5,000-Year-Old Wine Discovery Suggests Ancient Egyptian Queen May Have Been First Female Ruler

A new discovery of 5,000-year-old wine at an ancient Egyptian tomb has led archaeologists to believe that the burial site may actually be the final resting place of Egypt’s forgotten ‘female king’, Meret-Neith.

Meret-Neith was the wife of King Djet and the mother of King Den, who were among the rulers of the First Dynasty of ancient Egypt. She may also have been the first female ruler, reigning from around 2950 BC.

The grape seed-filled jars – some of which were remarkably well-preserved and still in their original condition – are among the oldest evidence of wine ever uncovered.

Inscriptions discovered inside the tomb also suggest that Meret-Neith held a number of important governmental positions around 3000 BC, including a role in the treasury.

Her name has previously been discovered alongside that of her son on an inscribed list of rulers in his tomb at Saqqara.

Experts say this suggests she may have ruled as regent during Den’s youth, which may explain why she is the only woman to possess a grand tomb in Egypt’s earliest royal burial ground in Abydo.

However, some experts dispute the theory that Meret-Neith was a female ruler, saying that wives and daughters were not typically considered in terms of royal succession, especially this early on.

Nevertheless, the discovery that her tomb was piled high with goods fit for a royal, including hundreds of sealed wine jars, suggests Meret-Neith was an influential figure with ‘unusually high levels of authority’.

New Discovery Suggests Ancient Egyptian Queen Meret-Neith May Have Ruled as Pharaoh

A new discovery of 5,000-year-old wine at an ancient Egyptian tomb has led archaeologists to believe that the burial site may actually be the final resting place of Egypt’s forgotten ‘female king’, Meret-Neith.

Meret-Neith: A Powerful Female Ruler

Meret-Neith was the wife of King Djet and the mother of King Den, who were among the rulers of the First Dynasty of ancient Egypt. She may also have been the first female ruler, reigning from around 2950 BC.

Evidence of Meret-Neith’s Power

The grape seed-filled jars – some of which were remarkably well-preserved and still in their original condition – are among the oldest evidence of wine ever uncovered. Inscriptions discovered inside the tomb also suggest that Meret-Neith held a number of important governmental positions around 3000 BC, including a role in the treasury.

Dispute Over Meret-Neith’s Status

Some experts dispute the theory that Meret-Neith was a female ruler, saying that wives and daughters were not typically considered in terms of royal succession, especially this early on.

Conclusion

However, the discovery that her tomb was piled high with goods fit for a royal, including hundreds of sealed wine jars, suggests Meret-Neith was an influential figure with ‘unusually high levels of authority’.

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