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of the Ancient Empire found at Sakkarah belong to two classes, in the commoner of which the naked body was buried about three feet deep in the sand. When the yellowish-white skeletons of such bodies are found to-day, neither fragments of linen nor pieces of coffins are visible; occasionally one is found laid within four walls roughly built of yellow bricks made of sand, lime, and small stones. A vaulted brick roof covers the space between the walls; it is hardly necessary to say that such tombs represent the last resting places of the poor, and that nothing of any value is ever found inside them. The tombs of the better sort are carefully built, and were made for the wealthy and the great; such a tomb is usually called by the Arabs mastaba* (the Arabic word for ' bench '), because its length in proportion to its height is great, and reminded them of the long, low seat common in Oriental houses, and familiar to them. The mastaba is a heavy, massive building, of rectangular shape, the four sides of which are four walls symmetrically inclined towards their common centre. Each course of stones, formed by blocks laid upon each other, is carried a little behind the other. The largest mastaba measures about 170 feet long by 86 feet wide, and the smallest about 26 feet by 20 feet: they vary in height from 13 to 30 feet. The ground on which the mastabas at Sakkarah are built is composed of rock covered with sand to the depth of a few feet; their foundations are always on the rock. Near the pyramids of Gizeh they are arranged in a symmetrical manner; they are oriented astronomically to the true north, and their larger axes are always towards the north. Though they have, at first sight, the appearance of unfinished pyramids, still they have nothing in common with pyramids except their orientation towards the true north. Mastabas are built of two kinds of stone and of bricks, and they are
usually entered on the eastern side; their tops are quite flat. The interior of a mastaba may be divided into three parts: the chamber, the sird&b* or place of retreat, and the pit. The entrance is made through a door in the middle of the eastern or northern side, and though the interior may be divided into many chambers, it is usual only to find one. The walls of the interior are sometimes sculptured, and in the lower part of the chamber, usually facing the east, is a stele; the stele alone may be inscribed and the walls unsculptured, but no case is known where the walls are sculptured and the stele blank. A table of offerings is often found on the ground at the foot of the stele. A little distance from the chamber, built into the thickness of the walls, more often to the south than the north, is a high, narrow place of retreat or habitation, called by the Arabs a sirddb. This place was walled up, and the only communication between it and the chamber was by means of a narrow hole sufficiently large to admit of the entrance of the hand. One or more statues of the dead man buried in the mastaba were shut in here, and the small passage is said to have been made for the escape of the fumes of incense which was burnt in the chamber. The pit was a square shaft varying in depth from 40 to 80 feet, sunk usually in the middle of the larger axis of the mastaba, rather nearer the north than the south. There was neither ladder nor staircase, either outside or inside, leading to the funereal chamber at the bottom of the pit, hence the coffin and the mummy when once there were inaccessible. This pit was sunk through the mastaba into the rock beneath. At the bottom of the pit, on the south side, is an opening into a passage, about four feet high, which leads obliquely to the south-east; soon after the passage increases in size in all directions, and becomes the sarcophagus chamber, which
* A sird&b, strictly speakly, is a lofty, vaulted, subterranean chamber, with a large opening in the north side to admit air in the hot season.
is thus exactly under the upper chamber. The sarcophagus, rectangular in shape, is usually made of limestone, and rests in a corner of the chamber; at Sakkarah they are found uninscribed. When the mummy had been laid in the sarcophagus, and the other arrangements completed, the end of the passage near the shaft leading to the sarcophagus chamber was walled up, the shaft was filled with stones, earth, and sand, and the friends of the deceased might reasonably hope that he would rest there for ever. When M. Mariette found a mastaba without inscriptions he rarely excavated it entirely. He found three belonging to one of the first three dynasties; fortythree of the IVth dynasty; sixty-one of the Vth dynasty; twenty-three of the VIth dynasty; and nine of doubtful date. The Egyptians called the tomb "the house of eternity," ^y1 ^l, pa tetta. ￼
This house was the headquarters of M. Mariette and his staff when employed in making excavations in the Necropolis of Sakkarah. It is not easy to properly estimate the value to science of the work of this distinguished man. It is true that fortune gave him the opportunity of excavating some of the most magnificent of the buildings of the Pharaohs of all periods, and of hundreds of ancient towns; nevertheless it is equally true that his energy and marvellous power of work enabled him to use to the fullest extent the means for advancing the science of Egyptology which had been put in his hands. It is to be hoped that his house will be preserved on its present site as a remembrance of a great man who did a great work.
The Tomb Of Ptah-hetep, a priest who lived during the Vth century, is a short distance from Mariette's house, and well worthy of more than one visit.
The Pyramids Of Dahshur.
These pyramids, four of stone and two of brick, lie about three and a half miles to the south of Mastabat el-Far'un. The largest stone pyramid is about 326 feet high, and the length of each side at the base is about 700 feet; beneath it are three subterranean chambers. The second ston*> pyramid is about 321 feet high, and the length of its sides at the base is 620 feet; it is usually called the "Blunted Pyramid," because the lowest parts of its sides are built at one angle, and the completing parts at another. The larger of the two brick pyramids is about 90 feet high, and the length of the sides at the base is about 350 feet; the smaller is about 156 feet high, and the length of its sides at the base is about 343 feet.
The Quarries Of Ma'sara And Turra.
These quarries have supplied excellent stone for building purposes for six thousand years at least. During the Ancient Empire the architects of the pyramids made their quarrymen tunnel into the mountains for hundreds of yards until they found a bed of stone suitable for their work, and traces of their excavations are plainly visible to-day. The Egyptians called the Turra quarry <=J:> \ Re-au, or Ta-re-au, from which the Arabic name Turra is probably derived. An inscription in one of the chambers tells us that during the reign of Amenophis III. a new part of the quarry was opened. Una, an officer who lived in the reign of Pepi I., was sent to Turra by this king to bring back a white limestone sarcophagus with its cover, libation stone, etc., etc.
The Pyramid Of Medum.
This pyramid, called by the Arabs El Haram el-Kaddab, or "the False Pyramid," is probably so named because it is
unlike any of the other pyramids known to them; it is said
king of the IVth dynasty, but there is no evidence proving that he did. The pyramid is about 115 feet high, and consists of three stages: the first is 70, the second 20, and the third about 25 feet high. The stone for this building was brought from the Mokattam hills, but it was never finished; as in all other pyramids, the entrance is on the north side. When opened in modern times the sarcophagus chamber was found empty, and it would seem that this pyramid had been entered and rifled in ancient days. On the north of this pyramid are a number of mastabas in which 'royal relatives' of Seneferu are buried; the most interesting of these are
those of Nefermat, one of his feudal chiefs ( a —^
erpa ha), and Atet his widow. The sculptures and general style of the work are similar to those found in the mastabas of Sakkarah.
At Wasta, a town 55 miles from Cairo, is the railway junction for the Fayum. The line from Wasta runs westwards, and its terminus is at Medinet el-Fayum, a large Egyptian town situated a little distance from the site of Arsinoe in the Heptanomis,* called Crocodilopolisf by the Greeks, because the crocodile was here worshipped. The Egyptians called the Fayum Ta-she f=is=f x^Q "tne la^e district," and the name Fayum is the Arabic form of the
* Heptanomis, or Middle Egypt, was the district which separated the Thebaid from the Delta; the names of the seven nomes were: Memphites, Heracleopolites, Crocodilopolites or Arsinoites, Aphroditopolites, Oxyrhynchites, Cynopolites, and Hermopolites. The greater and lesser Oases were always reckoned parts of the Heptanomis.
to have been built by Seneferu