Egypt's Greatest Treasures with Bettany Hughes.

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Egypt's Greatest Treasures with Bettany Hughes.

Post by HEPZIBAH » Mon Aug 05, 2019 6:56 pm

Last night I watched Egypt's Greatest Treasures with Bettany Hughes on Channel 5. I like her presenting style and she is always so enthusiastic, not speaking down to her audience but giving enough information to perhaps tempt the less informed about Egypt and Egyptology.

Her Top Ten 'Greatest Treasures' were (thanks to Andy for the list):
10. Mummy of Ramses III
9. Rosetta stone
8. Edfu temple
7. Sphinx
6. Abu Simbel
5. Saquara
4. Luxor Temple
3. Valley of the King's
2. Tutankhamen's treasures
1. Great Pyramid.

If you had to choose your Top Ten, what would they be, and why?


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Re: Egypt's Greatest Treasures with Bettany Hughes.

Post by newcastle » Mon Aug 05, 2019 7:35 pm

I’d find it impossible to give a meaningful list, let alone order it...sorry.

For me, almost every historical site or artefact would jostle for inclusion and much would depend on the criteria adopted.

I also watched, and enjoyed, Bettany’s programme but I’d be hard pushed to find any rationale in her choices. I’m not sure she actually gave any, as I recall. :lol:

I suspect her reasons were diverse. The Rosetta Stone - because it was the key to deciphering hieroglyphs. Abu Simbel - because of the staggering engineering task set by the rising waters of Lake Nasser.

Some of her selection I found decidedly odd. The mummy of Ramesses III for example. Sure - it’s an interesting story.....but a great treasure?

As regards artefacts, the treasures of Tutankhamun are in a class of their own. But there are other troves....the contents of the tomb of Psussenes I for example.

As regards sites....I suppose the inclusion of the Great Pyramid was inevitable. I’m glad to see she didn’t include the temple of Hatshepsut but I would have put Deir el Medina in my list. Also, perhaps, the underwater discoveries at Heracleion.

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Re: Egypt's Greatest Treasures with Bettany Hughes.

Post by Horus » Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:26 pm

I also watched the programme and although interesting, with a couple of exceptions it was fairly predictable in the choices she made. I too would find it hard to make a list as all of the main monuments have in their turn made me stand in some sort of awe, whether that be the Giza pyramids and Abu Simbel for their size or Medinet Habu for its colourful decoration, Karnak for its great size and grandeur or just standing in front of The Collossi of Memnon for the very first time. I have been fortunate in seeing all the items and places on her top ten list plus many more and each place was special to me when I experienced them. I do remember being very impressed when I first visited the obelisk quarry at Aswan and squeezing into the crypt (store room) below Denderah Temple was exciting at the time. The very first tomb I ever visited was that of Merneptah and that was a big Wow, also climbing up to the hiding place of the tomb of Thutmosis III and winding my way down the steep passageway into the lozenge shaped burial chamber, it was oppressively hot and stifling even with a large fan vainly blasting air down into the tomb. Philae took my breath away because of its beautiful setting and the huge smoothly rounded boulders in the river at Aswan, many with Hieroglyphs and cartouche’s carved into them are another non nondescript favourite of mine. Recalling Shelley’s poem ‘Ozymandius’ while standing in front “Of that colossal wreck” at the Ramesseum, a place I always find very tranquil. The more I think about a top ten list the more difficult it becomes, so I think I will admit defeat.
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Re: Egypt's Greatest Treasures with Bettany Hughes.

Post by Major Thom » Thu Aug 08, 2019 3:23 pm

A good little program Horus, one of the items that cleared something up for me was he fact at Abu Symbol the empty mountain under and at the side of Ramses ll Temple. Around 11 years ago when down at the Temple a guide offered us a surprise for 100le each to go and see the real mountain. We thought it was a bit of a swizz what he was trying to tell us and turned the offer down, inthem days £10 each roughly. After watching the program we now wish we had believed him and taken up the offer. Like yourself we thought the 10 items mentioned were a bit out of alinement, but what others see is always different to yourself. There was no mention of Memnon, or Hatchepsutes Mortuary Temple and, only a small mention of Karnak. The step pyramid at Saqqira was interesting and the facts it revealed was very interesting, I knew it was one of the largest burial grounds at the time in Egypt. One fact I thought would have been mentioned was the fact in the V of K, roughly just how many Pharohs/Nobles may still yet to be discovered there must be records of these people still known and have not been discovered.

