During a special two-hour broadcast on Sunday, a sarcophagus containing an Egyptian high priest was opened on live TV.
The Discovery channel aired the broadcast called "Expedition Unknown: Egypt Live" from the site outside of Minya, a region located along the banks of river Nile, situated south of Cairo and its Giza pyramids.
A recent discovery made by archaeologists, the site contained a network of shafts that led to tunnels and tombs accommodating 40 mummies which are "believed to be part of the noble elite."
When discovering the tombs, they found various artifacts like statues, amulets, canopic jars that were used to store organs and other mummies. One of the mummies found by them had decomposed to a skeleton over the years. Moving further, they crawled to a chamber containing the intricately carved sarcophagus.
The sarcophagus in which the mummy was stored took the strength of several people to open. The efforts used by the team was however not in vain as opening the coffin, they found a pristinely linen-wrapped mummy surrounded by treasure including gold.
"I can't believe this, this is incredible," exclaimed Zahi Hawass, an Egyptian archeologist and former antiquities minister, who had taken charge of the expedition with American explorer Josh Gates as the host of the broadcast.
The project was set up in collaboration with Egypt’s antiquities ministry, said Discovery.
The mummy found in the coffin was that of a high priest of Thoth, the ancient Egyptian god of wisdom and magic. It dated to Ancient Egypt 26th dynasty, which is considered to be the last native dynasty to rule until 525 BC, Gates mentioned.
"Toward the end of Ancient Egypt, the power really was with the high priests and you can see this; almost feels like a royal burial," he said.
Cairo has sought to promote archaeological discoveries across the country in a bid to revive tourism hit by turmoil after the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak. The tourism sectors of Egypt has begun to return with arrivals reaching 8.3 million in 2017, according to government figures. However, that still falls far short of the 14.7 million in 2010.
Discovery's broadcast also comes with a global interest in Egyptian archaeology generated by a "once in a generation" exhibition about the pharaoh Tutankhamun, which opened in Paris last month and will tour the world.
(With PTI inputs)