Segments in this Video

Egyptian Ruins Found Near Alexandria (03:54)


Egyptian ruins are found on the sea bed near the Mediterranean port of Alexandria, once ruled by Cleopatra. The city was demolished by an earthquake. A coin bears Cleopatra's only likeness.

Ancient Egyptian Culture (02:36)

Egypt flourished for 3,000 years along the Nile River. Scientists ponder how a civilization could prosper in such a dry, harsh region. The Great Pyramid near Cairo holds a particular fascination.

Great Pyramid of Khufu (03:54)

Computer animation maps out the interior of the Great Pyramid and its architecturally perfect construction. The inscription "Khufu" on the wall reveals the pyramid was built during Khufu's reign.

Egypt's Workman's Village (02:55)

Heroditis' theory that the Great Pyramid was Khufu's tomb built by slaves was accepted for centuries. The discovery of Workman's Village near the pyramid has cast doubt on that theory.

Excavating Workman's Village (02:49)

Dr. Hawass leads the excavation of Workman's Village. About 1,000 bodies have been uncovered, along with tools that could have been used to build the pyramids.

Village Skeletons Tell Tales (03:44)

Anthropologists at the National Research Centre in Cairo find signs of surgical procedures on the skeletons, unlikely to have been performed on slaves. Female bones are found at the village.

Families at Workman's Village (03:02)

Bones and statues of families found at Workman's Village overthrow the slave theory. It is believed that slave villages would have contained only males.

Timecard From Workman's Village (03:06)

An excavated piece of limestone documents workers' hours like a modern-day timecard. Days absent include reasons like illness, celebrations, mummy-making, and hangovers.

Why Were the Pyramids Built? (03:09)

The pyramids were built by ancient Egyptians who enjoyed a certain amount of freedom. King Sneferu built five pyramids. If the pyramids were the pharoah's tombs, why did he need five?

Egyptians and the Nile's Flood Cycle (04:59)

"Nilometers" on ancient pyramids charted the Nile's flood cycle. Egyptians did not build dams but lived in harmony with the Nile. The flood waters ensured a rich harvest and acted as a natural fertilizer.

Mendelssohn's Riddle of the Pyramids (03:09)

Dr. Mendelssohn's "Riddle of the Pyramids" states the pyramids were built to employ farmers during the Nile's four month flood period. The building of the structure, not the pyramid itself, was important.

Mendelssohn's Theory Gets Proof (02:50)

A "work contract" inscribed on the front of High Priest Kai's tomb backs up Mendelssohn's theory of the pyramid-building. The labor provided work for farmers while their fields were flooded.

Pyramid Building a Community Project (02:40)

Pyramid building was a planned, organized community project which utilized the Nile's flood waters to transport equipment. The actual purpose of the pyramids is still disputed.

Egypt's Great Temples and Mummies (02:24)

Karnak's Great Temple at Luxor was one of several temples built at different times throughout Egypt. Egyptian ideology believed the spirit lived after death and mummification preserved the body.

Egypt's Spirits of the Dead (03:25)

Egyptians believed spirits returned to the earth and rested in their mummified bodies. King Tutankhamen's sarcophagus was made of gold which never corrodes, symbolizing eternal life.

Ancient Egypt: Kingdom of the Nile (02:20)

Mummified babies found in Tutankhamen's grave are thought to be his daughters whom he hoped to be united with in the afterlife. Ancient Egyptian civilization revolved around the Nile.

Aswan High Dam (03:37)

The Aswan High Dam tamed the Nile's flood waters and allowed modern cities to spring up on its shores. Farmers can work year-round, but must rely on synthetic fertilizer without the flood waters.

Pyramids: The Symbol of Egypt (01:32)

The pyramids were built by human strength and help from the Nile's floods. The floods no longer exist but the pyramids still stand as a symbol of strength and unity of the Egyptian people.

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Egypt: Journey to the Global Civilization

Part of the Series : Messages from the Past: Reassessing Ancient Civilizations
DVD Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Were Egypt’s pyramids really built by slaves to be the tombs of the pharaohs? Most scholars believed so—until the excavation of a workers’ village and the tomb of High Priest Kai led to some startling conclusions. In this program, Zahi Hawass, of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, and renowned anthropologist Azza Saary el-Din provide support for the "public works" theory of the late Egyptologist Kurt Mendelssohn, while analysis of the River Nile’s flood cycle, inquiries into the practices of medicine and mummification, and outstanding 3-D computer animation offer a broad perspective on ancient Egyptian society. (59 minutes)

Length: 60 minutes

Item#: BVL11653

ISBN: 978-0-7365-5877-8

Copyright date: ©2000

Closed Captioned

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