Czech archeologists have chalked up a new remarkable discovery at Abusir southwest of Cairo: the tomb of a previously unknown queen. Chentkaus III is believed to have been the wife of the pharaoh Neferefre who ruled some 4,500 years ago.
Czech archeology enjoys an excellent reputation for long-running and extensive work at Abusir, the latest find being the tomb of what appears to be a previously unknown queen in the necropolis of Neferefre. Czech Radio spoke to the head of the Czech group of Egyptologists Miroslav Bárta earlier about the site uncovered:
“This is one of our most recent finds at Abusir, so the information is preliminary and still has to be confirmed. How do we know the tomb was that of Neferefre’s spouse? For one thing, the chamber was marked as hers several metres below the desert. We also found evidence of her title as a queen and the mother of one of the kings of the 5th dynasty.”
According to Professor Bárta, Neferefre’s spouse was an important historical figure from an important royal line. Her predecessors, Chentkaus I and Chentkaus II, were both key figures in their own right in the 4th and 5th dynasties, both marking periods of significant political change. Both bore future kings. Chentkaus III also bore a future ruler whose name remains to be confirmed; there are indications, however, he may have been Menkauhor. Professor Bárta stresses that is only a theory at the moment to be subjected to study in the months to come. Meanwhile, asked whether the discovery of the queen’s tomb had been accidental, he replied in the negative:
“Our Egyptologists have been involved in the area for decades and as a result we can pinpoint several possible locations in areas below the ground, using different technology available. Satellite photography, geophysical studies, archeological-historical studies … It is a synthesis of these methods which allows us to pre-prepare digs in promising sites in the field. Even so, in archeology you of course never have a sure thing.”
Besides focussing on Egypt’s 5th dynasty, Czech experts are also working at the site of a necropolis dating back to the 3rd: both should provide plenty of potential for discovery for years to come.
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