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Kingdom of the Mummies

Reveals of First Evidence that Mummification took place Underground.

Premiering Friday 5 June at 20:00 CAT on National Geographic and airing globally in 142 countries and 43 languages, Kingdom Of The Mummies tracks Dr. Hussein’s team of archaeologists, along with Egyptologist Prof. Salima Ikram from American University in Cairo, mummy expert Dr. Stephen Buckley from University of York, digital archaeologist Dr. Matthias Lang from University of Tübingen, geoengineer Dr. Ayman Hamed of Suez University and paleoradiologist Prof. Sahar Saleem from Cairo University, as they make a host of new finds and decipher clues about Egyptian burial processes.

National Geographic has released never-before-seen footage from within ancient Egypt’s first known fully intact funeral home, as the show uncovers the burial complex, dating back to 600 BC, deep beneath the sands at the Saqqara necropolis less than an hour’s drive south of Cairo. The new, four-part series follows the team as they explore the subterranean chambers and open four sealed, 2,600 year-old sarcophagi to unlock secrets forgotten since the age of the Pharaohs.

In addition to uncovering the first known, fully integrated funeral complex with dedicated areas for organ removal, embalming and burial, the team’s learnings are helping reveal more about death – and the business of death – in ancient Egypt. The latest scientific testing and scanning of the tombs, their relics and the remains of the deceased also add layers of meaning and context to the lessons being gleaned about the sacred rites and commerce that were conducted in this subterranean space.

Peeling back layer upon layer hidden within the funeral home, other key finds included:

  • The first gilded silver mummy mask in Egypt since 1939.
  • The first mummy buried with an unprecedented six canopic jars holding organs, suggesting an entirely new form of burial.
  • Evidence of a previously unknown cult worshipping a mysterious snake goddess exists via inscriptions on three mummies identify them as ‘Priests of Niut-Shaes’.
  • Two elite priests buried in the shaft were of Libyan descent.
  • One mummy was entombed with crossed arms in a divine position usually reserved only for Pharaohs.
  • In a rare archaeological coincidence, two of the mummies might be mother and son, buried just 4 metres apart.

In order to learn more about the contents of the tomb and those who worked and were buried there, the archaeological team used the latest technology to scan and capture as much data about the burial complex as possible.

Kingdom Of The Mummies is produced by BBC Studios for National Geographic. For BBC Studios, executive producers are Sarah Gibbs and Lisa Ausden. For National Geographic, the executive producer is Helen Hawken; Hamish Mykura is executive vice president, programming and development; and Geoff Daniels is executive vice president of global unscripted entertainment.

About Louw Mulder

Editor At Stage and Screen

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