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Re: Egypt's Greatest Treasures with Bettany Hughes.

Post by Horus » Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:36 pm

Yes it is quite remarkable how they created the mountain replica, although from the back as you walk around it then becomes more obvious it is man made. Always worth paying a bit of baksheesh if you get the opportunity to get to see something unusual or off the beaten track. ;)
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Re: Egypt's Greatest Treasures with Bettany Hughes.

Post by A-Four » Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:52 pm

HEPZIBAH wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 6:56 pm
If you had to choose your Top Ten, what would they be, and why?
This is really a fantastic subject post by Hepzbah, I think this person is aware that different people on this forum have differing views on what would be their top ten most important sites. I am a little suprised that many of the long term residents of the past like myself, or present day ones have not contributed their ideas to this subject.

The reason why I say this is because, those of us who lived there long term I suppose became rather blas'e with the everyday sites, King's Valley, Hatchepsuit, etc, but believe me, there are a few that certainly blew my brains, that our dear Bettany Hughes did not see, but then again, she never has been a resident in the Upper Egyptian Nile Valley, therefore her access to sites would have been limited by the authorities, many of the place I visited were not during my time in Egypt.

Between now and Sunday I shall attempt to give my top ten sites in the Nile Valley,and as to why they are, ( not an easy task) as Hepzibah requests, though I'm sure none of the usual sites will be included.

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Re: Egypt's Greatest Treasures with Bettany Hughes.

Post by newcastle » Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:13 pm

A-Four wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:52 pm
......... there are a few that certainly blew my brains, that our dear Bettany Hughes did not see, but then again, she never has been a resident in the Upper Egyptian Nile Valley, therefore her access to sites would have been limited by the authorities, .........
I very much doubt that, as a well known archaeologist presenting a programme extolling Egypt’s treasures, that Bettany would have been denied access to virtually anywhere she desired!

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Re: Egypt's Greatest Treasures with Bettany Hughes.

Post by Who2 » Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:46 am

Quote Bettany Hughes: What would you bring home from Egypt if you could ?

"The Blue Lotus. The Ancient Egyptians used to drink it as a mood-lifter, turn it into oil and cover themselves with it, even smoke it.

It’s the most beautiful flower I’ve ever seen and it’s almost extinct"
Source: Today's Daily Snail.

She should have popped round here, I just took this pic not quite extinct.... 8)

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Re: Egypt's Greatest Treasures with Bettany Hughes.

Post by hatusu » Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:01 am

My No 1 place in Luxor is the Western Valley. Every time I walk up there to the Tomb of Ay I am overwhelmed by the sheer cliffs on either side, and wonder at how Belzoni discovered it.
The last time we did the walk up there earlier this year , there were digs going on in several places along the way.
PS Perhaps my favourite No 2 would be the little gem of Shelwet

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Re: Egypt's Greatest Treasures with Bettany Hughes.

Post by Yildez » Sat Aug 10, 2019 10:23 am

I love the Western Valley too Hatusu, so quiet and with an amazing atmosphere. The tomb of Ay? Like some Egyptologists, I believe that this was originally started for Tutankhamen and usurped by Ay, the entrance is unmistakably a royal tomb, and could not have been completed in the 3 years that Ay was on the throne. I live in hope that the tomb of Amunhoptep 3rd will be opened to the public while I'm still able to make the trip to Luxor!

I've thought about my top ten a lot, and have decided that my number one has to be the temple of Abydos! Love it!!

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Re: Egypt's Greatest Treasures with Bettany Hughes.

Post by carrie » Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:04 pm

Can't decide what my top ten are they change everyday.
What would I take home, the little Isis chapel at El Kab together with one square mile of surrounding rocks and sand, Just loved the dried out wadi and the graffiti on the rocks near there. I know it would be a little difficult to fit in my suitcase but no one mentioned weight or size restrictions.

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Re: Egypt's Greatest Treasures with Bettany Hughes.

Post by Yildez » Sat Aug 10, 2019 1:32 pm

I loved that temple too Carrie, and the amazing location. You and I have visited some wonderful ancient sites! (And have had lots of adventures, generally through bad behaviour!!)

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Re: Egypt's Greatest Treasures with Bettany Hughes.

Post by carrie » Sat Aug 10, 2019 1:56 pm

Not really bad behavior just chancing our arm and knowing when we have gone far enough.

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Re: Egypt's Greatest Treasures with Bettany Hughes.

