CT-scans, DNA analysis, and the search for a pharaoh's mummy.
|Zahi Hawass, head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, examines a possible royal mummy in KV60, left. Four mummies, one of which might be Hatshepsut's, right. (Discovery Communications)|
While it pretty much comes down to a tooth in a box, Discovery Channel's "Secrets of Egypt's Lost Queen" (airs Sunday, July 15, at 9:00pm EST) tries to cover a lot of ground: who was Hatshepsut, the early 18th Dynasty queen and pharaoh, where's her mummy, and who obliterated many of her images and inscriptions? That's a lot, even for a two-hour program.
I've watched the film twice, consulted with a couple of Egyptologists who know the subject, interviewed Egypt's archaeo-honcho Zahi Hawass, and talked with the producer, Brando Quilici (who did last year's Tut special and, before that, a documentary on the Iceman). As an archaeologist, journalist, and some-time docu consultant, I have mixed feelings about "Lost Queen." Overall, I do think it's better than many shows out there (but is that good enough?) and unlike some past offerings from Discovery it isn't larded with superfluous re-enactments. The science is pretty neat, but I have some questions about its applications here, and there are some gaps and things that are not really explained adequately. So, it is worth watching, but although I have some criticisms. [read more]