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'At the dawn of the 20th century,
a unique discovery was made.

'It redefined how we understand
life and death in Ancient Egypt.'

How wonderful to have been
in that team of archaeologists

who came down
that day in February 1906...

..a procession of men
eager to know what lay at the end

of this really atmospheric
series of tunnels and chambers.

'What they'd found
was an intact tomb,

'undisturbed for over 3,000 years.
'And inside were not
the treasures of pharaohs

'but a unique window on the world
of ordinary Egyptians...

'..the mummies and possessions
of a working man called Kha

'and his wife Meryt.
'I'm Egyptologist Dr Joann Fletcher,
'and I'm exploring
the world of Kha and Meryt...

'..to find out about
their lives and their deaths.

'Last time, we looked at how they
lived in their tiny desert village.

'We've seen where Kha worked...'
What a treat, to be able to see
this kind of working surface.

'..what they ate...'
It's a direct link
back into their world,

the smell of this wonderful stuff.
the way it was made.

'..and how they relaxed.'
And this is where the gentleman of
the house would sit of an evening,

drinking beer, having a chat.
'In many ways, their lives
were quite similar to ours.

'But their relationship with death
was completely different...

'..because to Ancient Egyptians,
'life was really
just a dress rehearsal

'for the perfect afterlife
that they were trying to reach.

'I want to travel back into
this strange and mysterious world.'

This isn't a funerary building, this
is a building to keep life going.

'To reach the afterlife,
'they spent fortunes on funerary
equipment, buildings and rituals...'

Kha's Book of the Dead
would have been incredibly costly.

'..and expected to face
numerous trials along the way.'

This is the great devourer.
All evil souls, their hearts were
fed to this creature, consumed,

and that was it, finished for ever.
'So with Kha and Meryt
as our guides,

'we'll journey back into the world
of death in Ancient Egypt.'

'The Ancient Egyptians
held a fundamental belief...

'..your death was in many ways the
most important moment in your life.

'If you'd prepared for it, you would
enter the perfect afterlife...

'..an idealised eternity
based on life in Egypt.

'So for any Ancient Egyptian,
be they farmer or pharaoh,

'the biggest investment they made
was for death and the world beyond.

'And here in Ancient Thebes, death
was the biggest business in town.'

Now, in this part of Egypt,
death was THE major employer.

From the men who built
these wonderful funerary temples
and the rock-cut tombs

to the people who embalmed the dead,
who provided all the funerary
equipment they would need,

the little funerary figures,
the artists who composed
the funerary text,

even the florists who put together
the huge bouquets of flowers
offered to the dead in their tombs,

this was THE major industry.
'Our couple, Kha and Meryt, lived
at the very heart of this industry,

'in the desert village
now known as Deir el-Medina.

'It's close to the spectacular
Valley of the Kings,

'where Kha designed and built tombs
for the mighty pharaohs.

'And although he spent his working
hours creating the tombs of kings,

'he spent much of his spare time
preparing for his own death.

'But in order to be ready
for the journey into the afterlife,

'Kha needed to plan his route

'This was where his investment
started, with a guidebook.

'This scroll is known
as the Book of the Dead.

'Kha's was found in his tomb,
and this is a facsimile.'

The Book of the Dead is a collection
of funerary spells and texts
and incantations,

a kind of road map of the afterlife,
and it was designed
to allow the deceased,

with the help of these spells,
to navigate his or her way
through into the next world.

'Its words seem mysterious
and strange,

'but they had a definite purpose.'
If you were going to meet
some dangerous demons or monsters
in the underworld,

you had to have powerful spells
to counteract them,

to diffuse their magic
and to negotiate your way past them
to achieve eternity.

'Most Books of the Dead were simply
off-the-shelf versions,

'mass-produced by local artists.
'But Kha's copy was
specially commissioned.

'It was the deluxe version,
'featuring personal references
and grandiose claims.'

Words spoken by the great chief Kha:
'While plain rolls of papyrus
were relatively cheap,

'at around a fifth of
a worker's monthly salary,

'one inscribed with
funerary texts like this

'could cost the equivalent
of six months' wages at least.'

So many hours of work have gone
into its almost 14 metres of texts.

The ink's had to be prepared,
the colours ground up and mixed

and then applied so carefully
and with such a lot of thought.

'It's rare to find
a Book of the Dead so intact.

'Yet somehow, Kha and Meryt's
had remained safe

'in their undiscovered tomb
for over 3,000 years.

'The only evidence that they had
existed at all was this.

'I've come to see the small chapel
'that Kha built on the outskirts
of their village.

'And although another major expense
on Kha and Meryt's death bill,

'it was the vital link
between the living and the dead.'

It's like a little
jewel box of colour.

You come in from the glare and heat
of the desert and the cliffs

and you enter this little oasis
of calm and quiet.

