♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ -Egypt, land of countless ancient treasures found inside its pyramids and temples.
The walls of these monuments are covered with mysterious inscriptions left by ancient Egyptians -- hieroglyphics.
-Hieroglyphs are perhaps a writing that has been used for the longest time in the history of the world.
Because they were used for well over 3,000 years.
-200 years ago, French scholar Jean-François Champollion deciphered the inscriptions, giving meaning to the signs that had been unreadable for more than a millennium.
And with his work, an entire civilization buried in the desert sand was brought back to life.
Today, new research is focused on the people who wrote these hieroglyphs -- a literate elite employed by the pharaohs.
They were priests, scribes, painters, engravers, and builders of tombs.
In the south of Egypt, scientists are studying a palace filled with hieroglyphics, the only tomb built for a non-royal in the necropolis and the largest in all of Egypt.
-How was this man able to build this incredible monument?
-Egyptologists have battled the stifling heat to reach the darkest depths of the tomb and unlock the secrets of the ancient inscriptions.
♪♪ ♪♪ -"Secrets of the Dead" was made possible in part by contributions to your PBS station from viewers like you.
♪♪ -Along the Nile, 400 miles from the ancient political capital of Memphis -- Cairo, today -- lies Thebes, modern-day Luxor.
Here, on the west bank, pharaohs constructed sumptuous tombs.
The vast necropolis includes at least a dozen ancient funerary temples and burial sites belonging to royalty, including Queen Hatshepsut.
Surprisingly, Egyptologists have found that the largest tomb at the site -- and in the country -- wasn't built for a pharaoh, despite its immense size.
Archeologists have named it "TT33," for "Theban tomb 33," and they hope to make new discoveries by translating the monument's hieroglyphics.
♪♪ Professor Claude Traunecker has been studying TT33 for the past 17 years, under the aegis of the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology in Cairo.
He is joined by Silvia Einaudi and Isabelle Régen, two Egyptologists and renowned epigraphists, whose job it is to copy, translate, and interpret the texts.
On this trip, they have only four weeks to exhume the latest treasures and safeguard the thousands of texts carved into the walls... [ Conversing in native language ] ♪♪ ...of a tomb well-known to the adventurers who risked their lives exploring it.
-[ Speaking French ] -Lots of people visited it as the region's great curiosity, with its legend of being a cursed and dangerous tomb.
There were very large colonies of bats here.
And when people came in, the bats would fly out, causing accidents.
People only had candlelight, so a number of them fell down the shaft of Room XII when the wind from the bats' wings blew out their candles.
-But who did this imposing and mysterious tomb belong to?
-[ Speaking French ] -In the first two passageways, there's always an image of Padiamenope, looking towards the entrance to the tomb as if he were greeting visitors.
-His name and image appear all over the walls.
There can be no doubt -- this is his final resting place.
For almost a century, exploration of the tomb stopped at Room III because archaeologists built a wall at the entrance to Room IV to shut in the bats.
-[ Speaking French ] -There's a nice little article by Maspero that says, "We walled in Padiamenope's tomb because of the bats.
I hope that when it's reopened, we'll finally find out who Padiamenope was."
And I made use of this text to have the tomb opened again.
-In December 2005, after Traunecker obtained authorization to break down the wall and access the rest of the tomb, he entered a space that had been closed for a century.
The decomposed bodies of millions of bats had saturated the air with ammonia, making it unbreathable.
The floor and walls were badly degraded, but when the professor looked more closely, he realized he'd discovered a priceless treasure.
-[ Speaking French ] -It was a revelation!
Especially this word of greeting that I discovered.
I remember, when I saw it, I had tears in my eyes.
An appeal to the living.
"O, you who are on earth, those who are born..." This marks the future -- "Er-mes-tu."
"...and those who will be born."
It's quite incredible!
And it interestingly goes on to address "Those who come to stroll."
Coming to the necropolis for a stroll -- not bad!
"Those who come to have fun looking at ancient tombs."
This dates from the 7th century BCE, so there had already been 2,000 years of tombs before then!
"Or those who come looking for spells."
When I read that, I must admit, I was moved to tears.
