Czech archaeologists working in Egypt have discovered the tomb of a previously unknown queen. Named Khentakawess III, she is thought to have been the wife of Pharaoh Neferefre who reigned 4,500 years ago.

The discovery was made by Miroslav Barta and his team from the Czech Institute of Egyptology, reports Agence France-Presse. The tomb is located in Abu Sir, an Old Kingdom necropolis southwest of Cairo and in a location that hosts several pyramids dedicated to pharaohs of the Fifth Dynasty, including Neferefre.


Prior to this discovery, archaeologists did not know that such a person even existed. Owing to inscriptions describing her name and rank on the inner walls of the tomb, she has now been identified. She is the third to carry the name, hence the moniker Khentakawess III.

It's possible that Khentakawess was the mother of Neferefre, but the location of her tomb suggests she was his wife.


"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," noted Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damaty in a statement.

The tomb, which has been dated from the middle of the Fifth Dynasty (2994-2345 BCE), was found in Neferefre's funeral complex. The archaeologists also discovered other artifacts, including dozens of utensils, some of which were made from limestone and copper.


Neferefre's reign was not very long, perhaps as short as two years. He died unexpectedly in his early twenties, sometime between the age of 20 and 23.

Images: Czech Institute of Egyptology.