Hamunaptra is the name of a
fictional city in the 1999
horror/action film, The Mummy,
as well as a real city in India.
the 1999 film, The Mummy
, Hamunaptra is an ancient Egyptian
city hidden deep in the
desert some distance from Thebes
is the primary setting for the story. Unlike many of the real
places mentioned in the movie, this Hamunaptra is purely
In the film, Thebes is identified as the "City of the Living" while
Hamunaptra is the "City of the Dead, ancient burial site for the
sons of pharaohs, and resting place for the wealth of Egypt."
coincides only loosely with the actual Wadi el-Muluk, the Valley of the
Kings on the opposite side of the Nile from ancient Thebes.
Being to the west,
where the sun set, this valley was considered the realm of the
dead. King Seti I
, who is depicted in the
film, was entombed there.
Hamunaptra is depicted as containing two books central to the
film's plot. One is the golden Book of Amun-Ra
"The Book of the Living", hidden beneath the statue of Horus
. "It contains within it all the secret
incantations of the Old Kingdom." The other is the black Book of the Dead
, hidden beneath the statue
. The Book of the Living can take
life away while the Book of the Dead can give it back. It is the
latter that Imhotep
high priest of King Seti I, uses in his attempt to resurrect his
true love Anck-su-namun
mystery or hidden one.
Also in this city is the preparation room where mummification is
carried out. And hidden deep is a large underground chamber holding
"the wealth of Egypt." To protect this treasure, however, the
entire city is hidden behind a desert mirage and is only revealed
to travellers at sunrise. This trick led to the myth that the
entire necropolis was "rigged to sink into the sand on Pharaoh's
command," causing the city to disappear under the desert, putting
the treasure permanently out of reach.
With the passage of time, Hamunaptra became a lost city, the
subject of legends. As a result, by the 1920s, the decade in which
most of the film's action takes place, its existence is doubted by
In actual history, a city called Hamunaptra (City of the Dead Man)
was found in India in the 1850s when British engineers, trying to
build a railroad, pillaged the area for bricks. In the 1920s,
archaeologists began serious excavations. They found at the site a
lost civilization occupying an area greater than that of Pakistan.
It was a complex, literate, urbanized, centrally located society.
Raw materials located in the area indicated that the civilization
had long-distance trade with Mesopotamia
. The civilization ended between 1900
and 1700 BC, which archaeologists accredit to a new group of
horse-riding invaders. However, there is no evidence to prove any
hypothesis of why the civilization might have become extinct.