'The chapel is situated
close to their house,

'because when
these Ancient Egyptians died,

'they simply moved
across the street.

'And as the living and the dead
existed side by side,

'this was the place that families
could pay their respects.'

And looking around,
the colours used are sumptuous.

You've got the gold background,
and then, as the vaulted
ceiling rises up,

the artist's done
something very clever.

They've changed the palette
to these blues and greens
of the Egyptian landscape.

The Nile is suggested,
the sky is suggested.

Very cooling, refreshing
and a wonderful juxtaposition of
the gold, the blues and the greens.

'Blues and greens were among
the most costly colours to produce,

'so Kha had clearly
spared no expense.

'The walls depict all the things
he and Meryt loved in life

'and hoped to enjoy
in the afterlife.'

It is like walking into
Kha and Meryt's sitting room.

They're all here.
They're all around us.

This isn't a funerary building, this
is a building to keep life going,

kind of like a giant generator
with everything that life meant
to Kha and Meryt

encapsulated in
this tiny little room.

'This chapel was the first clue
'in a trail that would ultimately
lead archaeologists

'to Kha and Meryt's tomb...
'because after three millennia,
the chapel was discovered

'by an Italian diplomat,
Bernardino Drovetti.

'Appointed French consul to Egypt
by Napoleon in 1803,

'Drovetti's main interest
was amassing antiquities.'

I think it's safe to say
that Drovetti's methods were
very, very unscrupulous.

He used a range of agents
to basically ransack their way
through Ancient Egypt.

And in doing so,
he managed to acquire

a stupendous series of collections
of Egyptian antiquities,

many of which he then sold on
to sufficiently wealthy individuals.

'Drovetti sold
his personal collection

'to the King of Sardinia,
who put it here...

'in what is now the superb
Egyptian museum in Turin.

One of the most important items
in this collection

'was taken from
Kha and Meryt's chapel.

'This costly painted funerary stele
was a kind of memorial stone

'made to ensure
that their names would live on,

'and its presence in Turin
'would eventually lead to
the discovery of their tomb.'

It shows Kha twice,
both left and right,

worshipping the archetypal
gods of the dead,

Osiris and then the black
jackal-headed god Anubis.

And you can see he's praying to them
for a long and successful afterlife.

And then in the register below,
it's kind of like a family snapshot,
if you like.

You have Kha and Meryt
seated in front of a huge table
full of food, drink, flowers.

And then on the right-hand side,
with the arm raised,

is their eldest son, Amenopet,
and he's kind of saying
his prayers to his parents.

So in effect,
the next generation is wishing
a long and happy afterlife

full of good things.
It's likely that this funerary
stele was actually made

during the lifetime of Kha.
He would have almost certainly
commissioned it

and would have selected
which deities he wanted,

the kind of whole layout,
the scenario, the colours.

And this was a typical thing
for the Ancient Egyptians to do,

to commission their funerary
monuments in their lifetime

so they could get things
just right.

And then, of course, after death,
the images represented would
magically continue to be effective

throughout eternity, so it was
kind of like good insurance

for what was going to happen to them
in the next world.

'The elaborate Book of the Dead,
their chapel and its funerary stele

'were just the beginning
of Kha and Meryt's preparations

'for eternal life.
'The main investment
would be their tomb.

'So I'm travelling
to the Valley of the Kings,

'where Kha supervised
the building of royal tombs.

'It's the best place to find out
'how he might have organised
and paid for

'the construction of his own.
I'm meeting geologist Steve Cross
'to see an unfinished tomb,
a work in progress.'

The way they cut the tombs was they
started with the slot of the ceiling.

And then worked outwards, right?
And then excavated downwards.

'Slowly chiselling away at
the bedrock, a tomb of this size

'would have taken around 40 men
years to complete.

'And although a tomb like this
'was way beyond the means
of most ordinary Egyptians,

'Kha had both the skills
and the inspiration

'to create such a tomb for himself.'
Now, this of course is a royal tomb,
but in terms of Kha's
own personal tomb,

how on earth would he have persuaded
anyone on their time off

to have given him a hand
excavating his tomb?

Well, what they did was they all
helped each other, and it was barter.

"You do work in my tomb,
I'll do work in your tomb."

Right? So Kha, being the architect,
might have designed tombs
for other people

in trade-off for them
coming to work on his tomb.

So he got the better part of the
deal, really. Probably he did, yes!

Don't forget, these tomb makers
are THE experts.

That's why the tombs
in Deir el-Medina

are amongst the best in the world.
'With the help of his colleagues,
'Kha clearly invested a huge amount
of time, effort and resources

'into building his tomb.
'So security was critical.
'Tomb robbing had already been
a big problem for 2,000 years,

'and this explains why he did
something highly unusual.

