Thursday February 22nd, 2024
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5,000-Year-Old Wine Jars Found Intact at Abydos in Sohag

Could the tomb where these jars were found belong to the first-ever queen of Egypt?

Cairo Scene

An Egyptian-German-Austrian mission excavating the tomb of Meret-Neith has unveiled new findings that shed light on this enigmatic figure from ancient Egypt’s first dynasty. The discoveries, which were made at the Um Al-Qaab archaeological site in Abydos, Sohag, include the unearthing of numerous grave goods, including hundreds of 5,000-year-old wine jars, many of which were found intact and contained well-preserved remnants of ancient wine.

Inscriptions discovered within the tomb also indicated that Meret-Neith held positions of authority within central government offices, bolstering the theory that she played a significant role in ancient Egyptian society. Director of the German Archaeological Institute, Dietrich Raue, highlighted the unique status of Meret-Neith, as she was the only woman known to possess her own monumental tomb in Egypt's first royal cemetery at Abydos.

Raue postulated that she may have been the most powerful woman of her time and suggested the possibility that she could have been the first female queen in ancient Egypt, predating even Queen Hatshepsut of the 18th dynasty. Nonetheless, the true identity of Meret-Neith remains elusive, leaving historians and archaeologists with an enduring mystery.

E. Christiana Köhler, the head of the mission, described Meret-Neith's tomb complex as "an impressive structure constructed from unfired mud bricks, mud, and timber." Through meticulous excavation techniques and innovative archaeological technologies, the team determined that the graves had been built in phases over an extended period. These findings challenge previous theories of ritual human sacrifice during the first dynasty, providing valuable insights into the culture and practices of the time.

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