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  • NARRATOR: The mysteries of ancient Egypt, and its hidden secrets.

  • MATTHEW: These tombs represent the technology of resurrection.

  • STEVEN: They created monuments that make the mind boggle.

  • NARRATOR: Some of their greatest achievements,

  • lost beneath the sand and water of the Nile valley...

  • until now.

  • Imagine if we could empty oceans,

  • or drain the desert, and reveal the secrets beneath.

  • Now we can.

  • Using the latest imaging technology to pierce sea and sand

  • and turn accurate data into 3D images.

  • Can scientists solve the mystery of Alexandria's Lighthouse

  • and recreate one of the ancient wonders of the World?

  • Why did a Pharaoh build 15 mega-forts when none of them saw a major battle?

  • LAUREL: This is a forgotten age in Egyptian history

  • because we have lost access to these monuments.

  • NARRATOR: And what does a fleet of boats, buried six miles from the Nile,

  • reveal about Egypt's original 'Valley of the Kings'?

  • ♪ ♪

  • NARRATOR: Ancient Egypt...

  • One of the greatest civilizations on Earth.

  • It lasts for 3,000 years.

  • Its people develop a remarkable written language using pictures and symbols.

  • They worship strange gods.

  • And they build two of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

  • The first, the great pyramids of Giza.

  • -The ancients determined the seven wonders because they met certain criteria.

  • It is the ingenuity of the design, but it had to be built

  • on a super colossal, over the top scale.

  • NARRATOR: The Egyptians' second ancient wonder is the lighthouse of Alexandria.

  • Known as the Pharos, it is built on a grand scale like the other wonders:

  • The Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the Colossus of Rhodes.

  • Of the seven wonders, only the pyramids now survive.

  • But as the waters of the Nile Delta drain away, can the architectural marvel

  • of the Pharos be brought back to life from the seas around Alexandria Harbor?

  • And recreated accurately for the first time a sight that once dazzled the world.

  • -The Pharos ranked as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world because it was

  • something that had never been seen before.

  • Some people say um the beacon could be seen 30 miles out to sea.

  • NARRATOR: Alexandria's lighthouse is a technological and architectural masterpiece.

  • Built in the third century BC, it's the crowning glory of a new capital city,

  • founded by the conqueror of Ancient Egypt: Alexander the Great.

  • -Alexandria was the be-all and end-all.

  • Um you might think of the Champs Elysee in Paris or Times Square in New York.

  • Alexandria was all of those things and more.

  • Um it was the most beautiful city that the world had ever seen.

  • NARRATOR: Egypt's new rulers want the Pharos to send a big and simple message.

  • EMAD: They wanted to show how powerful is the city.

  • So you'd need a sign, a big huge banner that says welcome to Alexandria.

  • The Pharos was created mainly as a landmark.

  • NARRATOR: But once Egypt's power has faded,

  • Alexandria's famous lighthouse falls into disrepair.

  • The land beneath it slowly subsides into the sea, and in the 14th century

  • it finally collapses after it's struck by an earthquake.

  • The Pharos is thought to be lost here, beneath 23 feet of water,

  • at the entrance of Alexandria harbor.

  • Now a French team of archaeologists is trying

  • to rediscover its true magnificence.

  • Using the latest undersea imaging technology, they're scouring the seabed for clues.

  • Their aim is to digitally rebuild this lost Ancient Wonder of the World,

  • for the first time.

  • Leading the investigation is architect and archaeologist Isabelle Hairy.

  • She's been searching for the truth about Alexandria's lighthouse

  • for more than 20 years.

  • ISABELLE: It's always very rewarding to work on one of

  • the seven wonders of the ancient world.

  • I'd be lying if I said otherwise.

  • NARRATOR: Isabelle's team is working in one of the largest

  • underwater archaeological sites in the world.

  • They investigate some mysterious granite blocks.

  • These remarkable remains are clearly man-made.

  • Could they be from the missing ancient wonder?

  • Isabelle's task is to unlock the true dimensions and design of the Pharos.

  • But her job is made harder by the wildly conflicting accounts

  • of what it actually looked lik.

  • -We came across these quite extraordinary images of the lighthouse.

  • NARRATOR: Different impressions from past travelers and artists shroud

  • the true appearance of the lighthouse in mystery.

  • -It's depicted here as the Tower of Babylon.

  • Here a very classical building with floors one above the other,

  • with doors opening into mysterious rooms.

  • NARRATOR: Over time, ideas about the Pharos grew even more fantastic.

  • -One of the authors was speaking about the Pharos being so tall and so

  • extensively high, if a stone was thrown from the top of the lighthouse it would reach land

  • in 2 days or 3 days.

