Wednesday, December 26, 2007

TV: The Black Pharaohs

Sydney Morning Herald

As befits their vocation, archaeologists sometimes come across as dry and dusty. Not here. "Exciting? Yes, I haven't slept for two days," says a French excavator.

In 2002, Dr Vivian Davies of the British Museum made a find in upper Egypt that, according to this BBC documentary, "turns our view of history on its head". "Guess what we've got here," Davies says, examining an ancient inscription by torchlight. "We've got an invasion of Egypt by the kingdom of Kush."

The kingdom of Kush? Based in modern-day Sudan, Kush was an ancient kingdom that flourished for 3000 years. Initially Egypt and Kush were friends, partly because the pharaohs had such a fondness for Kush's gold. They liked to be buried in the stuff. As you do.

Relations soured, however, when an army of Kushites invaded Egypt in 1600BC. Egypt bit back like a big, angry asp but a millennium later Kush had its revenge. Interesting stuff accompanied by fetching footage and evocative music.

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