Egyptian sarcophagus to be opened on live TV

An ancient Egyptian sarcophagus will be opened live in a two-hour television special to air simultaneously at 8:00 PM Sunday on the Discovery, Travel and Science channels. Expedition Unkown: Egypt Live will be hosted by one Josh Gates who is described as an “explorer,” and who in his capacity as a certified SCUBA diver assisted in an archaeological excavation once in the 1990s. Other than that, it seems his bailiwick is hosting TV shows and traveling places. The actual opening of the sarcophagus will be done by archaeologists under the ever-watchful (and promotion-keen) eyes of Egyptologist Dr. Zahi Hawass and Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt.

The limestone sarcophagus was found in the necropolis of Tuna el-Gebel in Minya province, about 210 miles south of Cairo. More than 50 Ptolemaic era mummies were found there earlier this year. The sarcophagus is likely older than that, however, as it was discovered in deeper chamber.

Viewers will have the rare opportunity to see the inner chambers of an excavation site, where archeologists recently uncovered a network of vertical shafts leading to an underground network of tunnels and tombs with 40 mummies believed to be part of the noble elite.

The massive underground complex of chambers is a treasure trove of antiquities – all laying undisturbed for thousands of years. But there are several chambers yet to be explored – and many more discoveries to be revealed, including a mysterious limestone sarcophagus found buried deep within the complex. The identity of the mummy inside has been a mystery for 3,000 years… Possibly until now.

Or even more likely there will be no identifying inscriptions. For that matter, there may not be any mummified remains to speak of remaining inside. There’s a very strong possibility of an Al Capone’s vault situation here, but the live broadcast works as a marketing tool either way since viewers will get two hours worth of the “come see the ancient wonders of mysterious Egypt” pitch.

This is the first time an Egyptian sarcophagus will be opened on live TV, but it’s only the technology that’s been updated. Making a spectacle of the dead of ancient Egypt is part of a long tradition of mummy voyeurism and exploitation going back centuries. Dr. Augustus Granville garbed it in a loincloth of science when he performed an autopsy of the mummy of Irtyersenu before a large crowd in 1825, the surgical theater lit by candles made from what he thought was beeswax he scraped off her mummy but turned out to be Irtyersenu’s own body fat in the form of adipocere. Dr. Thomas Pettigrew became known as “Mummy” Pettigrew for the hugely popular mummy unravelling parties he threw for Victorian Britain’s moneyed elite.


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Comment by Garth Groff
2019-04-07 04:40:44


I actually enjoy Josh Gates’ EXPEDITION UNKNOWN programs. He goes interesting places we’ll never see in person, investigates legends and mysteries, explores local cultures with considerable respect, makes a few jokes, visits tacky gift shops, and sometimes lays bad theories to rest (remember how the Japanese “Atlantis” was shown to be natural geological oddity). Yes, he’s more of a TV star than a scientist, his programs are mostly entertainment, and lots of times his shows bring us no closer to the truth. At least we learn something, and get a few laughs.

Josh doesn’t engage in the level of annoying breathless speculation and crack-pot science presented as almost-fact we see on THE CURSE OF OAK ISLAND (especially in the voice-over narration). I would not be surprised if space aliens are blamed for the so-called treasure on some future episode. Yes, I watch the show, but I howl frequently.

Be easy on Josh.

Yours Aye,

Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge (SCA)

Comment by The Jannie
2019-04-07 08:09:37

The TV channels have a lot to answer for in the field of quasi-scientific output. In keeping with their usual standards, I wonder if they’ll have a bunch of shouting rednecks charging about in the dark to no effect?

Comment by Karen Winch
2019-04-07 10:21:52

Josh is all right be nice

Comment by Bon Chauvi
2019-04-07 11:56:08

:ohnoes: My guess would be that in places like e.g. LONDON, candles made from beeswax smell almost similar to those made from adipocered royal body fat. However, as they should not ‘unwrap’ whatever might be hidden in that coffin, will he possibly bring an ‘MRI scanner’ down there?

On a side note, there is a traditional Folk Song from Vienna (“Tonight we gonna unearth Bodies”) —“Hooray, we gonna unearth Bodies tonight! – Today we gonna be proud of ourselves, and certainly we will come up also with a reason, why we should.” :boogie:

P.S.: Garth, on an even ‘sidier’ side note, I don’t know anything about ‘Discovery’ nor ‘Josh’, but -in lack of a better alternative- I paid a few ‘installments of attention’ to episodes of that Oak Island thing: There were crazy Americans unearthing ..Earth (and obviously selling that to TV stations) and, indeed, occasionally, what “crack-pot scientists” describes best. Also, the (in my case translated) ‘voice-over narration’ was -let’s say- rather.. ‘special’. Later, they -much to my surprise- found ‘something’, but still pretty much nobody knows ‘anything’.

Comment by LauraS
2019-04-07 18:36:30

According to his Official Website: “Josh holds degrees from Tufts University in Archaeology and Drama and is a fellow of The Explorers Club, a prestigious organization dedicated to the advancement of exploration and field research.” He did fieldwork at Caesarea Maritima in Israel. He does have SOME academic credentials. Like many presenters, he will ask the questions that many of his viewers would ask even though he obviously knows the answers. I enjoy “Expedition Unknown” far more than most of the “history stuff” out there and quite a bit of it is REALLY “out there.” :eek:

Comment by Side the Cat
2019-04-08 14:09:35

This event reminds me of the 19th century practice of unwrapping a mummy for paying customers.
Mr. Gates is a bit gosh-wow, but his enthusiasm for the excruciatingly hard work of archaeology is refreshing.

Comment by Sid the Cat
2019-04-08 14:09:56

This event reminds me of the 19th century practice of unwrapping a mummy for paying customers.
Mr. Gates is a bit gosh-wow, but his enthusiasm for the excruciatingly hard work of archaeology is refreshing.

Comment by gay
2020-01-16 17:26:44


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