'Ordinary Egyptians
who could afford a tomb

'built it directly beneath
their chapel complex,

'which of course made it easier
to find and rob.

'But Kha had learnt
from the pharaohs.

'He decided to hide his elsewhere.
'It remained secret
for over 3,000 years.

'But in 1906, another Italian
began explorations

'in Kha and Meryt's village.
'Egyptologist Ernesto Schiaparelli
'was director of
the Egyptian museum in Turin.

'He was very familiar
with the stele of Kha and Meryt

'and also knew
their tomb had never been found.'

He could read the hieroglyphs.
He knew there was an important
individual called Kha,

had a wife called Meryt,
and he knew they had to be buried
somewhere in the vicinity
where the stele was discovered.

'Schiaparelli was determined
to find the tomb.

'But where to look?'
Look at that instrument there.
'Eleni Vassilika,
'the present-day director
of the Egyptian museum in Turin,

'has accompanied me to Egypt
to follow in his footsteps.'

They must have looked around and
said, "The tomb is here, somewhere.

"Is it that trench there or...
Where can it be?"

But Kha was clever, wasn't he?
Kha was... He was sly!

He knew what was going to go into the
tomb so he wanted to hide it.

I think as Schiaparelli must have
stood here,

scratched his head and said -
knowing the stele was
already in the museum, since 1824 -

he must've said, "Where the hell is
the tomb?

"It's got to be near here,"
and looked at the landscape
which most archaeologists do...

..and said, "I think we need to take
that detritus away."

It was just a theory
but Schiaparelli had a huge
workforce at his disposal.

He moved his 250 workmen to
the foot of this rock face

close to the chapel.
They just dug for 30 days,
he says, until they discovered
the perforation in the bedrock there.

And then they came to a bricked wall,
took that down
and then they saw the door.

Wow, that must've been
an amazing feeling. Yeah!

A sealed door in an Egyptian tomb.

It was a moment really
incredible for them

because all these tombs - most of
these tombs - had been sacked

at some point
and very few intact tombs,

and, of course, so well furnished as
this one is...

In essence, really, what
Schiaparelli had found

is the most important non-royal
tomb... Yes.

..probably from the whole of this

if not the whole of Egyptian
history because it tells us so much

about reality, real lives in ancient
Egypt, not just gods and Pharaohs.

What a moment.
Since Schiaparelli, hardly anyone's
been into the tomb.

But Eleni and I have been granted
special access.

I think this is... This is it.
I think so. This is it! Yeah.
He was a clever guy! He was really
sly. He was a very clever guy.

That's why his tomb stayed
secret for so long

because it is so unexpected.
Exactly, yes.

Situated at the bottom of this
rather deep shaft, getting down into

the tomb is no easier today than it
would have been in Kha's time.

Wow! Look at this.
I don't believe it.

Is that "Schiaparelli woz here?"
Yeah, more or less!

It says, "Discovered intact by the
Italian archaeological mission

"in 1906." And look.
They've written over the ancient red
ochre marks... Yes, yes.

..of the draughtsmen planning out
the lines. Yeah, here we go.

These are the red ochre pigment
that was applied by the workers as

they were constructing the tomb to
give them a sense of

the measurements and so forth
and simply whereabouts to chip away.

They had to keep this as close to
plan as was possible so they'd

be using their equipment to give
this lovely 90-degree angle here.

It was blocked up twice.
That sense of excitement
Schiaparelli and his men

must've felt because here they

not just one intact doorway blocked,
but two. But two, yes.

Having removed the blockage
from the second brick doorway,

Schiaparelli and his team found
themselves in a large antechamber.

It contained Kha's exquisitely
crafted bed,

beautifully painted pottery
and floral bouquets.

But there was much, much more
to come.

It's really exciting approaching
the burial chamber

and this is where presumably...
This is the door

and this is where Schiaparelli
rapped on the door

and then turned around and said
"How about the key?"

So he must've known that he was
onto a good thing

after having seeing a bed out here,
he knew there was more to find.

Something beyond. And this was

'One of the men who entered the tomb
with Schiaparelli was Englishman

'Arthur Weigall, Chief Inspector
of Antiquities for Upper Egypt.'

'He immediately recorded
the astonishing sight.'

When Schiaparelli 's team arrived,
the chamber was crammed
full of objects.

'But today, all that remains is
a colony of bats.'

The photographer took
a photograph from there, looking in.

Then he stepped in right here
where I'm standing right now,

he turned around and he took
a photograph of everything behind.

Along this wall is
the coffin of Meryt.

It's all right.

This place is full of... Yes, I
know, thank you! ..small bats.

Stand behind me, I'll protect you.

And then that back wall, that was
Kha's sarcophagus and coffin.

Which was substantially
larger than hers. Yeah.