"Those looking for spells."
And he goes on.
"May they observe what is in this tomb."
And then there's a blessing -- "They will receive the blessing of the god Amun if they respect this tomb."
And finally, he asks us to "repair whatever is damaged."
It's a very daring, direct message.
♪♪ -The carvings on the walls of Padiamenope's tomb ask future visitors to keep it in good condition.
Einaudi and Régen have spent 10 years investigating the tomb, studying the walls, and wandering the maze of corridors that leads to the burial chamber.
Ultimately, their goal is to find answers to the many questions that still surround the figure of Padiamenope and create a clearer picture of who this scribe and priest was.
They have already established that the architectural style of the tomb places its construction at around 700 BCE.
To learn more, they must capture 3-D images of the entire site, 360 degrees around.
-[ Speaking French ] -We're about to start the photogrammetry phase, where we'll align the images and a cloud of dots.
The images will be aligned by the photogrammetry software.
It involves the recognition of counterpart pixels between each image.
Then we go on to the second phase, which is meshing.
Here, the software picks up the millions of dots and joins them all together with little triangles.
And that gives the volume to the model.
♪♪ So we're really moving from 2-D to 3-D. Once we've composed the model, we go on to the last step -- compositing.
-[ Speaking French ] -We'll decide on the camera movement and then the lighting and lighting moods... ...and finally the rendering of the tomb itself.
Here, the camera is on the outside, and it allows us to see the exterior volumes of the tomb, with all its architecture and depth.
In the other scenario, we're on a virtual visit, with the camera inside the tomb.
Here we're in Room I, as it is today, in a degraded state.
These two camera features are quite complementary because they'll allow us to work out how we're going to work in the tomb.
♪♪ -For the first time, the vast maze within TT33 is visible -- 22 rooms, countless corridors, and linked galleries... ...all spread across three levels buried more than 65 feet beneath the desert sands.
28,000 square feet of decorated walls, every single one of them covered in hieroglyphs.
The archaeologists face an immense challenge -- decoding the carvings that have been ravaged by time, earthquakes, looters, and the environment.
But translating the inscriptions on the walls will shed new light on the tomb's enigmatic owner.
With a resting place larger and grander than that of the pharaohs, Padiamenope was clearly an important member of Egyptian society.
What kind of power did he wield?
-[ Speaking French ] -Here we see his main title -- "Rehrireb" and "Rehritep," which mean "lector-priest" and "chief, or "lector-priest" and "master of ceremonies".
Padiamenope must have been someone who knew ancient Egypt's religious history very well, along with the religious texts.
-[ Speaking French ] -He was the intermediary between, let's say, those who worked in the library, who devised the rites, who thought, who catalogued the papyri, before going out before the crowd to conduct religious ceremonies.
You could say he was the link between religious theory and religious practice.
And with what aim?
To appease the Egyptian people.
Because the Egyptians were so fearful.
You didn't build things like this without having a fear of death!
-A statue of Padiamenope in the Cairo Museum portrays him as a scribe, someone who belonged to the literate elite that held significant power over the rest of the population, which couldn't read or write.
The Louvre Museum in Paris is home to the "Seated Scribe," a statue of a seated man holding a papyrus scroll as a guardian of sacred knowledge, like all scribes.
-Egypt was governed by a literate elite, which we call "scribes," because they knew how to write.
This ability to write distinguished them from others.
The scribe's main job was to keep the accounts and write letters, basically administrative tasks.
The more cultured among them wrote literature -- because there was an Egyptian literature in the modern sense of the term -- while others ran libraries.
♪♪ Basically, hieroglyphs read from right to left.
To understand which way to read them, you simply take a pictorial hieroglyph -- for example, a quail chick.
It's looking to the left, which means you read from left to right and downwards in a column.
In another inscription, it could be the opposite.
For example, around a door or a niche, there might be, on the left-hand side of the door, signs that show right to left, or vice versa.
It's monumental writing which goes very well with architecture.
-It is a complex and sophisticated writing system.
The oldest examples of hieroglyphics date to around 3200 BCE, and, based on archaeological evidence, the pictorial carvings were used for nearly 3,500 years.
