At the height of ancient Egypt’s new kingdom, the most powerful Pharaohs who ever lived were buried in tombs full of gold, a divine metal which was regarded as the flesh of the gods.
But where did this great ancient civilization’s wealth come from and how did ancient Egypt become one of the greatest empires the world had ever seen?
Find these answers and many more as we reveal ancient Egypt through archaeology, science and history in the five-part documentary series Egypt Uncovered.
Episode 1: Chaos and Kings
The ancient Egyptians are the most enduring civilization of all time. But only now have scientists discovered that the roots of this great people may be much older and probably did not begin along the banks of the Nile. 70 miles west of the Nile, in the Egyptian desert, lies the first crude monuments to fallen kings.
Egypt is so old that for centuries its origins have remained shrouded in mystery but in recent years a new generation of archaeologists have been scouring the desert re-examining the temples and tombs, excavating lost cities and probing deeper before.
Episode 2: The Resurrection Machine
Designed as stepping stones to a happy afterlife, the great pyramids of Egypt were not isolated phenomena but rather representations of a religious and architectural evolution which stemmed from a tradition of elaborate tomb-building.
Scientists have long believed that the pyramids were built as resurrection machines for fallen pharaohs. These structures allowed the pharaoh to ascend into the afterlife. Now, new discoveries in the Valley of the Kings point to more structures that were connected to the ancient pyramids. Remnants of temples, mortuaries, and other enclosures seem to point to an even more sophisticated belief system.
Episode 3: Age of Gold
This remarkable story unfolds as we recount the wars waged between local Egyptian Princes and their despised foreign rulers, the Hyksos Kings.
Believing gold was the flesh of the sun god, pharaohs stopped at nothing to acquire it. Evidence suggests that the tombs of ancient pharaohs were systematically robbed in order to finance the burials of future kings. King Tutankhamen’s tiny tomb is the only royal Egyptian tomb found intact with all the magnificence. But how did the Egyptians get their gold and keep it? From Hyksos, to the Minoans, to the Kushites in the Sudan, the Age of Gold flourished.
Episode 4: Deities and Demons
The Ancient Egyptians believed in many gods, and that every aspect of life in this world and the next was controlled by supernatural beings. The gods had to be appeased at all costs.
Ancient Egyptians used gods to understand the forces of nature and the complex world around them. They created a world full of rituals that let all people communicate with gods and hope for an afterlife. Priests and Pharaohs were the only ones allowed to enter the temples of the gods, but scientists now believe that the statues of the gods were taken out for the public to worship during elaborate festivals.
Episode 5: Post Mortem
Episode 5: The last episode of this fascinating series highlights the way in which scientists can now reveal how the ancient Egyptians live and died.
To the Egyptians, the practice of mummification was crucial to the ritual of attaining an afterlife. But the ‘curse’ of the Egyptian mummies may be cures for modern disease. Studying the organs of the ancient mummies allows scientists to locate ancient disease strains and fight modern diseases. Scientists can now reveal how the ancient Egyptians lived and died.
- Release dateDec, 1998
- Full Runtime5 episodes, 50 minutes each.
- Produced byDiscovery Channel, La Cinquième, Parthenon Films and S4C Rhyngwladol International
- Presented byPhillip Madoc