In ancient Egypt, children didn't
always inherit

their parents' belongings.
And almost everything Kha and Meryt
owned was sealed up

inside their tomb to be used
in the afterlife.

So very few people have been
privileged to come in here

and it makes so much more sense now,
knowing all the material that

was originally in here,
the belongings of Kha and Meryt,

placed so lovingly and so carefully
in here and now displayed

so beautifully in the museum
in Turin.

It's fantastic to be able to put all
the pieces of the jigsaw together,

to really get a feel how

must've felt coming in here in 1906.
It's a rare treat, it really is.

The wealth of objects that had been
discovered in the tomb

testify to the great investment
Kha and Meryt had made.

Of their hundreds of belongings,
many have been designed

and made at great expense,
purely for use in the afterlife.

This intricate statuette of Kha
shows him

with his palms on his starched kilt,
a sign of humility before the gods.

Such statues were idealised,
a vision of how the deceased wanted
to look in the afterlife.

It was also insurance
providing an alternative home

for your soul in case anything
happened to your mummified body.

The kilt is also inscribed with
a funerary prayer

and a small garland of real flowers
still hangs around Kha's chest.

One of the most precious
purpose-made items found in the tomb

is Meryt's fabulous death mask.
Made with great skill and with
costly materials, the eyes,

brows and decorative collar
are made with coloured glass

which the Egyptians had only begun
to manufacture in Kha's lifetime.

Cheaper yellow ochre was often
used to imitate gold

but Kha had chosen the real
thing for Meryt's mask

which is covered in precious
gold leaf.

But the most costly of all,
worth well over a year's wages,

was the coffin in which Meryt was
buried -

again, covered in gold leaf.
Almost certainly intended for Kha,
it is only inscribed with his name.

But it was used for Meryt because
it seems she died first.

But how did Meryt die?
Was it the result of a long illness
or was it a sudden death,

perhaps in an accident?
We've been granted special
permission to examine Kha

and Meryt's mummies
and their CT scans.

In order to preserve the mummies -
they cannot be unwrapped,
of course -

but the scans allow us to see what
lies beneath the wrappings.

I've asked pathologist
Peter Vanezis

and radiologist Curtis Offiah
to take a look at Meryt's CT scans

to see what they reveal about her
on the day she died.

She's certainly not in the early
20s, I would've put her

more in the middle age group so 30s,
possibly even 40s.

Yes, I would certainly agree
with that.

There is a good indication
here of lifestyle.

The fact her joints are quite
well preserved indicates

she's led rather a charmed life,
so to speak.

She's had a pretty lucky existence
and I would say she probably lived
in the lap of luxury.

There's certainly no indication
there of any chronic disease

which has affected her bones.
There's no indication that she has
perhaps been lying immobile

for a long time because that would

in the density of the bone
structure as well

so my feeling is that she's either
had a very short illness

or she's died suddenly. Mm.
Possibly unexpectedly.

'So Meryt's death left Kha
little time to prepare.'

'But the costly and time-consuming
process of mummification

'had to begin immediately.'
Mummification was a way to
preserve the body

so it could provide a home
for the soul in the afterlife.

The process took around 70 days
and the first step was to remove

the internal organs to prevent

This included the brain which was
usually removed down the nose.

But Meryt's scans reveal
something very surprising.

This is a cross-section
looking down into Meryt's skull

through the top of her head.
As you can see quite clearly,
this white feature is in fact

her brain which has fallen down to
the back of her head

and wasn't removed.
So what? Why is this important?

Well, what it tells us
is that there were other ways to
preserve the brain.

The next step was to dry out
the body, which took about 40 days.

This usually involved piling dry
salt on top of the corpse

to draw out all the body fluids.
But analysis of Meryt's mummy
has revealed that she was

preserved differently.
Instead of using dry salt,
Meryt had in fact been

submerged in a highly
concentrated salt solution -

essentially, pickling her.
This allowed her organs to
remain inside the body,

without causing decay.
If you look at the angle at which
the brain has fallen to

the back of the skull, it appears to
be on a tilt because the body,

when it was draining out,
was laid at a different angle,

a slightly different angle, at a
tilt to allow the fluids,

which would've initiated

to completely leave,
to exit the body.

It may have been the most up-to-date
preservation technique

but it didn't come cheap.
And once Meryt's body had been
dried out,

she was wrapped in layers of costly
linen and an outer red shroud.

But the expense didn't stop there.
By chemically analysing minute
samples of Meryt's wrapping,

we found something intriguing.
Oil from the tilapia fish.

Yet this oil had no preservative
power, it was purely symbolic.

And it set Meryt apart,
for there was something special
about this fish.

What the tilapia does is to take
its young into its mouth

in times of danger and when the
danger has passed,

to then spit them out back into the

and when the Egyptians saw this,
they saw it as a miraculous thing,
as if it was a self generating fish

that could simply spit out
its young in this way.

