Wednesday, February 24, 2010

TV Review: King Tut Unwrapped

King Tut Unwrapped
Discovery Channel

Always late in receiving the Discovery Channel documentaries it is great when someone reviews one of the ancient Egypt focused ones that have aired in the US. On this occasion I went crawling to Alice Gaylor (Florida, U.S.A) who took the job on with enthusiasm, and pulled no punches. Here's her review, with my sincere thanks.

My thoughts on the Discovery channel's King Tut Unwrapped - Royal Blood. This is a 2 night, 4 hour docudrama.

First, let me say that I am not trained in Egyptology. BUT I can see what's there, and what's not there. And I didn't see a lot there.

I was very disappointed. I guess I expected too much after all the "facts" that have been presented since the 17th. What I saw was a lot of docudrama footage and a lot of Zahi.

What I did not see was any conclusive facts supporting the announcement that the KV55 mummy is Akhenaten. The only real fact that I saw about this was the Wa-A-En-Re on the gold foil. I could just make out the glyphs. and had to take his word for it as to what they said.

Therefore, I'm not as sure as he is that KV55 is Akhenaten (much as I would truly like for it to be.) It could well be Smenkhkare. I know - did he exist? Well, there are a lot of items that have his name on them for him NOT to have existed. The coffin that my guy Tut has been resting in since Carter put him back in the tomb, is not Tut's face. It is the same face that's on the canopic coffins and a statue that I've seen with his name. I have to believe that he is/was real.

Now was he king? How long? Exactly when? Is he the man in KV55? No real clue. But as far as I can tell, it's a toss up as to which one it really happens to be. I believe that this man was Tut's father. The DNA is good here. I just don't believe that his identity was proven beyond doubt.

And now the largest of the fetus show Marfan's. Ithought that it had been ruled out in the family.

I don't understand how he could have ridden his chariot all around the country standing up with that bad foot. But Zahi said he was a strong man. With a deformed foot and 130 walking sticks in his tomb ??

So now Zahi is saying that the Younger Woman in KV55, Tut's mother, might be Nefertiti. He sure gave Joan Fletcher what for when she said that.

I would think that they would have checked the DNA of the younger lady with that of Tut's mother and grandmother, and father. Also that of the lady called KV21a, and b for that matter. That might help to identify them.

Not being trained in Egyptology, I rely on what I read and what I see and hear for knowledge. I expect the things that I see and hear and read to be accurate. I saw a lot of inaccurate things on both nights.

At one point they listed the kings in this order - Amenhotep III, Smenkhkare, Akhenaten. Not in the history books I've read.

In two scenes they had Tut wearing just the white crown. In another one the red and white crown. Couldn't make up their mind. Mostly the Blue crown.

Akhenaten named his city Akhet-Aten, modern Egyptologist have named it Armana. But I never heard the true name mentioned on either night.

The mould for the ring found at Armana had a name, they said it was Nebkheperure. I've been wearing a necklace for the last 15 years with that name and it didn't look like my necklace. It looked like Tutankhamun. It had the glyphs for Thebes and so on. I need to check one of my books that has both, but I'm sure it was Tut.

In short or long, I watched 4 hours , most of it of Zahi marching in and out of tombs, the museum, various storage rooms and the desert. He totally wore me out! I would much rather have had 2 or even 3 hours of facts.

BUT at least Tut has a family, even if we don't know what their names are for sure. So that makes me happy.

Alice G., Florida, USA


Ron said...

An excellent summary. Not once in the whole 4 hours did they mention Tut's mother and father were brother and sister as in other reports. They also seem to be 'pushing' to make the KV55 skeleton old enough to be Akhenaten.What is that headdress on the KV55 coffin? It doesn't look like anything Akhenaten or even any male royal would have worn. Still many questions I feel.

Patricia in Texas said...

Maybe I need to watch again, but I believe the deformed foot they found belonged to one of the female mummies and not to Tut. You can clearly see both of his feet on his mummy. He had a bad back, which might account for all the walking sticks.

I also believe there are some facts missing and some that were stretched somewhat in the program, but as we all know, next year we'll have a different story, all of which keeps us interested in Egypt!!

Anonymous said...

There is a bone disease in his left foot. The bone is decomposing. And if you'll look at that foot when they show the mummy you will see the long slice down between the big toe and the next. They said it was very painful. And they were saying on the 17th that he had a "club foot". that's deformed to me.

And yes, one of the women had a badly deformed foot.

Timothy Reid said...

Nice review

Many excellent points raised and perhaps expected,it sounds like discoveries last foray into Egyptology.

How unusual one wonders if we should still call it Egyptology or admit it for what it is Hawassotology.

I have seen nothing that says Akhenaten was the father of Tutankhamen but I feel convinced that the tests probably do have the right ancestral order of many of the mummies.

At the time of Joann Fletcher's own program "The search for Nefertiti"(another Discovery funded Tv project)Dr. Hawass was not even convinced Kv35 younger lady was a lady at all.

Even though Nefertiti is a glamorous answer it is still unlikely as she is not to my knowledge the daughter of a king.

The results of any tests done on the mummies can only be a start of many more tests to come no doubt sponsored by Discovery,Coke, Pepsi...

Anonymous said...

I love it! Hawassotology. I felt so sorry for Fletcher when he sunk his teeth into her theory. Yep, she went about the whole thing wrong, but he just took off on a wild tangent and never looked back. Discovery sure didn't do their home work before they put that one on. And about the same with this one.
Thanks anonymous for mentioning the club foot thing. I forgot to mention that in the review. I do agree with Patricia, next year it will be a different ID on KV55 or Hawass might just think that Tut is not really Tut. You never know what secrets are buried in the sands of Egypt! You all are right, they left a lot of things out of the show. The brother/sister thing, the babies weren't on their family tree. I think I'll have to watch it again and see what else I missed. Hubby says if he hears Hawass one more time he will scream. Going to have to get a new Google identity, can't remember the old one. Alice Gaylor