Segments in this Video

Old Kingdom: Evidence of Chaos (05:20)


Archaeologist Salima Ikram examines the bones of 60 people in a hand carved tomb formed by 200 feet of tunnels. Mass graves were atypical of ancient Egyptians. Poet Ipuwer’s works describe Egypt during the burial’s time, including social and political upheavals.

Connections to Pharaoh Pepi II's Reign (03:53)

Archaeologists Audran Labrousse and Philippe Collombert open Pharaoh Pepi II’s burial pyramid. The divine ruler reigned for up to 90 years, inheriting a prosperous state. The experts find that soon after Pepi's death, Egyptian monuments began degrading.

Pharaoh Pepi II's Death (09:43)

Collombert and Labrousse find Pepi II’s burial chamber covered in religious texts describing rituals and events during his reign. They find evidence the pyramid was looted soon after the pharaoh’s death. Sacrilegious rebellion is further evidenced by arson at a nearby temple.

Pharaoh Pepi II's Successors (06:30)

As Pepi II aged, he relinquished more control to provincial rulers, evidenced by the Elephantine’s governor’s tomb. The List of Abydos reveals Egypt had 18 kings during the 50 years following the Pharaoh’s death. Qakare Ibi’s pyramid was the last of its kind for 200years.

Egypt's Old Kingdom: Civil War (04:58)

Archaeologist Antonio Morales attempts to discover events leading up to a mass burial in Southern Egypt. Ikram finds evidence that suggests the remains belong to soldiers; regional leaders fought for control. Provincial governor Ankhtifi’s tomb shows increases to his power.

Egypt's Climate Change (09:39)

Ankhtifi's tomb indicates that Southern Egyptians died of starvation; a sustained drought caused famine. The Old Kingdom saw its climate shift from savanna to desert, evidenced by crocodile DNA comparisons and examination of Elephantine ruins.

Drought and Starvation (09:00)

Ice cores taken by Professor Lonnie Thompson suggest global droughts about the time of Egypt’s decline. Mud core samples confirm waterways dried up during the Old Kingdom’s end. The civilization depended on the Nile’s flooding.

Mass Grave Remains (04:24)

Climate change and political unrest destroyed Egypt’s Old Kingdom. The state remained divided after the 20-year drought ended. By 2040 BC, Mentuhotep II and his Theban army, captured most of the country. The mass grave remains belong to soldiers perishing in the Siege of Heracleopolis. (Credits)

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Egypt's Darkest Hour (Secrets of the Dead)

Part of the Series : Secrets of the Dead
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



The discovery of a rare mass grave with the bones of nearly 60 people outside Luxor sends archaeologists on a quest to find out what was happening in ancient Egypt that would have led to a mass burial.

Length: 56 minutes

Item#: BVL210684

Copyright date: ©2019

Closed Captioned

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