Use of these symbols slowly faded as the Roman Empire took control of ancient Egypt.
When the Romans officially adopted Christianity at the end of the 4th century, the use of hieroglyphics died out.
In the year 380, the emperor Theodosius issued a decree effectively prohibiting all pagan worship.
Hieroglyphics were central to the Egyptians' religion, and once the religion was banned, the need for a literate elite quickly ended, leaving the 3,000-year-old writing system to be buried in the sand for the next 1,400 years.
But in 1798, General Napoleon Bonaparte landed in Egypt.
He and his troops were there to protect French trade interests, but they were accompanied by a contingent of scientists and scholars sent to study the history and geography of the country.
And in 1799, in the small northern town of Rosetta, a soldier made a crucial discovery that would unlock the mysterious inscriptions found on ancient walls and objects.
Lieutenant Pierre François Xavier Bouchard found a stele dating from the 2nd century BCE, carved with a decree from King Ptolemy V. The text was written in three different scripts, hieroglyphic, Egyptian demotic -- a simplified cursive version of hieroglyphs -- and ancient Greek.
-Before we could read hieroglyphs, looking at these monuments was a mystery, and that's why there's so much esoterica that this has generated, with people thinking that these are all symbols, that they don't have sound values, so you could look at these monuments and not really understand things, until Champollion came and unlocked this key, this mystery.
You can see this cartouche, which is this oval thing, which held the name of the king, and here you can see "Pe-to-we-le-miis," Ptolemy.
So this is the name of Ptolemy, and, of course, this is one of the crucial names that we have in Egyptology not because of his importance, but because his name was on the Rosetta stone and this was the first name to be deciphered.
♪♪ -Two decades later, linguist Jean-François Champollion began a new project -- deciphering hieroglyphics.
♪♪ As a scholar of ancient Greek, he was able to read the name Ptolemy -- "Ptolmaios" in Greek -- on the Rosetta stone.
He then identified the corresponding cartouche with the name written in hieroglyphics.
That allowed him to write the seven letters -- P-T-O-L-M-Y-S -- opposite the seven hieroglyphs.
He was able to read the cartouche of Queen Cleopatra by isolating the three symbols for L-O-P, already identified in the Ptolemy cartouche.
And then he matched the missing letters with the six unidentified hieroglyphs by comparing them to an obelisk inscribed with the queen's name in both hieroglyphics and ancient Greek.
♪♪ The cartouches contained the phonetic transcriptions of Greek names, but what could he do with the names of the pharaohs that ruled before Greek colonization?
And that's where Champollion's genius came into play.
♪♪ The young scholar was a language enthusiast.
At just 13, he studied Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac, and Aramaic.
As an adult, he began to wonder if learning Coptic -- a late form of ancient Egyptian -- would help him understand the hieroglyphics.
♪♪ -[ Speaking French ] -At the beginning of our era, the Egyptians abandoned the hieroglyphic system and transcribed their language using the Greek alphabet.
That's what we call Coptic.
Coptic language and writing would then endure in the liturgical texts of Coptic Orthodox Christians.
In the 19th century, Champollion could read and write Coptic, and he relied on this continuity between the language transcribed by hieroglyphs and Coptic texts to unlock the secret of hieroglyphs.
-With his understanding of Coptic, Champollion was able to translate a new cartouche, in which he could identify the letter "S." And the first hieroglyph of the name seemed to be a sun, which in Coptic is pronounced "Ra."
He was just missing the hieroglyph in the middle.
He thought the name might be Rameses, one of the greatest pharaohs, whose memory lived on despite the disappearance of hieroglyphics.
Champollion immediately turned to another cartouche, which began with an image of an ibis, symbolizing the god Thoth.
If his theory about Rameses was correct, the second symbol was perhaps an "M." And the last sign he knew -- the "S." So "Thot-m-s"?
Thutmose, another famous pharaoh mentioned in Greek texts.
Champollion had done it.
He had cracked the hieroglyphic code.
And he understood that the writing was both figurative and phonetic.
It would now be possible to study ancient Egyptian society at a much deeper level.
