sanctuary, at 7,700 feet above sea level and with a 150-foot high tumulus flanked by monumental statues, has become synonymous with sheer grandeur.
Mount Nemrut has baffled scholars for more than a century, rumored to contain the undisturbed tomb of its builder. About 162 BC and 72 AD, Antiochus, a self-proclaimed King and God, ruled over Kommagene, a minor buffer realm located between the Roman and Parthian Empires. Ambitious and eager to defend his realm from influential neighbors, he began a cultural and religious revolution that resulted in the construction of Mount Nemrut, his crowning achievement.
Theresa Goell was the first female archaeologist from the United States to lead a dig in Eastern Turkey. Despite her increasingly declining hearing, she became the director of Mount Nemrut’s most comprehensive and long-term excavation. She worked for more than 30 years to restore the sanctuary to its proper position among the ancient world’s great temples.
Her tenacious effort has resulted in the discovery of many objects and historical information; for example, The Lion Horoscope is one of archaeology’s greatest discoveries. It was first excavated by the Germans in 1882, and in the 1950s, Goell re-excavated and examined it.
It is the world’s oldest recorded Greek calendrical horoscope, and it is thought to reflect either Antiochus’ ascension to the throne or the sanctuary’s foundation date. The filmmakers travel back in time to reconstruct history using on-site interviews with world-renowned historians, 3-D computer graphics, and war reenactments.
Mount Nemrut: The Throne of the Gods is a powerful opportunity for educators to educate and excite students from young to old who are keen to learn more about the origins and accomplishments of the ancient world, incorporating unique archival footage of excavations and memoirs of devoted archaeologists such as Otto Puchstein and Theresa Goell.