A major series following experts using the latest research and modern techniques to unravel Egypt’s greatest mysteries. With special access to sites across the country, the series travels from the pyramids and Sphinx in Giza and Saqqara down to the Valley of the Kings near Luxor and the great rock temples of Abu Simbel in southern Egypt.
From the Sphinx and the pyramids to the rules of Cleopatra and the Scorpion King, the legends and mysteries of ancient Egypt have aroused endless speculation for centuries.
In this series we take a look at the treasures of ancient Egypt and redefine the way we look at their culture. Today, Egyptologists are still trying to unravel its many mysteries. Who is this unknown man entombed with Egypt’s greatest pharaohs, his face contorted as if screaming? Who was the Scorpion King? Who built the sphinx, and when? What was Cleopatra like in real life? How did an ancient civilization, lacking even the most basic iron tools, manage to manufacture the most enduring buildings ever constructed? Find out more with Egypt Unwrapped and get the latest scientific explanations on many historical mysteries.
How were the pyramids built and why did the golden age of construction end? National Geographic combs the ancient sands unearthing new clues in a quest to unravel Egypt’s greatest mysteries. The series investigates the origins of Egyptian civilisation and the real history behind the legend, and reveals new insights into Egypt’s great figures including Ramses II, Cleopatra, Alexander The Great and King Tut.
Produced by Atlantic Productions for National Geographic Channel in Association with FIVE and Fremantlemedia Enterprises
Part 1: Secrets of the Valley of the Kings
Built over 500 years, spanning nearly two and a half miles and holding 63 tombs, Egypt’s Valley of the Kings is a staggering, complex set of enigmas locked beneath the sands for 3,500 years. What drove Egypt’s greatest pharaohs to seek out this secluded valley? How did the ancient craftsmen achieve such feats of engineering? And why was this sacred site finally abandoned? Join National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Zahi Hawass and a team of experts as they uncover new evidence about how early engineers were able to construct the elaborate structures of tombs and chambers.
Part 2: The Real Ramses
There is one Egyptian pharaoh who towers above the rest: Ramesses II. A formidable warrior, builder, lover and statesman, he declared himself a living god. Archeologists look again at Ramesses, in the hope of finding out more and explores his claim to be called the “Great”.
This instalment charts the life of Rameses II, the longest-lived pharaoh, who is widely regarded as Egypt’s greatest ruler. New discoveries have shed more light on the king’s successful reign, while Egyptologists continue to debate the nature of his character and the political, military and religious achievements of Rameses II.
Part 3: Secrets of the Sphinx
Was the Sphinx originally built with a lion’s head and later remodeled? Dr. Zahi Hawass presents the latest theories and evidence in the mystery of the Sphinx. Egypt is a land filled with hidden treasures, buried secrets, and centuries of old mysteries left unsolved. Perhaps the greatest of these is the Sphinx, no one knows for sure who built it, or when. This Sphinx, a lion with the face of a pharaoh, towers above the Giza Plateau. It is a four-and-half thousand -year old puzzle, but now the latest science is offering new clues.
Part 4: The Pyramid Code
The pyramids of Egypt are the most enduring monuments of the ancient world. From underground burial chambers they developed into soaring structures that revolutionized architecture. This film reveals the name of the man who designed the very first pyramid and shows how his ideas were refined and perfected, until pyramids eventually fell out of fashion altogether.
The Egyptian pyramids have fascinated us for thousands of years. Who built them, how were they built and why? Experts across Egypt are discovering new information that sheds light on the Ancient Egyptians’ pyramids and how they evolved.
One theory poses that King Sneferu’s Bent Pyramid was not a mistake. Recent discoveries show how the pyramids evolved from a mound of rocks and sand to flat, rectangular mastabas, to the pyramid shape, so famously exhibited in the Great pyramid of Khufu and beyond.
Now the archaeology is being taken a stage further with new technology. The film shows how the next generation of archaeologists are finally piecing together the secret pyramid code which might have been used by the Egyptians.
Part 5: Alexander the Great’s Lost Tomb
The search for the tomb of the greatest warrior who ever lived is a 2000-year-old mystery.
The film searches all over Egypt and beyond and discovers how his body has been used as a political tool throughout the ages. Drama and CGI bring Alexander back to life and as we follow the clues we finally may have solved the mystery.
Part 6: The Scorpion King
The Scorpion King was a mythical Egyptian ruler who predated the pharaohs. Recent developments, such as the excavation of the king’s tomb, have revealed surprising new details about early Egyptian civilization.
This program details the continuing research into the earliest period of Egyptian history that was inspired originally by discoveries such as the Narmer palette and the Scorpion mace head.
The combined efforts of a number of archaeologists have pushed the boundaries of Egyptian civilization back into a period previously considered prehistoric. As a result some of the most fundamental beliefs about Egyptian civilization require a re-think.
Is there more behind the mythical and violent leader known simply as the Scorpion King? New evidence suggests that his achievements may have layed the foundations of Egypt. Learn more about the king who likely united ancient Egypt, organized the world’s earliest phonetic writing system, and inspired the creation of the pyramids.
Part 7: Mystery of the Screaming Man
Over 100 years ago an unidentified mummy was found lying alongside some of the most famous pharaohs in Egyptian history but his face is locked in an eternal scream.
In 1881, a bizarre mummy was unwrapped by a team of Victorian Egyptologists. Known today as the Screaming Man or Man E, he was very different from previously discovered royal mummies. What caused this mans haunting expression? Why wasn’t he mummified according to custom? Find out what makes him different: Unknown Man E is nameless and, according to Egyptian beliefs, unable to move on to the afterlife because his body, wrapping, and coffin were left completely unmarked.
Part 8: The Real Cleopatra
Cleopatra was one of the most famous women who ever lived, yet she remains an enigma as most of her world has long since vanished. Roman sources portray her as a seductress but by examining evidence from all over Egypt a different picture emerges. With drama and CGI we bring back to life some of amazing monuments that made her city of Alexandria great and construct a new 3D image of the woman herself.