Unearthed (2016–…): Season 6, Episode 1 - Egypt's Buried City - full transcript

There's a lost city buried in the Sahara, and evidence reveals it's home to Nefertiti, Tutankhamun, and the forbidden god of an outlawed religion; experts use cutting-edge tech to uncover ...

The lost city of amarna

An ancient mystery buried deep
in the egyptian desert.

Stevens: This was a huge city.

It had a population
of perhaps 50,000 people.

This sprawling metropolis

Is home to egypt's
most famous rulers

Akhenaten, queen nefertiti,

And the boy king tutenkhamun.

Why does it vanish
almost without a trace?

One could look at it as
a monument of a great ambition,

Or you could look at it
as the work of a maniac despot.

Today, investigators journey
deep inside ancient tombs...

And use forensic analysis

To reveal one of the darkest
chapters in egyptian history.

Amarna doesn't just disappear.

There may have been
a deliberate attempt to forget

That this place ever existed.

Narrator: To unearth the secrets
of amarna,

We will lift up this buried city
from the desert floor.

We'll blow away the sands
from magnificent tombs...

...Resurrect lost temples...

...And reveal the astonishing
true story of egypt's

Most notorious pharaoh.

EP - 1 - Egypt's Buried City


Land of the pharaohs.

This ancient country is home
to many astonishing wonders,

Gigantic pyramids,
and huge temples,

But its desert hides what may be
the greatest secret of all

An abandoned megacity
called amarna.

Amarna is one of the great

Archaeological sites
in the world.

We have here the footprint
of an entire ancient city.

Amarna lies in middle egypt,

Halfway between the ancient
cities of luxor and memphis.

This buried metropolis
is bigger than both.

The desert sands hide
a lush oasis

That stretches across more
than 50 square miles.

They're all that's left
of a once-magnificent city.

In its prime, amarna is home
to up to 50,000 people.

At its center stands
a huge royal palace,

And not one,
but two vast temples,

The largest stretching more
than six football fields

From end to end.

Why does this city disappear
for thousands of years?

What secrets lie buried
beneath the sands?

Archaeologist dr. Anna stevens

Investigates this
vanished metropolis.

Its rise and fall is one
of egypt's greatest mysteries.

Amarna is the vision

Of an enigmatic pharaoh
called akhenaten,

A king thought to be the father
of the famous tutenkhamun.

Stevens: The size of this place
is extraordinary.

We're standing here at the very
northern end of ancient amarna,

And when we look out,
we can see the nile river

Running alongside us here,

Really the source of life
for the ancient egyptians.

The ancient city stretches,

Originally, from right
alongside the riverbank,

All the way across
to the eastern cliffs.

Narrator: Akhenaten's city
appears almost nowhere

In egypt's official records,

But the cliffs
behind the city center conceal

A remarkable account
of its origins.

Here, anna joins egyptian
archaeologist hamada kellawy.

They decipher a gigantic stone
tablet carved into the rock.

This is a boundary marker.

We call it a stela.

It's one of 15 stelae
of this kind

To mark out the territory
of ancient amarna.

A ring of boundary markers
like this straddles

Both sides of the nile.

They define the city limits,

But the tablets also describe
every major building inside it.

Ancient symbols called
hieroglyphs reveal

That akhenaten builds them
all for the egyptian sun god,

The aten.

He's really setting his vision
for this new city,

So he's listing the monuments

That he's going to create
for the sun god

And the endowments
that he's gonna create.

Narrator: The ancient egyptians
believed that the aten

Is the creator god.

He appears in the sky
as the sun disc.


This city in a scorching
hot desert

Is the perfect home
for a sun god,

But why does the pharaoh
build him an entire city?

A clue lies 5 miles away
to the east

In amarna's
very own valley of the kings.

Buried beneath tons of stone
and rubble,

A sloping shaft descends

Straight into the rock
of the mountainside.

In the deepest chamber lie
elaborately carved fragments

Of an impressive
stone sarcophagus.

This is a tomb of high status,
but there's no mummy inside,

And severely damaged hieroglyphs
on the surrounding walls

Hide all clues
to the tomb's owner,

But in the chambers beyond,
one carving remains intact.

Beneath an image of the aten
god himself are two figures

Akhenaten and a woman.

What can these faded carvings

Reveal about the origins
of this lost city?

Anna ventures inside the tomb.

Haunting images of the pharaoh
cover almost every wall.

All egyptian tombs
are generally covered

With images of the tomb owner.

