An opulent ancient Egyptian tomb containing 5,000-year-old wine may have belonged to a long-forgotten female pharaoh – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

An opulent ancient Egyptian tomb containing 5,000-year-old wine may have belonged to a long-forgotten female pharaoh

Side-by-side images show the tomb complex of Meret-Neith in Abydos, next to a picture of 5,000-year-old wine jars found in the grave.

EC Köhler/Insider

A female royal from the first ancient Egyptian dynasty was found buried in a lavish tomb. She was buried with 41 courtiers and servants, and dozens of wine jars. Researchers think she may have been the first female pharaoh of ancient Egypt.

A lavish 5,000-year-old tomb is fueling speculation about the position of one of the most powerful women in Egypt.

Meret-Neith, who may have risen to power after the death of her husband, King Djet, around 3,000 BC, clearly held a lot of power during the first dynasty — her name was found on an ancient list of rulers under the title “king’s mother,” Live Science reported.

Now researchers excavating her grave in Abydos, Egypt, say that the sheer extravagance they have discovered suggests she may have been the first female pharaoh in ancient Egypt.

If they are right, the discovery could rewrite the history of ancient Egypt.

5,000-year-old wine and the remains of 41 people

The recent excavation of Meret-Neith’s grave revealed the mud-brick tomb was lined with large wine jars, containing dried grape seeds, according to a press release from the University of Vienna.

Many of the wine jars were still sealed with the stoppers intact.

The queen’s tomb was also surrounded by the graves of 41 courtiers and servants. Archaeological evidence suggests these were built over a long period of time, so it’s likely that they were buried near Meret Neiths as they died, rather than being killed to accompany the queen in death.

“It most certainly is a tremendously important tomb,” said Ronald Leprohon, an Egyptologist and emeritus professor at the University of Toronto, who was not involved in the findings, per Live Science.

Archaeologists found grape seeds suggesting Meret-Neith was buried with wine, a sign that she may have been seen as a powerful ruler.

EC Köhler/Insider

Scientists disagree on whether she was pharaoh

For archaeologist Christiana Köhler of the University of Vienna, who led the find, these discoveries add weight to the idea that Meret-Neith was considered a pharaoh in her own right.

Other scientists, however, disagree.

Margaret Maitland, a curator of at National Museums Scotland, told Live Science in an email that “wives and daughters were not typically considered in terms of royal successions,” though she noted the tomb suggests Meret-Neith was unusually powerful for her time.

“It really would be striking if you had a female king as early as the first dynasty,” said Elizabeth Carney, a professor emerita of history at Clemson University in South Carolina, per Live Science.

If proven to be right, Meret-Neith would then become the first female Pharaoh of Egypt, rewriting the ancient Egyptian dynasty.

Egypt would see another female rule for another 1,000 years. The next known female pharaoh was Neferusobek and then Hatshepsut, who ruled about 500 years after Neferusobek.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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