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Ancient Egypt.
One of the most fascinating
civilisations on earth.

But what was it like to
be an Ancient Egyptian,

living in this incredible place?
It's OK trying to understand
Ancient Egypt on a visual level,

pyramids, King Tut, mummies.
But to really get into the head
of the Ancient Egyptians,

you've got to walk in their

I'm Egyptologist, Dr Joann Fletcher,
and I've spent over 40 years
obsessed with this lost world.

'While the magnificent temples
and tombs of the Pharaohs can

'tell us one story,
I'm interested in another.

'The story of ordinary people,
the real Egyptians.'

It's such a privilege,
we are amongst their family here.

This feeling of closeness,
of warmth, of love.

'I'm going to uncover evidence about
how they lived their lives...'

Oh, wow!
It's a glimpse into the sort
of world of Ancient Egyptian

interior design.
'..and reveal what
they hope for in death.'

There was no Grim Reaper,
just this beautiful goddess wanting
to embrace them in her warm arms.

'There is one very special couple
I want to get to know

'as I journey to their desert
village home

'and examine the treasures from
their tomb...'

You can only imagine his pride
and joy at receiving

such a mark of royal favour.
'..as we discover what life was
really like in Ancient Egypt.'

Welcome to Deir el-Medina.
Or, as the people who used to live
here 3,500 years ago

used to call it, Pa-demi,
which simply means, "the village."

Today, this village feels remote
and inhospitable.

But 3,500 years ago,
this community
lay at the heart of Ancient Egypt.

Situated on Luxor's West Bank,
it was a suburb of Egypt's
great city, Thebes.

Now, this is the landscape of
kings and gods, Pharaohs, and yet

these are the homes of ordinary
people leading ordinary lives.

Men and women, aunts
and uncles, grandparents and kids,

they all lived here in this
tightly-packed community.

And by re-imagining how people
lived, in the colours, the sounds

and smells we have an instant

right back 3,500 years to these
ancient people who

lived here in this remote little
village in the desert.

Now, in order to piece together
the lives of such people

I have got an amazing set of clues.
The earthly remains
of a husband and wife who once

lived in the village...
but now reside nearly 2,000 miles

here at the Egyptian Museum
in Turin.

Meet Kha and Merit,
Kha the architect, Merit his wife.

Now Kha and Merit were two of the
leading lights of the village.

Kha's actual title,
was the Chief of Foreman,

so he was in charge
of the workforce.

Merit, her official title was
Lady of the House,

which is ancient
Egyptian for "housewife."

This is the only known statue of

almost certainly an idealised image
- it nonetheless suggests a proud
and rather handsome man.

This death mask is one of the few
representations we have of Merit,

which reveals a soft
and beautiful face.

Although these mummies have never
been unwrapped,

what lies beneath has been
revealed by x-rays and CT scans.

We know that Kha, who stood about
five foot six,

was a very striking
looking individual,
with a rather prominent nose

and a great fondness for lots
of black eyeliner.

But, then when we turn
to his diminutive wife, Merit,

a very dainty little lady,
standing about five foot two.

She also had a long, crimped
wig of dark brown,

wavy hair which would have made her
look really, really beautiful.

But what really brings Kha
and Merit back to life is this.

The collection of objects
discovered in their intact

tomb in 1906,
where they had lain
undisturbed for over 3,000 years.

A leading Egyptologist
from the time wrote -

This is really a unique find
because of its intactness, but also

because of the wealth of material
that was in the tomb.

Tables and chairs and stools
and more chairs and coffers,

and coffers packed with linen
and the coffers packed with
cosmetic vessels.

Shaving equipment
packed into a little leather pouch

and his hip flask - everything is

Even the shaped breads wrapped
with palm fronds to keep them fresh.

It is really incredible,
there is material there for
research for another few generations.

The collection not only gives us
a fascinating

insight into the burial, but also
the lives Kha and Merit lived.

The finds, ranging from death masks
and coffins, to their most
intimate belongings used in life.

Like this, Merit's beauty box.
This is basically the contents
of Merit's dressing table,

the perfume, cosmetics, moisturisers
and all the things that the ancient
Egyptians regarded as so essential.

Well used and well loved, this
stunning cosmetic chest tells us

Merit was a well-to-do woman,
who cared about her appearance.

This is Merit's glass, black
coal eyeliner,

glass was very rare at this time,
and it's in the classic Egyptian
colour combination of blue and gold.

The black eye paint that Merit
herself applied everyday to

her own eyes is
still inside this vessel.

