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The professor explores one of Saqqara’s last pyramid complexes to illustrate how Ancient Egypt’s `Pyramid Age’ came to an end. A worsening climate combined with political upheaval, famine and economic difficulties to plunge the state into a dark era of civil war, with the land dividing into smaller city-states headed by ambitious small-town leaders. In an obscure tomb in Thebes, she uncovers the stories of warriors who fought in the bloody battle that would eventually lead to Egypt’s reunification, and reveals how settlers known as the `Hyksos’ tried to infiltrate the fledgling nation’s government to seize the throne.
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with its mighty Pharaoh's multiple gods and magnificent art it's easy to think that ancient Egypt was always powerful and successful but there were also darker times conflict civil war famine and an overall feeling of catastrophe and the only way it could survive was through its own resilience and the strongest of leadership now this is a sorceress the third who ruled Egypt almost 4000 years ago he's strong and he's muscular everything a pharaoh should be and yet look at his face his scowling features have been interpreted to suggest his harsh rule and his large ears his ability to hear any plots against him this oestrus embodies the way Egypt's monarchs ruled during its turbulent times this king controlled his enemies through a series of military fortresses and through magical curses but this is a new era in Egypt's history not only ruled by military power but by fear and suspicion and Egypt's darkest times threatened to destroy its entire civilization I've already explored how Egypt's ancient culture began thousands of years earlier blessed by the River Nile and a rich natural environment and a society united by a complex ideology but in this episode we'll see how the massive self-confidence of the pyramid age was not to last as a Dark Age brought this civilization to the brink of annihilation make no mistake this is the home of the dead and we're in amongst them these were times of famine civil war and anarchy Kings have been reduced to something on a mini skill level but this collapse triggered one of the greatest revivals of ancient times with Egypt reemerging more powerful and wealthy than ever before welcome to my story of ancient Egypt Saqqara where Egypt's Great Pyramid Age began but among its glories there's also evidence of a far less well-known side to Egypt's story it's descent into a Dark Age the zenith of Egypt's Old Kingdom was the Great Pyramid at Giza and only 200 years later King unas causeway was created it might not look much today but it's the highlight of Oona's pyramid complex a 750 meter long causeway which symbolically connected life and death it goes right from the Nile Valley all the way up onto the high desert plateau right to the foot of the Pyramid of illness so it would have been used for his funeral procession but it would also have drawn up that life-giving force from the valley below up to the city of the Dead here at saqqara a narrow slit in the roof once allowed enough lighting but the extraordinary thing is that this causeway was designed for a sole purpose the King's funeral procession carved upon its walls are scenes revealing both sides of life the forces of order and of chaos it first portrays an idealized version of Egypt a time of Plenty here we can see typical scenes within an Egyptian temple or funerary context scenes of the rich bounty of Egypt old through the vegetables the crops the meat the fish all the wealth of the natural environment of Egypt which was all obviously brought to the land through the good offices of the King the bringer of all bouncer the intermediary with the gods but also this causeway contained something rather more disturbing evidence that dark forces would at work further on down the causeway emerged a counterpart image the flipside of bounty an image so unusual it's now displayed in Sakura's museum and it really is one of ancient Egypt's most haunting and revealing works of art here we see these dark forces at work what we have are two rows of emaciated victims of famine these poor people they're weak with hunger they're falling down they're suffering and this is basically ancient Egypt coming face-to-face with reality because these are believed to be the Bedouin who inhabited the desert fringes of Egypt so it's as if this kind of idea of suffering and the forces of chaos are on the periphery of Egypt but they get in ever closer to the Nile Valley Egypt is starting so waking up to the fact that chaos isn't all that far away this is ancient Egypt beginning to suffer such gritty realism had rarely been portrayed before chaos depicted as the suffering of real people this isn't happening in some esoteric realm of the Gods where chaos is sort of portrayed as some sort of disparate magical force very detached from reality this is reality through such realistic images the Egyptians were expressing their fears to the gods appealing to them to keep these forces of chaos at bay but instead the starving famine victims would turn out to be a chilling omen up until now Egypt's prosperity had flowed from its one source of water the River Nile whose annual floods enriched the soil allowing life and agriculture to flourish this natural abundance was the very bedrock on which Egypt and his perpetual World Order was able to thrive but this lifeblood was about to run dry evidence shows that at the end of the third millennium BC the Nile flood levels fell dramatically as the very thing that brought them life began to diminish the Egyptians believed that their gods had begun to abandon them