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natives. At no great distance from these pyramids are the ruins of a temple and the remains of an artificial depression, which seems to mark the site of the sacred lake of the temples Two other groups of pyramids (A and B) are situated further to the east, and are built on low hills, the smaller group lying to the south-east of the larger ; and some of their pyramids are quite in ruins. The most interesting group is that which is built on a comparatively high hill, and which at the beginning of the XIXth century was in a good
state of preservation, as the plates which illustrate Cailliaud's Voyage prove. The 43 pyramids of this group vary in size at the base from 20 feet to 63 feet. In front of each pyramid was a chapel which consisted of one or more chambers, the walls of which were decorated with reliefs, in which kings and queens were depicted worshipping the local gods and making offerings to them. There is little doubt that the sites of these groups of pyramids were used as burial grounds from an extremely early period, but the inscriptions of the pyramids now standing there show that
they belong to a period which lies between about B.C. 400 and A.D. 250.
Both reliefs and inscriptions prove that the Nubians, or Ethiopians as they are often called, were borrowers from, and not the originators of, the Egyptian civilization, with its gods and religion, and system of writing, as some, following Diodorus, have thought. The royal names found in some of the chapels are those of the builders of the great temples at Nagaa, and others are those which are known from buildings at Dakkah and Gebel Barkal. In them also are inscriptions in the character called Meroitic, which, in some respects, resembles the Demotic, and Lepsius had no doubt that they were contemporaneous. It is not at present possible to arrange the royal names of the Nubian or Meroïtic kings in chronological order, especially as many of them seem to be peculiar to certain parts of the old kingdom of Meroë, and it is possible that many of their owners were contemporary. It is, however, evident that when this kingdom was in its most flourishing state, the rule of its kings extended from the Blue Nile to Aswân.
In 1834 an Italian doctor called Ferlini selected one of the largest pyramids on the crest of the hill at Bagrâwiyah (i.e., the one marked F in Cailliaud's plan, and the most westerly of the group), and began to pull it down. In the course of the work an entrance to a chamber was accidentally discovered, wherein, Ferlini declared, were found a bier and a large quantity of jewellery, boxes, etc., of a most interesting character.* This treasure was not
Ilis account of the discovery is so interesting, that an extract from the French version of it is here given
“Monté au sommet de la pyramide, avec quatre ouvriers, pour mettre la main à l'ouvrage, je reconnus au premier coup d'eil que la démolition pouvait se faire sort facilement, vu que le monument tombait déjà de vétusté ; les premières pierres enlevées, je relevais mes ouvriers. Pendant qu'on jetait par terre les pierres des gradins, ne
buried, as one would expect, in a chamber below the surface of the ground, but in a small chamber within the masonry of the pyramid, near the top. One good result attended this
pouvant plus' résister à l'ardeur du soleil, dont les brûlants rayons donnaient jusq'à 48° de Réaumur, i.e., 60° Centigrade, and 140° Fahrenheit), j'allai me reposer avec M. Stefani à l'ombre d'une pyramide voisine. Tout-à-coup je fus appelé par mon fidèle domestique. J'accourus avec mon ami au haut du monument
... et je sentis déjà mon caur s'ouvrir à la douce espérance Je vois mon domestique couché sur son ventre, sur l'emplacement qu'il avait pratiqué, et cherchant à couvrir de son corps l'ouverture qui venait d'être découverte. Les noirs, poussés par la cupidité, voulaient à toute force chasser mon domestique et plonger leurs mains avides dans le fond de l'ouverture . . . Nous fimes bonne contenance, et les armes à la main, nous les forçâmes de descendre ; nous appellâmes d'autres domestiques de confiance, et nous fîmes continuer la fouille en notre présence. L'ouveriure nous laissait entrevoir un vide qui contenait des objets que nous ne pouvions distinguer. Ce vide, ou cellule, était formé de grandes pierres grossièrement assemblées. Nous fines enlever les pierres les plus larges qui couvraient le plan supérieur, et nous reconnûmes une cellule