- GIZA -

“I had fixed April 23 [1927] as the final pay-day.
In the morning of that day, the men uncovered the entrance to the rock-cut chambers of Meresankh III.”

George Andrew Reisner.

Queen Meresankh III was the daughter of Hetepheres II - the Queen of the IV Dynasty (2723 to 2563 BC) and Prince Kawab, the granddaughter of Khufu - the King of the IV Dynasty of the Old Kingdom and the wife of Khafre - the 4th King of the Fourth Dynasty. Meresankh died shortly after the end of the reign of Khafre and was buried in the Mastaba, built in the Necropolis of Giza (G7530). The inscriptions on both sides of the entrance to her tomb tell us that the burial of the Queen was made 272 days after her death:

«The King's daughter, Meresankh: year 1, month 1 of the third season, day 21 : her Ka was at rest and she proceeded to the wa'abet (place of embalmment)." On the left a similar line reads, - "The King's wife, Meresankh: year 2, month 2 of the second season, day 18; she proceeded to her beautiful tomb».

Signs, dating the death and burial of Meresankh III.

Originally, the Mastaba was planned for her Mother - Queen Hetepheres II, but the death of Meresankh was unexpected, and Hetepheres donated her tomb and her granite sarcophagus for her daughter. The inscription on the sarcophagus reads: "I gave the sarcophagus to my daughter - Meresankh, who was loved."

The Mastaba of Meresanth III was discovered by archaeologist George Reisner in April 23, 1927, when his team was completing the archaeological season in Giza and was already ready to leave the excavation site. From Reiser's report: "On the very last day of the season the gangs were clearing the eastern face of the third mastaba in the fifth row from the west, when a doorway was unexpectedly revealed in the rock under the eastern wall of this mastaba. Later we found that two stairways led down from the floor of the street to the level of the doorway, which was about two meters below. Above the doorway were in scribed the titles of a princess and queen named Meresankh. As soon as the debris in the door way was photographed we cleared away enough of the sand at the top to crawl in; and getting our heads, one at a time, just inside the doorway, we saw a rock-cut offering chapel consisting of three rooms. The entrance to the main room was blocked by a cone of sand and stone, on the top of which we were lying. Our eyes were first startled by the vivid colors of the reliefs and inscriptions around the northern part of this large chamber. None of us had ever seen anything like it. "

After the preparation work, subsequent excavations were resumed on May 4, 1927 by the archaeological group of Harvard University and Boston Museum of Fine Arts under the leadership of George Reisner. Photos, taken while these excavations are shown below.

Scheme of Mastaba of Meresankh III.

The sarcophagus was originally located in the underground Burial Chamber. The vertical shaft, leading into it is indicated (b) on the plan above.

The sarcophagus, made of black granite, was removed from Mastaba and taken to Cairo Museum of Antiquities in Tahrir. The size of the sarcophagus is 2.16x0.87x0.80 m in height, and its lid is 18 cm thick.

The photo of the empty Burial Chamber, made by our expedition of 2017 is shown below.

Below is the video of 3D model of Mastaba of Meresankh III, made by Dr. Abdallah Diab.

Unfortunately, the contents of the sarcophagus and the mummy of the Queen were completely plundered by ancient robbers. The surviving remains of the Royal mummy were carefully examined by anthropologists, after which it was concluded that Meresankh died in the age of 50-55 years old, and her height was 152 cm.

Below is a limestone sculpture depicting Hetepheres II and Meresankh III, found in Mastaba during excavations, under the guidence of George Reisner. On April 1, 1937, the Egyptian government has granted the statue the Boston Museum.

Double statue of Hetepheres II and Meresankh III. Boston Museum of Art.

Below are photographs, made by the ISIDA Project expedition, showing of the environs and interior structure of Mastaba of Meresankh III.



Author: Laurel Flentye
Bulletin of the Egyptian Museum. vol.3
Year: 2006

Author: George Andrew Reisner
History of the Giza Necropolis Series.
Year: 1942

Author: George Andrew Reisner
Bulletin of the MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS. Vol. 25 # 151.
Year: 1927

Author: Kelly Simpson.
The Mastaba of Queen Meresankh III.
Year: 1974



<< Back to the Map of Egypt

Discuss on Forum >>

© Copyright 2017 of ISIDA Project. All rights reserved.