We need to crave the viewing experience — it’s the only way to understand the momentousness of this tomb.
Netflix documentary film Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb was released on the streaming service on October 28, 2020.
This documentary articulates an archaeologist’s dream. To be part of one of the most significant discoveries in the past 50 years. Netflix’s Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb documents the decoding of the Egyptian tomb of an Old Kingdom priest, Wahtye. This tomb has been unopened for 4,400 years, so this is an unbelievable, mind-blowing discovery — the kind that historians and experts lick their lips about.
What was incredible was the condition of the tomb; the round-the-clock archaeology team excavates five shafts to unearth the secrets of a man and his family. It’s always otherworldly to see these experiences, knowing that in modern times, we do not have the breadth of culture to preserve such a rich history of a single family. Many cultures today are very fast-paced about death — we do not take time to preserve and cherish.
Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb amplifies the importance of unearthing Old Kingdom history because of the rarity of finding such a tomb. The Netflix documentary allows the excitement to seep through as the archaeologists brush away sand and dirt to uncover possessions and, in one of the scenes, a well-wrapped Mummy cat that is met with such explosive excitement by a lifelong expert.
There’s a real insight into the preservation process in Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb — when the experts discuss uncovering a mummy coffin, there’s a sense of anticipation — the camera stays recording as everyone waits with bated breath. The documentary discusses the intimate process of mummification and the patience and care that needs to be displayed when handling preserved beings.
While the whole purpose of Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb is to uncover an ancient mystery, the documentary’s true power is in the people that drive it; there is passion and love for this work to transform our understanding. Watching those involved put in their life’s work to relay a part of history that has not yet been learned is insightful in itself; the feature film truly understands the importance for these people. How historic discoveries like this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
As the audience member, we need to crave the viewing experience — it’s the only way to understand the momentousness of this tomb. While the documentary delves deep into science and history, there’s plenty of emotions to savor in this feature.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.