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4,000-Year-Old Tomb of Egyptian Queen Found Near Cairo

A handout picture released by Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities on 03 Mar 2010, shows the tomb of Queen Behenu which was discovered by a French archaeological team in Saqqara, about 35 kms south of Cairo

Archaeologists in Egypt have unearthed what they say is the 4,000-year-old sarcophagus of a mysterious ancient Egyptian queen.

A French team discovered the stone coffin in a burial ground, or necropolis, at Saqqara, south of the capital Cairo.

Egyptian experts say the burial chamber included ancient texts, or hieroglyphics, identifying the coffin as belonging to Queen Behenu. The inscriptions also included prayers meant to ease her passage to the afterlife.

The French team leader, Philippe Collombert, says it is not clear if Queen Behenu was the wife of 6th Dynasty rulers Pepi I or Pepi II. During that period, Egypt's Old Kingdom collapsed, bringing an end to the king's centralized power.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.