Czech archeologists say they have uncovered the tomb of a previously unknown Egyptian queen, believed to be the wife of Pharaoh Neferefre.
Mamdouh al-Damaty, Egypt's minister of antiquities, said the queen's name was Khentakawess. She would be Khentakawess III, as two other queens with the same name have already been identified.
"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," Damaty said in a statement.
'This discovery will help us shed light on certain unknown aspects of the Fifth Dynasty.' - Mamdouh al-Damaty, Egypt's minister of antiquities
He said the queen's name and rank — wife of the king and mother of the king — were found inscribed inside the tomb.
The queen's burial place was found in Abusir, a site about 25 kilometres southwest of Cairo that includes a complex of pyramids for rulers from the Fifth Dynasty of ancient Egypt. Neferefre, whose tomb is in the complex, ruled about 4,500 years ago.
“This makes us believe that the queen was his wife,” said Miroslav Barta, head of the team from the Czech Institute of Egyptology mission who made the discovery.
The second inscription, mother of the king, makes it likely the queen was the mother of Pharaoh Menkauhor, the successor of Pharaoh Nyuserre. Archeologists believe this to be true because it appears the queen was buried during Nyuserre's reign.
Czech archeologists uncovered Neferefre's tomb complex in the 1980s and '90s.
The Czech Institute of Egyptology has been excavating the site for nearly 55 years.