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Out of Egypt with Kara Cooney * Secret societies, ritual sacrifice, brutal religious edicts, macabre burials - how are ancient civilizations linked together and what does it say about human instinct? A whole new kind of class is in session with the dynamic, engaging Dr. Kara Cooney. Join this UCLA Professor of Egyptian Art and Architecture as she bolts the lecture hall for tombs and temples around the world bringing an exciting new perspective to the most fascinating riddles in history in OUT OF EGYPT premiering Monday, August 24 at 9:00 and 10:00 PM (ET/PT) on Discovery Channel. Kara uses her understanding of Egyptian customs and practices as a baseline to study how other ancient societies were formed. In "Relics," which airs at 9:00 PM (ET/PT), Kara investigates how and why our hallowed dead are preserved and worshipped. A relic could be the finger of a Catholic saint or a mummified ibis bird buried in an ancient Egyptian catacomb. For millennia, people have ascribed meaning and power to these remnants of their hallowed dead but why? Kara explains that the bodies might be dead, but they remain buried in our current physical world. They are then seen as somehow magical - a bridge from the living here on Earth to the dead in the heavens beyond. In "Pyramids," airing at 10:00 PM (ET/PT), she takes a closer look at these iconic monuments. In 2560 BC, the ancient Egyptians built the Giza Pyramid. Nearly 2,700 years later and some 7,700 miles away, the Aztecs erected a similarly imposing structure. A coincidence? Kara explains that human nature's desire to be close to the gods, to literally build a conduit to greater holiness, can be seen in civilizations far from Egypt, from the construction of the stepped temples of Mexico to the round pyramids of Sri Lanka. To illustrate beliefs in the power of relics, Kara undergoes a ritual cleansing in Mexico involving human bones, takes part in a Buddhist burning ceremony in Vietnam and pays a special visit to Sri Lanka's most holy shrine - The Temple of the Tooth - to pay respects to what is believed to be the actual tooth of the Buddha. Throughout history, loved ones, martyrs and political figures all share the appearance of being closer to Gods just by the fact that they are no longer among the living. Each special begins in Egypt, where she asks a question that launches her on a quest around the world, As Kara interviews experts and visits sacred sites, she expertly crafts linkages between the social and religious practices of these ancient cultures. In future OUT OF EGYPT specials, Kara looks at beliefs that built and destroyed civilizations, she traces the origins of the Devil and literally descends into the underworld of ancient burial practices. As Kara ventures "Out of Egypt" over continents and countries to study the Mayans of Central America, the Incas of Peru, the Singhalese of Sri Lanka and other civilizations, she discovers that when faced with the same materials on Earth, the same biological matter and laws of physics, people will come up with very similar strategies independently of one other.
Length: 02:44


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