The Lost Army of King Cambyses

Follow a group of archaeologists as they scour the barren deserts of Egypt to find new discoveries of an ancient empire.

Here the mystery of Cambyses II, the second King of Kings of the Achaemenid empire in 530 BC, and his lost armies linger unsolved.

According to the Greek historian Herodotus, Cambyses II and his army of 50,000 men entered Egypt’s western desert near Luxor but halfway through, a massive sandstorm sprang up and reportedly buried them all.

Yet, in the centuries since, no traces of their existence – or their brutal deaths – have been uncovered. It was as though they simply vanished into thin air. Did this event actually took place, or is it merely an example of a myth made more grandiose over time?

For many years, countless archeologists, geologists and historians have attempted to uncover the mystery of the missing army.

Most notably, desert explorer Laszlo Almasy – whose daring efforts formed the basis of the lead character in the Oscar winning film The English Patient – claimed to have discovered evidence of the army in the 1930s. Alas, the exact location of his supposed discoveries died with him.

Then in 1996, an explorer happened upon a series of bone fragments and ancient arrowheads in the desert by accident. He was later banned from returning to the site by Egyptian authorities, but a new team of explorers soon decided to pick up where he left off.

Following this team of archaeologists, The Lost Army of King Cambyses seeks to sort these mysteries and find the real answers.

As the team traces the Achaemenid history, the archaeologists estimate it would have taken over 3,000 tons of food, water and supplies to keep them nourished during their travels.

Additional skepticisms focus on the route the army is reported to have taken given their unfamiliarity with the environment and lack of sophisticated maps.

Beyond the obvious suspense generated by what these modern-day explorers might at last uncover, The Lost Army of King Cambyses offers rich perspectives on ancient Egyptian history, and a tactile sense of what life in a desert oasis truly entails.

Sadly, however, the mystery towards finding King Cambyses II and his army does not amount to more than finding a pot in the desert for the team of archaeologists.

The Lost Army of King Cambyses
  • Info
  • Release date2002
  • Full runtime
  • Director(s)Ian Denyer
  • Production companyGranite Productions