And so by association, the tilapia
became connected directly

with the goddess Hathor
and fertility and rebirth.

'This fish oil, which was also mixed
with exotic, imported ingredients,

'would've cost Kha a small fortune.
'But it was worth it if it put Meryt
on a fast-track to the afterlife.'

But Kha's efforts didn't
even stop there.

As in today's most exclusive
nightclubs, the Egyptians knew

that they had to look their best to
gain admittance to the afterlife.

The scans reveal Meryt was all
dressed up for death.

And under her wrappings
she still wears

an amazing array of jewellery.
So, what today would form
a treasured inheritance

went with her into the afterlife.
The most striking piece is this
huge, broad collar necklace.

And to find out what it looks like,
I've come to
the Petrie Museum in London.

It houses one of
the most comprehensive

collections of Egyptian
jewellery in the world.

Now, what we've got
in front of us here

is an absolutely superb
broad collar necklace.

It's the typical Egyptian necklace
that you see in the tomb scenes
and in the art,

and it's basically made up
of numerous little moulded amulets

that have been made in these
sumptuous, jewel-like colours.

And this is exactly the same thing
that Meryt still wears,

her mummy is still adorned
in this beautiful broad collar,

which we can see on the image
of Meryt here.

Now, the top five rows were made up
of these rather elongated,

green beads, and they are
actually cos lettuces.

Now, the lettuce was sacred
to the fertility god, Min,

and, in wanting to be laid out
in a necklace such as this,

it basically associates Meryt with
this god of fertility, of new life.

You have then two more rows of
what look like mini hand grenades,

and they're actually
bunches of grapes, these blue,

shiny bunches of the grapes,
which not only, again,

look very beautiful,
but produce the wine

which was something sacred
to Hathor,

the goddess of sex,
of love, of new life,

the goddess who took
the dead into her care.

And Meryt was effectively dressed
in a collar like this,

not only to look beautiful,
but to associate her

with these two deities
who were so intimately involved

in new life, in rebirth,
in eternal life.

As well as the broad collar,
Meryt wears two pairs
of huge gold earrings,

and around her waist a belt of gold
cowrie shells similar to this one.

She was laid out to appear
very seductive,

and we know this from tomb scenes
where dancers, musicians,

those associated
with the goddess Hathor

appear almost naked at this time.
They're wearing broad collars,
they're wearing huge earrings,

their hair is very beautiful,
and they have these gold belts

with little cowrie shells
and coloured elements

to look very alluring,
very erotic,

capable of sex and of producing
the next generation.

So, it can only be compared,

to laying out a modern woman
in like a negligee -

a vital, sexual being,
as capable of living in the next
world as she had been in this one.

So, Meryt didn't want to spend
eternity as a wise old lady

but as a youthful
and attractive woman.

In the afterlife, you wanted to be
the very best you could be.

And Kha made sure Meryt also
had her most personal belongings

with her, all carefully prepared.
One of her most prized possessions
was her magnificent wig.

It was housed in its own tall box,
to which funerary prayers
had then been added.

This one on the lid reads:
Some of her other possessions
were also adapted

for Meryt's journey
into the afterlife.

This is her bed,
which she'd used in life.

It was now repainted
to freshen it up.

Another funerary inscription
was added along the side.

Kha clearly gave careful thought
and spared no expense when preparing
his wife for eternity.

And, although he'd
overseen her burial,

Meryt probably remained
very much alive to him.

It's even likely he would have
continued to communicate with her.

We know the Egyptians actually wrote
to their dead relatives

about all sorts of things,
from the mundane to the serious,
in notes like this.

What we're looking at here
is one of the so-called
Letters To The Dead,

and it's a pottery bowl,
it's a piece of everyday tableware.

And the amazing thing about this is
it's actually inscribed in black ink

by a woman wanting to communicate
with her dead husband.

And we know for a fact that
the living wrote to the dead.

They sent them letters on papyrus,
on small pieces of limestone,
on ostraca.

She says, "Oh, husband,
you should be here helping me.

"Settled the score with him
who does what's painful to me,

"for surely I shall triumph
over anyone, dead or alive,

"acting against me
and our daughter."

It's that typical, you know,
"Where are you? What are you doing?

"You might have died, but that's
not really an excuse, is it?

"Come on, help me."
And it expresses this real belief
that the dead can help the living,

that they had just
passed through

into a different sphere
of existence.

And this woman is maintaining
the dialogue

that she would have had on Earth.
She's bending her husband's ear.
But the ancient Egyptians
didn't only communicate

with their dead through writing.
They also did it through play.
Now, we're playing the ancient
Egyptian game of Senet.

It's a board game that the
Egyptians absolutely loved.

It dates back to at least 3000 BC
and was played by kings
and commoners alike.