and for the next century the ancient texts talk of suffering starvation and even cannibalism traditionally Egyptian society had been built on the belief in the divine power of its kings without this belief the pyramid age would never have been possible but now in its time of need Egypt's King seemed increasingly powerless in the face of such natural disaster and this would come to a head with a ruler who was well past his prime claimed to have lived for a hundred years he was Egypt's longest lived monarch King Pepe the second and this space was once a ceremonial running track the type of place where Pepe would have to display his physical prowess to prove himself to his people now when any Pharaoh had celebrated thirty years reign they had to perform the Jubilee ceremonies and this involved running the ceremonial Jubilee race four times around this circuit is king of the north four times around the circuit as king of the south it was the ultimate public display of their fitness to rule and their strength it really showed who was in charge of Egypt but that's where Pepe's advancing age would eventually let him down of course when Pharaoh was relatively young and fit this would have been a great celebration but in the case of poor Pepe then in his 90s it became all too clear that Pharaoh was no living God and this really undermined the whole concept of what it was to be a pharaoh clearly as mortal as his subjects any natural disaster must have seemed the fault of this less than superhuman King in this combination of a weakening Pharaoh and failing harvests led to rapid decline ancient Egypt now faced its first major political crisis for the power and apparent divinity of the Pharaoh that have been so very important in the pyramid age but now vanished everything that bound Egyptian society together had begun to fall away and Egypt was plunged into a Dark Age in this time of growing uncertainty when the Egyptians had lost faith in both the monarchy and state-run religion they increasingly turn to the power of magic this is a rather unsettling thing it's an ancient Egyptian mask it's almost 5000 years old and it's made of linen covered in a thin layer of plaster and then painted predominantly black with colors picked out on various features of course the Egyptians are well known for making elaborate arrangements for their afterlife the death mask placed over the mummified body recreated the features of the Dead to make them recognizable to the gods but this mask is different it was made to be worn by the living and we know this because of their very distinctive eye holes which you can see there and this would allow the wearer to see around them I can imagine when this was applied to the face fastened on tied on behind the head it would transform that individual into a completely different entity traces of paint on the linen reveal how it might have helped the wearer embody some form of magical beings whoever while this was going to some effort to transform their appearance to try and tap into the hidden forces of the gods and to control the world in which they lived it's as if the Egyptian individual that wore this was trying to take charge of their own destiny but the mask isn't the only evidence of magic for in their dark ages the Egyptians increasingly began to write out curses and spells on pots and figurines scrolled across one was the curse die Henry son of in death a form of magic sufficiently small scaled to be performed within their own homes one of the most graphic ways they did this was to take a piece of clay or a simple pot like this one and write upon it the thing or the person that they wanted to control they often used red ochre because red was associated with the powers of destruction so if I was doing this I'd put on it the thing I'd want to stop mature early morning curls and alarm clocks so you've got to imagine Egyptians from all walks of life doing this the priests wanting to protect the Pharaoh the soldier in battle against an enemy or simply a hated love rival so all sorts of Egyptians could be on the receiving end of something like this then to activate the curse they smashed the pot it was a symbolic act to annihilate the name of the enemy and therefore to control that enemy who does feel better not unlike voodoo such practices are found in many ancient cultures and Egypt was no exception but it's far from the way we imagined the formal time-honored rituals of the temple led by the king at the head of the religious hierarchy this is an Egypt that's becoming more suspicious more fearful or more aware of the threats to their world natural disasters political breakdown and foreign powers and this little wax figurine is a means to control anyone that threatens the balance daughter of Egyptian life welcome to the age of fear a time when every element of Egypt's worldview was in doubt their faith in their King in their land and even in their gods had all faltered this is one of the lowest points in Egypt's long story and its effect reverberate throughout the Nile Valley the king traditionally based in the north was no longer the source of wealth so royal officials abandoned court and relocated back to their hometowns throughout the country disunited Egypt reverted back to how it had been a thousand years earlier breaking up into a series of local regions called gnomes and now a new current of leader emerges to dominate the Dark Ages no longer a single king but multiple warlords and we know much about one of them because he left his detailed autobiography in his rock-cut tomb at Malala well away from the usual tourist sites his name was aunt tiffy now auntie fee is a small-time official who's worked his way up through the ranks to become the