This figure here is very badly
damaged, but it's akhenaten.

He's standing the closest
to the sun god

And the rays of the sun god.

Narrator: A female figure stands
next to the pharaoh

In almost every image.

Decoding the hieroglyphs here

that this is akhenaten's wife,

A queen called nefertiti.

So, this figure's standing
close behind the king.

Under the rays of the aten
is nefertiti.

This tomb is highly unusual.

Nefertiti is shown to be almost
as powerful as her husband.

The key figure here
is obviously akhenaten.

He's the largest figure.

He's the one who's closest
to the aten,

And he, of course,
is the head of the family.

He's the head of the city,

And, of course,
he's leading egypt, as well,

But you can see also
that nefertiti is represented

On really quite a large scale.

She, like her husband,
akhenaten, is semi-divine.

The burial chamber
also depicts their children.

The identity of one family
member in particular

Is extraordinary.

What it seems to show
is the death

Of princess meketaten
in childbirth.

What's also really
interesting here

Is that we seem to have a
depiction of the princess' baby.

Some scholars suggest it's
possibly tutenkhamun himself.

Narrator: This might be
the earliest depiction

Of the famous boy king.

The tomb reveals that
the abandoned city of amarna

Is a family project.

Most pharaohs' tombs
of the new kingdom

Were cut just
for the king himself.

The royal tomb at amarna
is a little bit more unusual.

So we think that not just
akhenaten was buried here,

But one of the royal princesses.

The king's mother might also
have been buried here,

And there's a really prominent
suite of secondary chambers

That look as though
they were intended

For nefertiti's burial as queen.

Amarna is not just another city.

It's supposed to be egypt's
new capital,

The home of the royal family,

But this tomb also hints
at a troubled history.

These chambers are
never completed.

Many of the carvings here appear
to be deliberately damaged.

One figure that we know wasn't
buried here was tutenkhamun.

He was actually buried in the
valley of the kings at luxor.

There's a question mark

About whether nefertiti
might have been buried here.

The suite of chambers that seems
to have been cut for her

Is unfinished,

So it's unlikely that her body
was actually interred here.

Amarna is a vast puzzle.

Why does the pharaoh
move his family

And egypt's entire capital

To the middle of nowhere
only for it to fade away?

A secret shrine in a lost corner
of the city

Could hold the answer.

Narrator: 3,000 years ago,

A mysterious pharaoh
called akhenaten

Builds a magnificent new city
at amarna in middle egypt.

This barren desert plain
by the nile

Is hundreds of miles
from egypt's traditional cities.

Here, the pharaoh rules
with his wife,

The beautiful queen nefertiti.

Why does this
spectacular metropolis

Suddenly appear here
from nothing?

Archaeologists anna stevens
and hamada kellawy

Hunt for evidence
in the city center.

At dawn, the sun rises
from behind a gap

In these distant cliffs.

This is really lovely, isn't it,
the way you see the columns

And the wadi behind it.

Like he's...


Amarna is unique.

It's the only city in egypt
built for a single god.

But outside
these spectacular temples,

There's evidence
that not everyone

Is devoted to the sun god.

In the suburbs of this
glorious city,

Its ordinary citizens live
in basic, closely-packed houses.

Constructed from
rough mud bricks,

Painted with a simple coat
of white paint,

House upon house
is packed together.

Nearby, built in the same way,
is a simple chapel.

Inside, an open space
with benches.

At one end, there's an altar
and a shrine

To two of egypt's
traditional gods, isis and shed.

Why are they hidden away in
a run-down corner of the city?

Egyptologist aidan dodson
explains that amarna

Is the result
of a forgotten revolution.

Amarna is the brainchild
of one man.

It wouldn't have existed without

The fevered imagination
of akhenaten.

Narrator: A clue to the city's
secret history

Lies hundreds of miles
away in thebes,

Egypt's ancient capital.

Aidan explores
its vast temple of karnak.

This mega-temple is dedicated
to egypt's

Most important
ancient god, amun,

But faded carvings reveal traces
of an unthinkable attack

On egypt's holiest site.

Looking at these texts,
there are plenty of places

Where I can see things
have been scratched out,

And what was once there
were the names of amun.

Narrator: Aidan believes this
vandalism is the work of none

Other than akhenaten himself.

This is a wonderful example

Of how agents were sent
all over egypt by akhenaten

To remove amun's name and title
wherever it appeared.

These scratched-out carvings

Reveal that akhenaten rebels
against all of the old gods.