It's got its wooden applicator
stick in the top,

and Egyptian ladies today still use
this in exactly the same way.

This stone alabaster perfume vessel
has still got the original

contents running down the outside
and it's extraordinary to think
that, in some cases, with the

Ancient Egyptians, it's not just
a question of the visuals,

it's how to reach back in time into
their world through other senses,

the sense of smell, for instance,
and to be able to smell

the things that they smelt,
the cinnamon, the lotus, the cedar.

Clearly, this is an expensive item,
so how would a fairly

ordinary Egyptian like Merit
afford such luxuries?

The answer lies in the village,
and the very special

occupation of its inhabitants.
These were Egypt's
tomb and temple builders.

From the foreman to the stonemason,
from the draughtsman

to the carpenter, they all lived
here with their wives and children.

About a mile to the north-west is
where they worked.

The most famous cemetery on earth.
This is the great and majestic
necropolis of the millions

of years of Pharaoh life, prosperity
and health in the west of Thebes.

Or, as we know it today,
the Valley of the Kings.

For nearly 500 years,
men like Kha created

the tombs of some of Egypt's most
famous Pharaohs.

Hatshepsut, Amenhotep III, and
Tutankhamen were all buried here.

They were an elite,
a kind of crack force of workmen

and architects, the very
best of the Egyptian culture.

They were the craftsmen that
implemented what Pharaoh wanted -

to sustain Pharaoh's
soul for eternity.

They were almost magicians,
operating secretly within this
stunning landscape.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.
As the life story of Kha and Merit
begins back in the village.

Here I want to explore how they
may have met and fallen in love.

They probably grew up
in the village,

but how did a young couple like them
go about courting?

To find out,
I don't have to go very far.

As here, on the outskirts
of the village, is the great pit.

It's a long abandoned
attempt by the villagers to find

a groundwater source.
They dug down and down
and eventually reached
more than 50 metres.

They wanted to become
self-sufficient in water,

but sadly for them, they never did.
And yet, what the pit did become
was a community dump,

a mine of information.
When this pit
and the surroundings were

excavated by archaeologists, they
made some remarkable discoveries.

And this was what was found here,
literally tens of thousands of these

pieces of pottery and stone,
some with pictures,

many more with words -
giving us the real history
of the village, because these

are their notes, their reminders,
their love songs,
their laundry lists.

The very voices of this village.
Some of these voices tell us
about falling in love.

WOMAN'S VOICE: "Your hand is in my
hand. My body shakes with joy.

"My heart is so happy
because we walk together.

"To hear your voice
is like pomegranate wine."

This is a typical love poem,
written on papyrus, as well as stone

or pottery fragments, they capture
the feelings of young mothers.

They're so common,
it seems our village was
a real hotbed of passion.

Every single one of the
love poems from Ancient Egypt

come from this village, except one.
Some of the titles
are really evocative,

there is Your Love, Down To
The River, All Night And All Day,

and the rather suggestive,
Shedding Clothes.

"I go down to the water
to be with you,

"and come up again with a red fish
looking splendid on my fingers.

"Oh, my warrior, my beloved.
Come, look at me."

And it's nice to imagine that such
beautiful lines of love played

a part in the courtship of
Kha and Merit.

Today, we might seal the deal
with a proposal,

engagement and marriage.
But some Ancient Egyptians seem to
have taken a rather more

direct approach.
Kha may well have
signalled his commitment to

Merit by bringing her his bundle.
To "bring the bundle" meant that
you wanted to indicate your desire

to move in with the person who
took your fancy.

The bundle is thought to have been
a kind of dowry,

consisting of everything
the man owned.

It's likely that presenting it
to your intended was

one of the first steps of setting
up home together.

However, this didn't always go
to plan, as one villager recounts.

In a note the man left,
he tells us this very sad story.

He lists all his worldly goods,
which, I must say, aren't that

and then he tells us
he went to the woman's house.

But all her family simply threw him
out, and as he says himself, "So I

"went again, with all my property
in order to live with them -

"and see! She acted in exactly the
same way and threw me out again!"

You can almost feel he is outraged
because this woman has not

just turned him down, but all
the things he could bring with him.

Presumably she was unimpressed
by the size of his bundle.

We can assume Kha suffered no such
indignity, as evidence from

the tomb suggests that he and Merit
were a loving and monogamous couple.

The scenes on this beautiful box
show Kha and Merit seated together,

to share the offerings which will
sustain them in the afterlife.

But in life, too, we also have clues
to their devotion.

