4,500-YEAR-OLD MUMMY OF KAI -- HIGH PRIEST TO THE PHARAOHS -- AND TWO SKELETONS DISCOVERED ON FOX'S 'OPENING THE LOST TOMBS: LIVE FROM EGYPT'
Special Is First Live Televised Look At Excavation Of Ancient Egyptian Monuments For The Western World
Long-lost secrets of ancient Egypt were revealed Tuesday evening when the mummified body of the ancient Egyptian high priest Kai was discovered in its burial place. The skeletal remains of two women, believed to be his wife and daughter, were also unearthed in the nearby sealed Tomb of the Unknown, live during the broadcast of the FOX special OPENING THE LOST TOMBS: LIVE FROM EGYPT. The tombs are located near the Great Sphinx, the last of the remaining Seven Wonders of the World, on Egypt's historically rich Giza Plateau just outside of Cairo.
Kai was the powerful high priest and spiritual advisor to several Pharaohs, including Khufu and Khafre, who built the Great and Second Pyramids at Giza, respectively, during Egypt's 4th Dynasty (2575-2467 BC) of Pharaonic rule.
OPENING THE LOST TOMBS: LIVE FROM EGYPT was FOX's highest-rated Tuesday night of the season (excluding the World Series), garnering a 6.6 rating and 17 share among Adults 18-49 and a 10.1/15 in Households. In the U.S. alone, 29.5 million viewers watched all or part of the special.
Cameras were rolling when renowned archeologist and Director of the Pyramids Dr. Zahi A. Hawass and host Maury Povich entered the burial chamber of both Kai's tomb and the adjacent Tomb of the Unknown, recording the discovery of the mummy and skeletons. Both the mummy and the remains, which are believed to date back 4,500 years, were found in their original resting places and have remained undisturbed since their burial.
"The importance of discovering the mummy and skeletons buried near each other is that it indicates what we believe to be a complete family unit and helps us understand how people lived nearly 5,000 years ago," said Peter Isacksen, executive producer of the special, which was an international effort involving over 100 people on location at Giza.
Also shown live on the special, Dr. Hawass and correspondent Suzy Kolber entered the burial chamber of the pyramid of Queen Khamerernebty II, wife of the Pharaoh Menkaure who built the Third Pyramid at Giza, and unexpectedly found it empty and unfinished. Only the skeletal remains of a suspected grave-robber were found beside the sarcophagus. Dr. Hawass believes that the Queen was buried elsewhere and will begin excavating the chamber immediately to find clues as to why it was never finished, according to Isacksen.
According to Dr. Hawass, who has conducted archeological excavations on Egypt's Giza Plateau for over 30 years, the discoveries on OPENING THE LOST TOMBS: LIVE FROM EGYPT are significant because they represent "an important step forward in bringing the science of archeology to a mass audience, which is only a little step towards where we hope to be years from now."