An ancient egyptian sarcophagus is set to be opened live on TV during a two-hour Discovery Channel show. The event, hosted by Chris Jacobs and explorer Josh Gates, will see the team traveling through an underground network of chambers and tunnels where it is thought 40 mummies once part of the noble elite were entombed.
“This is Discovery at its best, as we seek to uncover history that has been buried in the sands of Egypt for millennia,” Nancy Daniels, chief brand officer, Discovery & Factual, said in a statement. “I’m excited as Josh Gates takes us on one of his most ambitious expeditions yet.”
The program, Expedition Unknown: Egypt Live, will air on April 7 at 8 p.m. ET on Discovery. It will also be shown on the Travel Channel and Science Channel at the same time. Joining Jacobs and Gates will be Egyptologist Dr. Zahi Hawass and secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, Mostafa Waziri.
During the live broadcast, viewers will be taken into the inner chambers of an excavation. At the site, which has not been disclosed, archaeologists recently found a network of vertical shafts that lead to tunnels and tombs that have been undisturbed for thousands of years.
The first Ancient Egyptian dynasty began around 3,100 B.C.—although earlier societies existed in the region for thousands of years before this. The “age of the pyramids”—when some of the most iconic buildings of the time were created, like the Great Pyramid of Giza—took place during the Old Kingdom period, between 2686 and 2181 B.C.
The civilization began to decline around the 1200s B.C. with a series of wars and invasions. By 30 B.C. it had largely fallen to the Roman Empire following the deaths of Marc Anthony and Cleopatra.
In Expedition Unknown, viewers will be taken into several unexplored chambers—one of which holds a “mysterious limestone sarcophagus found buried deep within the complex,” Discovery said in a statement. “The identity of the mummy inside has been a mystery for 3,000 years…. Possibly until now,” it added.
There are still many mysteries surrounding Ancient Egypt. It is still unclear how the civilization built the pyramids, and just two years ago, archaeologists found a huge, secret chamber within the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Last month, Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities announced the discovery of a hidden palace in the ancient city of Abydos at the site of a royal temple of Ramesses II. The find, experts say, shows Ramesses II believed Abydos to be a royal power.
“The fact Ramsses II required a palace at Abydos also reveals that he didn’t just order a new temple at the site but was spending enough time there to warrant such accommodation,” Joann Fletcher, a visiting professor in archaeology at the University of York, in the U.K., told Newsweek.