Dodson: What akhenaten is doing
is clearly a revolution

A revolution from above,
but a revolution nevertheless.

It's not only religion.
It's art.

Even the way
the language is used in public.

Everything changes.

It's year 0.

For more than a millennium,

The egyptians worship more
than 2,000 gods and goddesses.

Among them, anubis,

The jackal-headed
god of the underworld;

Thoth, the knowledgeable
god of the moon;

And powerful amun,
king of the gods.

But akhenaten erases them
all from his temple walls,

Systematically replacing them
with a single one

The sun god.

Across egypt, the aten now
reigns supreme through his son

On earth, the pharaoh.

Archaeologist anna stevens

How the pharaoh builds
his new world order at amarna.

She heads inside the tombs
of the city's noblemen.

Many of these
underground chambers

Are remarkably well preserved.

As soon as you enter the tomb,

You see this figure standing
here wearing all his finery,

And this is a man called meryre.

He was a really important
person at ancient amarna.

He was the high priest
of the aten.

Priests are powerful people

In ancient egyptian society.

They often have their
own magnificent tombs

Celebrating their status.

But this burial chamber
is very strange.

Normally in egypt at this time,
high-ranking officials

Would decorate their tombs
with imagery

That really celebrated
their achievements in life.

Here, at amarna, though,
we see the tomb owner very much

In supporting roles.

The focus is on the king,
the queen, and the aten.

Nefertiti and akhenaten
totally dominate this scene.

Only they stand beneath
the aten sun god.

So, here you see meryre,

And what he's doing

Is supporting the king
as the king worships the aten,

So he's handing over offerings
up to the pharaoh.

The king wanted the focus to be
on the aten cult

And on his special relationship
with the sun god.

At the buried city of amarna,

Nefertiti and akhenaten
have total, absolute control.

There will be no other temples,
no other priests,

No other gods to challenge them.

What akhenaten was doing here

Was an anathema
to the idea of world order.

You cannot deny the existence
of other gods

And focus worship
only on one god.

This would have been
incredibly upsetting

To the egyptian world view.

Amarna is the dawn of a new age

And an audacious power grab.

The pharaoh completes this city
in just a few years.

How does he achieve
this incredible feat?

And how many would suffer
for his dream?

Narrator: 3,000 years ago,

Tens of thousands
of egyptians toil

Under a blazing sun at amarna.

Here, they build a new capital
for their godlike ruler,

The pharaoh akhenaten,
and his queen, nefertiti.

This pre-planned metropolis
is far removed

From the sprawling cities
of the past.

Dodson: Amarna probably was
the nearest thing

To a model city
egypt ever produced.

Narrator: Egypt's ancient
capitals at luxor and memphis

Grow up over thousands of years.

Their individual palaces
and temples

Take decades to finish.

The great pyramid at giza is
a 20-year construction project.

By comparison, everything
at amarna emerges

In just a few years.

How do engineers build
this huge city so quickly?

Archaeologist hamada kellawy
is on the hunt to find out.

He's in charge of protecting
this abandoned city.

No one knows its geography
better than him.

Hamada heads deep into the
desert sands to look for clues.

In barren dunes, he analyzes
row upon row of ruined walls

A village for amarna's workers.

These suburbs are
an ancient time capsule.

They reveal how most of amarna
is made from local material.

Amarna's housing is quick
and easy to build,

But engineers also construct
the city's grand stone buildings

With the same astonishing speed.

A giant temple dominates
akhenaten's city.

Its outer wall encloses
more than 40 acres

A space big enough to fit
tens of thousands of people.

Inside, there are six immense

Each more than 90 feet high.

The temple has no roof,

So worshipers are never shaded
from the sun god's gaze.

And in the open space beyond
are almost 1,000 stone tables

Used for lavish offerings
to the god in the sky above.

This is a temple
of monumental proportions.

How did akhenaten build so much
so fast?

Today, amarna's grand temples
are in ruins.

Fragments of their stone blocks
are scattered far and wide.

So egyptologists search
for answers here at thebes.

This ancient city could hold
the secrets

Of amarna's construction.

It's where akhenaten
begins his reign.

For thousands of years,

Nearly every pharaoh
builds here.

Tayeb mohamed investigates
this incredible site.

Tayeb thinks that thebes is
where akhenaten

Learns to build big
and build fast.

He ventures inside
the magnificent temple of luxor

In the heart
of the ancient city.