Now, although the Ancient Egyptians
didn't have a marriage

ceremony as we would understand,
they simply moved in together,

they nevertheless would
exchange love tokens,

quite often in the form of rings.
This ring was discovered underneath
the death mask of Merit.

It's so precious that it is not
yet on display here in Turin.

This is the ring that was
found inside the mask,

almost as an afterthought, of Merit,
so, it was shoved in their just as
she was being buried.

It spent all those
thousands of years just tucked away,

hidden away,
within Merit's own wrappings.

A very ad hoc thing,
a very spontaneous gesture.

The image on it,
looks like the cow of Hathor.

That's exactly what it is.
The Goddess Hathor is often
depicted as a cow.

She was seen as the eternal mother
figure, to both the living

and the dead.
In life, she aided fertility and
provided protection in childbirth.

While in death she ensured
safe passage into the afterlife.

This represents the love
between Kha and Merit,

and in this tiny little object,
it is perhaps the most important

thing from the entire tomb for me,

It's wonderful.
Kha and Merit lived in a glittering
age in Egyptian history.

Sustained by the annual
floods of the River Nile,

the Egyptian state had
existed for almost 2,000 years.

By 1400 BC,
it was at the height of its power

and now ruled by the
18th royal dynasty.

Its kings are among the greatest
names of Ancient Egypt.

We have a so-called boy king,
Tutankhamen, the great female

Pharaoh, Hatshepsut, and
the so-called bad boy, the heretic,

But, really, at the very heart of
all this is Akhenaten's father,

this man, Amenhotep III.
The dazzling sun god himself,
and the very personification,

at least, he thought, of ancient
Egypt's greatest deity, the sun.

He's my favourite Pharaoh, because
he presided over a golden age,

when Ancient Egypt really did rule
the ancient world,

and this is the very Pharaoh
who was Kha's boss.

Kha worked for him.
Kha's job was to ensure
the Pharaoh's immortality.

He did this by helping design
and build some of Egypt's most

extraordinary monuments,
both tombs and temples.

This is one such project from the
reign of Amhenhotep III.

The solar court in Luxor Temple.
It's a revolutionary design,
as it moved away from the dark

and cloistered shrine to an open
celebration of the sun.

In return,
like all state employees,

Kha and Merit were given the things
they needed in the village.

A home, a tomb, food,
water, even servants.

This was the highly organised
world of the middle classes,

women had rights,
many kids an education,

and literacy was far higher in the
village than elsewhere in Egypt.

In Kha and Merit's time, the village
consisted of about 20 houses,

and while we do not exactly which
one was their house, it was almost

certainly one of the larger ones,
here at the northern end.

Perhaps even this one.
So, we go into the front room here,
and this would be an area, really,

where the woman of
the house hung out,

chatted, gossiped and so forth.
Kids running in and out.
Up the stairs.

Around the corner into perhaps the
most important room in the house.

And here, I absolutely love this.
This is built-in furniture.
It's kind of like a divan,
a chaise longue if you like.

And this is where the gentlemen of
the house would sit of an evening

drinking beer, having a chat.
Then back up this little step
and then into this area,

which is quite a considerable size
for a room like this.

Probably storage but also a bedroom
where the beds or the sleeping mats
would have been placed.

So as we progress a little further
into the highest part of the house,

we come into a storage area,
maybe for clothes but almost
certainly for food and drink also,

because this area directly adjoins
this wonderful fitted kitchen.

This is extraordinary, because we've
actually got the built-in oven

at the back of the house.
We even see these when they're
doing little sketches of ladies
blowing into the oven

to keep the fire hot and then they
can cook the bread and so forth.

And then here an Ancient Egyptian

where you'd place pottery vessels
with drink in.

You'd want a cool drink on a day
like this, you can understand why.

And the only way to do this was to
sink the vessels

into a pit deep in the ground.
A little temporary roof over it to
keep it as chilled as possible.

So fridge, oven.
They've got everything they needed.

And, of course, at either side
aren't rooms of this house,

but these are the neighbours houses.
These are a terraced street,
if you like,

of back-to-back houses of the sort
Britain had in the
Industrial Revolution.

So the neighbours were never
very far away

and the concept of privacy
certainly in this little corner

of Ancient Egypt was a completely
unknown thing.

Life in the village was almost
entirely supported by the state.

A daily procession of donkeys would
carry water up from the Nile Valley

to be decanted
into a central cistern.

Each household was entitled to
an average of 100 litres per day

for drinking, cooking and bathing.
Les than half a mile
from the village

lies another crucial remnant of this
highly organised infrastructure.

