A team of Czech archaeologists have discovered the tomb of a previously unknown Egyptian queen in the Pharaoh Neferefre’s funeral complex at Abu-Sir, a necropolis southwest of Cairo that’s home to several pyramids dedicated to pharaohs from the Fifth Dynasty.
According to BBC News and AFP reports, the queen’s name, Khentakawess (also spelled Khentkaus) was discovered on a wall in the necropolis. This would make her Khentakawess III, Egyptian Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty said, and it is believed she was Neferefre’s wife and the mother of Pharoah Menkahur.
Pharaoh Neferefre ruled 4,500 years ago, and his wife’s name had not previously been known, al-Damaty told reporters. Based on the location of the tomb, it is believed that Khentakawess III was probably his spouse, noted Miroslav Barta of the Czech Institute of Egyptology.
Discovery could shed new light on the Fifth Dynasty
Barta’s team also discovered approximately 30 utensils, including two dozen made out of copper and limestone. Officials at the antiquities ministry said the tomb had been dated to the middle of the Fifth Dynasty, which lasted from 2994 BC to 2345 BC, the AFP noted.
The discovery “will help us shed light on certain unknown aspects of the Fifth Dynasty, which along with the Fourth Dynasty, witnessed the construction of the first pyramids,” el-Damaty said, adding that this marked the “first time we have discovered the name of this queen who had been unknown before the discovery of her tomb.”
“The unearthed tomb is a part of a small cemetery to the south east of the pyramid complex of King Neferefre (Raneferef) which led the team to think that Queen Khentkaus could be the wife of Neferefre hence she was buried close to his funerary complex,” Barta told the Luxor Times.
“The tomb is very similar to the rest of the burial in the cemetery which was unearthed by the Czech mission in the ’90s,” added Giza Antiquities director Kamal Wahid. “The upper part is a mastaba [a rectangular tomb with sloping sides and a flat roof] and a small offerings chapel and the burial chamber in the lower part which is reached through a shaft.”
Feature Image: Czech Institute of Egyptology