Unveiling Egypt’s Ancient Royalty: Discovery of Queen Neit’s Tomb Among Saqqara’s Remarkable Finds
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Photo: Zahi Hawass at the dig site in Saqqara.

By The Smartencyclopedia Staff

Cairo, Egypt — Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities has unveiled groundbreaking discoveries from the Saqqara necropolis, south of Cairo, shedding light on a 4,200-year-old queen’s identity and unearthing a plethora of artifacts that promise to reshape Egypt’s ancient history.

The necropolis, situated within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Memphis, has long been a source of archaeological marvels, boasting over a dozen pyramids, including the oldest, the Pyramid of Djoser.

One of the paramount revelations in the recent findings is the identification of Queen Neit, the wife of King Teti, the inaugural pharaoh of the Sixth Dynasty during Egypt’s Old Kingdom (circa 2680–2180 BC). The excavation, initiated in 2010 near the Pyramid of King Teti, revealed the queen’s pyramid, but her identity remained elusive until the recent discovery of a funerary temple. Dr. Zahi Hawass, eminent Egyptologist and former minister of antiquities, leads the archaeological mission and emphasized the historical significance of Queen Neit’s recognition.

Inscribed on a wall within the temple and engraved on a fallen obelisk at the tomb’s entrance, Queen Neit’s name emerged, providing a crucial piece to Egypt’s historical puzzle. Dr. Hawass highlighted the profound impact of this revelation on rewriting ancient Egyptian history.

The exploration also unearthed 52 burial shafts, each reaching depths of 30 to 40 feet, housing over 50 wooden coffins dating back to the New Kingdom, approximately 3,000 years ago. Notably, a newly discovered limestone sarcophagus within a shaft marks a unique find, with another yet to be opened.

Among the treasures recovered is a remarkable papyrus measuring 13 feet by 3 feet, featuring hieroglyphics detailing Chapter 17 of the Book of the Dead. This manuscript serves as a guide for the afterlife, outlining the journey to the Aaru, the ancient Egyptian paradise. Dr. Hawass highlighted the unprecedented nature of discovering such a large papyrus within a burial shaft.

The excavation also revealed wooden funerary masks, a shrine dedicated to the god Anubis, statues of Anubis, and games interred with the deceased. Notable among the games is “Twenty,” bearing the owner’s name, and “Senet,” a strategic game akin to chess, where a victorious player secures passage into the afterlife.

The Saqqara discoveries, as Dr. Hawass emphasized, contribute invaluable insights that promise to reshape the narrative of ancient Egyptian history. The archaeological mission continues, with the anticipation of further revelations in the heart of this captivating necropolis.

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