Although built a little
after Kha's time,

grain stores like these
acted as a kind of bank.

Money didn't exist in Egypt at this
time so at the end of each month,

Kha would have received his salary
as a ration of wheat and barley.

Granaries like this would have
held an immense amount of food.

These granaries alone would have
held over 40,000 individual
sacks of grain.

Chief workmen like Kha were entitled
to seven and a half sacks
of grain a month,

five and a half of wheat,
and two of barley.

Plenty for Merit and their
servants to produce the staples
of Egyptian life, bread and beer.

The villagers also received
fish and vegetables

and could trade their excess grain
for luxuries like meat and wine.

These places would have been full of

People bustling here and there,
scribes taking record,

making an account of all the stuff
being delivered.

A constant stream of men carrying
sacks, depositing them here,

people coming to collect their

It's a simple system
but one that endured,

fuelling Egypt's success
and political stability for
thousands of years.

Indeed, it was a system so important
it was represented on
numerous tomb walls.

These scenes are from the tomb
of the scribe Menna

contemporary with Kha himself.
Here we can see the whole
process of the wheat and barley
being harvested and distributed.

And here the principle food it
produced, bread.

Kha and Merit had no less than
50 loaves of bread in their tomb.

Now, bread was the key ingredient
in the Ancient Egyptian diet.

The Ancient Egyptians added many
different things to it.

You could add dates or honey to
make it sweet,

or savoury things, cumin seeds,
coriander seeds,

all manner of ingredients to
really vary it.

And in the tomb there's a whole
range of different sizes and shapes,

including what appear to be
gingerbread men,

little shapes of fruit, flowers
and animals.

Although they didn't have yeast as
such, the technique

of combining flour, water
and salt to make bread

is virtually unchanged
in 3,500 years.

I mean, this is a completely
timeless scene,

this fabulous mud brick oven is
typical of the ovens

we find in Ancient Egyptian

It's totally believable to
imagine Merit baking bread
to feed her family.

It's a completely timeless scene.
It's a real direct link
back into their world.

The smell of this wonderful stuff,
the feel of it, the way it was made.

All Egyptians would have eaten
this on a daily basis.

It was the sort for stuff that you
offered to the gods.

And even when the bread
had gone mouldy

the Egyptians used it
as a form of medicine,

which wouldn't be fully understood
for thousands of years.

The medical texts actually advocate
take bread in mouldy condition

and apply to the wound in question.
And although they didn't know why
it worked it did work,

because mouldy bread contains,
of course, penicillin, which we in
the West think we discovered.

And yet the Ancient Egyptians
fully appreciated its benefits
5,000 years ago.

It's very good stuff.
While Merit's responsibilities were
largely focused on life at home,

Kha's duties were dominated by
working for the pharaoh.

He and his fellow tomb builders
took this path from the village
to their workplace,

the Valley of the Kings.
It starts here at the southern
end of the village

and follows that path there.
See right up over that coll?

And then we go straight up
and over the top of the mountain.

Kha and his workforce would have
regularly made this journey,

sometimes camping out
during the working week

in small huts in the Valley.
In Kha's day there were probably
about 40-60 men making this journey,

probably singing, probably carrying
water pots themselves

and the day's rations maybe.
Kha must have walked this path
hundreds of times,

first perhaps as a carpenter,
but eventually as the
Royal Architect and Overseer.

So if we've been walking about
45 minutes in the full sun,

and it's really, really hot,
then Kha and his men coming up this
path to work,

they do the walk and then they had
to do the work.

Their regular commute took them
further west into the
Land of the Dead.

In fact, from up here you can see
why this place

was so carefully chosen as it
mirrors the Ancient Egyptian
spiritual beliefs.

If you worship the sun as a god,
then two times of the day
take on special significance,

sunrise in the east and sunset in
the west.

Sunrise is the birth of the god, so
the east is the land of the living,

sunset is the death of the god,
so the west is the land of death,

So they picked this spot to make
their tombs for the dead.

This one spot... Life, death.
The Nile Valley,
the Valley of the Kings.

And it is that stark, isn't it?
It is.

Continuing our hike,
we finally reach the western
branch of the Valley of the Kings.

Where time has virtually
stood still.

Remnants of the tomb builders world
litter the landscape.

This is a great staircase.
It's superb, isn't it?

Beautifully constructed though
further up.

It's absolutely perfect.
This is it, this is the start of
Kha's domain.

