Page images
PDF
EPUB

plaited palm-leaves. 7. A chair of state which, like the preceding, belonged to Sat-Åmen, with a representation of the deceased sitting, with a cat under her chair. The picture is lined by the so-called “Greek fret,” the result, some think, of intercourse between Egypt and the Ægean. All the objects in the tomb are beautiful, and nearly all of

them are plated with gold, or covered with gold leaf, or decorated in some way with the precious metal. The effect of so much gold is to give many of the objects a garish appearance, but it in no way destroys the beauty of their shapes and forms. When we remember that Àmen-ḥetep III. was master of all the gold-producing districts in the Sûdân we need not be surprised at such a display of gold on the

funeral furniture of Chair of State.

one of his fathers-inFrom the tomb of lusa and Thuau.

law and one of his mothers-in-law. The forms of the name of Queen Thi’s

[graphic]

father are Iuda, Åaa, Ååa, and Åaša, 1994 46,04, and I or les

and his titles were “Erpā ņā,” “Smer-en-smeru,” for which it is impossible to find exact modern equivalents, and he was

called the “mouth of the king of the South, and the ears of the king of the North," © mm I fof mm 9. The offices which he held were those of “seal-bearer," or “ chancellor,” and “priest of Menu” (or Åmsu), and he was the “overseer of the cattle of the god Menu in the city of Åpu ” (Panopolis). His wife Thuau, called the “ornament of the king," 1 , and she was a “ priestess ( 23 qemāt) of Åmen.” Her husband is described as the “divine father (i.e., father-in-law) of the lord of the two lands,” and she is often mentioned as the “royal mother of the great royal wife.” Nowhere on the objects found in the tomb have we a hint as to their nationality, but it seems quite clear that they were not Egyptians. On the scarabs which Åmen-ḥetep III had made to commemorate his marriage with Thi, the names of her father and mother are given without the addition of any title of honour, and without the sign) or why, which would indicate that her parents were foreigners, but it is nevertheless probable that they were. From the way in which Queen Thi is addressed by some of the writers of the Tell al-Amarna tablets we are justified in assuming that they were addressing a countrywoman. And this is probably the case. The titles of Iuảa and Thusu mentioned above afford no reason for doubting this, for nothing would be more natural than for Åmen-ḥetep III to bestow high rank and titles upon his chief wife's parents. Meanwhile there is reason for believing that Queen Thi's influence made her son reject the pretensions of the priests of Amen, and it seems that her religious opinions were unlike those of the orthodox Egyptians of Thebes. Further light will undoubtedly be thrown on this point by the publication of a volume by Mr. Theodore M. Davis, which, we learn from him, is to appear shortly.

666

THE DISCOVERY OF THE ROYAL
MUMMIES AT DÊR AL-BAHARI.*

In the summer of the year 1871 an Arab, a native of Ķûrna, discovered a large tomb filled with coffins heaped one upon the other. On the greater number of them were visible the cartouche and other signs which indicated that the inhabitants of the coffins were royal personages. The native, who was so fortunate as to have chanced upon this remarkable “find,” was sufficiently skilled in his trade of antiquity hunter to know what a valuable discovery he had made; his joy must, however, have been turned into mouming, when it became evident that he would need the help of many men even to move some of the large royal coffins which he saw before him, and that he could not keep the knowledge of such treasures locked up in his own breast. He revealed his secret to his two brothers and to one of his sons, and they proceeded to spoil the coffins of ushabtiu figures, papyri, scarabs and other antiquities which could be taken away easily and concealed in their abbas (ample outer garments) as they returned to their houses. These precious objects were for several winters sold to chance tourists on the Nile, and the lucky possessors of this mine of wealth replenished their stores from time to time by visits made at night to the tomb. As soon as the objects thus sold reached Europe, it was at once suspected that a “find” of more than ordinary importance had been made. An English officer called Campbell showed M. Maspero a hieratic Book of the Dead written for Pi-netchem ; M. de Saulcy sent him photographs of the hieroglyphic papyrus of Netchemet; M. Mariette bought at Suez a papyrus written for the Queen Hent-taiu, and Rogers Bey exhibited at Paris a wooden tablet upon which was written a hieratic text relating to the ushabtiu figures which were to be buried with the princess Nesi-Khonsu. All these interesting and most valuable objects proved that the natives of Thebes had succeeded in unearthing a veritable “Cave of Treasures,” and M. Maspero, the Director of the Bûlâķ Museum, straightway determined 10 visit Upper Egypt with a view of discovering whence came all these antiquities. Three men were implicated, whose names were learnt by M. Maspero from the inquiries which he made of tourists who purchased antiquities.

* A minute and detailed account of this discovery is given by Maspero in “ Les Momies Royales de Déïr el Bahari” (Fasc. I, 1. IV., of the Mémoires of the French Archæological al ission at Cairci.

+ Ushabtin figures made of stone, green or blue glazed Egyptian porcelain, wood, &c., were deposited in the tombs with the dead, aru were supposed to perform for them any field labours which might be decreed for them by Osiris, the king of the underworld, and judge of the dead.

In 1881 he proceeded to Thebes, and began his investigations by causing one of the dealers, 'Abd ar-Rasûl Ahmad, to be arrested by the police, and an official inquiry into the matter was ordered by the Mudîr of Ķena. In spite of threats and persuasion, and many say tortures, the accused denied any knowledge of the place whence the antiquities came. The evidence of the witnesses who were called to testify to the character of the accused, tended to show that he was a man of amiable disposition, who would never dream of pillaging a tomb, much less do it. Finally, after two months' imprisonment, he was provisionally set at liberty. The accused then began to discuss with his partners in the secret what plans they should adopt, and how they should act in the future. Some of them thought that all trouble was over when 'Abd ar-Rasûl Aḥmad was set at liberty, but others thought, and they were right, that the trial would be recommenced in the winter. Fortunately for students of Egyptology, differences of opinion broke out between the parties soon after, and 'Abd ar-Rasûl Ahmad soon perceived that his brothers were determined to turn King's evidence at a favourable opportunity. To prevent their saving themselves at his expense, he quietly travelled to Ķena, and there confessed to the Mudîr that he was able to reveal the place where the coffins and papyri had been found. Telegrams were sent to Cairo announcing the confession of 'Abd ar-Rasûl Aḥmad, and when his statements had been verified, despatches containing fuller particulars were sent to Cairo from Ķena. It was decided that a small expedition to Thebes should at once be made to take possession of and bring to Cairo the antiquities which were to be revealed to the world by 'Abd ar-Rasûl Ahmad, and the charge of bringing this work to a successful issue was placed in the hands of M. Emil Brugsch. Although the season was summer, and the heat very great, the start for Thebes was made on July 1, 1881. At Ķena M. Brugsch found a number of papyri and other valuable antiquities which 'Abd ar-Rasûl had sent there as an earnest of the truth of his promise to reveal the hidden treasures. A week later M. Brugsch and his companions were shown the shaft of the tomb, which was most carefully hidden in the north-west part of the natural circle which opens to the south of the valley of Dêr al-Baħarî, in the little row of hills which separates the Bibân al-Mulûk from the Theban plain. According to M. Maspero, the royal mummies were removed here from their tombs in the Bibân al-Mulûk by Aauputh, the son of Shashanq, about B.C. 966, to prevent them being destroyed by the thieves, who were sufficiently numerous and powerful to defy the government of the day. The pit which led to the tomb was about forty feet deep,

« PreviousContinue »