Josh Gates Talks Opening Egyptian Sarcophagus During Live 'Expedition Unknown' Event

Expedition Unknown host Josh Gates is no slouch when it comes to adventure, but even the explorer doesn't know what awaits him when he and a team of experts head deep into an Egyptian tomb on live television for Expedition Unknown: Egypt Live.

Ahead of the live two-hour event, premiering Sunday, April 7 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on Discovery, Gates opened up about the upcoming broadcast to PopCulture.com, revealing he's just as excited to see what happens when he, TV personality Chris Jacobs, Egyptologists Ramy Romany and Dr. Zahi Hawass, and Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, descend into the tomb.

"I think one of really cool things is I have no idea what you can expect to see," he explained, adding, "Look, one of the big goals of Expedition Unknown is to take our viewers on a real adventure. It doesn't get much more real than this. We're going to be working hand in hand with some incredible Egyptologists and we're going to be going down into these burial shafts and chambers, hopefully ... opening a sarcophagus on live TV, and finding hopefully all sorts of interesting relics and remains that can tell us more about the people that are buried in these tombs."

Egyptologists who have previously excavated part of the tomb in Middle Egypt the crew will be investigating have found mummies who were members of the "noble elite" from the Late Period, which was the end of ancient Egyptian culture in the way that most people picture it.

"My hope is that we're going to find somebody really interesting in there that can tell us more about this period," he told PopCulture.com, admitting that while the worst case scenario would be finding nothing but dust, "I think it's going to be exciting no matter what happens."

Putting together a live broadcast out in the "isolated" part of the country in which the tomb is located is its own challenge, he added, from constructing the infrastructure needed to simply fitting everyone in the tomb.

"These are not huge cavernous chambers, so getting camera crews, getting equipment down into these chambers is going to be a huge logistical feat, and I think that it's one that we're up to the challenge for," Gates said. "I think that our whole goal is just to be able to get those cameras down there and then whatever happens at that point, we're just going to go with it."

When asked if the high stakes of a live show of this level made him feel uneasy, Gates joked, "No, I'm pretty stupid so I tend to get nervous later when I watch the show. Then I always go, 'Wait, why are you down there? That's a terrible place to be.'"

He added he hopes viewers of Expedition Unknown: Egypt Live will be able to put themselves in his place as they get a taste of adventure, and maybe even some more knowledge about the history of Egypt by tuning in.

"I'm the curious explorer down there who really is going to be looking to these other people to contextualize and explain what we're finding, and to understand how it all fits into the puzzle that is the history of Egypt," he told PopCulture. "I hope that people will be swept up in getting this snapshot of this preserved tomb that hasn't been seen by anybody in the modern world and to be able to peer in there, and really see this kind of freeze frame of history from this great empire."

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Expedition Unknown: Egypt Live premieres with a live two-hour broadcast Sunday, April 7 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT only on Discovery. Expedition Unknown returns to Discovery for Season 5 on Wednesday, April 10 at 9 p.m. ET.

Photo credit: Discovery Channel