This is actually a guard hut and
one man would be on guard
in here 24 hours a day.

And you can see...
..even ancient pottery has
been preserved at this site.

That's 3,500 years old.
So this piece is like one of Kha's
empties, his empty beer jar.
There you go.

And we know this is authentic
because this part of the West Valley

was only ever used for royal tombs
in Kha's day. That's right, yeah.

The guards in these huts maintained
a watchful eye over everything that
went on in the Valley.

What it was guarding against
was obviously tomb robbery
for the pre-existing tombs,

but while the new king's tomb was
under construction the materials

used in the construction of a tomb
were also very valuable.

Metal. Copper.
The copper chisels especially.

The paints, the plaster,
the oils for the lamps.

This was all very valuable material.
Although deathly silent today,
3,500 years ago these walls

would have reverberated with the
sound of Kha's construction teams.

There'd be the mallets hitting
the chisels in the tomb,

they're be the pounding of the people
making the plaster,

the mixing bowls for the paints.
And they would be the voice of the
Overseer telling people off or
telling to do this or that.

Building a tomb for the king was
hazardous work, although not all
the dangers are immediately obvious.

Apart from the normal hazards of
hitting your hand with a mallet or
getting cut with a chisel,

falling off scaffolding, breaking
legs, falling down the tomb.

The other risk is because this is
a wadi, it's a dry riverbed,

there are flash floods
now and again, and all
this would come crashing down.

And they would have to run.
During his lifetime,
Kha worked on three royal tombs,

initially as a craftsman.
These copper chisels found in his
tomb were the tools of Kha's trade.

He then rose to become
Royal Architect and Overseer
responsible for the design

and construction of at least
two pharaoh's tombs.

It was a task on which
Egypt entirely depended

since each pharaoh must be able to
reach the afterlife

to ensure both their immortality and
the wellbeing of their subjects.

Build it correctly and
all would be well, fail
and Egypt would fail with it.

So how did Kha and his men
actually undertake this
most onerous of tasks?

I'll follow in your footsteps.

This is tomb KV25.
Thought to have been started
for Amenhotep III's son Akhnaton,

it was left unfinished when
Akhnaton suddenly moved his
capital away from Thebes.

It's as if the workmen only downed
tools yesterday.

So you can see, Jo,
the unfinished wall.

It's been chiselled smooth
but it hasn't been plastered.

And you can actually see the gouge
marks of the chisels where they've
gouged out the material.

What a treat to be able to see this
kind of working surface.

As an architect Kha meticulously
planned the tomb's layout

using the Ancient Egyptian unit
of measurement, the cubit.

In modern terms the cubit was
roughly 52.5 centimetres long.

And it is subdivided into what was
called seven palms.

The palm of your hand. One, two,
three, four, five, six, seven.

And on the end
we have four fingers there.

Perfect. Perfect.
And the way this would have been
used was for marking out

and measuring your way down the tomb.
In fact, you can see the dots there
where they've been marking out. See?

As they came down...
It corresponds exactly! Indeed.
And it's so usable. So simple.
Very elegant.
It is elegant, isn't it?

And at the end of the day's work,
Kha could fold it up,

pop it back in its leather
carrying case and take it home.

Just imagine Kha and his team
of 30 or 40 men

toiling in this
extreme heat and choking dust.

And to light their way all they had
were these simple oil lamps.

I think being down here in the dark
with a lamp like this

really increases the respect I have
for Kha and his workforce,

that they were able to
create such sublime monuments
with such simple tools.

The evidence reveals Kha was
highly respected in life.

This beautiful object
is a golden royal cubit.

It was presented to Kha in
recognition for his work

for the pharaoh Amenhotep II.
It can only be equated to a carriage
clock or an engraved tankard

that you're given for good service.
And you can only imagine Kha's pride
and joy at receiving such
a mark of royal favour.

Had the Ancient Egyptians
had a mantelpiece this
would have been on it.

But I think the true value of this
special cubit is the fact

it's been personalised to such a
great degree.

And it actually sums up Kha
in a single item.

It's the tools of his trade and yet
it's been embellished.

The inscriptions on this
are wonderful.

There's so many little details about
Kha's career,

about the fact that he built
a small shrine or temple,

not even in Thebes, further
north at a site called Thermopolis,

so he was clearly active
outside of Thebes.

It's pretty hard to describe how it
feels to hold something like this

that Kha and probably Merit
would have held quite a lot,

just to sort of marvel at it
and congratulate themselves on being
so high up in Pharaoh's favour.