regional governor or know mark as it's known and in the decline in central government the power vacuum that opens up is now filled by the empty fees of this world activist tomb is quite modest by ancient Egyptian standards but its interior walls tell of his rise to power and Egyptologist Gary Shaw is going to help me unravel auntie fees story you can see the man who such a great man carved standing there Murphy has a great tomb as well the hieroglyphs and images that fill the walls reveal how long tiffy exploited the power vacuum at the end of the pyramid age reducing the king to nothing more than a footnote the only time you see the name of a king in the entire tomb is right here there's tiny little character it couldn't be any smaller and that's the old tomb the one mention of a king and just nothing that really emphasizes just how important he thought he was alone he didn't need to mention the Pharaoh he didn't need to say that the king told me to do this so I did this because of the kings favors he just did it himself that is extraordinary I think that cartouche alone of everything in the tomb encapsulates this whole period Kings have been reduced to something on a mini skill level and the local rulers are shown on a huge scale and it's all about them isn't it actifi had enhanced his own political career and wanted to ensure that gods were in no doubt as to his importance so the elaborate language once exclusive to the king was now part of activies own boastful propaganda this warlord was an egomaniac he also says that he's a hero without equal without peer and you get that here I'm a hero without peer and pretty much almost every inscription in list to men's or includes this statement at some point inside and what did he do to kind of justify these claims he emphasizes all the good things he did for the people this was meant to be a time of drought and famine so were told in the texts and he tried to guide them through this he was managing it by feeding everybody and doing all sorts of good things giving bread for the hungry pointment those with our augment and sandals for those who were birth thought and wives for those without wives so it's basically telling us about a time of turmoil yeah but he's probably just over exaggerating because the more he exaggerates just how awful it is the more great he looks when he says well these are the nice things I did for everybody and you get this here he talks about the entire south dying from hunger that's a really graphic I really love that he's definitely dead and but then it gets even worse though he says that every single man is eating his children he didn't allow this to happen in his gnome of course where he lived everything was fine and at the same time he's also a fantastic warrior were told over know that was coming these texts on this particular column talk about his abilities as a warrior in his biggest boast of all act if he the local hero almost claims the status of a god I am the beginning and the end of mankind since nobody like myself existed before nor will ye exist in Egypt's Dark Age warlords like induct if II had replaced the real kings of Egypt and that if his delusions of grandeur so vividly expressed inside his tomb are even more emphasized on the outside because he chose burial inside a rock shaped like a natural pyramid he wanted to be the local pharaoh and in a way he was because whoever fed and protected the people also led the people but is the power of warlords like act if he grew so did the conflicts between them and over time as they either defeated their neighbors or formed alliances with them to separate dynasties of warlord kings emerged one in the north at heraclio palace where they were the red crown of Lower Egypt and one in the south that Thebes symbolized by the white crown of Upper Egypt Egypt was a divided Kingdom of two lands in between them lay a war zone situated at its center lay Egypt's most sacred site it's earliest royal burial ground and still today an evocative and atmospheric place this was the resting place of Egypt's first kings whose mummified bodies were buried in elaborate burial chambers beneath the desert floor a safe place for their souls or so they thought but hostilities between the two warring factions were about to plumb new depths of horror with an assault so blasphemous it would change the face of Egypt forever one of the most violent acts was recorded in later texts as the vile deed for the northern wall odd Kings fighting their southern opponents here actually desecrated these royal tombs for their troops set fire to the tombs and destroyed the royal mummies at a stroke Egypt's physical link to its ancient past was severed such an act of desecration was completely unimaginable and the Egyptian people were rightly appalled although the northern Kings deeply regretted what their troops had done the destruction was irreversible and the origins of Egypt's royal past lost forever of course the problem with such times of destruction is that there's very little left of them for as Egyptologists to find but clues do remain if you know what you're looking for today what's left of the violation of this royal burial ground is surprising thousands upon thousands of broken pots although most are not part of the destruction itself they represent centuries of atonement for the loss of Egypt's physical connection with its past now not long after the desecration this became a place of pilgrimage where people came with little pots like this one filled with food drink incense which they offered up to the souls of the dead Kings once buried here it was believed that at death these souls of the Kings had joined with the soul of a cyrus god of the dead and as this place