End of the world: 4,500-year-old Egyptian inscription warning of impending doomsday

The burial chamber of Khentkaus III, a royal leader of the Old Kingdom, was discovered in the necropolis of Abusir, southwest of Cairo, some 650 feet from her husband, Pharaoh Neferefre – also known as Reneferef. The find helped shine a light on what project leader Professor Miroslav Barta called “a black patch in the history of the Old Kingdom”. The team from the Czech Institute of Egyptology believe the inscriptions inside may help offer insight into a time not too dissimilar from our own. 

Alongside human remains, archaeologists discovered pottery, woodwork, copper and animal bones – these items, coupled with the inscriptions – offered clues into the life she was living.

But they also reportedly detailed her fears for the future.

Prof Bart said: “It was a crucial period when the Old Kingdom started to face major critical factors.

“The rise of democracy, the horrific impact of nepotism, the role played by interest groups and climate change played a role in bringing an end to not only the Old Kingdom empire, but those in the Middle East and Western Europe at that time.

“This contributed to the disintegration of the era of the pyramid builders.

”Without reasonable floods, there were no reasonable harvests and therefore very bad taxes, without appropriate taxes there were no sufficient means to finance the state apparatus and maintain the ideology and integrity of the state.”

Prof Bart believes the current climate crisis the world faces could see history repeat itself.

He added: “You can find many paths to our modern world, which is also facing many internal and external challenges.

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Prof Bart said he still needed a few years to fully understand what the find means for Egypt.

With the findings, and hopefully the lessons we can learn from Khentkaus’ tomb, Prof Bart hopes we can take another path.

He continued in 2016: ”If we accept collapse as a fact, we will understand collapses as being a part of the natural course of things, and one of the needed steps in the process leading towards ‘resurrection’.

“Then, we shall be able to do something about it.”


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