It was the ancient Egyptians'
version of turning on a soap opera

on TV at night, putting their
feet up and enjoying themselves.

'Senet was essentially a race,
a game of chance.

'It is used in the Book Of The Dead
as a metaphor

'for the journey into
the next world.'

We're having a bit of a stab of it
there, and it is quite fun,

but I'm sure we don't get
the complexities

and the nuances that were inherent
in the ancient Egyptian version,

because for them it symbolised
the ultimate game of chance.

To succeed at Senet meant
you succeeded in life

and succeeded in the transition
from this world to the next.

Hence, the living
played it not only at home

but also in close proximity
to the tombs.

Because, by playing this game,
step by step,

they were assisting the transition
of their deceased relatives through

all the perils and problems they
might encounter in the underworld.

And so it kind of was
a reflection of the great unknown

to play Senet -
the outcome was never sure.

Would you win,
or would death ultimately triumph?

You win!
This Senet board was
one of the items found
in Kha and Meryt's tomb.

And Kha might have played this
game close to their chapel,

hoping to ease Meryt's path
through the underworld.

As there had probably been
an age gap between them in life,

it seems it wasn't long
before Kha died, too.

Peter and Curtis are examining
the scans of his body.

In terms of an age, I would have
to put him of greater years

than Meryt, and I think
we're probably talking

50s onwards, I think, at least,
so maybe even 60s to 70s.

The skeleton is of a very healthy -
for his years - specimen.

We're not seeing any evidence
of broken bones

or chronic healing
of fractures in the spine.

Looking at the skeleton overall,
and the fact that he has got

bones which look sturdy,
he hasn't got anything

which indicates
that he's had a chronic disease,

so, again, I think, like his wife,
he has probably led

a reasonably healthy life
up until close to when he died.

So, Kha died quite suddenly,
like his wife,

And, like Meryt,
Kha would have undergone

the costly mummification process.
Again, his brain remains inside
his skull cavity, just like hers.

He, too,
wears large hoop earrings,

and valuable jewellery
around his neck.

But the scans also shows something
else, placed on his forehead.

This is a snake's head,
the head of a cobra,

beautifully rendered in
carnelian, an orange stone,

with the two menacing eyes of the
cobra and the ridges on the body.

This amulet was used to provide
refreshment to the throat
in the afterlife,

since it refers to the way
a snake's throat swells out.

So it should really have been
placed on Kha's throat,

and not on his forehead.
The only people in ancient Egypt
allowed to have the cobra

at the forehead was
the king and the queen.

So, I like to think
that the embalmers

were paying their own
little tribute to Kha.

They're sort of elevating Kha
in death.

He was their leader, he was
their chief, he was their overseer,

and the people in the
village were maybe paying
their own special tribute,

and so he was sent off into eternity
like a mini king in his own
mini kingdom. I love that.

Kha was an important man
in the village.

As such, the next step of
his journey to the afterlife

would have been a grand affair.
His funeral would have begun
with a magnificent procession

up to their chapel, just as Meryt's
would have done before him.

The great procession would have
wended its way up this path,

up towards the cliffs
up there, where their tomb
was actually situated.

Now, it's hard, here today,
to try and get a sense

of the noise, the colour, the life.
That's a good word, actually,
at a funeral ceremony, "the life".

The vivacity of all the ingredients
that the ancient Egyptians

brought to their funeral ceremonies,
because they were all there

to try and get
the dead to live again.

Life, in some ways,
was almost a dress rehearsal

for this very moment,
when the funeral ceremony

marked the transition
between this world and the next.

The dead were going to be reborn
in the safety of their tombs.

So, it's essential that all the
equipment they'd used in their lives

and all the equipment that was there
to give them a good send-off

came with them, accompanied them
into the darkness of the tomb,

where everything would work
in tandem to revive

the soul of the deceased and
send them off into eternity.

And, as Kha's body in
its nest of coffins was
carried towards his tomb,

all his worldly possessions would,
of course, have accompanied him.

These wall scenes give a real sense
of what the procession
would have looked like.

This is the tomb
of Ramos, governor of Thebes,

who lived at the same time
as Kha and Meryt.

Now, this is a really colourful,
lively portrayal
of a funeral procession.

You can see these sort of rows
of men, of servants and bearers,

carrying all the belongings
of the deceased.

You can see the bed
made up with the bed linen,

the headrest which acted as
a pillow, just like Kha and Meryt's.

You've got these beautiful
painted wooden boxes

carrying all the personal
items of the deceased.

A walking stick, just like Kha's.
Then you've got the chair
of the deceased,

just like the one that Kha
would have sat on that
was found in his tomb.

You've got all sorts of things -
the jars of perfume, the flowers,
the food and drink.

A funeral on this scale
didn't come cheap,

and these scenes reveal
yet another expense.

