'Expedition Unknown' Explorer Josh Gates Kicks off New Season With Brand-New WWII Bunker Discovery (Exclusive)

Explorer Josh Gates is helping uncover brand new developments in what we know about D-Day and World War II in the season premiere of Expedition Unknown, discovering and exploring a Nazi bunker lost to time 75 years after the historic battle of Normandy. Ahead of Wednesday's two-hour special premiere, Gates opened up to PopCulture.com about what it was like to find such a haunting piece of history and what it can tell viewers to this day.

Just three-quarters of a century after D-Day, there is plenty of interesting archeological work being done in Normandy surrounding its role in WWII, including the excavation of one Nazi bunker on the Maisy Battery that had been completely plowed under in the days following the massive battle.

"There's still so much we don't understand about that invasion, or maybe remember, in the fog of war," Gates explained. "It's facilitating a look at a real snapshot of the war."

Uncovering the Nazi bunker was a "dual experience," Gates explained, one of both "raw excitement" at discovering an important historical artifact, "but it's also a very emotional experience, because this is a place that was a part of this unbelievably tragic part of our history."

Entering the bunker for the first time in nearly a century, the explorer noted it was "an incredibly disgusting place" filled with mold tendrils and ankle-deep sludgy water, but said the discovery of personal artifacts from the Nazi soldiers meant the pure filth of the situation didn't hit until later.

"It certainly doesn't make me empathize with the men in there in terms of the war they were fighting, but it does put a human face on it," Gates noted of digging through the personal effects left behind.

"The whole planet was really caught up in this insanity and this huge machine of war," he reflected. "To those of us who are young enough where we just weren't there ... it's an alarming reminder of how fast things can get out of control."

There's a lot more adventure to come this season as Gates dives into the latest discoveries surrounding human ancestry, chases down pirate treasure in the Indian Ocean, explores the legend of the Bermuda Triangle and looks for a never-before-recovered airplane lost in Lake Michigan.

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Kick off the all-new season of Expedition Unknown with an epic two-hour premiere Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on Discovery. Beginning Feb. 12, there's even more adventure to be had right after Expedition Unknown, as fans can tune in to the all-new series Expedition X, starring Gates, Phil Torres and Jessica Chobot. Following these investigations, Gates doubles down with Expedition Unknown: After the Hunt.

Photo credit: Discovery