If I was a Middle School student with a passing interest in Egyptology, the "Digging for Truth" series would surely be one of my favorites. In tonight's episode, the handsome Jewish outdoorsman Josh Berstein returned to Egypt to investigate the death of Tutankhamun. In a previous show (of Season 1) he was escorted by Supreme Commander of Antiquities Zahi Hawass into the the inner reaches of the Great Pyramid to view the name of Khufu. Under the approving gaze of Dr. Hawass, Josh concluded that this was definitive proof that the fourth dynasty pharaoh by that name was its builder. There was no mention of the possibility that Khufu was a much older name, and like the Great Pyramid itself only adopted by a king of the 4th dynasty.
In this latest installment, Dr. Hawass is again Josh's host and affords him extremely privileged access, this time to the tomb of Tut. The Head Archeaologist in Charge cannot suppress his delight with Josh's verdict that teenaged Tut incurred his fatal injury while performing a dangerous chariot maneuver, and was in no way murdered. Earlier in the show Berstein was amazed to learn that Egypt in that time period had very effective anti-bacterial treatments for wounds, and wondered how a pharaoh could die for lack of medical attention. This made the finale a perplexing non-sequitur. But of course this has become the show's trademark - make a well-produced but highly superficial study of an archaeological topic and then posit a snap decision. Well, it's a very human thing to do, but not very responsible programming for 'The History Channel'.
After being bombarded by History Channel hype, I also got suckered into watching the 2nd Season premier of 'Digging for Truth' a couple of weeks ago, which was about a new Atlantis theory. O.K., I admit it was very entertaining and even educational, yet still it left me feeling like a fool at the end. The show does choose wonderful topics, but I've got to stop expecting any actual digging or truth.
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