Post by A-Four » Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:32 am

Well as promised here is the first part of my top ten sites and why.

10). The Merryland Hotel Luxor. This old place near the Corniche has a 'roof garden' of sorts, which overlooks the river, be there at around one hour before sun set to view the sights of the WB as far as the eye can see both North and South. A truly fantastic time is during Ramadan, the frantic movement especially on the river as the small motor boats ferry the unsuspecting tourists are, much more quickly returned back towards their hotels? Finally, the cannon goes off, almost perfect silence except for the natural sound of the birds attempting to settle as now darkness begins to fall, and peace and quiet is all around.

9). TT 353. During the early days of Stan's life in Egypt he lived quite near a friends house up in Gabouwi, that is how I first met him. This person to me always seemed to be so serious, so one day I set about getting him to see a special place. I knew exactly where he would be, reading a book and a drink in front of him on a certain afternoon on the WB. I met him, and although reluctant he came with me in a car to an area of Hatshepsuit's temple precinct. I was able to get Stan and a couple of old friends of this forum into this most fascinating tomb, not even I had been in there before. Afterwards I asked Stan if he had been impressed, oh yes. Then at least smile then, I requested, he did not just smile, he beamed,.............a rare site.

8). The Western Valley. What can be said of this place that is not special, and that has not been said before. The moment you pass Davis House, the whole area becomes your. The silence that builds as you walk through this valley. To stop, stand and listen to the sound of nothing, where your ear rarely hear nothing, will play tricks to give the effect of a strange gentle buzzing,........a great place to contemplate life's mysteries.

7). The Enclosure Abydos. This truly is a remarkable place, especially if you read up before going, nothing prepares you for this wonderful site, and also the other sites in this immediate area. Years ago, it was relatively easy to avoid the security staff, and once out of site, my goodness so much of the secrecy of Abydos (to the north) really opens up. These days the village of Beni Mansur is not as before, unfortunately, one has to avoid this place at all costs.

6). Dush. For those that have made the journey into the Western Desert usually first travel direct West until you arrive near a desert village built by Hassan Fatti. This is as far west that you travel, from here a road direct South brings you to an old fort with a temple it's called Dush. To take the North turn takes you through the long once desert track, now Tarmac road that was once the ancient camel trade routes. The towns you pass now we're once the simple overnight stations of the trade route.. During the days of the Roman Empire, if a senior army officer displeased the Emperor, he would be offered a posting either in the heat of Dush or the cold and damp of the North British hills. I have often stood at the window high in the watch tower facing South, and wondered how many have stood here before me in Roman times, simply hoping and praying rebels from the south of Egypt would never come.

I shall write up my final five by the end of the day, difficult to decide what I believe should be no 1.

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Re: Egypt's Greatest Treasures with Bettany Hughes.

Post by A-Four » Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:06 pm

So, my final five, I have now decided what is my Number one treasure, in Egyptology we have eye to see, but quite often this can be obscured by the glint of gold, remove this and we reveal the truth. First let's start with the others,.......

5). The Labyrinth Tomb WB Luxor. When you live in Egypt sometimes you can be in the right place at the exact moment. I came across a certain person who was working in a tomb which is slightly to the south of The Avenue of Hatchepsuit Temple. I was simply asked if I would like to see it, as I entered I realised I had entered a warren with many separate areas, where under the power of electric light many people were working separate sections, I could not see any coffins or mummies for that matter, but an unbelievable network of connected corridors. I can understand why this place has never been opened to the public, it would be too dangerous.

4). Abydos by day. Throughout my time in Egypt, I have been very privileged to have been able to stay there a number of days over a long period. Most of the tourist have left the temple by 2-30 p.m. The chief guardian of the place, knowing that I was still there, would switch off the electric lighting, it was then that the beautiful decorated walls sort of came alive, from what we would recognise from a dull matt finish to a fantastic silk effect, where it seemed each stroke of a brush brought a new sense of life to the surface, add to that the magic of this place.

3). Abydos at night. For anyone who has visited Abydos, they will notice that the small town is positioned either side of the temple. What most people do not realise is that the locals are discouraged from crossing over from one side to the other during the day, until around 5 p.m. when most of the state police depart from the area until the next morning. It is now in the evening that 'cafe society' now takes over, where the whole village comes together in front of this marvellous temple, with gentle electric illumination, and in the dark clear western sky, the moon and the stars of the universe,......what more do you need.