became a site of pilgrimage it's as if the people of Egypt were trying to make amends for the desecration of the past Egypt's spiritual connection to its royal ancestors was all it had left after the northern warlords had destroyed their physical remains and the desecration soon provoked violent retaliation directly across the desert from Abydos lay Thebes the stronghold of the southern warlords and they would soon rise up against their northern rivals and attempt to resurrect Egypt as a United land back in 2000 BC Thebes was a one donkey town and yet its warlords had two distinct advantages over other leaders they lived on a bend in the Nile called a Kenna bend a strategic control point of rich farmland and their local God was Monto the God of War the wall odds of Thebes would reunite Egypt and one in particular came to the fore his images were carved into the walls of his Theban tomb complex and his name tells as much this is the Theban warlord monter hotep and there's a real clue as to what was happening at this part of Egyptian history because his name Mamta hotep means the local war god Monto is content because hotep simply means content and happy so if the war god was happy with monter hotep this means that he was a very powerful military figure and this is a wonderful scene there are a lot of little clues here to tell us what's going on and if you look really closely you can see hands embracing him flanking him but his back his front around his middle he's been embraced by the gods chief amongst whom his mum to himself and there is his nose to nose with the king he's giving him the breath of life and infusing him with his own divine power it was the power of victory one that finally brought an end to Egypt's first Dark Age monta whole set really did live up to his name as a true son of the war God because he took his armies north he conquered the north and he reunited a jib but best of all he's got the red crown on and this is the red crown of the North because Monta hotep is declaring to the world I might be a southerner I might be from Thebes I should be wearing the white crown but look at me now I have the red crown I am the king of the north and the King of the South and I have reunited Egypt as Egypt's new king he became Monta hotep the second but his victory came at a high price the grim details of what his soldiers went through can be found on thieved West Bank at Deir el-bahri it was inside one of the tombs here that the remains of montijo Tepes Warriors were uncovered in 1923 their bodies silent witnesses to Egypt's civil war of 4000 years ago which careful analysis revealed in fascinating detail now the archaeologists found around 60 bodies in the tool and these are the original excavation photographs all of them had been naturally preserved naturally mummified in the hot dry climate so you've still got the skin and the hair and crucially evidence of how these men had fought and died some of these bodies have been pierced by arrows this one goes right into the left side of the chest others had actually been buried with these leather wrist guards that archers use ten of the Warriors had been killed with ebony tipped arrows but in others the wounds are even more brutal you can see here somebody's hit this man on the head with a real whack and you can see this very very graphic area of damage there and after these series of furious blows have been rained down on these poor guys they lay helpless on the field of battle their bodies picked up by vultures you can see here the dreadful damage it's such a profound image the bodies reveal evidence of the weapons used against them as they fought for control of Egypt arrows slingshot and even rocks had been hurled at the warriors from above eventually their bodies were collected from the battlefield and carefully wrapped in linen this linen bar the insignia of the Theban tomb complex belonging to their leader Monta hotep but just as significant as the bodies themselves was where Monta hotep chose to bury his fallen heroes today the warriors resting place is a little-known sealed tomb but 4000 years ago Mamta hotep honored his dead soldiers with a burial amongst the graves of his highest officials making them part of his monument to victory the new king had created what could well be the world's first known world cemetery now I'm looking enough to have been given special permission to see Monta hotep soldiers for the first time these guys are going to be taking down the tomb wall for me allowing me to actually meet the very people who fought in Egypt's Civil War around 2,000 BC so I am very very excited and it was the same curiosity which drove a team of American archaeologists to excavate their original mass grave in the first place now reburied in a neighboring to the bodies of Monta hotep soldiers have rarely seen the light of day since their discovery over 90 years ago Coolatta mom Sharon gazelle and the chaplain Miriah now this is really really super frustrating but in the interests of health and safety I can't go in there immediately much as I really want so because all the stay lairs built up as the walls being sealed and we've really got to let this out with all the fungal spores and the bacteria and everything else that's so detrimental to health early Egyptologists tended to rush straight in and risk the so-called Pharaohs curse so a little waiting is essential I can't believe we're actually gonna enter this tomb now it's it's one of those rare moments you get in a Egypt illogical career into a tomb that's hardly ever visited the wall had to come down and who knows what we're going to find inside because I certainly have never seen this before so it's a very very special moment this literally