Archaeologists Discover Tomb of Previously Unknown Egyptian Queen

Hannah Keyser

© Jaromír Krejčí, archive of the Czech Institute of Egyptology

Over the weekend, Egyptian officials announced that Czech Institute of Egyptology archaeologists had unearthed a previously-unknown tomb within the funeral complex of Pharaoh Neferefre—who ruled for just a few years during the Fifth Dynasty 4500 years ago—located in Abu-Sir, southwest of Cairo.

Because of the tomb's location in relation to the Pharaoh, it is believed to belong to his wife. Egyptian Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty said that her name, Khentakawess, had been found inscribed on a wall in the necropolis, which would make her the third Queen Khentakawess. Previously, the name of Neferefre's wife had been a mystery. Other inscriptions identify Khentakawess as "mother of the king," referencing her son the Pharaoh Menkahur.

Czech Institute of Egyptology

"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," Damaty said.

There wasn't much in terms of dynastic finery to be found—the tomb was likely been raided by grave robbers long ago—but the team did unearth a number of utensils made of limestone and copper.