About The Production
Making a documentary that traces the connection between
the movements of the stars and the beliefs of ancient cultures was not an easy
task. It has just been within the past few decades that archaeology has begun
to realize the true depth of knowledge that our ancestors had in this area. The
challenge is made doubly so, by the fact that one of the main celestial motions,
the slow backward movement of the stars across the sky over thousands of years,
the Precession of the Equinox, upon which so many of the peoples of ancient times
based their lives and beliefs, is a celestial motion hardly heard of, much less
widely discussed today.
The idea of marrying two seemingly disparate sciences, archaeological discovery
and modern astronomical theory is unique and necessary in order to present a complete
picture of ancient beliefs and ideas about the movements of the heavens and investigate
the relevance they may have in today’s world. The Great Year looks at the
way people of ancient times viewed the stars and their movements, specifically
Precession, as integral parts of their daily lives, and the commonality of these
beliefs in civilizations across the globe. It then compares these ideas with modern
astronomical theory about this phenomenon.
“It is really quite interesting. Here you have evidence that all of these
cultures, from the Egyptians, Mayans, to Vedic Indians, were literally obsessed
with Precession” says Walter Cruttenden, Executive Producer, “and
all had these ideas that it somehow marked the rise and fall of civilization.
To tell its story, the film brings together a team of well credentialed experts,
including professors from USC, UCLA, Marquette University, and noted Egyptologist
John Anthony West, to present the evidence and speculate on the possibilities.
The documentary, ultimately, is a search for truth. “The idea that Precession
is caused by a binary star and that this motion could somehow cause the rise and
fall of civilization is controversial, but that is what makes it really interesting,”
says Cruttenden. “This is a search for knowledge. Only time will tell if
the theories in the documentary are correct. But the fact they are based on mythic
tales, the scientific language of yore, that hint at stellar concepts we are only
just discovering, makes them worthy of our closest examination.”