wasn't at all I expect – nobody knew what to expect his staggering I've never ever been into a tomb quite like this before the mask is a very good idea because those are all sorts of things floating around in the atmosphere in here not just the dust of Ages and the dust of human beings and the such we have to be very very respectful it's a large rock-cut tomb and although its walls are unfinished it's typical of those created for courtiers and officials throughout these cliffs Wow it's a mummified body it's absolutely incredible oh that's that's quite something and if you look along the length of this very long to look at the floor this isn't stone these are human remains and mummy wrappings and there are chambers and corridors leading off again full of wrappings the linen of ages some of it is claimed to be the very linen that bound the bodies of monter howtechs warriors to help preserve them for eternity but at first glance it's hard to get a clear picture for this particular tomb seems to have been reused many times during Egypt's long history part of a shoulder see the way the skins folded and dried out partial human body still with much of its soft tissue intact it hits you immediately in the face and you come from said with what a tomb is all about make no mistake this is the home of the dead and we're in amongst them it's a very very emotive and powerful place to be but what's striking is how little is left of their bodies like many other tombs up and down the Nile they've been subjected to centuries of looting and damage and amongst all these linen wrappings and debris and human remains themselves are the tangible remains of these men who died so bravely in their efforts to reunify Egypt from UM to hotep their leader Ivan just come out of that tomb a very very mixed emotions I don't really know what I was expecting to see certainly some of monter hotep soldiers perhaps some of them were silent likely essentially what we're looking at are the ancient Egyptians themselves these are the ancient Egyptians temples tombs pyramids it's wonderful culture it's all well and good studying these esoteric aspects that are distinct and marvelous and grand but when it comes down to it things we should really be interested in are these people monter howtechs reunification of egypt but a new beginning the dawn of what would become known as the Middle Kingdom and the rise of Thebes monter hotep made it the new spiritual heart of Egypt and it would stay that way for the next 2,000 years but whereas the war god Monceau had dominated the previous century of Egypt's story the deity that now tuck center stage was Hathor the goddess of love joy beauty and motherhood the goddess whose origins can be traced right back to the earliest of times and believing that a third welt in the cliffs of Deir el-bahri monta whole tech chose this site not only for his war cemetry but for his own tomb complex it was Monta hotep that first built here in this dramatic place where the cliffs meet the desert believed to be the home of the goddess Hathor herself it was a fast track to the afterlife and from on to hotep and his men who had lived and died by the war god Manto they all now rest in the eternal embrace of hatha the first build at Deir el-bahri was monter hotep the founder of a reunified egypt he was so influential it's almost 600 years later female pharaoh Hatshepsut built her own funeral right next door to tap into the religious and political power of her illustrious predecessor in the Middle Kingdom life for ordinary people was on the up food was plentiful wealth and trade flourished and farming was revitalized with new irrigation systems yet the dark age had nonetheless left its mark on the Egyptian mindset as revealed in the way they prepared for the afterlife in the Old Kingdom tomb walls were often covered in elaborate scenes and texts replicating an idealized version of the Egyptian world but in the Dark Ages people had seen their sacred sites ripped apart so instead of such tomb art many in the Middle Kingdom opted for it's cheaper equivalent with something much smaller and much more intimate while these may look like children's toys they were in fact made nearly 4000 years ago to be placed inside Egyptian burials now these wooden models were designed to provide the deceased with an eternal supply of food and drink in the next world and so we have all the basics here the Egyptian staples of bread beer and beef so we have the Baker's at this end and they're grinding the grain to make flour which will then be made into the bread loaves that are cooked in this fire and the baker is in front there the arms are quite damaged but presumably shielding his face from the heat as we know from other examples move to the middle and we have the butcher here and he's cutting the throat of this ox and that legs are bound here to keep the animal in situ while the deed is done and then we move on to the end and we have the brewer this is a fabulous fabulous example because he's pushing the mash through a sieve and the sips even being drawn on there on the top actually in proportion with the rest of it this individuals ordered rather more beer than either bread or beef because this section of the model is almost half its length but you can see the vats of beer carefully laid on their side it's a wonderfully evocative piece these people have been working for 4,000 years miss Stewart it look at them the key elements of Egyptian culture were back and they look little different from times of plenty in the previous millennium look at this busy crew grappling with the sail poles ready to launch the boat off the Niles banks and this granary silo inside workers haul sacks of barley while a scribe counts the