Building Pharaoh's Chariot

Early in the Egyptian New Kingdom, more than three and a half thousand years ago, a technological revolution took place in Egypt.  The chariot arrived. Over the next few hundred years the Egyptians built the greatest empire the world had ever seen. Was the chariot their secret weapon? 

In ‘Building Pharaoh’s Chariot’ a team of Egyptologists, engineers, carpenters and equestrian experts join forces to build two of the most accurate replicas of an Egyptian chariot yet attempted, and then test them in action. They discover that although the Egyptians didn't invent the chariot they made a series of remarkable improvements that transformed the chariot’s handling and suspension - improvements that included the addition of springs, shock absorbers and anti-roll bars. In fact, according to Bela Sandor, Professor Emeritus of Engineering Physics at University of Wisconsin: ‘if you gave this to a modern designer, with computers and formulas, they could not do any better.’

The team also plans to recreate the Egyptian harnessing system, which was very different from a modern harness, and use it to drive the chariots in simulated battle. The team believes the harness was as important as the chariot itself in creating a vehicle that performed better than the chariots of Egypt's enemies. But how much of an advantage did it give the Egyptians in battle? How manoeuvrable was the new improved chariot, and how stable was it as a platform for archers? By driving the replicas to their limits the team are able to assess the chariot's performance, as well as the claim that the chariot marked a crucial turning point in military history.

Shot in HD.