Princess Shert Nebti’s Tomb

Since we’re talking about mortuary and funerary contexts in class, I thought it would be interesting to post this recent news article about the discovery of a tomb that potentially could belong to an Ancient Egyptian princess. It’s suggested that the tomb is from 4500 years ago (5th dynasty) and belongs to Shert Nebti, who was the daughter of King Men Salbo. In addition to Shert Nebti, tombs of four other officials were also found.

In terms of context, the burial context is near Saqqara, in the Abu Sir complex. Archaeologists determined that the tomb belonged to Shert Nebti by looking at the limestone pillars buried around the tomb. In addition, there is hieroglyphics – which is how I assumed they determined that the tomb did, in fact, belong to Shert Nebti. As of yet, they have not found the tombs of her father, mother, or any siblings, but they are hoping that they might be found somewhere near Shert Nebti’s burial place.

This article got me thinking about the vast number of people that must be buried somewhere in Egypt. Taking this example, Shert Nebti was a princess from 4500 years ago. Knowing that the Egyptian Empire lasted until 50 B.C. (ish) we are looking at around 2500 years of burials. We have found many skeletal remains, whom are now part of osteological collections studied around the world. But this begs the question: Are we ever going to run out of skeletal remains to excavate? (Hopefully not during my lifetime).

As a final note, this excavation was completed by Czech archaeologists from Charles University in Prague. It’s a continuous wonder why Egyptian archaeologists and Egyptian universities are not leading these excavations. Is it because the Egyptian government does not trust the Egyptian people? Or is it because the Egyptian people are not concerned with Ancient Egyptian history? Or is it because of the current political unrest?

2 thoughts on “Princess Shert Nebti’s Tomb

  1. I am sure it must be a thrilling moment to uncover a tomb complex in Egypt and then to discover that the inscriptions indicate one burial as a princess. This discovery following on the heels of the recent re-opening of tombs that Julie had posted a few weeks ago must be exciting for the tourism department in Egypt. Hopefully, this discovery combined with the re-opening of tombs will trigger more tourists to travel to the region. I am sure that it will be quite some time before the artifacts and human remains from these newly excavated tombs will make it to museums, but the buzz about the discovery will likely still have a positive economic effect on the country.
    The fact that the archaeologists that have discovered the tombs are from the Charles University in Prague is not surprising and I do not think that it indicates very much about Egyptian politics or the sentiment of the Egyptian people. Many archaeologists do their work in foreign countries and specialize in regions that are not their homeland. Egypt is an interesting place to work and has fascinated many individuals, so I think the discovery of the new tombs speaks more to the interest of the Czech archaeologists than the lack of interest by Egyptians, lack of trust in Egyptians, or the political unrest of the country.

  2. I agree that it is very exciting that new things are being discovered even now, and it’s comforting, in a way, that there is still so much waiting to be found. In Egypt alone there are many mysteries that maybe more digging will help to demystify. I am also not surprised that non-Egyptians were responsible for this find. Egypt as a great empire has a lot of international appeal. If the Egyptian government has control of the sites and the finds, it probably isn’t of much importance who actually does the finding. I mean that this is not a continuation of foreign invasions into the country to take precious artifacts. Instead, it points to the fact that Egypt has a rich national heritage. There’s a limited amount of archaeologists in the world, so it makes sense that sites in Egypt might outnumber native archaeologists. Also, it’s not surprising that since Egypt has so many sites, some preserved very well, it would attract scholars from around the world. I don’t think this is an indication of a negative situation in Egypt regarding archaeology. They have a lot of control over their own heritage, and it isn’t so bad that other nations are interested in helping them uncover that heritage while playing by Egypt’s rules.

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