Archaeologists from the Czech Republic have uncovered the tomb of a previously unknown Egyptian queen, officials said on Sunday.
Believed to have been the wife of Pharaoh Neferefre during his rule 4,500 years ago, Queen Khentakawess III was discovered lying in state in Abu Sir. Her name and rank were inscribed on the inner walls of her tomb.
The pharaoh’s name means “Beautiful is Re” in Egyptian. A significant collection of administrative papyri was discovered at Abu Sir during a 1982 excavation by a team from the University of Prague Egyptology Institute. The pharaoh died young, archaeologists believe.
The Old Kingdom necropolis lies southwest of Cairo, where several pyramids dedicated to Fifth Dynasty (2994-2345 BCE) pharaohs are situated.
Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damati told journalists in a statement, “For the first time we have discovered the name of this queen who had been unknown before the discovery of her tomb.” Two previous queens with the same name have already been located.
“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,” Damati said.
Miroslav Barta, director of the Czech Institute of Egyptology mission, uncovered the tomb. Barta said the queen was discovered in the pharoah’s funeral complex, the tip-off which “makes us believe that the queen was his wife.” Also discovered were some 30 utensils, including 24 made of limestone and four made of copper, according to the statement.