Can we solve the mysteries surrounding claims of artifacts which apparently defy our view of the level technological development possible in ancient civilizations? Clarke dismisses theories involving extraterrestrials, and rather focuses on finding very Earthbound explanations. This show is concerned with technology from history that was either ahead of its time and subsequently forgotten, or artefacts which are mysteries in themselves. This includes the Baghdad Battery, where German scientist Arne Eggebrecht is shown electroplating a small silver statue with a gold cyanide solution and a replica of the battery using grape juice. There are also segments on the Antikythera Mechanism (including an interview with Derek J. de Solla Price), the Stone Balls of Costa Rica and the so-called 'Skull of Doom' which famously dominates the opening credits of the series. Also included are the vitrified stone forts of Scotland including Tap o' Noth near Aberdeen. Clarke opines at the end that had some of these forgotten technologies been developed and not lost that we would have 'colonised the stars' by now.
About the Series Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World is a thirteen part British television series looking at unexplained phenomena from around the world. It was produced by Yorkshire Television for the ITV network and first broadcast in September 1980. Each program is introduced and book-ended by science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke in short sequences filmed in Sri Lanka. The bulk of the episodes are narrated by Gordon Honeycombe. The series was produced by John Fanshawe, John Fairley and directed by Peter Jones, Michael Weigall and Charles Flynn. It also featured a unique soundtrack composed by British artist Alan Hawkshaw. In 1981, Book Club Associates published a hardcover book with the same name, authored by Fairley and Welfare, where the contents of the show were further explored. It featured an introduction written by Sir Arthur as well as his remarks at the end of each chapter or topic. In 1985, a paperback of this book was released by HarperCollins Publishers.