I love it. I absolutely love it.
With Kha's career on the rise,
he and Merit also started a family.

Childbirth is a risky time in
any woman's life

and certainly in Ancient Egypt.
Merit would have sought help
from Hathor then pre-eminent
goddess of motherhood.

All Ancient Egyptian women
wanted to be like Hathor,

she's like a modern female celebrity
that all women aspire to be.

She had it all
and she was worshipped here.

This is the funnery temple
of the great female pharaoh
Hatshepsut, at Dier El-Bahari.

Situated just two miles from the
village, it's located at the base

of the very cliffs in which Hathor
herself was believed to reside.

But how might the goddess have
touched Merit's life?

These columns are each one topped
with the image of the
goddess herself,

the face of a beautiful woman
but with cow's ears poking through
the mass of hair to reflect

the goddesses cow-like, docile,
sweet nature.

She's seen as an eternal
mother figure

that can nurture all those
around her who would then take
care of your soul for eternity

and allow you to be reborn each
morning with the rising sun.

Ordinary people like Merit could not
enter the actual temples themselves.

These were sacred places reserved
for the clergy and the pharaohs.

So Merit would have turned to a more
domestic form of worship.

Now, this wonderful thing
is an exact replica

of a bowl found in the village
and it shows the double heads
of the Goddess Hathor.

I think they very much regarded
this as a potent talisman.

Almost like an amulet that they
could have about the house

to bring the beautiful face
of Hathor into their daily lives.

So, whatever they put in it, be it
food, beer, wine, even flowers,

the contents would
be almost sprinkled

with a little bit of Hathor's magic.
Yet Hathor wasn't only the goddess
of fertility and motherhood,

she was also the deity
of sexual pleasure.

And the evidence suggests
that enjoying sex

was as important then as it is now.
This is a replica of the section of
the so-called Turin Erotic Papyrus.

What it shows are couples actively,
very actively, having sex.

The men all appear quite
rough and ready,

some have receding hairlines,
stubble, pot bellies.

Each one has an enormous phallus.
As for the women,
they are very beautiful, very agile,

each has got a very
exquisite hairstyle

fronted by one of these fragrant
lotus blossoms.

And so there's this desire
to almost tap into the erotic.

These aren't, kind of,
showing women as slabs of meat

simply there for male pleasure,
not at all.

These are active women engaged
in acts of pleasure, acts of love.

They are using sex as a, kind of,
form of leisure,

of entertainment as well
as doing it, portraying it.

And while Hathor might have offered
sexual inspiration, her presence

was needed most during the dangerous
time of pregnancy and childbirth.

Women, like Merit , would have
looked to her for protection.

The outer precincts of the temple
here at Deir el-Bahri

were a focus for such worship.
This faded scene is a rare
representation of a pregnant woman.

In this case, the mother
of the female pharaoh, Hatshepsut.

There she is as the unborn foetus
and you can just make out the gentle
swelling of her mother's abdomen,

here, as the unborn Hatshepsut
resides within the safety
of her mother's body.

When the archaeologists excavated
all around here a century ago

they found such amazing
things as baby clothes

that had been specially made
with an image of Hathor,

almost like a Post-it Note
to the goddess.

These would be left here in the hope
that these women could conceive.

Merit had three children that we
know of - two sons and one daughter.

Their images appear in Kha
and Merit's tomb chapel

and on the painted boxes
found in their tomb.

With infant mortality
as high as 50%,

Merit would've needed all
the help she could get

but the villagers didn't
just turn to the gods.

This is the Kahun Papyrus,
it details the prescriptions

and spells used to tackle illnesses
suffered specifically by women.

"Examination of a women who is
aching in her rear, her front

"and the calves of her thighs.
"You should say of it,
it is discharges of the womb

"and you should treat it with one
measure of carob fruit,

"one measure of incense pellets,
one unit of cows milk.

"Boil, cool, mix together and drink
on four consecutive mornings."

What they are trying to do
is bring some sort of order,

some form of understanding, to a
host of complex medical conditions.

And in the root cause of many
of the problems

associated with woman's illnesses
there is apparently a wandering womb

because the Egyptians thought that
this part of the female anatomy

wasn't fixed in situ but would,
kind of, wonder all over the body.

This bizarre condition had
an equally bizarre cure.

The woman would, sort of,
stand over burning incense

in the hope that this rising
sweet smell of the fumes

would encourage this wandering
womb down into its proper place.

And while today this may
seem rather strange,

such a diagnosis and treatment may
have had some positive effect.