  • It's not true but it is saying something about how those people saw the lighthouse.

  • NARRATOR: Where does the truth lie?

  • Will the underwater granite blocks provide answers?

  • To find out, Isabelle's team uses a technique called photogrammetry capturing

  • thousands of detailed images across the enormous site.

  • -This is closer view here on the map.

  • This is block 1003.

  • -Do you think we can go further, we can go more on the North?

  • NARRATOR: After 28 weeks of diving and with 50,000 photographs,

  • Isabelle has the data she needs to finally unlock the secrets of the Pharos.

  • Combining this unique data with cutting edge computer graphics means

  • that for the first time, the waters around Alexandria harbor can be drained away.

  • As the Mediterranean begins to empty, surprising shapes come into view.

  • Nearly 3,000 granite blocks scattered across three acres of the seabed.

  • These are not natural rock formations, but clearly the work of human hands.

  • Statue bases, chunks of pillars.

  • All from a building of monumental proportions.

  • The drowned ruins of a genuine ancient wonder, The Pharos lighthouse.

  • Brought back into the light of day for the first time in 600 years.

  • Already Isabelle's work has delivered one revelation.

  • Some of the blocks from the drained landscape are

  • a crucial clue to the shape of the Pharos.

  • -Draining the site has enabled us to see the lighthouse.

  • We've even found blocks that might have formed the corner stones,

  • but no blocks found underwater indicated the walls sloped.

  • The walls were straight.

  • NARRATOR: This is the first physical proof of the lighthouse's design.

  • A huge advance on all previous knowledge.

  • But piecing together the rest of the underwater jigsaw remains an enormous challenge.

  • -What we have here is a puzzle,

  • basically it's a 3000 pieces puzzle

  • that you have to try to fit things together.

  • Will it fit or will it not fit?

  • NARRATOR: And what's more, some crucial parts of the puzzle are missing,

  • taken to museums by previous excavations.

  • But one important piece lies nearby, abandoned on the quayside.

  • -This was probably the greatest discovery, found on the site.

  • NARRATOR: But what is it?

  • -So, here we have a side part of a door frame.

  • We know because this is the place where the door would have been fixed.

  • NARRATOR: This groove is carefully carved as the frame for a gigantic door.

  • And incredibly, Isabelle can match the frame's distinctive

  • shape to other stones lying underwater.

  • They must all be pieces from the same doorway.

  • -By joining this huge fragment almost 12 meters long together with all the other fragments,

  • we can reconstruct a door.

  • It's one of the most important pieces of the site.

  • NARRATOR: Now, for the first time, it's possible

  • to recreate the door to the Pharos.

  • The entrance to a Wonder of the Ancient World.

  • -So now we are able to connect it with the lintels.

  • The upright, ah perfect.

  • That's great.

  • NARRATOR: The drained site reveals the lost fragments of the giant doorframe.

  • Using the scanned images of the seabed, its huge blocks come into view.

  • Computer graphic technology reverses the centuries.

  • The pieces of the doorframe fit together perfectly.

  • And within the granite frame a vast wooden door was once fastened.

  • All of it reaching 41 feet high and weighing more than 200 tons!

  • The Pharos entrance is restored in the place where it fell.

  • A monumental piece of architecture dwarfing anyone who enters.

  • For the first time, a part of Alexandria's lighthouse is accurately reconstructed.

  • But what does the rest of the Pharos look like?

  • And does it truly deserve its title as a wonder of the Ancient world?

  • NARRATOR: Archaeologist Isabelle Hairy continues to search for the truth about the

  • Pharos lighthouse.

  • Historical reports are conflicting.

  • But most agree on one thing, that the Pharos has three distinct levels,

  • each shaped differently.

  • Isabelle heads to the place where the lighthouse is thought to have stood.

  • Now the site of another grand building, Qaitbay Fort.

  • Built in 1477, just 42 years after the ruins of the Pharos are last reported visible.

  • Inside, an intriguing clue.

  • Isabelle believes that its mosque is a small-scale replica of the Pharos.

  • ISABELLE: You really get the impression of being in the ancient lighthouse even though

  • the scale isn't the same, but there's this sense of space, still present,

  • which we can feel all around us.

  • NARRATOR: The main tower is square.

  • Above, it's topped by an octagonal and then a circular section.

  • Isabelle's theory is that the Mosque's architects intended this to be a tribute to

  • Alexandria's most famous building.

  • So is the Pharos shaped like this?

  • To solve this mystery, Isabelle needs to compare her 3D data with historical

  • reports and discover the true scale of the Pharos.