Akhenaten's buildings here
no longer exist,

But thousands
of ancient stone blocks

Are stacked high
behind the temple walls.

Tayeb takes a closer look
at these fragments

Amongst luxor's masonry ruins.

They are instantly familiar.

These stone blocks date
to just a few years

Before work begins at amarna.

These blocks are the fragments
of one of akhenaten's

Very first buildings

An early lost temple
to the sun god.

Careful scrutiny reveals
another intriguing fact

These stones are much smaller
than any other masonry here.

These small blocks
are called talatats.

Each one is three hands wide.

Early egyptians invent them,

But they're an outdated
technique by akhenaten's reign.

So why does the pharaoh
use them?

Azab hamdan is an
expert stonemason.

He uses modern tools,
but the same techniques

As the ancient egyptians,
to create a talatat stone.

Azab discovers that creating
such a small block

Is quick and easy.

Azab's rapid work confirms
the theory

That these smaller stones
are what make amarna possible.

They allow akhenaten
to complete one

Of the most ambitious
construction projects

In egypt's entire history.

More than 1,000 years
before akhenaten,

The egyptians build the great
pyramid around 2580 b.C.

Each stone block requires
hundreds of workers

To drag and lift into place.

But akhenaten abandons
this technique.

He cuts talatat stones that
are a fraction of the size.

Now one worker can each carry
a single block,

Speeding up construction.

With this technique,

Akhenaten's city is raised from
the desert sand in just 3 years.

Amarna is one of the greatest
engineering projects

In egyptian history.

The sheer scale of it rivals

The construction of
the great pyramid at giza,

A tomb that took
20 years to complete.

Before akhenaten came here,

It would have been
quite a barren landscape.

There were thousands of people

Engaged in
this mass building project

On behalf of akhenaten.

What sort of effort was required
to develop this city

From the ground up
within just a few years?

Narrator: Akhenaten
builds a vast metropolis,

A huge royal palace
where he lives in luxury

And worships his solar god.

But what is the human cost
of amarna?

A grisly discovery reveals
its darkest secrets.

The lost city of amarna is
slowly revealing its secrets.

It's one of the largest and
fastest construction projects

In egyptian history,

But is there a human cost
to this mega-metropolis?

Archaeologist anna stevens
explores a cemetery

On the outskirts of the city.

Stevens: In the desert
on the eastern fringe of amarna,

We find
four huge burial grounds.

There's several thousand people
buried here.

Narrator: The pharaoh akhenaten
and his wife, nefertiti,

Live in luxury here,

But the graves of their subjects
reveal a darker side

To this glittering new city.

Beneath the sand and silt
of the river valley,

Deep narrow pits
are the final resting place

Of more than 200 people.

They are buried unceremoniously,

Sometimes two or more piled
into a single grave.

They have no grave goods to take
with them into the afterlife,

And only coarse rush matting
as a simple shroud.

The skeletal remains are small
and reveal a startling trend

These bodies are almost
all adolescents.

What can their early deaths
reveal about amarna's

Hurried construction?

Forensic archaeologist
gretchen dabbs

Unlocks the secrets
of these bones in her lab

At southern illinois university.

They contain startling clues

About the health
of the population.

Dabbs: This is
a 6-to 8-year-old individual

Who has arthritis in its feet,

Which we can tell based on
the flattening of the margins

Of the places where
the two bones touch one another.

Narrator: The discovery of a
child with arthritis is extraordinary.

In the modern world, it's
usually a disease of old age.

Dabbs: This individual has
arthritis of the knee,

And the most likely reason
for seeing arthritis

In the young individuals
of the north tomb cemetery

Is hard work, hard labor
that started very early in life.

Narrator: Many of the 200 youths
in the cemetery

Are also severely malnourished.

Nearly all of those buried
at amarna

Also have serious bone injuries.

Gretchen compares
this modern bone sample

With the x-rays
from the cemetery.

Dabbs: One of the most common
injuries that we found

In the south tomb cemetery

Called a compression fracture,

Where the elements actually
smash down on each other

And break the bones.

You can actually see the body
of the upper vertebra

Is intruding on the body of
the lower vertebra right there.

Narrator: These injuries reveal
the disturbing reality

Of daily life in amarna.

We interpret these as evidence
that these individuals

Were carrying
extremely heavy loads.

It's possible that they were
involved in the heavy work

Of quarrying.

And the quarries were located
right on the cliffs

Just above
the north tomb cemetery.

Narrator: The bodies discovered
in the cemetery

Show little of the respect
ancient egyptians

Usually show to their dead.

