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  • NARRATOR: Egypt, the richest source of archaeological treasures on the planet.

  • SALIMA: Oh, that's a fabulous one!

  • NARRATOR: Beneath this desert landscape lie the secrets of this ancient civilization.

  • JOHN: Wow, you can see why the pharaohs chose this place.

  • NARRATOR: Now, for a full season of excavations, our cameras have unprecedented

  • access to follow teams on the frontline of archaeology...

  • ASHRAF: I'm driving so fast because I'm so excited!

  • KATHLEEN: It's an entrance, we can see an entrance.

  • NARRATOR: Revealing buried secrets...

  • ANTONIO: I have just been told that they have found something.

  • DON: Oh my gosh.

  • (laughs).

  • JOHN: A sphinx!

  • NARRATOR: And making discoveries that could rewrite ancient history.

  • This time, the hunt for the lost tomb of Queen Cleopatra.

  • Colleen searches for clues in the hieroglyphs...

  • COLLEEN: Here we see Cleopatra as the goddess Isis.

  • NARRATOR: Alejandro scans ancient mummies in an Egyptian hospital...

  • NARRATOR: And Kathleen makes a startling discovery deep underground.

  • NARRATOR: Ancient Egypt, a kingdom of great pharaohs and a cradle of civilization.

  • But after 3,000 years this rule came to an end with the last pharaoh,

  • Queen Cleopatra.

  • For centuries this enigmatic woman has captured the imagination of the world,

  • but the location of her tomb is still a mystery.

  • Today archaeologists across Egypt are on the hunt for clues.

  • Renowned Egyptologists Colleen and John Darnell are experts in decoding hieroglyphs,

  • they're on their way to the Valley of the Kings.

  • COLLEEN: We're headed to the location of the burials of

  • nearly every pharaoh of the New Kingdom.

  • NARRATOR: The Valley is a rabbit warren of sixty-five hidden tombs.

  • They form one of the greatest royal cemeteries in the world,

  • but not all of them are finished.

  • JOHN: This morning we're going to the unfinished tomb of Ramses XI.

  • It's the last tomb begun in the Valley of the Kings, and many times unfinished things

  • in Egypt can actually tell you a little bit more than the completed product.

  • NARRATOR: Ramses XI reigned over 1,000 years before Cleopatra,

  • but when he died his tomb was never used.

  • COLLEEN: So here you could see just the initial phases of the tomb decoration,

  • but it's already a beautiful depiction of Ramses XI.

  • We know exactly who we're looking at because of his cartouches, his name rings,

  • in front of his face.

  • JOHN: Looks like they've laid out what would've been remarkable illustrations and,

  • and texts early in the initial part of the tomb.

  • NARRATOR: The tomb of Ramses XI is located in the east of the

  • Valley of the Kings.

  • Its cavernous chambers and pillared halls reveal how the pharaoh should

  • have been buried, but the back of the tomb is unfinished.

  • After 500 years of Egypt's kings and queens being buried in the Valley,

  • Ramses' tomb marks the end of an era.

  • Ramses XI abandoned the Valley of the Kings,

  • and no more pharaohs were buried here.

  • COLLEEN: This is very much the end of a legacy, this is the end of kings being buried in

  • the Valley of the Kings, but it's also the start of something new,

  • of continued royal burial that really ends with Cleopatra.

  • NARRATOR: Historians believe this royal burial site was abandoned because of looting,

  • but no one has found the cemetery for the last pharaohs of Egypt,

  • Cleopatra and her family line.

  • So where could it be?

  • After the Valley fell out of use eventually Egypt's

  • seat of power shifted north to Alexandria.

  • The last great dynasty of pharaohs established their capital here to exploit

  • trade across the Mediterranean Sea.

  • Archaeologist Dr. Ross Thomas from the British Museum is here exploring the ancient

  • capital for evidence that could lead to Cleopatra.

  • ROSS: The ancient city housed about half a million people during the first century BC

  • and it was one of the most important ancient ports

  • and ancient cities of the Mediterranean.

  • NARRATOR: The port city of Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great

  • who conquered Egypt 2,300 years ago.

  • It was famed for its palaces, statues, its library, and a colossal lighthouse standing

  • over 350 feet tall, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

  • During this time, Egypt was ruled by the successors of Alexander,

  • the Greek pharaohs called the Ptolemies,

  • but this family line ended when the country was eventually conquered by Rome,

  • leaving the last pharaoh of Egypt Queen Cleopatra.

  • Many archaeologists think Cleopatra will be found in a royal cemetery somewhere in

  • Alexandria, the capital built by her own family...

  • but searching here is difficult.

  • The ancient city was hit by a series of earthquakes and

  • much of it now lies beneath the waves.

  • ROSS: So do we have weights here?

  • MAN: Yes.

  • NARRATOR: Professor Emad Khalil from Alexandria University began exploring

  • the sunken city over twenty years ago, keeping an eagle eye out for Cleopatra's tomb.

