Part two of my tribute to John Romer – Ancient Lives
Newsletter 57 Ancient Lives by John Romer – In these videos, made in 1984, John Romer explores the ruins of an ancient village near Thebes, where generations of artists and craftsmen built the royal tombs. We see details of how ordinary Egyptians lived in ancient Egypt; their loves, their quarrels and even their dreams.
We go inside the pharaohs’ tombs, meet the scribes, stonemasons, and high priests who presided over this city of the dead. We also find out about the secrets of the tomb raiders and the tricks used to frustrate them.
This four-part documentary series provides fascinating insights into the ancient Egyptian people.
I’m making the next few newsletters a tribute to John Romer He is one of the best known television presenters of ancient history and, like me, began as an artist then discovered archaeology through his art. His knowledge is expressed with humour, without being overly academic and a poignant respect for ancient peoples.
I first came across his work after my first expedition to Egypt in 1982. After my second day back in the UK I switched on the telly and was mesmerised by the initial episode of Romer’s Egypt. This was his first television series broadcast on BBC2 and spans Egyptian history from 5000BC to 30BC. The series has never been made available for sale on DVD and this You Tube reproduction of the three episodes was salvaged from a VHS recording. So it’s a bit rough in quality but well worth watching for its rarity and the unique character of John Romer.
The Battle Of Megiddo The story of Tuthmosis III Video Documentary
This video is about my favourite pharaoh – Newsletter 55 Thutmose III The Napoleon of Ancient Egypt
In the second year of his reign, the young Thutmose found himself faced with a coalition of the princes from Kadesh and Megiddo, who had mobilized a large army. Undaunted, Thutmose immediately set out with his army and this first campaign revealed Thutmose to be the military genius of his time.
Thutmose conducted sixteen campaigns in Palestine, Syria and Nubia and his treatment of the conquered was always humane. He established a sort of “Pax Egyptica” over his empire. Syria and Palestine were obliged to keep the peace and the region as a whole experienced an unprecedented degree of prosperity.
Amunemhab one of Thutmose’s Generals
Amunemhab was a vigorous fighting man who saved the king’s life by cutting off a charging elephant’s trunk. Interestingly there are two records of this event; the official account and Amunemhab’s written on the wall of his tomb.
Thutmose’s official account from the Napata Stela
“Ra made me do something very brave at the sea of Niy. He made me run across a troop of 120 elephants and My Majesty fought them. Never had the like been done by a king since the god who first received the white crown of Upper Egypt. I say this without boasting and without lie therein“.
Amunemhab’s account of the same incident
“I beheld an excellent deed which the Lord of the Two Lands did in Niy. He hunted 120 elephants, for their tusks. The largest among them attempted to fight face to face with his majesty. As for me, I stood in the water between two rocks and cut off his hand while he was alive in front of his majesty. Then my lord rewarded me with gold and three changes of clothing”
Dr Sarah Parcak talks about “space archaeology” – she uses satellite images to search for clues to the lost sites of past civilisations.
The Egyptian city of Itjtawy has been missing for thousands of years. It was ancient Egypt’s capital for over four hundred years during the Middle Kingdom and Egyptologists have known the massive site was located somewhere near the pyramids of the two kings who built it however, they have not been able to find it until now.
Dr Parcak used NASA topography data to map out the site of Itjtawy and was be able to see where the Nile used to flow in those days.
When seen in the infrared chemical changes to the landscape caused by the mud-brick building materials, used by the ancient Egyptians, can be clearly seen and as a result the ancient city is revealed like a street map.
Documentary Egypt’s Lost Cities
Newsletter 54 Finding the city Itjtawy from Space
About Dr Sarah Parcak
In Egypt, her techniques have helped locate 17 potential pyramids, in addition to 3,100 forgotten settlements and 1,000 lost tombs. She’s also made major discoveries in the Viking world and Roman Empire, and appeared in the BBC documentary Rome’s Lost Empire.
As the winner of the 2016 TED Prize, Sarah is building a citizen science platform, called GlobalXplorer, which will enable anyone with an internet connection to discover the next unknown tomb or potential looting pit. GlobalXplorer will launch in early 2017. Sign up for email updates and get early access »
Documentary on Reconstructing The Ancient Egyptian Ships.
Newsletter 53 Queen Hatshepsut’s Ships
Some archaeologists doubt the ancient Egyptians could sail the high seas. Bearing in mind the act of travelling on water was a vital part of Egyptian civilisation I wonder where these archaeologists were educated. This excellent documentary shows Queen Hatshepsut’s Ships were indeed able to sail the high seas.
Over 3,000 years ago Queen Hatshepsut sent a fleet of ships to the distant land of Punt. A bas-relief at her temple, in Luxor, shows the extraordinary treasures that were brought back.
Archaeologist Cheryl Ward sets out to recreate the voyage in a full-size replica of one of these ancient ships, sailing it to the mythical land of Punt.