Archaeologists have found sixty hieroglyphic inscriptions and drawings at a site called Wadi Ameyra in the Sinai Desert of Egypt, which reveal information on early pharaohs.
They were carved in stone about 5,000 years ago during mining expeditions sent out by early Egyptian pharaohs. According to the researchers, one of the inscriptions tells the name of queen Neith-Hotep, who was cofounder of the First dynasty and who ruled Egypt as regent to Djer, a young pharaoh.
The earliest carvings at Wadi Ameyra are about 5,200 years old, the archaeologists estimate. The most recent carvings date back to around 4,800 years ago to the reign of a pharaoh known as Nebre, who was the second early Egyptian king of the 2nd dynasty.
Dr. Pierre Tallet, director of the archaeological mission and an Associate Professor of Egyptology and Archaeology at Université Paris-Sorbonne, said that the inscriptions were likely made to show that the area was owned by the Egyptian state.
Copper and turquoise used to be mined in ancient expeditions to the south of Wadi Ameyra, Dr. Tallet explained. Then, after the reign of Nebre ended, the route of the expeditions changed.
Based on the inscriptions, queen Neith-Hotep ruled Egypt about 5,000 years ago, which is thousands of years earlier than when Hatshepsut (c. 1478 – 1458 BCE) or Cleopatra VII (51 – 30 BCE) ruled the country, according to the archaeologist team.
Previously it was thought that Neith-Hotep had been married to a pharaoh called Narmer. However, the newfound inscriptions show that Neith-Hotep was in fact a regent queen and not the wife of Narmer, Dr. Tallet said.
Another inscription discovered at the Wadi Ameyra site suggests that Memphis, also known as “the White Walls”, is in fact older than previously believed. (note: Memphis is an ancient capital of Egypt)
According to ancient Greek and Roman writers, Memphis was built by a mythical king known as Menes. Egyptologists considered Menes to be the real-life pharaoh called Narmer, Tallet said. However, the new inscription is proof that Memphis existed long before Narmer was born.
The inscription gives the first name of the city, which is the White Walls, and it associates it to Iry-Hor, the name of a predynastic pharaoh of Upper Egypt, who ruled the country two generations before Narmer.
The findings were published in the book called “Zone Minière Pharaonique du Sud-Sinaï II.”
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