Queen Khentakawess III's tomb unearthed in Egypt

Mamdouh al-Damaty said the discovery "will help us shed light on certain unknown aspects of the Fifth Dynasty."
By Brooks Hays  |  Jan. 5, 2015 at 10:41 AM
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ABU-SIR, Egypt, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Some 4,500 years ago, Pharaoh Neferefre ruled Egypt -- part of the less iconic (oft ignored) 4th Dynasty that lasted from approximately 2494 to 2345 BCE. Archaeologists and historians have known as much. But Neferefre's wife, the Queen of Egypt, has remained unknown -- until now.

Researchers recently unearthed the inscribed tomb of Neferefre's partner, revealing her to be Queen Khentakawess III.

The tomb was recently excavated by a group of archaeologists from the Czech Institute of Egyptology; researchers also found several dozen vessels, tools and utensils made of limestone and copper. The tomb was discovered while excavating the funeral complex of Neferefre at an ancient royal cemetery in Abu-Sir, south-west of Cairo.

Lead researcher, Miroslav Barta, told Radio Prague that the necropolis, which is anchored by a series of pyramids, offers further evidence that the the collapse of fifth dynasty was hastened by climate change.

Barta said Neferefre and his wife hail from a "period of the Abusir kings of the Fifth Dynasty which we can match quite neatly with major climate change that we have in our records."

Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damaty said that 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."

Al-Damaty said the discovery was the "first time we have discovered the name of this queen who had been unknown before the discovery of her tomb."

The discovery was detailed in the latest issue of the Quarterly Journal of African and Asian Studies.

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