A truly great documentary on the ancient Egyptian civilisation.
This BBC documentary on ancient Egypt is both educational & hugely interesting. Narrated by Andrew Sachs (Manuel in Fawlty Towers), it focuses on the achievements of three great Egyptologists Howard Carter, Giovanni Belzoni & Jean Francois Champollion. Most people know of Carter's discovery of the virtually intact tomb of Tutankhamen in 1922. Nearly all of the Pharaohs tombs had been plundered in antiquity by grave-robbers, even those in the so-called Valley Of The Kings where Tut was discovered. Not so many know of the Frenchman Champollion's obsessive quest to crack the code of the Egyptian hieroglyphs using the Rosetta Stone. His obsession to understand this ancient civilisation eventually caused to him to leave his wife and child & travel to Egypt. He read as much as he possibly could of the hieroglyphs on its tombs & monuments until his health failed him & he died there. Fewer people still know that the Italian adventurer Belzoni opened up Ramesses The Great's fantastic monument at Nubia in southern-most Egypt. Named Abu Simbel, the entrance had been blocked up by centuries of wind-blown sand. Hewn out of the sandstone rock & fronted by four 60 feet high statues of Ramesses it is, unquestionably, one of the greatest & most beautiful archaeological monuments anywhere in the world. Belzoni (very well acted by Matthew Kelly) also discovered the tomb of Ramesses The Great's father Seti 1st, the largest & most lavishly decorated tomb of any Egyptian Pharoah. Belzoni knew that most Pharaohs tombs had been robbed & asked himself where would be the best place for a Pharoah to be buried where his tomb & its treasure wouldn't be found & robbed. He decided, quite brilliantly, that the place in the desert now known as The Valley Of The Kings was it. Unfortunately for those ancient Egyptian Pharoahs, Tutankhamen aside, they all were. The acting by all of the participants in this documentary & its filming is great. Abu Simbel is a very impressive ruin & using computer graphics it is shown as it may have looked more than 3000 years ago. It would have been a jaw-droppingly magnificent sight!. You do not necessarily need to have any interest in ancient Egyptian history to enjoy this documentary & I would recommend it to anyone.
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