Czech archaeologists have unearthed the burial site of a previously unknown and long-forgotten queen of Egypt. But she’s neither unknown or forgotten anymore.
The Czech Institute of Egyptology discovered the queen’s 4,500-year-old tomb at the Abusir necropolis just outside of Cairo, Egyptian officials report. Inscriptions on the tomb indicate her name was Khentakawess, or Khentkaus, and that she was the wife of Pharaoh Neferefre who ruled 4,500 years ago during the 5th Dynasty of the Old Kingdom.
According to AFP, there have been two other queens with the same name; as a result, the researchers are now calling her Khentakawess III or Khentkaus III.
It’s the “first time we have discovered the name of this queen who had been unknown before the discovery of her tomb,” antiquities minister Mamdouh al-Damaty said in a statement, according to AFP. “This 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.”
Discovered in Pharaoh Neferefre’s funeral complex, inscriptions at the site also identify her as “mother of the king.”
Miroslav Barta, head of the team that made the discovery, told the EFE news agency that the queen would have been the mother of Pharoah Menkahur, who is Neferefre’s successor.
“If we can assume that the Queen was buried during the time of King Nyuserre based on a seal bears his name was found on the tomb so we could say that Khentkaus III is the mother of King Menkauhore who was the successor of Nyuserre,” said Dr. Jaromir Krejci, a Czech Institute of Egyptology team member working at the site. “This could also reveals more information on this King especially that we have a very few information on him.”
Even though grave robbers had long ago raided the tomb, the archeology team also found about 30 utensils made of limestone and copper.
Photo Courtesy of Martin Frouz/ff.cuni.cz
“The tomb is very similar to the rest of the burial in the cemetery which was unearthed by the Czech mission in the ’90s,” Kamal Wahid, Giza Antiquities director, told the Luxor Times. “The upper part is a mastaba and a small offerings chapel and the burial chamber in the lower part which is reached through a shaft.”