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passage and pit, but at Abydos, owing to the friable nature of the rock, these do not exist, and the mummy was laid either in the ground between the foundations, or in the masonry itself, or in a chamber which projected from the building and formed a part of it, or in a chamber beneath. This class of tomb is common both at Thebes and Abydos. Tombs hewn entirely out of the solid rock were used at all periods, and the best examples of these are found in the mountains behind Asyût, at Beni-Hasān, at Thebes, and at Aswän. The tombs at Beni-Hasān are about fifteen in number, and they all belong to the XIIth dynasty; they have preserved the chief characteristics of the mastabas at Sakkārah, that is to say, they consist of a chamber and a shaft leading down to a corridor, which ends in the chamber containing the sarcophagus and the mummy. The tombs rise tier above tier, and follow the course of the best layers of stone; the most important here are those of Ameni and Chnemu-hetep, which are remarkable for possessing columns somewhat resembling those subsequently called Doric, hewn out of the solid rock. The columns inside the tomb have sixteen sides.
The bold headland which rises up in the low range of hills which faces the whole of the island of Elephantine, just opposite to the modern town of Aswān, has been found to be literally honeycombed with tombs, tier above tier, of various epochs. In ancient days there was down at the water's edge a massive stone quay, from which a broad, fine double staircase, cut in the living rock, ascended to a layer of firm rock about 150 feet higher. At Thebes and at Beni-Hasān, where such staircases must have existed, they have been destroyed, and only the traces remain to show that they ever existed. At Aswän it is quite different, for the whole of this remarkable staircase is intact. It begins at the bottom of the slope, well above the highest point reached by the waters of the Nile during the inundation, and following the outward curve of the hill, ends in a platform in front of the highest tombs. Between each set of steps which form the staircase is a smooth slope, up which the coffins and sarcophagi were drawn to the tomb by the men who walked up the steps at each side. At the bottom of the staircase the steps are only a few inches deep, but towards the top they are more than a foot. On each side of the staircase is a wall which appears to be of later date than the staircase itself, and about one-third of the way up there is a break in each wall, which appears to be a specially constructed opening leading to passages on the right and left respectively. The walls probably do not belong to the period of the uppermost tier of tombs, and appear to have been made during the rule of the Greeks or Romans. In the hill of the tombs at Aswän there are three distinct layers of stone which have been chosen by the ancient Egyptians for the purpose of excavating tombs. The finest and thickest layer is at the top, and this was chosen principally by the architects of the VIth dynasty for the sepulchres of the governors of Elephantine. The tombs here belong to the VIth and XIIth dynasties, and of the former period the most interesting is that of Sabben, which is situated at the top of the staircase. Sabben was an official who lived in the
time of Pepi II., whose cartouche | o! U Nefer-ka-Ră is
found on the right hand side of the doorway. The entrance to this tomb is made through a rectangular opening, in which is a small doorway about one-third of the height of the opening, that is to say through a door within a door. The walls inside were covered with a thin layer of plaster, and upon them were painted scenes in the life of the man who was buried there. Of the XIIth dynasty tombs, the most interesting is that of Se-renput, in the front of which there originally stood a portico. The scarped rock was ornamented with inscriptions, rows of cattle, etc., etc., and passing through the doorway, a chamber or chapel having four rectangular pillars was reached. A passage, in the sides of which were niches having figures in them, leads to a beautifully painted shrine in which was a black granite seated figure of the deceased ; thus the serdāb and the stele of the mastaba became united. On the right hand side was a tunnel, which, winding as it descended, led to the sarcophagus chamber which was situated exactly under the shrine containing the figure of the deceased. Se-renput lived in the time of Usertsen I., and was an officer in the service of this king when he marched
into Ethiopia; thus the date of the tomb is well known." Like the tombs of the VIth dynasty the walls inside were covered with a layer of plaster upon which scenes and inscriptions were painted. During the XVIIIth dynasty tombs on the plan of the rock-hewn tombs of the XIIth dynasty were commonly built, but the inscriptions, which in ancient days were brief, now become very long, and the whole tomb is filled with beautifully painted scenes representing every art and trade, every agricultural labour, and every event in the life of the deceased. The biography of the deceased is given at great length; if a soldier, the military expeditions in which he took part are carefully depicted, and appropriate hieroglyphic descriptions are appended; the tribute brought to the king from the various countries is depicted with the most careful attention to the slightest detail of colour and form. The mummy chamber was made exactly under the chapel, but the position of the pit which led to it varied. Under