Archaeologists have unearthed the 4,500 year old tomb of a pharaonic princess, just south of Cairo. This discovery may lead to the discovery of other ancient tombs from before 2,500BC. Princess Shert Nebti‘s burial site is surrounded by the tombs of four high officials from the Fifth Dynasty dating to around 2,500 BC in the Abusir complex near the famed step pyramid of Saqqara. Inscriptions on the four limestone pillars of the Princess’ tomb indicate that she is the daughter of King Men Salbo. Only her tomb has been unearthed; her father, the king, or her mother, are yet to be found. The antechamber to the princess’ tomb includes four limestone columns and hieroglyphic inscriptions. The current excavation has also unearthed an antechamber containing the sarcophagi of the four officials and statues of men, women, and a child.
The forgotten kingdom of Nubia
The general public is familiar with Egypt and the pharaohs, but is not so aware that there was a highly important, sophisticated, and independent ancient civilization in Nubia, which is south of Egypt in present-day Sudan. For over a century, Nubian pharaohs dominated Egypt, and their kingdom extended from Lake Chad and well into the middle east. The conquest of Egypt started with Pharaoh Piye of Nubia, and continued with Taharqa who launched the most audacious building campaign of any pharaoh since the New Kingdom (around 1500 B.C.). Under Taharqa, the capitals were Napata and Thebes, and Jebel Barkal the holy mountain.
Nubia is a kingdom with 3 times as many pyramids as Egypt. Their language still needs to be decoded, and archaeologists are searching for a Rosetta stone similar to that discovered by Champollion which allowed the translation of Egyptian hieroglyphs. The Nubians were well known for their military genius, and Egyptian pharaohs will sometime hire Nubian mercenaries to fight their battles. Theirs was a civilization of strong queens such as Amanishaket, and Amanitore. One of these queens Candace Amanirenas defeated the roman army of Augustus Caesar.
To learn more, check out some of these great websites: http://www.thenubian.net/index.php, http://www.ancientsudan.org/index.html. National Geographic also had a series of articles on Nubia: Black Pharaohs, Rare Nubian King statues uncovered in Sudan. The site of Gebel Barkal was added to the UNESCO list of world treasures in 2003… check it out on the UNESCO World heritage website, and the Society of Nubian Cultures.
Please discover Nubia, and revel in African genius!
Don’t forget to watch Part 2-5 .