home | travelogue | itinerary | photos | history | books
Previous Kingdon Next Kingdon
Previous Dynasty Next Dynasty


Titulary what's this?
Nomen Merneith, "Beloved by Neith"
Dates what's this?
Predecessor possibly husband Djet
Successor Son Den
Associated People
Father/husband Djer (possible she was Djet's wife and Djer's daughter)
Son Den
Brother/husband Djet
Burial Place
Tomb in Saqqara (3507)
Tomb in Abydos (Tomb Y) found by Petrie, with 41 subsidiary graces surrounding a 16.5 x 13.9 x 2.7 meter mastaba. The burial chamber of the tomb contains the stela of Merneith.

The tomb of Merneith was found by accident in Abydos by Petrie in 1901 and was originally assumed to belong to a new, unknown king of the first dynasty.  When it was discovered that Merneith was a woman, she became one of the most disputed people in the early dynastic period: when did she rule? how did she attain power?

It is assumed that she was he widow and queen of Djet, and probably was regent for her young son Den, the next pharaoh. His  name appears in her tomb. Her name appears in a seal impression with those of the other kings of the First Dynasty, although she is not noted with a falcon, the sign of kingship. Other lists, however, do not mention her, only her son.  Her name is found inscribed in a tomb in Saqqara, but otherwise, she is not attested to outside of the delta.

For this reason, many scholars do not accept that she was a ruler in her own right, but merely held some sort of power while her son ruled. Her husband, Djet,  came to the throne late in life and died while his son, Den, was still too young to rule. There are no clear inscriptions that detail her role, and she was obviously not recognized as "King" like later female pharaohs Hatshepsut or Cleopatra.






Tomb Y, Abydos
Tomb 3507 Saqqara

relevant links

early queens
women pharaohs