Lost Cities of the Ancients episode 1: Pi-Ramesses

Lost Cities of the Ancients episode 1: Pi-Ramesses

Lost Cities of the Ancients episode 1: Pi-Ramesses – This episode looks at the legendary lost city of Piramesse. This magnificent ancient capital was built 3,000 years ago by the Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses the Great, but long ago the whole city disappeared. When it was rediscovered by early archaeologists, it opened up a bizarre puzzle – when Piramesse was finally found it was in the wrong place, somewhere Ramesses the Great could not possibly have built it.



Recreating the stories of both the early archaeologists and the ancient Egyptians, the film enters a lost world, recounting the strange tale of the quest for Piramesse and following the intriguing detective work of modern archaeologists Manfred Bietak and Edgar Pusch as they solve the baffling mystery of how this great lost city could vanish, only to reappear thousands of years later in the wrong place.


Lost Cities of the Ancients episode 1: Pi-Ramesses


Pi-Ramesses was the new capital built by the Nineteenth Dynasty Pharaoh Ramesses II (1279–1213 BC) at Qantir, near the old site of Avaris. The city had served as a summer palace under Seti I (c. 1290–1279 BC), and may have been founded by Ramesses I (c. 1292–1290 BC) while he served under Horemheb.

In 1884, Flinders Petrie arrived in Egypt to begin his excavations there. His first dig was at Tanis, where he arrived with 170 workmen. Later in the 1930s, the ruins at Tanis were explored by Pierre Montet. The masses of broken Ramesside stonework at Tanis led archaeologists to identify it as Pi-Ramesses. Yet it eventually came to be recognised that none of these monuments and inscriptions originated at the site.

In the 1960s, Manfred Bietak recognised that Pi-Ramesses was known to have been located on the then-easternmost branch of the Nile. He painstakingly mapped all the branches of the ancient Delta and established that the Pelusiac branch was the easternmost during Ramesses’ reign while the Tanitic branch (i.e. the branch on which Tanis was located) did not exist at all. Excavations were therefore begun at the site of the highest Ramesside pottery location, Tell el-Dab’a and Qantir. Although there were no traces of any previous habitation visible on the surface, discoveries soon identified Tell el-Dab’a as the Hyksos capital Avaris. Qantir was recognized as the site of the Ramesside capital Pi-Ramesses. Qantir/Pi-Ramesses lies some 30 km (19 mi) to the south of Tanis; Tell el-Dab´a, the site of Avaris, is situated about 2 km (1.2 mi) south of Qantir.

In 2017, archaeologists from the Roemer and Pelizaeus Museum unearthed footprints of children at the bottom of a mortar part, as well as pieces of painted wall, possibly fresco pending further study, believed to have served as decoration at the site of a palace or temple.

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