November 2012: Egypt’s antiquities Ministry official Mohammed El-Bialy has announced that archaeologists have unearthed the 4,500-year-old tomb of a Pharaonic princess south of Cairo. Princess Shert Nebti’s burial site is surrounded by the tombs of four high officials from the Fifth Dynasty dating to around 2,500 BC in the Abu Sir complex near the famed step pyramid of Saqqara. Antiquities minister Mohammed Ibrahim stated that the antechamber to the tomb of the princess includes four limestone columns and hieroglyphic inscriptions. El-Bialy stated further excavation is needed before the tomb can be opened to the public
The pharaohs of this dynasty ruled for approximately 150 years. The Horus names and names of the Queens are taken from Dodson and Hilton. Manetho writes that the Dynasty V kings ruled from Elephantine, but archaeologists have found evidence clearly showing that their palaces were still located at Ineb-hedj (“White Walls”).
Egyptian Pharaonic Princess Tomb Discovered
Expeditions were sent to Wadi Maghara and Wadi Kharit in the Sinai to mine for turquoise and copper, and to quarries northwest of Abu Simbel for gneiss. Trade expeditions were sent south to Punt to obtain malachite, myrrh, and electrum, and archaeological finds at Byblos attest to diplomatic expeditions sent to that Phoenician city. Finds bearing the names of a several Dynasty V kings at the site of Dorak, near the Sea of Marmara, may be evidence of trade but remain a mystery.
How Pharaoh Userkaf founded this dynasty is not known for certain. The Papyrus Westcar, which was written during the Middle Kingdom, tells a story of how king Khufu of Dynasty IV was given a prophecy that triplets born to the wife of the priest of Ra in Sakhbu would overthrow him and his heirs, and how he attempted to put these children – named Userkaf, Sahure, and Neferirkare – to death; however in recent years, scholars have recognized this story to be at best a legend, and admit their ignorance over how the transition from one dynasty to another transpired.
During this dynasty, Egyptian religion made several important changes. The earliest known copies of funerary prayers inscribed on royal tombs (known as the Pyramid Texts) appear. The cult of the god Ra gains added importance, and kings from Userkaf through Menkauhor Kaiu built temples dedicated to Ra at or near Abusir. Then late in this dynasty, the cult of Osiris assumes importance, most notably in the inscriptions found in the tomb of Unas.