These are professional mourners.
They were hired to make
the maximum noise possible

to give the deceased a great

because the higher the
decibel level, the more important
this individual was.

Their plaits are dishevelled
and if you look really closely,

they're crying.
They're such professionals,
they're crying so much,

forcing themselves to produce tears,
their black eyeliner is running.

Any women that wear mascara
understand the problem.

You start to cry,
the make-up runs down your face.

The ancient artist has portrayed
this so beautifully

with these dots of black
coming down the women's faces.

Once the procession had
reached their chapel

it was time for yet another
elaborate and opulent ritual.

The Opening of the Mouth ceremony,
a 75-stage, sensory assault
to reanimate

the soul of the deceased
within their mummified body.

In order for this to happen,
every one of the five senses
needed to be reawakened.

Having dragged the huge,
black sarcophagus of Kha

all the way up here on ropes,
the bearers would carefully raise up
Kha's black and gold
anthropoid coffin

and place it here looking out,
exactly where I'm sitting today,
as if Kha was preparing to be
relaunched into the next world
if you like.

It would have been a very dramatic,
profound moment for the family

as Kha once again stood upright
in front of his tomb chapel
and at this point the eldest son,

would have stepped forward
with the special chisel.

He would have touched his father's
mouth symbolically

like this,
to reanimate his power of speech,
of breathing,

so the eyes would have been
magically opened,

the ears touched
so Kha could once
again hear in the next world

and all his senses restored.
The ritual would also be
performed on Kha's statuette,

his insurance policy should
his mummified body be destroyed.

And it was vital that the
sense of smell was restored,

so incense too would be presented.
The Egyptians loved to present
flowers to the dead

from the characteristic water lily,
or the white and blue lotus,

which are often shown in tomb scenes
being literally pressed against

the noses of the deceased,
so they could inhale that fragrance.

To restore the sense of taste
delicious food offerings
were presented.

And after the Opening of the Mouth
ceremony had finished,

the funeral party moved on to
the tomb for the final burial,

where an entire banquet
was laid out.

This was for Kha
and Meryt to enjoy in the afterlife.

What we see in front of us here
in glorious Technicolor

is basically the food that was
found in the tomb

and it's quite wonderful stuff.
You have the staple of your ancient
Egyptian life,

the bread accompanied by the
all-important onions and garlic.

This was the standard workman's
packed lunch.

One of these on a daily basis with
the garlic here,

that's an ancient Egyptian packed
lunch, a glass of beer,

an ancient Egyptian ploughman's.
And we do know that in the case of
the onions and garlic

when Schiaparelli
and his team went into the tomb

they smelt them.
For 3,500 years they were
still as pungent as the day

they'd been placed there.
No fewer than 50 loaves of bread
were found in the tomb,

along with jars of roast duck, fish,
bowls of vegetables,
fruit and spices.

There were grapes,
dates and these amazing things.

He had several
sackloads of these - doum palm nuts.

Although I've never personally
eaten one

they apparently taste
like caramel.

All this kind of food
in the tomb of Kha and Meryt

set out very
carefully as a kind of

formal banquet for the deceased
would have allowed the very souls
of Kha and Meryt

to have enjoyed the very
essence of all this food.

But Kha's Book of the Dead
shows he wanted his afterlife to be
fuelled by drink as well as food.

This is spell 148
in the Book of the Dead,

which is basically the spell of

the soul of the deceased
in the next world

with all
the food and drink that they need.

As well as the desire for goose,
for beef,

for wine and so forth,
the basis of Kha's wish list
is the standard bread and beer

that formed the basis of the ancient
Egyptian diet

for rich and poor alike
throughout the whole of ancient
Egyptian culture.

In fact the word "beer"
does appear rather often.

Here with the twisted symbol,
the small, black one here,
and then this wonderful
determinative of the beer jar.

But it's this
repetition of the word "beer",

this desire of Kha to have beer to
drink for eternity -

if you like, an eternal supply
of beer. Which can be no bad thing.

They wanted to enjoy
an eternal banquet

but there was also work to be done.
In ancient Egypt, just about
everyone was obliged to work
the land.

Even death was no excuse
so you needed figurines like these,
found in Kha and Meryt's tomb.
Known as "shabti figures" they were
the little helpers who would

do all the work for you
in the afterlife.

They even have their own
miniature farming tools.

So with all the work taken care of,
Kha and Meryt,

like all ancient Egyptians,
intended to have a really good time.
This is clear to
see from the scenes in their chapel.

It's OK trying to understand ancient
Egypt on a visual level,

everybody does that - pyramids,
King Tut, mummies.

But to really get into the heads
of the ancient Egyptians

you've got to walk in their
footsteps, you've got to experience

the senses they experienced and one
of these, a crucial one, is sound.