crop and of course there are also female figures in Egypt women enjoyed much the same status as men and like their sisters in many other parts of the ancient world they're also producing one of the Egyptian staples but linen the cloth which was used to make pretty much every Egyptian garment when you see this standing woman here she's spinning the thread with this spindle and the thread that she's busy making she'll then hand on to her two companions here the weavers and they're using this horizontal loom that's pegged to the ground to produce the bolts of cloth which will be fashioned into the wraparound dresses the kilts the loin cloths as worn by pretty much every ancient Egyptian man woman and child the lives depicted in these busy little scenes rather comfortable and the familiar representing the Egyptian idea of security this isn't too uncommon as death masks this isn't the finest piece of art you'll ever see but that isn't the point these are real people doing real jobs this is ancient Egypt up close and personal order had been restored within Egypt but the fears that one star Egypt apart hadn't disappeared entirely for now they were projected outwards to the world beyond its borders so middle kingdom monarchs like stern old sir sorceress the third focused on national security and wealth creation sir sorceress is infamous for his devastating military campaigns south into gold rich Nubia but he also opted for a more permanent kind of control by building castles now this is a map of southern Egypt and Nubia which is modern-day Sudan and whereas one is that was the border between the two and Egypt maintained its control over Nubia through a series of forts with around eight of these built by sir sorceress himself these Middle Kingdom thoughts were within signalling distance of one another along the southern nile down into Nubia they were all part of a massive state building program designed to subjugate the local population and maintain the flow of goods and people up into Egypt particularly Nubian gold very few of these four still survive these are some of the last images ever recorded of the largest at boo hen it was filmed in 1962 during its excavation and after the creation of the Aswan Dam these massive mud brick walls disappeared forever beneath the waters of the new Lake Nasser but Bohen isn't completely lost to us because the excavation records are kept here at the Egypt exploration Society and they reveal an unexpected aspect of Middle Kingdom Egypt as well as photographs they hold architectural plans of the fort drawn up during the excavations giving a real insight into the immense scale of the Egyptian crackdown in Nubia oh this looks like an amazing photograph actually Sheriff well this is an aerial photograph Joe so what we can see here along the bottom this strip is actually the River Nile and then right on the banks of the Nile emerging from the sand here we see this square outline of the massive fortification of the site of bou hen but once the excavators began to uncover and the full extent of what we could see this was what they came across that just looks like a medieval castle doesn't it very reality being ancient Egypt oh yeah castles and yet here is the evidence in front of it absolutely designed to keep the enemy out Bohan chess features with the castles of Europe but are constructed 3,000 years earlier most astonishing of all is its sheer size there's a little scale on this map gives you an idea this is roughly 100 meters so just the Nile facing wall here is well over 400 meters long you think about the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza that's 200 meters along the base so we're talking about the length of two Great Pyramids along here the total circumference of this wall is well over a mile and the walls these outer walls are 11 meters hide inside which you could fit around 20 football pitches because as well as controlling the Nubian gold supply Egypt intended to rule by intimidation this is the middle Kingdom's great monumental architectural statement pyramids monumental tombs were not really the kinds of buildings they needed what they very much needed were these heavily fortified fortress towns to guard the frontier of their territory when this fortress arrives in the barren empty desert landscape in the Middle Kingdom this would have been a massive statement something very very big powerful strong scary has suddenly arrived in the desert so anybody troubling from Nubia north into Egypt has to sail past this and this would have taken quite a while to sail past wouldn't it absolutely yeah imagine looking up you're in a little boat on the Nile and you're looking up and open up and out you and you can see all these are all slits people training their arrows perhaps on you just you know you're being watched is that big brother mentality is now exactly rising up by the Nile boo Hannah was a gleaming citadel of power but most of all it was an early warning system the eyes and ears of the nation defined by suspicion and fear but Egypt's southern border wasn't the only one to be fortified the northeastern border with Palestine was also secured with such defenses to monitor the large number of foreign traders regularly traveling to sell their goods in super-wealthy Egypt and the visit of one such group is portrayed here on a tool wall a caravan of wealthy merchants and their families clearly not Egyptian with their distinctive hairstyles and brightly colored clothes known as they are more people they traded in such Goods as the black leather vital for Egypt's production of eye makeup and their distinctive pottery has been found across the Nile Delta where many of them settled to live and work among the Egyptians