Certainly, to the woman in labour,
to have a medical practitioner
present, reading out these

medical prescriptions, would have
had an almost placebo like affect

and I think that's the strength
of documents like this.

Used in conjunction with all the
amulets and all the magical spells

that could be brought to bear
by the village midwife.

The recitation of text like this
would have brought a further layer

of order to a very difficult
and complex time in a woman's life.

Alongside raising her children,
Merit would have been
responsible for her home.

She is likely to have been
just as house-proud as you and me.

Yet, far from the monochrome
beige we see today,

the world of ancient Egypt
was a riot of colour.

The vestiges of this can still be
seen - if you know where to look.

When we look up at the ceilings,
the areas which had been sheltered
from direct sunlight,

the colours are absolutely superb.
The condition, the brightness,
the vivacity.

They're, sort of, leaping out
of the walls and ceilings,

right into our eyes.
And this temple,
with its vibrant colour,

was created by the later
Pharaoh Ramesses III.

The Egyptians were far from subtle
in their use of paint.

Primary colours - red, green,
blue - all these amazing,

vivid hues and the blues and greens
are particularly bright.

This, of course, is more of a status
marker for the king who commissioned

such a brilliant piece of work
because blues and greens weren't

naturally occurring pigments and had
to be manufactured at great cost.

And so this is a way
for the monarch to say,

"Look at me,
look at the wealth I possess."

The effort and expense involved
in producing such synthetic colours

was way beyond the reach of most
ordinary people.

Instead, it they used locally
sourced materials,

ones that could, literally,
be picked up from the desert floor.

This rock, in my hand,
is kind of like a colour box

that brought Ancient Egypt to life
because on one side we have
the red iron oxide,

on the other the yellow iron oxide.
And so, by splitting
a rock like this

into the component yellows and reds,
you could crush these up,
mix with water

and then apply
to the design surface.

I think the best way to, sort of,
try to reanimate these colours

is probably to use that old standby,
a little bit of spit.

Always works! Rub the stone.
It's very, very vivid.
You can see the effect
it has against white.

So, you have these two shades that,
for the ancient Egyptians,

really did reflect blood,
life, vivacity

and then the yellow
of the golden sun.

I want to see how villagers,
like Kha and Merit,

used colour to decorate
their homes...

..and I'm in luck because here,
at the southern end of the village,

a single precious clue remains.
Here it is!
Now, if I lift this cloth
I'm going to see something
I've waited a long time to see

and it's, basically,
an original wall scene

from an Ancient Egyptian house.
So, here goes.
Oh, wow!
It's a phenomenal piece.
The colours are so fresh.

It's a glimpse into
the, sort of, world

of Ancient Egyptian
interior design.

It's the lower half of a female
musician and she's playing a flute.

She's got gold bracelets,
gold anklets,

but the most exciting thing
are these two tattoos

of the household god Bes.
So evocative, so warm, so sumptuous
in its lavish use of colour

and these fabulous, fabulous leaves.
Heart-shaped, draping down the sides
to, sort of, inject some much-needed

vegetation, greenery, into this,
sort of, desert environment.

It's an intriguing thought that
here, in the very village where

the men who built and painted
the royal tombs -

would they have been commissioned
by one of the housewives here

to come and paint my house?
Or did the women paint these
images for themselves?

It's something we'll never know
but I like to think that the lady
of the house would have had

a direct input into
the kind of scene

she wanted around her as she went
about her daily chores

with the kids and her friends,
and female relatives.

Such fragments from the past
allow us to get closer
to the real Kha and Merit.

In the case of Merit, she seems
to have been a loving wife

and hard-working mother.
A delicate and beautiful woman,
the epitome of taste and style.

But, sadly, this is where
Merit's story ends -

the evidence suggesting
she died quite suddenly

to leave her beloved Kha
as a grieving widower.

He even had to bury her in a coffin
intended for him,

for not only is it far too
large for Merit,

the inscriptions name only Kha.
Yet, Merit was immortalised in the
tomb chapel she shared with Kha,

located just yards
from their village.

And this is where Kha and their
children would have come

to bring regular offerings
and to pay their respects.

It's such a privileged glimpse
into their everyday life.

We're amongst their family here
and that's what this whole tomb
chapel chamber has all around it.

This feeling of family,
of closeness, of warmth, of love.

What's interesting here is that Kha
and Merit are shown several times...

..and yet the one constant child
that's with them is their daughter,

Merit , named after her mother.
And this is Merit the mother, here,
and this is Merit the daughter,
behind her.

