Archeologists Find 5,000-Year-Old Wine in Ancient Egyptian Tomb

Remnants of ancient wines and invaluable inscriptions found in the tomb underscore the enigmatic queen's historical prominence.

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In an astonishing discovery at the First Dynasty Egyptian queen Meret-Neith’s tomb, archaeologists have unearthed not only hundreds of large, some still-sealed, wine jars but also crucial inscriptions, providing a scintillating glimpse into the queen’s potential leadership prowess approximately around 2950 BCE.

While Meret-Neith, who reigned supreme about 5,000 years ago, has always been recognized as at minimum a queen-consort and regent, researchers still grapple with the mystery of whether she might have held the distinguished title of pharaoh. Although she rests alongside male pharaohs in the royal necropolis of Abydos, and her tomb flaunts a size and opulence to match, her exact standing in Egyptian royalty still eludes definitive clarity. The throne’s explicit feminine assumption was seen a millennium later with Sobekneferu.

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Lavish Final Resting Place: A Testimony to Meret-Neith’s Influence

Leading the excavation, an international team of archaeologists, under the guidance of Christiana Köhler of the University of Vienna and in collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, plunges deeper into the luxurious sepulcher that has cradled Meret-Neith for millennia. Herein, the wine jars, bearing the remnants of grape seeds and ancient wines, whisper tales of an era gone by while inscriptions reveal her authoritative undertakings, including managing the royal treasury, further solidifying evidence of her impactful reign.

Harnessing the capabilities of new archaeological technologies, researchers could better decipher the construction methodologies of Meret-Neith’s burial complex. Crafted from unbaked brick, clay, and wood, and home to the tombs of 41 courtiers and servants, subsequent analyses highlighted the gradual, phased construction of the monumental burial site. This nuanced understanding pivots the perspective on the accompanying entombments, suggesting they might not have been ritual sacrifices but honorable posthumous companions, laid to rest sequentially over time.

As work persists on revealing more concealed within the tomb, the life and times of the mysteriously powerful Queen Meret-Neith continue to captivate researchers and history aficionados alike, her secrets gradually coming to light even after thousands of years shrouded in mystery.

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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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