Friday, October 08, 2010

TV: Royal Tomb of Psusennes I


Tanis, Egypt, circa 1939. On the brink of World War II, an excavation team led by French archaeologist Pierre Montet unearthed an intact royal burial chamber containing treasures that rival the riches found in Tutankhamun's tomb almost two decades before. But while the Tut discovery created an international sensation, the opening of the tomb in Tanis made barely a ripple in a world focused on impending war.

Now for the first time, we can examine this remarkable and long forgotten find. One of the most spectacular discoveries inside the crypt was the exquisite silver sarcophagus of Pharaoh Psusennes I, an, up till now, obscure ruler who governed Egypt more than 3000 years ago during one of its most difficult periods. As far as we know, this is the only time a pharaoh's mummy was entombed in silver. The story of the sepulcher and of this virtually unknown pharaoh helps fill in some of the gaps in ancient Egypt's history.

After Montet made his discovery, he raced to get his family back to Europe before the outbreak of war and the treasures he found were transported to Cairo for safe-keeping. There, they remained vaulted and unstudied, until now. In the season premiere of THIRTEEN's Secrets of the Dead, a team of Egyptologists decodes hieroglyphic clues and pieces together forensic evidence left behind by Psusennes I, whose lost legacy could rewrite Egyptian history.

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