On the other wall we have
the daughter, Merit,

who's leaning forward,
towards her father, Kha,

and she appears to be trying
a necklace around his neck,

or perhaps anointing him
with perfume.

I'd like to think that
it was Merit, the daughter,

who cared for Kha in his old age.
But what happened to Kha,
the proud and talented architect?

These elegant walking sticks may
suggest he lived on into old age...

continuing to oversee the most
important commission of his life.

So, I've come back to this remote
part of the Valley of the Kings

to find the final resting
place of Amenhotep III.

It was actually the third of the
royal tombs that Kha worked on,

so it's so exciting
to be going in here

and following in Kha's
wonderful footsteps.

My enthusiasm is well founded
because the tomb,

currently under restoration,
has been closed for decades.

Hardly anyone gets to see this.
This isn't very professional, is it?
This is so beautiful. It, literally,
has brought tears to my eyes.

It is so stunning. The colours
are fantastic, it's exquisite.

It's Amenhotep III
being received into the care
of the gods of the underworld.

And there's Anubis handing
out the sign of life to Amenhotep.

You think, Kha and his men
designing these images.

Just putting the King's vision
into practice and just...

it's taken my breath away.

Look, the artist hasn't just
come along with his blue paint

and the palette and boshed on the
paint, somebody's taken the trouble

to apply individual
curls of hair, here.

Can you see the texture?
The curls, here?

That's textured hair.
And there, also,
Amenhotep with Osiris,

green-faced God of vegetation,
new life and resurrection.

And that's really what
this tomb does.

It's a time machine,
it's the place Amenhotep III's mummy

would have finally been
laid to rest.

You can clearly see that no expense
was spared and for good reason.

For this is where the Pharaoh,
then revered as a god,

would dwell in the afterlife -
his next seat of power.

Oh, and down we go, deeper
and deeper into the underworld.

Wow, it really does evoke a sense
of going down into the subterranean

underworld, into the blackness,
into the darkness, into eternity.

This elaborate network
of chambers and stairways

was designed to protect
the Royal mummy

and all the glittering treasures
which once surrounded it.

Now, look at this very clever
trick of the architect, our boy Kha.

Look at this, can you see
the way the images

were once all along this wall,
just the whole way around,
images of the King and the gods

and, yet, originally,
this would have been packed

with mud brick, probably.
Plastered over, the images drawn
and painted over it,

so that any would-be tomb robbers
would come down here, think,

"Oh, this is it, nothing
much in here,"

and hopefully leave
by the way they came in

because this is actually
the next stage of the tomb.

So, it's, kind of,
like a hidden portal.

This is the burial chamber,
the most important part of the tomb

and there it is...
..the final resting place
of one of Egypt's greatest pharaohs.

The man considered a god,
both in life and in death.

How do you bury a god?
Well, obviously, surrounded,
dripping in gold,

semi-precious stones and the most
beautiful funerary items...

..all of which would have
been choreographed,

planned by Kha and his colleagues.
Everybody wants to take
care of the King.

Within the royal mummy
dwelt the soul,

the immortal soul, of Egypt itself.
This cumulative build-up of every
royal pharaoh who had gone before

resided within the mummy
who once lay down there.

Oh, wow!
It's been 46 years waiting
to see this tomb

and it's been well worth it.
Although we can now appreciate
his consummate workmanship,

it seems Kha himself never
saw the finished tomb,

for he died before his king.
But like his king, Kha's own body
was prepared for its eternal
journey into the afterlife

before he too was buried.
Since this journey has given us
a chance to get that little bit

closer to Kha and Merit, I think
we could almost call them friends.

Their worries and concerns
are not unlike our own -

hard work, family
and, above all, love.

Yet, this is only the beginning
of their story.

What comes next is a journey into
a world very different from our own.

A world of ritual, of magic
and the unswerving belief that
life really can go on for ever.

And here we have Kha's name,
right down the middle

and to speak the name of the dead
is to make them live again -

Kha and Merit.
So, join me next time
as we travel deep into the heart
of the Egyptian afterlife.

It's an extraordinary journey
on which we uncover Kha and Merit's
costly preparations for death.

All played out in a series
of complex and elaborate rituals

as they attempt to achieve
their place in eternity.

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Preuzeto sa www.titlovi.com


遺落的王朝:古埃及 (BBC HD - Life and Death in the Valley of the Kings 1/2 - Ancient Egypt documentary)

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Amy.Lin 發佈於 2018 年 8 月 10 日
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