♪♪ ♪♪ [ Indistinct conversations ] 200 years later, the heirs of Champollion's discoveries continue his work.
-And just before, you have the two points.
-The extensive inscriptions on the walls of Padiamenope's tomb are now considered primary funerary texts, collections of incantations to help the deceased in the afterlife.
Padiamenope left behind much more than a tomb.
He created a library of hieroglyphic texts, unique in Egypt.
The texts reveal the civilization myths of ancient Egypt, describing how the society viewed the world.
They believed Ra, the sun god, fought off evil creatures who wanted to keep him a prisoner of the night.
During this expedition, Isabelle Régen is determined to decipher the rest of the sacred text.
-[ Speaking French ] -Here is the first hour of the Book of Amduat.
The sun has just set.
It's gone into the depths of the earth.
In his night-boat, with Iuf -- the nocturnal form of the sun with his ram's head.
And before him, kneeling in adoration, is Padiamenope, whose title and name are indicated here.
The sun god's night-boat has an entire crew to help him safely reach the hour when he'll rise at the end of the night.
-It seems that, on the walls of his tomb, Padiamenope inserted himself into the story of Ra, placing himself in the deity's boat.
-[ Speaking French ] -As the hours go by, there are various events.
Padiamenope is actively involved, hauling the sun god's boat, harpooning Apophis, the serpent that tries to stop the boat from progressing.
He's very actively involved in the journey and even performs a ritual dance for the sun god.
-According to the text, if during the night Padiamenope is unable to bring the sun god's boat home safely, the sun will not rise, and the world will end.
And so, every morning, when the sun reappears, all living beings bow down before the sun god to celebrate his victory, that of life over death.
-[ Speaking French ] -Padiamenope's version is very original.
Into the sacred text, he inserts his own name and title.
So there's the presence of the man of letters but also the desire to promote himself.
-According to a tradition dating back to the Old Kingdom, it's the pharaoh who is typically seen in the boat, kneeling before Ra.
So why has Padiamenope taken the pharaoh's place?
Isabelle Régen's work provides the answer.
He replaces the pharaoh as defender of Ra to ensure that, after his death, he will rise every day with the sun -- a way of guaranteeing eternal life in the Land of the Dead.
But having the protection of the sun god wasn't enough.
He also wanted to earn the favor of Osiris, the god of the dead.
-[ Speaking French ] -We're in Room IX of the tomb, which has two walls dedicated to the famous "Weighing of the Heart."
-Here, too, Padiamenope plays a key role in one of the most important parts of the Egyptian Book of the Dead.
Anubis, who guides dead souls in the afterlife, puts a feather on one side of a scale and then places the deceased's heart on the other.
For the deceased to continue on into the afterlife, their heart must be as light as the feather -- proof that they have committed no evil deeds.
Thoth, the god of wisdom and writing, notes the result of the weighing on his tablet.
If the scale does not balance, indicating the soul is impure, Ammit, the devourer of the dead, lies in wait to eat the heart.
And when that happened, the deceased could not continue living in the afterlife.
The whole scene takes place before Osiris, who oversees this divine tribunal.
He will decide whether the deceased is pure or if he dies forever.
Why does Padiamenope show such devotion to Osiris?
Was he trying to win the god's favor?
♪♪ ♪♪ Egyptologists have a theory about why Padiamenope's name appears on the walls of his tomb dozens of times.
Ancient Egyptians believed hieroglyphics possessed an important property.
They helped ensure eternal life.
As long as visitors to the tomb read his name, Padiamenope would be assured of his place in the afterlife.
-For the ancient Egyptians, the word was incredibly powerful.
Words are magical.
If you write something down, it has power, and once you say it, it gives it even more power.
It ritualizes the whole thing, and so it's the same way than in any magic, even today, no matter where you are.
If you give someone a name, they have power over you.
So words have power, and one of the creation myths of the ancient Egyptians was the god would think and then he would speak and it would come into being.
-For Egyptians, the act of preservation, be it in writing a text or embalming a body, was a critical practice to ensure their place in the afterlife.
♪♪ -[ Speaking French ] -To dig and decorate a tomb of such a size must have taken a good 20 years, if not more.
