Immortal Egypt with Joann Fletcher Series 1
Joann Fletcher explains how Ancient Egypt’s extraordinary story fits together, from nomads to pyramid builders, from tomb robbers to the last of the pharaohs.
Part 1: The Road To The Pyramids
Archaeologist and historian Joann Fletcher explores the story of Ancient Egypt and begins with a search of the building blocks that made the civilisation so enduring. She discovers how its people changed from primitive farmers to pyramid builders in just a few centuries, and finds early evidence for Egypt’s gods and its obsession with death and the afterlife. She also reveals how the first writing was used to calculate taxes and examines Egypt’s first pyramid – one of the world’s earliest stone structures.
Part 2: Chaos
The professor explores one of Saqqara’s last pyramid complexes to illustrate how Ancient Egypt’s `Pyramid Age’ came to an end. A worsening climate combined with political upheaval, famine and economic difficulties to plunge the state into a dark era of civil war, with the land dividing into smaller city-states headed by ambitious small-town leaders. In an obscure tomb in Thebes, she uncovers the stories of warriors who fought in the bloody battle that would eventually lead to Egypt’s reunification, and reveals how settlers known as the `Hyksos’ tried to infiltrate the fledgling nation’s government to seize the throne.
Part 3: Zenith
Joann explores the peak of ancient Egyptian civilisation by looking at the Colossi of Memnon, two massive stone statues depicting Pharaoh Amenhotep III, and examining the lives of the workers and artisans involved in the building of the Valley of the Kings. This golden age was threatened by the growing power of Karnak’s priests, and Joann reveals how Tutankhamen’s early death was a chance for Egypt to start afresh and rewrite history, but was undermined by decades of state-sanctioned looting of the tombs.
Part 4: Invasion
The historian reveals how Egypt’s enemies exploited a country weakened by internal strife, travelling south to Sudan to examine the story of the forgotten Nubian kings, who ruled Egypt from their southern homeland for a century, even building their own pyramids to bury their monarchs. She then explores how the next group of invaders the Saites took the tradition of mummification to new extremes by preserving millions of animals, before Alexander the Great came to Egypt’s rescue and founded the greatest city on Earth.