The sarcophagus of an Egyptian priest dating back more than 2500 years was opened live on Sunday night to Monday during a broadcast of the American channel Discovery.
In the artificial light, the Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass and his men opened three sarcophagi under the eye of the cameras, one of which was brought to the surface of the tomb and the other at the end of a gallery. .
— Discovery (@Discovery) April 8, 2019
They focused on the third, much more imposing and sophisticated, which contained the remains of a high priest of the god Thoth, contemporary of the 26th dynasty (664-525 BCE).
“This man was like a king,” said Zahi Hawass, in view of the quality of the embalming and intact strips, unlike the first two mummies.
Thot was often represented in the form of an ibis and symbolized wisdom and magic.
“Towards the end of ancient Egypt, power really belonged to high priests and it shows,” said Josh Gates, the presenter of the show, whose staging accentuated the dramatization of discovery.
The site was outside the city of Minya, along the Nile, south of Cairo.
Also present was the Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa Waziri.
Asked by AFP on a possible financial transaction between the channel and the Egyptian state to obtain permission to film and open the graves, a spokesman for Discovery had declined to comment.
Political instability and attacks have dealt a blow to tourism in the country since the 2011 revolution. The sector has seen a relative improvement in 2018.
The Egyptian authorities regularly announce archaeological discoveries, but the country has often been accused of a lack of scientific rigor and neglect in the conservation of its antiquities.