Tomb of Queen Meresankh III – A 3D tour through the Old Kingdom mastaba at Giza

3D models
Jul 24, 2020

Created by Archimedes Digital

Created by Archimedes Digital

Queen Meresankh III is the owner of the 4th Dynasty mastaba G7530-7540, one of the most beautiful and best-preserved tombs in the Eastern Cemetery of Giza, Egypt. Meresankh was the granddaughter of king Khufu, the builder of the Great Pyramid, and the wife of king Khafre. Her large and exquisitely decorated tomb contains beautifully carved and painted wall scenes of the queen and the royal family, including her mother, father and children. 

The tomb consists of a surface mastaba, a main chamber and a funerary chapel. The entrance stairway leads down into the large main chamber. The texts near the doorway provide the tomb owner’s name, titles and the date of her death. Within this first room, the walls are decorated primarily with agricultural, hunting, fishing and nautical scenes. A panel on the eastern wall shows the sculpting and painting of statues, including that of the queen, and the production of some tomb equipment, sarcophagus and false door. At the northern end of the main chamber, behind two pillars, is a niche with ten large statues of women that are carved out of the northern wall. It has been assumed that they represent Meresankh herself, her mother and daughters. From the offering room to the west a shaft leads down to the burial chamber, located about 5 meters underground. Within this chamber, Meresankh’s mummy was buried in a black granite sarcophagus decorated with the palace façade.

The tomb was discovered and excavated in 1927 by American archaeologist George Andrew Reisner from Harvard University. It remained closed to visitors until quite recently, with the Egyptian authorities opening it to tourists only in 2012. The Giza Project at Harvard University, begun in 2000 with the aim of digitizing all of the archaeological documentation from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston – Harvard University expedition to Giza, Egypt circa. 1904-1947, started building a 3D virtual reconstruction of the Giza Plateau as it may have looked when first built. To date, they have modeled approximately 20 tombs and monuments in detail, among them the tomb of queen Meresankh III. The 3D presentation of the tomb, generated by Archimedes Digital through Matterport, was made available to a wide audience in early 2020.

The Tomb of Queen Meresankh III in Giza (Matterport model created by Archimedes Digital, photographed by Luke Hollis)
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