And, certainly, in terrible conditions.
We know there were several crews working on the tombs at the same time.
When the excavators were working in the deepest sections, scribes and craftsmen had already begun decorating the first rooms, which were finished.
-Who were these builders and craftsmen who dug and decorated the tombs?
The knowledge and training that made Padiamenope's tomb so dazzling can be traced back eight centuries to a unique archaeological site not far from TT33.
♪♪ It's a village where the men who worked on royal tombs lived and learned how to create the intricate, inscribed texts.
-Here we are at Deir el-Medina, which is one of the most important places in Egypt.
It's the workmen's village, and these are the people who decorated the tombs of the kings and the Valley of the Queens, and here, this is in the west bank of Thebes, where the Valley of the Queens, which they also decorated, is there.
The Valley of the Kings is just over there, and also the nobles' tombs and the temples are very close by.
You can see different degrees of specialization, and that's, of course, because people were always learning the craft.
So the fathers would be teaching their children but probably also the priest would help in terms of the reading and the writing, but you can see with the ostracon where people are clumsily writing out their hieroglyphs like their baby ABCs, and then they get very confident.
-The village was built at the time of Thutmose I, more than 3,500 years ago.
The workmen would leave the village at the beginning of each week to dig, construct, and decorate the tombs of the pharaohs.
At the end of the New Kingdom, the site was abandoned and became buried in the sand, and the objects left behind by the inhabitants were discovered on digs in the early 20th century.
♪♪ -As part of a mission led by the Institute, Cédric Larcher oversees and coordinates researchers from around the world who gather at the site for two months every year.
Their aim is to study the remains found in the village to better understand the work of these unsung craftsmen.
-[ Speaking French ] -This is our place of work, our laboratory where the mission's researchers work on objects found directly on the ground.
Gersande is analyzing the different types of wood found on the site.
Zachary and Ahmed are scanning our database to find out what this object was used for, what's written on it, and to establish the context of where it was found on the site.
♪♪ This is an ostracon.
These ostraca have been found in large quantities at Deir el-Medina.
They're fragments of limestone or potsherds, which were used as writing tablets by the inhabitants there.
The ostraca give us a lot of information about everyday local life, as they mention events or consist of lists of workers and their families.
But some of them were used to practice writing, which shows that people undertook apprenticeships in writing here at Deir el-Medina.
They copied out classic texts again and again until not only did they know them by heart, but they could also write all the signs.
We imagine that the apprentice had models and he had to keep carving the same sign until he could reproduce the volume expected by the teacher.
-For the letters to each other, you would use hieratic, which is basically hieroglyphs but a more relaxed form, so it is the same way that hieroglyphs are like capital letters, very formal, and hieratic is joined-up cursive writing.
-99% of ancient Egypt's population was illiterate, but that was not the case for the community of craftsmen living at Deir el-Medina.
And the men were organized so that the work was spread evenly across the tombs.
-[ Speaking French ] -Among the important ostraca found on the site is one now kept at the British Museum, which contains information about the organization of work at the royal tombs.
Here, written in hieratic, are the names of the workers, with a list of the days they were present or absent.
Scribes kept daily registers.
They'd take a roll call to see who was there and who wasn't.
We have some of the excuses presented by the absent -- "So-and-so absent for a family funeral" and so on.
And along with the lists of workers are the names of the chief builders who oversaw their work at the tombs.
-The workflow in the tomb included a variety of tasks, following a meticulously planned schedule.
First, the excavators dug into a limestone vein in the mountain, which had been carefully located beforehand.
It was grueling work.
The men only had wooden mallets and bronze chisels to excavate the rock.
Steel tools didn't exist in the ancient Egypt of 3,500 years ago.
Others then removed the rubble from inside the tomb.
Next came the polishers, who smoothed the floors and walls.
Draftsmen would then trace grids on the walls.
These served as the framework for the outline scribes, who used red ink to sketch figurative scenes and texts, which would be inscribed later.
♪♪ Next came the engravers, who carved the stone with wooden mallets and fine copper chisels, following the previously sketched guide.
And the final step -- painters colored the carved scenes and hieroglyphs.
