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Life and Death in the Valley of the Kings

Ancient Egypt: Life and Death in the Valley of the Kings

Fri Mar 22, 9-10pm, BBC2

By Claire Winter
Series one, episode one
It may be a much-covered area of history in TV documentary, but this latest entry into the ancient Egpytian canon – the first of a ‘life’ and ‘death’ two-parter – has a uniquely playful approach that sets it apart. Eccentric Egyptologist Dr Joanne Fletcher seeks the ‘ordinary people’ of ancient Egypt, attempting to piece together the everyday lives of a single couple based on their recovered mummies and remarkably intact belongings. What was their home like? Their everyday habits? How did they meet and fall in love? A little imagination is needed for the questions she’s asking. But, by seeking out the quotidian in this otherwise mystical period of history, and by reflecting our own conventions on to these ancient people, the result is humble and fascinating, if a little whimsical. Next week’s episode – ‘death’ – is likely to be more grisly.

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