ayant la forme d'un carré long et composée de grosses pierres superposées qui formaient les quatre murs latéraux correspondant aux gradins de la pyramide. Cette cellule avait quatre pieds de hauteur sur six ou sept de longueur. La première chose qui frappa nos regards ce fut un grand corps couvert d'un tissu en coton d'une éclatante blancheur qui, à peine touché, tomba en poussière. C'était une espèce de table ou autel, soutenue par quatre pieds cylindriques et entourée d'une balustrade de barreaux en bois, grands et petits alternativement placés. Ces barreaux étaient sculptés et représentaient des figures symboliques. C'est sous cette table que se trouva le vase en bronze . . . qui contenait les objets précieux enveloppés dans du linge semblable à celui dont je viens de parler. Près du vase et sur le plan de la cellule, étaient symé. triquement disposés, au moyen de fils, des colliers, des pâtes en verre, des pierres de couleur, etc. Il y avait aussi quelques talismans, de petites idoles, un étui cylindrique en métal, de petites boîtes travaillées au tour remplies d'une matière pulvérisée dont je donne plus loin l'analyse, une scie, un ciseau, et plusieurs autres objets dont j'ai donné la description dans mon catalogue.”—J. Ferlini, Relation Historique des fouilles opérées dans la Nubie ; Rome, 1838.
' lucky find,' for it became certain that the period when the jewellery was placed in the pyramid was Roman, and the inscriptions showed that the queen for whom the pyramid was built was the great queen who is depicted on the walls of the ruins at Nagaa with rich decorations and pointed nails almost an inch long. The ill result that followed the discovery was the destruction of several pyramids by treasure seekers, and Lepsius relates that when he was there Osman Bey, who was leading back his army of 5,000 men from Tâka, offered him the help of his battalions to pull down all the pyramids, in order to find treasure as Ferlini had done.
In 1903 the writer excavated a number of the pyramids of Meroë for the Sirdar and Governor-General of the Sûdân, Sir F. R. Wingate, who was especially anxious to examine the method of their construction. It was found in every case that the cores of the pyramids were made of rubble, and that there was no chamber of any sort or kind in them, The dead kings and queens were buried in chambers under the pyramids, and few, if any, were mummified; some of the funeral chambers only contained pots, wherein Were the remains of bodies which had been burned. The writer is of opinion that the statements made by Ferlini are the result of misapprehension on his part, and that he was not acquainted with all the facts concerning the discovery of the jewellery which, he declared, was found in a pyramid at Meroë. It is possible that his “find' consisted of jewellery and other objects which had been hidden by thieves in some portion of a pyramid in ancient days, but it could never have been found in a chamber near the top of a pyramid at Meroë, for the cores were not sufficiently well built to allow of a chamber being made inside them. A discussion of the evidence will be found in the first volume of the writer's History of the Egyptian Súdân.
The following is a brief description of the Pyramids of Groups A and B :
A. Northern Group.
No. 1. The step - pyramid of Queen Kenthåhebit
118), whose name Lepsius believed to be the original of the “Candace” of classical authors. She was also called Åmen-ārit 318). The reliefs in the chapel are of considerable interest, and many of them will be familiar to the visitor who has examined the tombs in Egypt. This pyramid is probably one of the oldest of the group
No. 2. In a very dilapidated state; the figures on the west wall of the chapel were mutilated in Cailliaud's time. Some of the figures in the reliefs were coloured. The chapel has been used as a sleeping place by many natives, who have left graffiti behind them, and some of the stones have been injured by bees. In front of the door a set of iron fetters was dug up in 1903, and it was thought that they were of the class used by the Dervishes for captives of the better class; they are now in the museum at Khartûm. On the outside of the north wall of the chapel are sculptured some fine figures of Sûdânî bulls.
No. 3. A pyramid much ruined; the chapel is without reliefs and inscriptions.
No. 4. Pyramid of Ámen. -ākha :
whose prenomen was Ankh-ka-Rā (ofu).
walls of the chapel are ornamented with reliefs which refer to