♪♪ -[ Speaking French ] -We've found a large number of paintbrushes of varying shapes and sizes, depending on their use.
Some brushes were used for applying stucco or painting the first layer on the walls to be decorated.
Finer brushes were used to paint the figures or hieroglyphs.
-Elizabeth Bettles wants to find the name of each artist whose work appears in another tomb in the Theban necropolis.
With tireless determination, this British paleography expert works to identify the painter of a tomb from the 20th dynasty.
♪♪ -Everybody's handwriting is different.
Everybody's handwriting is unique.
Today as it is known that that is the case, and it would have been exactly the same over 3,000 years ago, as this was.
All of this learning about the man who created these hieroglyphs, who painted them, I've got to get to know him.
So I've got to try and find his handwriting style through the shape, through -- of the sign, through how he created the sign, how he spelled things.
And at the moment, I am concentrating on doing individual hieroglyphs to find out what their shape is.
My long-term goal is to create a kind of an interactive database to be able to show people who we can name, who we know who they married, what their children's names were.
So we can learn so much about the people who were literate, who could write.
-You can recognize now the hands of the painters because they each has a special technique, which is marvelous, because, again, you start to connect the finished work of art with the individual.
♪♪ -Although the last artists left Deir el-Medina 800 years before Padiamenope's tomb was built, their skills and traditions began there, to be handed down from generation to generation.
♪♪ The mission goes on.
The Egyptologists have decided to reconstruct, like a vast jigsaw puzzle, the magnificent decoration of the tomb's walls, which time has broken into thousands of pieces.
♪♪ For help, they have called on archaeologist Simone Nannucci.
This morning, while digging in the tomb's first rooms, he discovered more information about Padiamenope.
♪♪ -[ Speaking native language ] -While digging, we found thousands of fragments from the walls, pillars, and ceiling.
The aim of our research is to place them in their original position.
-This part probably came from this, the southern wall of the room, where we can see Padiamenope's mummy before his tomb, and here, part of his title, "Rehrireb" or "Rehritep" -- lector-priest.
-Look at the detail in the ears and nostrils!
-I hadn't noticed that.
So it's a representation of the tomb we're in right now!
In its ideal state.
-Padiamenope must be very happy in the afterlife!
We never stop mentioning his name!
This is so moving.
-The carved walls of temples and tombs aren't the only sources available to archeologists documenting the history of this civilization.
5,000 years ago, ancient Egyptians also created a material akin to paper from the stalk of a plant that grows along the banks of the Nile -- papyrus.
In the 19th century, ancient Egyptian papyri became collectors' items.
Bernardino Drovetti, France's consul in Cairo at the time, made a business of selling texts that were several millennia old.
The king of Piedmont paid him a fortune to put together a collection.
The king was able to open the Museo Egizio in 1824 that included statues, objects, and papyri.
What did the man who made it possible think about the new museum in Italy?
-When the Drovetti collection was acquired, they hope to bring the man who had found the key to ancient Egypt to Turin.
So Champollion accepts their invitation.
He is not at all happy about the fact that France has not acquired the collection, but Turin has.
And so he's credited with that famous saying that, "The road to Memphis and Thebes goes through Turin."
-But once he arrived in Turin, Champollion had a change of heart.
He spent the next eight months at the museum studying papyri that he described as being "beyond words."
He made extraordinary discoveries while restoring the papyri fragments brought back from Egypt by Drovetti.
Today, the scientists at the Museo Egizio are busy restoring and piecing together papyri, continuing Champollion's work.
While at the museum, he used its collection to create a foundational work in Egyptology -- the Turin King List, as it's sometimes called -- which helped establish the chronology of Pharaonic dynasties.
-Chronology is one of the primary concerns of Champollion when he arrives in Turin.
Champollion is confronted with a rich collection such as he has never seen before.
Among the fragmentary papyrus that Champollion was confronted with was one that was a list of royal names -- the Turin Canon or the Papyrus of Kings, a list of kings starting from the time of the gods and all the way into historical times and until, presumably, the time of Ramses II, under whom this list was compiled.
It is one of the fundamental historical documents of Egyptology.
-Champollion threw himself into his work with the Turin papyri.