2). The Secret Temple. Anyone who visited Essna Temple, must surely wonder how many such places as this are out there still to be discovered. Well, I know of one such place, that obviously was dug out many years ago, it's about two thirds the size of Essna Temple. In the northern section is a barque shrine attached to the Temple. It is almost twenty five years ago that I first climbed over barb wire headed railing, then scrambled down the deep slope. The ground surface was covered in a almost black dust, at least nine inches thick, no one had been there for years. What I will tell you about this place is that it's in the south of a town in Upper Egypt, a road runs along the north side of this temple and to the south is a simple pathway, though from either position it's almost impossible to see this place, it's almost, like many other places in Egypt, you literally have to fall upon it to actually find it. The probable reason why this place is not advertised is because it is in a rather sensitive security position, and most tourist would give it a miss, a bit like Essna.

1). The Coffin Lid of Ramesses II. From my early days in Egypt I have always taken a keen interest in the life of the ordinary people of Ancient Egypt. I always wanted to see inside the tomb of Yuya and Yuya, when I did, I already knew that it had been flooded in both antiquity and modern era, that did not matter, all I wanted to understand was the true size of the tomb. On my second visit to Cairo Museum, I paid great attention to the fantastic collection of simple ordinary item that this couple had wished to have in their 'spirit room of eternity'. I was amazed, but suddenly unexpectedly turned 180 degree to discover that looking down on me was the superb carved wooden image of the face of Ramesses II on the lid of his inner most coffin.

Before me was possibly the longish living Pharaoh, the power of this man is legendary along with his wealth, even his Mortuary Temple had solid gold ' skirting boards' throughout, yet his most inner coffin was made only of wood, yes probably covered in gold leaf, but still wood. Alarm bells should be ringing in the ears of the so called television Egyptologists. A boy king who died very young is buried in a solid gold coffin,........something wrong here.

It is at this point that true archeology should step, for example each face of the individual coffin lids, attributed to Tutankhamoun are different, even the so called death mask of Tutankhamoun, and that is simply just the start, of the many things that simply do not make sense. What K.V. 62 held was a whole collection of a golden period, mostly removed from the temple that we know today as The Amarna Era.

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Re: Egypt's Greatest Treasures with Bettany Hughes.

Post by Mad Dilys » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:00 am

My daughter and I were distracted by Ms Hughes flirting and the way she contrived to expose her generous décolletage, especially in the presence of Egyptian male experts. Not polite in my opinion. Pity, because otherwise an excellent programme.
Smile! It confuses people

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Re: Egypt's Greatest Treasures with Bettany Hughes.

Post by newcastle » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:37 am

Mad Dilys wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:00 am
My daughter and I were distracted by Ms Hughes flirting and the way she contrived to expose her generous décolletage, especially in the presence of Egyptian male experts. Not polite in my opinion. Pity, because otherwise an excellent programme.
She’d certainly have no problem getting a table at the Merryland. :lol:

Difficult to see how she could avoid “contriving” a bit of exposure.....unless she went native with an abaya.

Still....maybe it helped her gain access to sites not normally accessible!

P.S. @MD.....How did you cope with Ibiza? :lol:

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Re: Egypt's Greatest Treasures with Bettany Hughes.

Post by hatusu » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:56 am

The best Christmas Day of my life was spent at Dush Temple. It was just before the Revolution, and we regularly arranged visits there for guests. This was a special one, as we took Saad's music group with us. The Egyptian archaeologists there at the time laid on a sumptuous feast for us,and after a tour of the site with a knowledgeable guide we feasted and danced till it was time for the very noisy drive home. Lovely times.

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Re: Egypt's Greatest Treasures with Bettany Hughes.

Post by newcastle » Mon Aug 12, 2019 11:11 am

“I was amazed, but suddenly unexpectedly turned 180 degree to discover that looking down on me was the superb carved wooden image of the face of Ramesses II on the lid of his inner most coffin”

But it wasn’t !

That coffin has long been recognised as late 18th Dynasty.....most likely Horemheb.

Many of the DB 320 cache mummies are not in their original coffins.

It’s also long been recognised that the coffins of Tutankhamen were constructed for the burial of an earlier ruler....possibly Smenkhare or Neferneferuaten.

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Re: Egypt's Greatest Treasures with Bettany Hughes.

Post by John Landon » Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:41 pm

Ramesses II certainly got around a lot. If you cannot attribute something to anyone, tell 'em its Ramesses II. No wonder he ruled for so long.. ;-)

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