Archeologists from the Czech Institute of Egyptology discovered a tomb of a previously unknown ancient Egyptian queen. It is located southwest of Cairo, in a village called Abu Sir, which was used as a cemetery for the pharaohs of the Fifth Dynasty during the period of the Old Kingdom (2494-2345 B.C.).
Based on this fact, the archeologists suggested that the mysterious queen probably belonged to the Fifth Dynasty too. In particular, it was found that her name was Khentakawess and she was the wife of Pharaoh Neferefre, one of the Fifth Dynasty kings who lived 4,500 years ago. He is believed to have reigned only for a few years and to have died in his early 20s.
The ancient queen actually was Khentakawess III, as there were two previous queens with the same name, Egypt’s antiquities minister Mamdouh al-Damaty said. He added that it is the first time they “have discovered the name of this queen who had been unknown before the discovery of her tomb“.
The tomb is part of Neferefre’s funeral complex, which has a number of strange features that suggest it was built in a hurry – it is often referred to as “the unfinished pyramid.” It may have to do with his brief reign, archeologists suggest.
There are inscriptions on the walls of the tomb saying “Wife of the King” and “Mother of the King”, which also suggests that Khentakawess III was Neferefre’s queen. The archeologists believe that it is likely that Neferefre and Khentakawess were the parents of Menkauhor Kaiu, who ascended the throne 24 years after Neferefre’s death, though it cannot be said for sure since the familial lineage of the pharaohs during this period is very unclear.
The tomb consists of two parts – an aboveground and an underground. The first one includes the so-called “mastaba,” a flat-roofed rectangular construction with sloping stone sides, and a funeral chapel, which, according to the researchers, used to have a pair of false doors in the west wall. The underground part of the tomb contains a burial chamber with a dozen feet long shaft.
Like most of ancient Egyptian royal tombs, Khentakawess III’s tomb contains a number of utensils that belonged to the queen and were buried with her – about 30 pieces including limestone pots and copper tools. However, some of those were robbed by grave robbers a long time ago.
This is quite a significant discovery since it can shed some light on the history of the Fifth Dynasty. Dr. Miroslav Barta who led the research team said that this find “reveals an unknown part of the 5th Dynasty history which opens the door for more future studies on the family tree of this previously unknown Queen.”
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Image credits: Czech Institute of Egyptology, (AP Photo/Egypt’s Supreme Council Of Antiquities), (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Featured Image Source: (Limestone statue depicting a priest discovered in Abusir in 2000, (AP photo/abir nabil) “The recent tomb discovery of the Queen was only the latest discovery at Abusir, an extensive necropolis that provides a stunning glimpse into one of the lesser-studied eras of ancient Egypt.”
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