Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 June 2019

Discovery Channel unearths 2,500-year-old mummy in Egypt live on TV

Mummified high priest was found during live series premiere of 'Expedition Unknown'

Egyptologist Dr Zahi Hawass made history last night when he uncovered live on TV the 2,500-year-old mummy of an Egyptian high priest at the remote burial site of Al Ghorifa in Egypt, about 265 kilometres south of Cairo.

The find was made during the live premiere of the new season of Discovery Channel’s Expedition Unknown.

The show was broadcast live in 95 countries, including the UAE, from 4am to 6am this morning.

Watch the video above to see more from the show.

The show’s host, adventurer and explorer Josh Gates said: “This has been such an amazing experience. There aren’t many people who can say they’ve gone down into unexplored ancient tombs, especially with a living legend like Dr Hawass.

"We were able to document spectacular artefacts and mummies and bring viewers along in real-time. It was the thrill of a lifetime.”

'This is what keeps me going'

Dr Hawass, a renowned expert on Egyptian history with five decades of experience in the field, said: “Never in my 50 years in archaeology have I experienced something on such a grand scale as this.

"The findings here are completely special and totally unique. This is what keeps me going. It is what keeps me feeling young and alive.”

The most impressive thing of all is how much there is left to explore

Dr Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt

During the live broadcast, viewers had the thrill of coming face-to-face with two other mummies that appear to be directly connected.

The first was a female mummy, based on the artefacts discovered in a cut above ground, while the second was found inside the “Family Tomb,” the final resting place of an entire family from 2,500 years ago.

This tomb also contained such unique objects as an ancient Egyptian board game, the remains of a family dog and four intact canopic jars used to store organs.

While the second mummy was not a high priest or fully preserved, the objects inside the tomb and inscriptions on his sarcophagus reveal that he was a singer in the temple of an Egyptian god known as Thoth.

Dr Hawass also uncovered a mysterious wax head that he believes is the mold of Irt Hrw, one of the high priests. This extraordinary wax head is the exact cast of a 2,500-year-old high priest, with very detailed features.

The show’s grand finale featured the opening of a sealed sarcophagus, which contained an exquisitely preserved 2,500-year-old high priest, a “Great of the Five Priest of Thoth,” covered from top to bottom with gold banding and other artefacts.

Dr Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, was delighted with the find, and said he hoped it would encourage more tourists to visit Egypt.

“The most impressive thing of all is how much there is left to explore,” Dr Waziri said. “I am very happy that the programme was seen by millions of people from around the world.

"We are sending an important message that Egypt is safe and we invite tourists to come.”

Updated: April 9, 2019 12:58 AM

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