Released on the 28th of October 2020, the documentary film, ‘Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb’, takes us on a journey of revelation and a better understanding of our great ancestors. The genre of the documentary is the first of its kind on Netflix as they expand their reach to include explorations of Ancient Egypt. The documentary focuses on a specific team and their excavation seasons in 2018-2019 at the Bubasteion Necropolis in Saqqara, Egypt, referencing the 4400-year-old tomb of Wahtye (An ancient Egyptian Priest) and making exciting discoveries in the area around it as well. The remarkable preservation of the untouched and unlooted tomb is what makes the discovery even more fascinating since it’s hard to imagine a world where there are still pieces of history left intact. The entire documentary is spoken in Arabic with English dubbing and subtitles.
The excavation is led by an entirely Egyptian team of researchers, Egyptologists, historians, diggers and archaeologists. It sets an important narrative that Egyptians are finally reclaiming their heritage from westerners. Touching the history of your ancestors after 4400 years of it being buried underground is truly a phenomenal experience which adds a special bond to the encounter of two worlds. Therefore, we found the digging scenes fascinating as they carried an emotional weight to them, and even a sense of vitality. The team is dedicated to deciphering the secrets of the tomb as well as answering all the challenging questions. Who was Wahtye? What caused his death? Who else is buried in the tomb? What are the meanings behind the paintings and the hieroglyphics on the walls? The answers unfold before us in a compelling manner which keeps the viewer engaged.
The documentary provides the viewer with not only captivating historical contexts but also discussions of the afterlife and its importance to the Ancient Egyptians, explanation of the mummification process, and even translation of the hieroglyphics. We get to dive into the anatomical examination of mummies (FUN), we mean, who knew you could tell so much about a person who’s been dead for thousands of years by just looking at the remains of their bones? We get a better understanding of how the complexity of their tomb served as a resurrection machine, preserving their bodies so that their souls can reanimate the ideal life they set out for themselves. The Ancient Egyptian’s strong conviction in the power of mummification to transcend death was uncanny, which causes many misconceptions about history. “People see the great temples and the great statues, they think everything in history is perfect, but it wasn’t. When you unravel and see the skeletons of the people buried, you discover that they’re like us. Exactly like us. This is the real story”, shared Anthropologist, A. Shaheen.