Egypt's long line of pharaohs
all employed

Tens of thousands of skilled
workers to build their pyramids.

They are well treated,
in life and in death.

Tombs carefully built from
mud bricks lie in the shadow

Of the great pyramid,

A place of honor
next to their sacred pharaoh.

Each contains a single body
wrapped in linen

And carefully positioned

With the face towards
the rising sun in the east.

Alongside the bodies, knives,
jars of beer, and bread

Ensure a comfortable passage
into the afterlife.

Amarna's burials stand out.

Here, its builders
are worked to death.

Dabbs: The lack of care that we
see in the north tomb cemetery

In the way that the individuals
were buried suggests

That it wasn't their family
or loved ones

Who were doing the burial,

That it was more industrial-type
and expedient-type burial.

Narrator: Amarna is
far from the glorious city

The pharaoh proclaims.

Its founders are malnourished
and die young

In akhenaten's rush
to build his city.

Why does the pharaoh
need to build so quickly?

Could the answer reveal

Why amarna vanishes
almost without a trace?

Narrator: The city of amarna
in egypt has a dark history.

The pharaoh akhenaten drives
his workers

Into an early grave to build it.

But this metropolis
is suddenly abandoned

When the pharaoh himself dies.


Amarna is a really special
archaeological site

Because it was only occupied

For the space
of a single generation.

It's really this remarkable
snapshot of egyptian history.

Narrator: Akhenaten rules egypt
for 17 years.

After he dies, power eventually
passes to his son tutenkhamun,

But the boy king is buried far

From his father's tomb
in amarna.

His magnificent tomb
lies in the valley of the kings,

Egypt's traditional
burial ground.

Egyptologist aidan dodson
thinks amarna's decline

Lies with the pharaoh's son
and heir, tutenkhamun.

He hunts for clues
at luxor temple.

Stylistically, this relief
couldn't come from any period

Other than the reign
of tutenkhamun.

It's got a certain elegance,
a naturalism.

Narrator: Akhenaten shuts down
the temples in thebes

During his revolution
to banish the old gods,

But these carvings reveal that
by the time his son tutenkhamun

Is pharaoh,
it's up and running again.

Aidan thinks that tutenkhamun
is going back to the old ways.

Dodson: The overall scene has
tutenkhamun on the left there

Making an offering
to amun on the right.

This indicates without any doubt
that tutenkhamun has now

Rejected the religion
of his father.

Tutenkhamun betrays his father.

He moves back to thebes and
kick-starts a counterrevolution.

A row of sphinxes reveals that
the old gods are back in town.

These magnificent sphinxes
at luxor

Originally bear the heads
of akhenaten himself

And his wife, nefertiti,

But in the years
following akhenaten's death,

These statues are
relocated and rebuilt.

Their heads are removed,

And each
is replaced with a ram's head

The symbol
of the original god, amun.

A figure of the new pharaoh
is added,

And symbols at their feet bear

The name of
akhenaten's son and heir.

It's tutenkhamun himself.

Why is the old pharaoh's
own flesh and blood

Destroying his dream?

Is this why amarna
also comes to an end?

Aidan finds a clue lies with one

Of tutenkhamun's
official decrees.

It reveals how egypt
has fallen on hard times.

He starts off,
as an introduction,

Basically saying
how bad things are.

He says that the temples have
been deprived of their revenues,

They're falling into ruin,

And as a result of this,
that the gods are not happy.

Narrator: Tutenkhamun seems
to be carrying out

An extraordinary act
of family betrayal,

But, for aidan,
something doesn't add up.

When this declaration is made,

Tutenkhamun is about
9 years old.

He came to throne as a child

And died on the verge
of adulthood,

So the policies
which are set out in here

Will have been the work of those
who were ruling for or with him.

Narrator: Aidan thinks
there's a secret mastermind

Behind this attempt to tear down
the old pharaoh's legacy.

His investigation takes him
on the short journey

Across the nile
to luxor's western bank.

Here, a range of rocky mountains

Houses the tombs
of thebes' ancient nobles.

One small tomb
remains closed off.

Aidan has gained special
permission to unlock the tomb.

Once he enters, he can begin
to decode the artwork

That covers its chambers.

Dodson: Well, this is the tomb
chapel of a priest called pairy.

Narrator: Graffiti dates the tomb
to just after akhenaten's death.

It reveals that another ruler
seizes power before tutenkhamun.