But he hoped to return to Egypt, sail up the Nile deep into Nubia, and continue studying hieroglyphics carved directly on monuments.
♪♪ ♪♪ It took him two years, but he was able to organize an expedition of 14 scholars and scientists who would travel for 18 months, analyzing the main sites of antiquity that were seen during the Bonaparte mission.
It was an immense task.
♪♪ -[ Speaking French ] -Champollion is the father of Egyptology not just because he deciphered hieroglyphs, but also because of his contribution to every field that constitutes the science -- his work on Egyptian religion, his work on the Turin Royal Canon and the lists of the pharaohs, and so on.
-Champollion's chronology of pharaohs stopped at Rameses II, from the 19th dynasty.
But the empire lasted another 700 years.
Later scholars would complete the timeline through the Roman period.
Claude Traunecker used the Turin King List to date TT33 to roughly the 7th century BCE.
But in order to understand Padiamenope better, he must now determine which pharaoh the scribe served.
-[ Speaking French ] -How come a man of such importance never speaks of his king in his tomb?
From time to time, he says, "I was an important man.
The king of my day counted a lot on me," but he never names him.
-Which pharaoh relied on Padiamenope so heavily?
The tomb next to his, that of Mentuemhat, governor of Upper Egypt and mayor of Thebes in the 7th century BCE, provides Traunecker with the answer.
-[ Speaking French ] -Genuine power was held for about 10 years by Mentuemhat, the man who built the great pylon, which you can see behind me.
How does Padiamenope fit in here?
I think they were just about contemporaries, or there's perhaps 10 years between them, because there are the same features found in Mentuemhat's tomb as that of Padiamenope.
So I believe that Padiamenope was the religious adviser to King Taharqa.
The Louvre contains several depictions of the most famous king of the 25th dynasty -- black pharaohs from the Kingdom of Kush.
♪♪ -The Nubian dynasty was already impregnated with Egyptian culture when it was established because they came from Sudan, Upper Nubia, which had been colonized by Egypt and had gone through a long acculturation process.
So the Nubian elite was well-adapted to the customs and religion of the Egyptians.
They were more royalist than the king, so to speak, because they advocated a return to original purity.
♪♪ Padiamenope participated in this antiquity revival movement, which was very fashionable at the time.
He illustrated inside his tomb, with texts on the pyramids and on sarcophagi, which hadn't been in use for almost 2,000 years, to show how erudite he was to visitors, because part of his tomb was meant to attract intellectual tourists.
And Padiamenope was a secretary to the king -- at a certain time, at least.
-As a secretary, Padiamenope would have led sacred ceremonies in the pharaoh's absence.
This strange ramp descending to the Nile is proof.
It was constructed during Taharqa's reign, under the supervision of Padiamenope.
A text in Padiamenope's tomb helped Traunecker make the connection.
-[ Speaking French ] -"I constructed a mooring space," which means a quayside.
This tells us he was in charge of construction work in Karnak, but as lector-priest, he was also in charge of the ceremonies in Karnak.
He calls himself "he who conducted celebrations and ceremonies in the Temple of Karnak."
So he was a very, very important figure in terms of local worship.
-As part of what they called the Beautiful Festival of the Valley, the people of Thebes gathered together every year for a huge processional.
As a remembrance of the dead, priests would launch a statue or portrait of Amun-Ra into the Nile on a ceremonial boat known as a barque.
The barque would then tour the necropolises at the site.
Padiamenope chose to build his own tomb in a place where the procession would stop each year.
To get a sense of what the festival was like, this wall at the Temple of Luxor commemorates a similar event.
-Padiamenope was very key to this whole connection and this control system that the Nubian pharaohs had.
So Taharqa depended on Padiamenope to, in fact, guide him, almost, through the idea of Egypt's religion and the texts.
♪♪ -As Egyptologists have noted, many of the chapels inside the Karnak complex are dedicated to the god Osiris and date from the period of the Nubian pharaohs.
It is difficult to know whether Padiamenope had any influence on the revival of Osiris worship.
But for Salima Ikram, it's undeniable that the architecture of the chapels was a source of inspiration for Padiamenope.
