New:From Cornucupia Of Delights night:Egypt’s Lost Cities BBC1:

Absolutely brilliant!
Sarah the Doctor Archaeologist lady from Alabama has mapped whole huge ancient cites in Egypt that are lying under the sands there. By using a satellite camera floating above the earth to take aerial photographs with the additional use of infra-red photography. Since the ancient cities were built using bricks made of denser mud than the sand now lying on top of it. Thus the infra red light picks up the outlines of these structures underneath.

All this is under the ground. Her first showing of this wonderment of technology revealed a street map of just one city, Tanis, to start with. Tanis was shown to be in reality 4 times bigger than previously thought. Whole densely packed cities that look like London or any major city. Plus several pyramids were revealed that they didn’t even know about.

The two journalist relating this modern day Indiana Jones tale asked some exceedingly stupid questions. Which is odd because they are both there because they know something about the subject presumably. Well one is a Scientific journalist we are told and the other interviewer is a beautiful Conservationist. Possibly the questions are meant for us.(dummies)

I read a review of this programme which was as glowing with excitement about it as i was. I half expected them to be a bit horrible about said interviewers. Then, i reasoned, i wouldn’t feel so mean saying it.. However the reviewer described their presence as having “added much needed sex appeal”. Hmm.. didn’t really think of Archaeology as being in need of ‘sexing up’. Think it was pretty damn exciting on it’s own actually.

him:
“To think that a human being put their hand there 8,000 years ago”!
Well yes, as you can see, it’s a hand print..
This was in The cave of the Swimmers only found fairly recently and having one of the oldest examples of cave art. This was prehistoric art before the time of the Pharaohs. The location is kept a secret.

6,000 Years ago these prehistoric dwellers all upped sticks as things were drying out and moved to the Nile. Which, whenever mentioned has to be described as a river, the heart of Egypt etc. Apparently the lands surrounding the Nile are amazingly fertile and even today 6 crops a year can be grown there.

her:
” Who’d of thought your technology could do this!” she said this several times.
Probably the makers of the technology and the Doctor Archaeologist using the technology would think that.

also:
“i can imagine”!
“I’m getting a sense of how compelling this is”
“Good Grief!” (Charlie Brown)
“It’s ginormous!”
“that’s mind blowing”!
him:
“that’s major!”
ok i’m getting what that reviewer meant now..

The technology was probably truly as gob stopping to watch in action as it was for the viewers. Like some giant Google Map, the Doctor lady had a massive rectangular screen upon which you could see the grid formation of the streets and buildings of the buried ancient cities shown by silver white lines against the blue background of the screen..

Every little nook and cranny of the city, it’s roads and buildings could be seen. A large stone maze called a labyrinth was found which had been written about by Herodotus, a travelling Roman, who described it in his book. This labyrinth was considered a wonder of the world then. The archaeologist would put her finger on one point on this map which would then zoom into the area and the enhanced detail was like an x-ray. Every furrow, slight mound, or hill was visible.

The archaeologist lady told the male interviewer how she fell in love with archaeology when watching the film Indian Jones when she was five. She told how she dreamed of finding an ancient city or burial site or even a pyramid. Glowing with enthusiasm as she told him and grinning all the while. In response, the interviewer, deadpan of face asked if she felt “it was worth digging the hole?”.

No response to her romantic tale and fondness for Clarence Carter, the first archaeologist to find Tutenkahmen’s tomb. She tells him how Clarence Carter famously said of finding the tomb:
” I looked upon wondrous things”

Later, when the archaeologist is crushed when a sample core brings up nothing, she manfully swallows this although obviously deeply disappointed. For every excavation she has to apply for special permission from The Secretary-General of The Supreme Council Of Antiquities. However on another site, beautiful pieces of precious stone from ancient jewellery are found along with pottery. She is bubbling with glee:
“I have seen wondrous things” she grins

We hear about the Old Kingdom, the Middle Kingdom and the New Kingdom. C.G.I. is used to show us what these ancient cities looked like. About time somebody started using CGI in an archaeology programme. A lot of such shows about ancient Britain mainly consist of walking around on the grass a lot. And visiting the occasional tomb or burial ground or ancient circle of giant stones.

Oh and meeting with archaeologists who make bows and dress in ancient clothes and spend the night in huts. Some such archaeologists can set to and weld and smelt ancient swords, pretty damn cool..

Presenters in such programmes are forever doomed to stand atop craggy cliffs however, with the world swirling dizzyingly around them.. All camera induced but a bit vertigo inducing. I usually find myself worrying that said presenter is going to fall off or take a wrong step any minute and arrrghh..

In the ancient Egyptian city of Abidos we are shown a prehistoric sun temple for the sun god Ra. The steps are still there, the circle of stone in the middle. This circle being set in the centre of a large suntrap with a tall light reflecting obelisk above. People would come here and make offerings and leave money for the sun god Ra. This temple was 4,000 years old and broken down but still stunningly soaked in sun right bang in the middle. We are told that this sun temple may be the oldest monument in the world dedicated to religious worship.

Going up the steps of this temple the journalist asks:
“So this is what they would be walking on?”! his guide, the expert Egyptologist Secretary-General explains how from the scale of things, it is likely that people came up the steps on their knees. In supplication.

We hear about a King I and see his picture and his name written on huge remnants of carvings found in a river. There is a King Jer, a Rameses
and an Anahem the Third. There is a city called Abidos. The buildings known as The Harem buildings are discovered on the map with a whole ancillary supply network of building around the harem. The harem is far from town an Egyptian archaeologist expains, so that the royal lineage was protected..

As the programme progresses we see our heroine the archaeologist lady use her technology to painstakingly map first, 1,200 cities in North Egypt, then by the end of the documentary we see that a total of 3,000 new sites have been found.

Hugely exciting indeed..

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