The identity of this
new pharaoh is shocking.

Dodson: It's dated to year 3
of king neferneferuaten,

Who we are almost certain
is none other

Than the former queen nefertiti,
the wife of akhenaten.

Narrator: Nefertiti seizes power
following her husband's death,

Perhaps acting as regent
until tutenkhamun comes of age.

But the graffiti
reveals another surprise.

The new pharaoh and her priest

Are worshiping
the old god, amun.

This is the really exciting part
of the tomb for me, anyway.

The main body of it
is a prayer to amun.

So it shows that in year 3
of her reign, amun is back.

This graffito is written
shortly after his death,

Probably 3 years
after his death.

Narrator: Astonishingly,
nefertiti quickly abandons

Her loyalty to her husband
and his sun god, the aten.

She reinstates one of
the old gods amun.

The idea that amun would be
restored to his position

Under akhenaten's own wife
seems quite incredible,

And I'm sure that akhenaten
was spinning

In his sarcophagus
at this point.

Narrator: Incredibly, nefertiti
and tutenkhamun,

Akhenaten's wife and son,
reject his ideas,

But do they also abandon amarna?

The desert sands reveal
a shocking secret...

And a campaign of destruction
designed to wipe amarna

From the face of the earth.

Narrator: Amarna in egypt

Built to worship the sun god.

But when its founder,
the pharaoh akhenaten dies,

His wife, nefertiti,
and son tutenkhamun

Bring back
egypt's traditional gods.

But who kills off amarna?

Why is this city lost
for thousands of years

Under the desert sands?

Professor aidan dodson

He hunts for clues in the
ancient capital of thebes.

Aidan's quest takes him
to a corner

Of the magnificent karnak temple

And a monumental gateway
known as a pylon.

It dates to just after
amarna disappears.

This pylon is quite badly
ruined now,

But that does mean we can see
some of the blocks

Which were used to fill
the interior when it was built.

Narrator: Buried within the
outer faces of its walls

Are small talatat stones,
the same kind of building blocks

That akhenaten uses
to construct his temples.

This, of course, all means that
when this pylon was being built,

The structures akhenaten
constructed at karnak

Were already being demolished,
and the blocks reused here.

Narrator: This dismantling of
temples by future generations

Isn't that unusual in egypt.

Every pharaoh builds
massive monuments

As a symbol
of their power and status.

They often reuse stones
as a quick and cheap method,

But as aidan continues his hunt,
he discovers that the demolition

Of akhenaten's buildings
is malicious.

Dodson: This is another block
from akhenaten's temple.

It looks like one of the king's
names has been erased.

It looks like it's been
purposely damaged.

The erasure of names
tends to imply

That somebody was not liked
by later generations.

Narrator: Akhenaten is not
simply forgotten and rejected,

But hated by future pharaohs.

It explains why so little
remains at amarna.

Here, the sun god's
magnificent temples

Are not only dismantled
block by block

Each talatat stone
is smashed to pieces.

And in akhenaten's royal tomb,

The images of the old pharaoh
are cruelly scratched out,

And this is just
the tip of the iceberg.

Aidan analyzes a text taken
from an ancient stone carving.

It's composed just 40 years
after akhenaten's death.

It reveals the campaign against
him extends to his family.

Dodson: What we've got here is
a list of the kings of egypt,

And all the main
great names are here.

But when we look
at the last part of the list,

There's no mention of akhenaten,

So what this shows is, within
a few years of their deaths,

They've been written
out of history,

And according to the official
lists, they didn't exist.

Future generations of pharaohs

Condemn akhenaten as a heretic,

His traumatic reign
and religious revolution

Considered an abomination.

They try to erase all memory
of him and his family.

For more than 3,000 years,

Their story lies hidden
beneath these sands.

As an experiment, you'd have
to assess that amarna,

In the end, had failed.

Akhenaten's vision
of the solar cult

Didn't live on beyond his rule.

Amarna was abandoned.

Narrator: But, today,
in an ironic twist of fate,

His desert city stands as one of
egypt's greatest achievements.

And his son tutenkhamun

Is the most famous pharaoh
of them all.

Archaeologists continue to piece
together amarna and its secrets.

This remarkable desert city
is opening up

One of the most radical chapters
in egyptian history.

Amarna's temples
and palaces reveal

The vision
of an all-powerful ruler,

Paid for with the blood
of its poorest citizens.

Amarna is the legacy
of a failed experiment,

And akhenaten,
egypt's forgotten pharaoh.