Egypt: Rediscovering a Lost World (2005) BBC

The Secrets of the Hieroglyphs (3/7)

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Video Description

Champollion is determined to travel to Egypt to prove his theory but poor and jobless he is reduced to buying up whatever scraps of papyrus he can find and this obsession alienates his wife. The Dendera zodiac purchased by the French King Charles X threatens to challenge the biblical chronologies of church scholars, as it is believed by some to date to before the Great Flood of 2349 BC. Champollion is called in to confirm Sacy's dating of the antiquity to around 2000 BC; he disputes Sacy's dating but not Church authorities by dating it to some 2,000 years later than that during the Roman period. Champollion is sent to Turin by the King to value a collection put up for sale by the French Consul to Egypt Bernardino Drovetti. Prior to his departure Champollion's wife announces that she is pregnant and she is not pleased by his new job. Champollion is builds a strong reputation for himself in Italy even being invited for an audience with Pope Leo XII. Returning to Paris with a large collection of antiquities for the King he is put in charge of the Egyptian collection at the Louvre. The King finally agrees to fund Champollion's expedition to Egypt on the proviso that he does not publish any finds that contradict the teachings of the Church. Champollion, arriving in 1828, starts by studying the Great Pyramid at Giza discovering it to be a tomb built for the Pharaoh Khufu around 2560 BC. At Saqqara he finds the site largely stripped by dealers but in a forgotten tomb he discovers ancient hieroglyphs he translates to prove his theories. Eager to understand the Ancient Egyptians he pushes on to the ancient capital of Thebes where at the sprawling Temple of Karnak he reads the story of Ramesses the Great and the battle against the Hittites at Kadesh.

At Belzoni's Tomb in the Valley of the Kings the ailing Champollion reads the story of Pharaoh Seti I and learns of the burial rites of Pharaohs. He is thus able to comprehend the belief system of the Ancient Epyptians for the first time. Champillion dies back in France 18 months later but his legacy allows Egyptologist to comprehend the meaning behind monuments such as the Great Pyramid of Giza and to decipher papyri that lead to such discoveries as the Tomb of Tutankhamun by Howard Carter.

Source: Wikipedia

Documentary Description

For the first time on British television, the stories of these amazing and truly unique individuals are brought to life in a six-part historical drama-documentary series, which will reveal how the mysteries of Ancient Egypt were uncovered piece by piece by these three incredible men. The first two, hour-long episodes feature the life and work of Howard Carter, the man who finally uncovered the resting place of Tutankhamun. The third and fourth episodes follow the archaeological adventures of Giovanni Belzoni - a real-life Indiana Jones – as he battles with his French counterpart to be the first to discover lost tombs and fantastic treasures. In the final episodes, the series follows Jean-François Champollion as he struggles to be the first to decipher Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Source: BBC

Egypt is the title of a BBC television drama serial about various archaeological discoveries taking place in that country's history, with the occasional 'flashback' scene involving actors portraying the ancient Egyptians themselves. Focusing on three of the most important discoveries from the world of the ancient Egyptians, this series journeys back in time to explore Howard Carter's discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun, the Great Belzoni's finds from the reign of Ramesses II and Champollion's deciphering of the hieroglyphs. Join Carter, Belzoni and Champollion as they overcome immense obstacles to unlock the secrets of an as-yet undiscovered world and reveal their seminal finds. Then travel even further back, to the amazing period of history unveiled by their astounding work. The hour-long show originally aired on Sunday nights at 9pm on BBC1 in 2005. The first two episodes explored the work of Howard Carter and his archaeological quest in Egypt in the early part of the twentieth century. The next two episodes focused on the eccentric explorer "The Great Belzoni", played by Matthew Kelly. The final two episodes dramatise the discovery and deciphering of the Rosetta Stone by Jean-François Champollion, who is played by Elliot Cowan. Source: Wikipedia


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