Life in ancient Egypt revolved around ensuring a place in the afterlife.
Perhaps Padiamenope hoped that dedicating his tomb to Osiris would help him after death.
A closer look at the architecture of his tomb offers some insight into his thinking.
It was structured as several distinct sections.
The first was undoubtedly open to all visitors.
But the second section was reserved solely for pilgrims worshiping Osiris.
-[ Speaking French ] -Imagine that we are not regular tomb tourists, but pilgrims come to worship at the altar of Osiris.
We turn right.
To access here, you need a special key.
I even wonder whether there was an entrance fee.
-It's possible Padiamenope built a tomb that would generate revenue to help pay for its upkeep.
-Once through this door, we reach the cenotaph room.
What's a cenotaph?
A pretend tomb.
It looks like a tomb, with all the decoration of the time, but there's no body inside.
So what did the pilgrims do once they were here?
They walked around, singing canticles.
I think they would sing the texts inscribed at the tops of the walls.
-The cenotaph served as a pilgrimage destination for worshipers of Osiris.
And Traunecker is still studying the tomb's third section, which he describes as being private.
To access the third section, one must descend the infamous shaft in Room XII that terrified visitors and earned the tomb the legend of being cursed.
From there, it's down a passageway to Room XIX.
-[ Speaking French ] -Here's the famous scene "Awakening Osiris," which must have covered the entire wall.
The central part features the god Osiris.
Before him is his son Horus, who is holding the symbol of life under his father's nose.
The hieroglyphs say, "Waking up."
-A second shaft descends even further into a strange room which resembles a sarcophagus from the Old Kingdom.
Technically, it's the last room in the tomb.
Any pillagers entering here could go no further.
It appears there was nowhere else to go.
But Padiamenope has created a secret burial chamber above the room.
The ceiling had to be smashed before Padiamenope's real burial chamber could be entered.
And it is a revelation.
♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ The decoration on the walls and ceiling of the chamber rival those of the Sistine Chapel.
And Egyptologists have worked to restore them nearly to their original state.
♪♪ -[ Speaking French ] -Padiamenope clearly wanted to conceal the entrance to this last room, where he was probably buried.
But as we found no remains of a sarcophagus, the latest hypothesis to be put forward is that his mummy was inside a wooden coffin placed on a funerary bed, possibly in the central part of the room.
This hypothesis is based on the fact that on the east and west walls of this chamber, between the niches which must have held statuettes... ...there are images of guardian genies, deities, who were supposed to protect Padiamenope's body.
The same guardian genies that featured to the left and right of "Awakening Osiris."
So the hypothesis is that Padiamenope wanted to reproduce a kind of three-dimensional "Awakening Osiris" in which Padiamenope, on his funerary bed and surrounded by guardian genies, takes the place of Osiris.
-The portrait of the mysterious Padiamenope has become clearer.
Associating himself with the Judge of the Dead and receiving his blessing and good grace was undoubtedly the best guarantee of living eternally in the afterlife.
Exploration of his tomb has revealed an extraordinary figure -- a priest, a scribe, and a scholar who played a crucial role at the pharaoh's court.
Despite the 2,500 years that separate them, Padiamenope and Champollion shared the same fascination with hieroglyphics.
In hindsight, one seems to have placed himself in the footsteps of the other.
-[ Speaking French ] -Both of them wanted to pass on something they possessed.
Padiamenope wanted to pass on his knowledge of history, a much older history of his civilization.
And Champollion wanted to discover and then pass on to his contemporaries all of those wonderful things he had discovered.
-Shortly after returning from his voyage to Egypt, Champollion fell ill.
He died in Paris on March 4, 1832, at age 41.
Despite his early passing, he left behind a vast body of work.
-[ Speaking French ] -By cracking the code of hieroglyphs, Champollion opened the great door to what would become Egyptology, which is still developing today and destined to know even greater developments.
-Today's Egyptologists continue the work Champollion started with his discoveries.
The priority on their next trip will be to conserve the tomb and restore its treasure in order to reveal more of Padiamenope's secrets, deepening our understanding of this ancient civilization and its hieroglyphics.