Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chasing Mummies: A Review

When first I watched the new TV soap opera known as "Chasing Mummies" or as I like to call it Chasing the mummy, I had a friend over for dinner who asked if we could watch something less irritating, I agreed but sadly because I was writing this article I caught the repeat episode the following day.

In the great pyramid one sees Dr. Zahi Hawass taking his young fellowship students through to the farthest reaches of the pyramid a journey of many hours at points the fine doctor can be heard yelling and verbally deriding his young students. When illness strikes one of the film crew Dr. Hawass can be heard screaming like a madman in the background.

Who knows why a man who claims such success to his beloved science would want to come across with such anger harsh words and threats especially to his young students even if they do give the wrong answer or accidentally violate a pyramid or two. At Alexandria however the anger expressed by Dr Hawass on the dropping of a pylon being raised from the sea floor was well deserved.

At the shore the finally raised pylon is met by the former embarrassment of Egypt's Ministry of culture, it's minister who thankfully took some time out from book burning to be seen but not enough to upstage Dr. Hawass' show.

The series is tragically ongoing and if you like to be irritated or get off on watching people being told to shut up by some ill mannered bully than this may be your cup of tea. For me however I found it so far most boring, insulting and a lesson in how to turn off young future Egyptologists.

In the latter episodes thankfully Dr. Hawass is not seen telling people to shut up nor is he displayed as an angry man but instead is humanized and in the controversial cave/tomb beneath the Giza plateau the doctor is even seen as playful while making his point as to where it leads. Later on in the falcon galleries snakes including a cobra liven up the experience.

The archaeological fellows were not served in their education of archaeology by being a part of this show, there being a lot of talk about whether a space was safe or not? Naturally making new discoveries almost never comes with the reassurance of safety and immature and overly stressed fellows left the program.

Dr. Hawass is seen unconvincingly touting his vision for the avenue of rams and here attempts to show that the site is yielding archaeological value, or at least for the time period the doctor is looking for. In the tomb of Seti I  we are shown the doctor at the end of that tombs tunnel, a very interesting place to be with Dr. Hawass' hopes that he will find the secret burial chamber of that king at the end. Not to be!

 Certainly it is the last show in this series that was the most interesting with the tour of the tomb in the area of the tombs of the nobles named after Dr. Hawass,  Z-1. In the newly discovered tomb the viewer is present as the tomb yields a number of  coffin-less mummies dated to dynasties eighteen and twenty six.

Though for some reason I could not help but to remember the missing tombs in that area excavated by Alexander Rhind in the mid nineteenth century and wonder if Z-1 was actually one of them.

Without a doubt the highlight of the series was the tour of this tomb and in the end Dr. Hawass came off as a passionate man who was capable of  expressing his passion though one gets the feeling that true peace and happiness only comes to the doctor when he is in someone else's grave.

1 comment:

S.L. Stevens said...

Perhaps the network told him that an abusive personality a la Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan was something he should try out?