America’s public television network PBS is set to begin airing The Story of China, a series in which historian Michael Wood traces the history of the world’s oldest continuous state from its ancient beginnings to the modern day. The six-part series will travel with the historian on a tour of the nation as he introduces viewers to its places, people and traditions. Its first half will look at China’s ancient myths and archaeology, follow the Silk Road and the spread of Chinese cultural influence under the Tang Dynasty, and catalog the sometimes surprising number of key inventions that date from China’s Song Dynasty golden age. The story of The Forbidden City, The Great Wall and other nation-defining changes introduced during the Ming Dynasty will be the subject of another episode, the last empire under the Qing Dynasty gets a dramatic post-mortem in another, and then an examination of the 20th century tumult leading up the boom times of the last 30 years rounds out the series. Check your local listings for series air dates.