What did it sound like to
be in ancient Egypt?

And this is Kha and Meryt giving us
an idea of that.

Here we have Kha and Meryt's band.
These are the musicians
playing their music

to sort of lull them into eternity.
And it's quite a pacey number
because the lute player's legs
are shown asymmetrically

to give a kind of sense of movement,
maybe dancing.
The ancient Egyptians, then as now,
loved music, loved to dance,
loved to express
themselves in a joyful manner.

These musicians
are from the University of Cairo.

Using images from wall scenes
and surviving ancient instruments,
they've been able to recreate
ancient Egyptian music.


Kha was finally laid to
rest in his tomb.

His large black sarcophagus
was already waiting for him.

The belongings of Kha and Meryt
were set out all around them

and covered in dust sheets.
Then, leaving the lamps still lit,
the funeral party left the burial
chamber, sweeping away

their footprints as they went
and locking the wooden door
behind them.

The workmen then bricked up
and plastered the two walls

and backfilled the tunnel
with rubble.

But Kha's journey into the afterlife
was not yet complete.

No matter how much you'd spent,
there was one final test

that all Egyptians must pass.
Although this scene dates from about
1,000 years after Kha's time,

it clearly depicts the crucial

in the soul's journey
to the afterlife.

This remarkable scene
is known as
the Weighing of the Heart.

It's the ultimate
judgement of the dead.

It shows that the deceased,
their soul,

has successfully negotiated all
the hazards into the next world

to arrive here at the ultimate
Hall of Judgement.

It's presided over by the goddess
Ma'at, the goddess of truth,

who is shown here with
the feather of truth,

which she wears as a kind
of crown on her head.

At the far end is the goddess Iris,
the kind of ultimate
judge of all dead souls.

He's here to watch over these

because we have here
central to the scene

a typical Egyptian-style balance.
And here on this pan
it's the heart
of the deceased individual

and it's being weighed very
carefully against this.

This is the feather of Ma'at
which she wears on her head.

It represents truth, goodness,

If the deceased had lived a good
and blameless life,

their heart would be light
and free of sin.

However, if they'd been naughty,

done anything to upset the gods,
then the heart would be
heavy with sin.

And as such, they couldn't then pass

into a blessed afterlife,
into eternity.

And so the heart was literally taken
up like a piece of meat

and thrown to this terrifying
creature here.

This is the Great Devourer,
a kind of terrible
composite of lions' parts

a sort of crocodile- or
hippo-featured being

with the tongue out
dribbling at the
thought of a fresh heart to consume.

And it's at this point
that the deceased would
ultimately die.

This would be dying a second death,
the final death.

Earthly death isn't anything to be
afraid of

because you pass through into
a subliminal state of existence,

if you've been good.
All evil souls, their hearts were
fed to this creature,

consumed, and that was it,
finished for ever.

But once again there was something
you could buy to help you

through this final trial.
And Kha's scans show that
on a chain around his neck

there is also a large amulet
known as a heart scarab.

This example from the Petrie

gives us a sense of what it
actually looks like.

For the Egyptians the heart was
the seat of all learning,

of all intelligence.
When the deceased's spirit
was in the presence of the gods

in the next world and had to
account for their actions in life,

had they lead a good life,
they were interrogated by the gods.

Sometimes there was always
the danger the heart might

suddenly speak up against its owner.
"Oh, well, they didn't lead such
a blameless life after all."

And so the heavy heart scarab was
a means of suppressing the heart,

keeping it quiet.
The spell invokes, employs
the heart, "Keep quiet,

"do not give false witness
against me."

Basically, "Shut it."
So it seems that Kha had purchased
every form of insurance

he possibly could to ensure
the perfect afterlife

that he and Meryt had always
dreamed of.

From their elaborate golden coffins,
to their well hidden,
subterranean tomb

and expensively
decorated Memorial Chapel.

And, of course, the intricate Book
of the Dead

in which Kha describes
how he wants to spend his eternity.
In Kha's Book of the Dead by far
the largest section,

200 separate rolls,
are devoted to the so-called
spells of transformation

listing all the variations that Kha
wanted his soul to become,

all the many forms
he could take in the afterlife.

A lot of these relate to birds,
the soul wants to rise up to join
the gods

and fly through the heavens.
He wanted to be a Phoenix,
he wanted to be a heron,

he wanted to be a great, golden

Yet I think for me what is most

is that in addition to all these
various things

that he could become at will
his heart's desire was simply to sit
with his beloved wife Meryt
in a garden

in the summerhouse.
Now, for us in the modern West
it's all too easy to see these
elaborate preparations for death

as completely pointless.
Death is death and that is that.
And yet, and yet.
Having met Kha and Meryt,
having entered their world,
I think they've really achieved
a kind of immortality

because 3,500 years later,