the XVIIIth and XIXth dynasties the tombs of kings and private persons possessed a size and magnificence which they never attained either before or since. The finest specimens of these periods are the famous Tombs of the Kings which are hewn in the living rock in the eastern and western valleys at Thebes; those in the latter valley belong to the XVIIIth dynasty, and those in the former belong to the XIXth dynasty. The royal tombs here consist of long inclined planes, with chambers at intervals, receding into the mountains; according to Strabo these tombs were forty in number, but at the time of the death of M. Mariette, only about twenty-five were known. The tomb which we may consider to have been the model during the palmy days of the XVIIIth and XIXth dynasties, is that of Seti I. ; the walls of the staircases and chambers are covered with inscriptions and scenes from the “Book of being in the Underworld,” and their excellence and beauty is such that they cannot be too highly praised. Under this king, Egyptian funereal art seems to have been at its culminating point, for neither sculptor nor painter appears to have produced anything so fine after this date. The tomb is entered by means of two flights of steps, at the bottom of which is a passage terminating in a small chamber. Beyond this are two halls having four and two pillars respectively, and to the left are the passages and small chambers which lead to the large six-pillared hall and to the vaulted chamber in which stood the sarcophagus of Seti I. Here also is an inclined plane which descends into the mountain for a considerable distance; from the level of the ground to the bottom of this incline the depth is about 150 feet; the length of the tomb is nearly 500 feet. The designs on the walls were first sketched in outline in red, and the alterations by the master designer or artist were made in black; this tomb was never finished. Each chamber in this tomb has its peculiar ornamentation, and there is little doubt that each chamber had its peculiar furniture; it is thought that many articles of furniture, pieces of armour, weapons, etc., etc., were broken intentionally when they were placed in the tomb." Of the tombs belonging to the period between the XXth and the XXVIth dynasty, nothing need be said, for they call for no special notice; in the XXVIth dynasty, however, the renaissance of Egyptian art naturally showed itself in the tombs of the period, and in some few instances an attempt was made to reproduce tombs after the plan and with the elegance of those of the XIXth dynasty. It must be noticed that the inscriptions on the walls are of a funereal character, and consist usually of a series of chapters of the Book of the Dead. That the tombs described above are those of wealthy people goes without saying ; it now remains to refer to the tombs of the extremely poor. They were sometimes buried in the crevices of the rocks, and at other times in the desert, either near the great necropolis of the town or in solitary places. A cave or hollow in the mountains afforded a place of sepulture unto many, and numerous rock caves exist in the mountains to the west of Thebes and other places, where the mass of decayed mummies and bones is several feet deep, and where skulls and skeletons, some with their skins shrivelled upon them, and others with bare bones, line the sides up to the ceiling. Sometimes pits were dug as common graves for the whole town, and sometimes the pit and passage of a forsaken tomb served to accommodate hundreds of bodies. The absence of valuable furniture and ornaments rendered the bodies of the poor of no account to the pillager of tombs, and the inaccessible situation of the places where they were buried made it unlikely that they would be disturbed that others might be put in their places. The funereal furniture of the poor consisted of very little more than what they wore day by day, and, provided they were protected by a few amulets and figures of the gods in faïence to guard them against the attacks of evil-disposed demons, and by a scarab, the emblem of the resurrection and the new life, they probably laid down the burden of this life with as firm a hope in the mercy of Osiris as did the rich man in the mastaba or pyramid. Under the Ptolemies and the Roman Emperors the arrangement of the tombs changes greatly ; the outer chapel or chamber disappears entirely, and the character of everything appertaining to the service of the tomb shows that a great change has taken place in the religious views of the people, for although ancient forms and observances are kept up, it is clear that the spirit which gave them life has been forgotten. In the early centuries of the Christian era the tombs in the mountains of Egypt formed dwelling-places for a number of monks and ascetics, and it would seem that the statues and other objects in them suffered at their hands. An instance of the use of a rock-hewn tomb by Pisentios, Bishop of Coptos, is made known to us by an encomium on this saint by his disciple John." The tomb in which
Tombs of the XIIth and XVIIIth dynasties similar in plan.
* For a full account of this tomb, see my paper in Proc. Soc. Bib. Arch., November, 1887, p. 33 ff. A tomb of great importance was discovered at Aswän in 1892 by Signor E. Schiaparelli, who published the hieroglyphic text with a commentary in his valuable paper Una Zomba Egiziana Incai'ita della VIa Dinastia, Roma, 1892.
* On les tuait de la sorte afin que leur àme allāt servir l'âme de l'homme dans l'autre monde. Maspero, L'Archéologie Egyptienne, p. 159.