  • EMAD: This has not been found obviously in Alexandria yet,

  • but as we always say beneath Alexandria there are other Alexandrias.

  • Okay.

  • NARRATOR: The evidence of Cleopatra's ancient capital is strewn across the seabed.

  • Shards of pottery, huge columns,

  • fallen obelisks, and what they believe is one

  • of the doorways to the famous lighthouse.

  • ROSS: There was scores of columns and column bases, hundreds of blocks,

  • really large structural blocks.

  • EMAD: I think we managed to see a part of an obelisk,

  • and part of a doorway of the lighthouse,

  • so it is, it's really, really something.

  • ROSS: Yeah.

  • NARRATOR: Every dive provides new data for Emad and Ross to research,

  • but there's no sign of Cleopatra or her family's graves.

  • EMAD: Well you'd assume that they'd want to be buried in their own city.

  • Normally what you have is a royal cemetery with all the burials

  • for the kings and queens.

  • NARRATOR: But what if Cleopatra wasn't buried in Alexandria at all?

  • One woman thinks everyone has been looking in the wrong place.

  • Thirty miles west of Alexandria in an ancient city called Taposiris Magna,

  • there is a little-known temple.

  • Here Kathleen Martinez, a qualified lawyer turned archaeologist, is on a quest.

  • KATHLEEN: So this is one of the exciting moments of an excavation.

  • NARRATOR: For the past decade she has been building a case that Queen Cleopatra is buried

  • beneath this temple.

  • KATHLEEN: I want to be an archaeologist since I was a child,

  • but my parents convinced me to study law, and I became a lawyer.

  • But all this knowledge and this information that I had as a lawyer I combine with

  • archaeology, and this is how I follow Cleopatra's steps to Taposiris Magna.

  • NARRATOR: Kathleen is from the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean, but thirteen years

  • ago she gave up her law work and started excavating here at the temple.

  • KATHLEEN: We have uncovered so many important structures that prove this temple functioned

  • as a temple during the time of Queen Cleopatra and the Greek pharaohs.

  • So this could be the perfect place for Cleopatra's lost tomb.

  • NARRATOR: At the age of eighteen, Cleopatra became pharaoh when her father

  • Ptolemy the twelfth died.

  • She went on to rule for twenty-one years.

  • Faced with the threat of a Roman invasion, she formed alliances with the enemy,

  • first wooing Julius Caesar and bearing his child,

  • followed by a relationship with Mark Antony.

  • But in 31 BC the Roman navy, led by Octavian, attacked Egypt.

  • To avoid capture, legend has it that Cleopatra committed suicide with

  • the bite of a venomous snake.

  • KATHLEEN: She threatened Rome and Romans were afraid of her.

  • She thought she could conquer the world, even though she was a woman.

  • She was a warrior, and she achieved the impossible, and this is why she is my heroine

  • and I will try to do everything I can to find her tomb.

  • NARRATOR: Kathleen believes Cleopatra could be buried somewhere around the site.

  • This season, she has a promising lead 300 feet outside the temple walls;

  • a strange hollow in the ground.

  • KATHLEEN: We found a cut, it's a cut in the bedrock, it's a shaft,

  • and we are trying to find out what, where it lead us.

  • NARRATOR: Kathleen believes the shaft could lead to Cleopatra's lost tomb,

  • hidden deep underground, but trying to excavate this site is dangerous.

  • KATHLEEN: It's dangerous because if the bucket turned around it could hit the guys

  • which are down there.

  • NARRATOR: With the potential to break through into an underground cavity,

  • they're worried the floor of the shaft could suddenly collapse.

  • KATHLEEN: It's an entrance, we can see an entrance.

  • NARRATOR: It's a huge discovery.

  • The shaft leads to an underground tunnel.

  • KATHLEEN: It's so exciting.

  • I need to see what is in there.

  • It has been hidden for 2,000 years.

  • NARRATOR: Across Egypt, the hunt for lost tombs continues.

  • 500 miles south of Alexandria is the ancient city of Aswan.

  • It's here that Spanish archaeologist Alejandro Jiménez-Serrano

  • leads a large mission working at the ancient necropolis

  • of Qubbet el-Hawa.

  • The site is home to one of the largest sets of intact tombs in Egypt.

  • Alejandro is searching for unmarked graves and lost tombs.

  • (speaking in native language).

  • This sprawling site is even older than the Valley of the Kings, and is thought to be

  • the burial site of many wealthy nobles.

  • Today he's working in one of the ancient tombs, trying to identify who was buried there.

  • ALEJANDRO: Unfortunately, it has no inscriptions so we don't the owner or the family

  • who occupy this tomb.

  • We can only say which period, when it was built,

  • because of the style.

  • NARRATOR: But deep inside this tomb the team has just unearthed two buried mummies.

  • As they clear away the sand, Alejandro makes a startling discovery;

  • it's the edge of a beautiful golden death mask.

  • ALEJANDRO: Wow!

  • NARRATOR: Death masks are often made of layers of linen or recycled papyrus, and then

  • soaked in plaster.