but within a century some of these Armo had infiltrated high office and eventually took over Egypt itself now these nomadic armored people who came in and out of Egypt on a regular basis to trade up or trade here in this wonderful tomb scene and yet the most important part of the entire scenario a three small hieroglyphs right in the middle they reveal one of the other terms the Egyptians used to name the r-mo it's basically a crook a scepter and that's written with two symbols and that's pronounced Hecker it means ruler and then the third of the three symbols it's kind of undulating uplands which means desert or hill country basically the Egyptians use this symbol to denote a foreign land so you put these signs together ruler of foreign lands and this really is the clue to what happened next because these are mou of palestinian origin eventually became the Hyksos the hecka a suit of a hexose and they ruled egypt from the north between 1650 and 1550 bc but as tension between the foreign rulers and their Egyptian subjects gradually escalated Egypt entered a second Dark Age the Hyksos made an alliance with the Nubians to the south and the Egyptians found themselves trapped between two enemies although we know little of this difficult time some fascinating texts do survive perhaps the most compelling are the words of a royal letter sent by the Hyksos king south to Thebes its message would prove so explosive that it galvanized the Thebans to once more regain control of their land now this letter was either a colossal diplomatic faux pas or simply downright rudeness and it involved the Egyptian goddess tower where it the pugnacious blade wielding hippo tower where it may have been a protective deity but she was also a ferocious creature with features borrowed from the hippo and the crocodile animals the Egyptians feared so it seems the Hyksos King Apophis set out deliberately to insult the Thebans now the letter takes the form of a complaint in which a purpose is basically complaining that the bellowing of the sacred hippos in Thebes is keeping him awake at night expel the hippopotami from the lake they do not allow me to sleep day or night because their noise is in my ear now many have taken this to be a rather eccentric comment but I think it actually alludes to the powerful women of Thebes it seems that app office is actually comparing the wife of the Theban leader with the feisty hippo goddess herself and soon it will be the Thebans who would decide that the Hyksos had had their day they had to go and soon this war of words had escalated into armed conflict between the two powers but the Egyptians of Thebes had also gained the means to launch their attack with something developed by the Hyksos themselves state-of-the-art weaponry in particular a new kind of bow known today as the composite bow it would revolutionize Egyptian warfare wasn't it a lovely sharing a beautiful thing this may look like a bow made of solid wood similar to those the Egyptians had always used but the secret of the composite bow is all down to the elements within its composite because it's made out of different materials all joined together so there's a wooden core from the center of the bow but inside the curve on the belly of the bow is horn lude onto the wood which forms a really powerful spring so the heart the cow arm will go there yeah that's right on the inside of the curve and then on the outside of the curve and even more unpromising material looks like something the cat would enjoy and that's all covered over with birch bark to protect the blue from the elements before the Hyksos occupation the Egyptians had shot arrows from bows carved from solid wood they were quite large unwieldy an only effective at fairly close range but in the composite bow animal horn added flexibility and the sinew strength it's a clever combination of ingress isn't it making it the ultimate in ancient archery it just asks it until that doesn't it oh she's fabulous there's a real sense of power behind this in there it's a beautiful sight let me show you so this is why it's such a game-changer really because it's a bow that you can use it's quite short you can use it in a chariot and yet the composite bow was easier to handle and shot faster arrows with much greater accuracy the Egyptians had little choice but to adapt or remain an occupied nation so by copying the new military technology they were eventually able to push the hick source out of Egypt all the way back to Palestine securing Egypt's northern frontier once again and when the new bow was used in conjunction with the other hick sauce introductions the horse and chariot the three combined to express the power and supremacy of Egypt's new Egyptian rulers this marked the start of the new Kingdom which began when the powerful Theban leaders took the throne this dramatic rebirth in royal power was mirrored by the rise of Thebes local god a moon based at his cult center the Temple of Karnak and it would be a moon who now protected Egypt and its kings yet thanks to the Hyksos legacy these were a new kind of King and it's on this temples walls we can clearly see the effect of the hexose occupation for as pharaoh smites his enemies this is Egypt reborn a fully armed fully charged superpower whose Kings shone on a monumental scale our superheroes over some 800 years since the pyramid age Egypt's story had been one of upheaval collapse finally rebirth the Egyptians had reclaimed their culture and entered a truly Golden Age the next part of ancient Egypt's story is a time of monumental architecture Oh flipping out and fast wealth bringing not only glory but greed and corruption the priests kings of Karnak had got what they'd always wanted absolute power you