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Egypt: Rediscovering a Lost World

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DVD Review - Egypt: Rediscovering a Lost World

DVD Review - Egypt: Rediscovering a Lost World

The Bottom Line

This BBC DVD set (three discs in the British version, which includes the special bonus disc Pyramid) is possibly the best introduction to Egyptology you can get. Telling the tales of three leading figures over six episodes: the adventures and discoveries of Howard Carter (discovered Tutankhamun's tomb), Giovanni Battista Belzoni (collected antiquities and discovered the tomb of Seti I), and Jean François Champollion (deciphered hieroglyphs) are brought into stunning life.

Pros

  • Outstanding production quality, as you'd expect from the BBC.
  • Entertaining and enlightening, makes learning a pleasure.
  • Bonus disc in UK version (zone 2): Pyramid.

Cons

  • US version doesn't have the bonus disc.

Description

  • Egypt: Rediscovering a Lost World, BBC/2 Entertain Video, 3 discs, region 2, ASIN: B000AWKSX2.
  • Egypt: Rediscovering a Lost World, BBC Warner, 2 discs, region 1, ASIN: B000EGEJJI.
  • Stars Stuart Graham as Howard Carter and Elliot Cowan as Jean François Champollion.
  • Stars Matthew Kelly as Giovanni Belzoni and Lynsey Baxter as Sarah Belzoni.
  • Narrated by Andrew Sachs.
  • Six episodes, 300 minutes total (excluding bonus disc).

Guide Review - Egypt: Rediscovering a Lost World

It is probably every budding Egyptologist's dream to travel to Egypt and visit the sites of the pyramids, temples, and tombs. For most of us it will remain a dream. The second best thing you can do is treat yourself to this BBC series about the discoveries which lay the foundations for today's knowledge about Africa's oldest recorded civilization.

The first two episodes cover Howard Carter's quest to discover the tomb of Tutankhamun, and is a shining example to all of us not to give up on one's dreams. Having divided the Valley of the Kings into sections, he scoured each part for Tutankhamun's resting place, only discovering it when he reached the final section!

The middle two episodes follow the adventures of Giovanni Belzoni, engineer and one-time circus strongman, who had an unerring 'nose' for discovering antiquities and lost tombs. Belzoni cleared the entrance to Abu Simbel and rediscovered the tomb of Seti I (Sethos I), the father of Ramesses II ('the Great'). Much of what he collected now lies in the British Museum.

The final two episodes cover the French linguist Jean François Champollion's determination to be the first to decipher ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs (and beat the British hopeful Thomas Young). Despite being handicapped in his endeavor in working with error-prone copies of hieroglyphic inscriptions, Champollion became the first person for almost two thousand years to be able to read the ancient language.

The series was filmed on location, with panoramic views of ancient temples, pyramids, and tombs as they are now, and reconstructions of their creation. The whole series is tied together in the stories of these three men and the ancient Egyptians they longed to understand – particularly Tutankhamun and Ramesess II. You get a real sense of being there, whether it is the early 1800s or 1900s, or back in Pharaonic Egypt.

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