Khentkaus III

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Khentkaus III
Wife of the king, Mother of the king[1]
Reigncirca 2450 BC
Abusir, mastaba AC 30
IssueMenkauhor Kaiu?[2]
Egyptian name
kA kA

Ḫnt kȝw=s
DynastyFifth Dynasty
FatherNeferirkare Kakai?
MotherKhentkaus II?
ReligionAncient Egyptian religion

Khentkaus III,[3][1] often called Khentakawess III by news media, was an ancient Egyptian queen who lived during the Fifth Dynasty, around 2450 BC.[3]

Khentkaus was very likely a daughter of king Neferirkare Kakai and queen Khentkaus II, while her husband was equally likely pharaoh Neferefre,[1] and her son the future pharaoh Menkauhor Kaiu.[2][4]

Discovery of the tomb[edit]

On January 4, 2015, the discovery of her tomb by Czech archaeologists was announced by Egyptian authorities.[2] According to Egyptian Antiquities Minister Mamdouh Eldamaty, there had been no knowledge of the existence of Khentkaus III before this discovery. Two earlier Egyptian queens with the same name have been identified previously, however.[2][5]

The tomb of Khentkaus III – marked as AC 30[3] – was excavated in Abusir, where there are several pyramids dedicated to pharaohs of the Fifth Dynasty, including Neferefre.[5] The tomb was found near Neferefre's funerary complex by a Czech archaeological team led by Miroslav Bárta of Charles University in Prague, with Egyptian collaboration.

The name and rank of Khentkaus was inscribed on the inner walls of the tomb, probably by the builders.[5] Her burial place is a mastaba with an underground burial chamber that is reached via a shaft.[6] The reliefs in the tomb identified her both as "the wife of the king" and "the mother of the king", implying her son ascended the throne.[1][4] Statuettes and twenty-four travertine utensils, along with four copper utensils (which were part of the funerary objects), also have been found in the tomb.[4] The tomb is dated to the middle of the Fifth Dynasty.[5]

The archaeologists who uncovered the tomb believed it to be that of Neferefre's wife, because it was close to his complex, in a small cemetery southeast of the complex.[7][6] Eldamaty stated: "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."[8]


  1. ^ a b c d Verner, Miroslav (2014). Sons of the Sun. Rise and decline of the Fifth Dynasty. Prague: Charles University. p. 58. ISBN 978-8073085414.
  2. ^ a b c d "Tomb of previously unknown pharaonic queen found in Egypt". The Express Tribune. AFP. 4 January 2015. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "Czech expedition discovers the tomb of an ancient Egyptian unknown queen". Charles University. January 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "Tomb find reveals existence of new Egyptian queen". The San Diego Union-Tribune. 4 January 2015. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d "Tomb of Fifth Dynasty queen found in Egypt". ABC Online. ABC. 4 January 2015. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  6. ^ a b "4500 years old tomb of unknown Ancient Egyptian Queen discovered". Luxor Times. 9 January 2015.
  7. ^ Roisin O'Connor (5 January 2015). "Tomb of ancient Egyptian queen uncovered by archaeologists". The Independent. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  8. ^ "Queen Khentakawess III's tomb found in Egypt". BBC News. 5 January 2015. Retrieved 21 April 2018.