(ii.) The Site by the Bamleh Road.
Here a passage dug in the earth, probably of late years by Arab
treasure-seekers, and fragments of pottery at its mouth, with fine black
glaze, led us to dig down, in order to strike the far end of the passage,
and open the tombs which had not, at any rate, been dug from the
side on which we were approaching them.
The ground was full of fragments, some apparently of good date,
and others which presented a certain interest, as they seemed to mark
the transition from Egyptian to Greek art. A small head, for instance,
in relief on the outside of a cup, was evidently of Greek workmanship and
style, but made in the green vitreous glaze of Egypt. Several fragments
of wave pattern and cable pattern also pointed to the same epoch. But,
unfortunately, after a- few days' digging, we came upon a long row of
large Eoman amphorae, which at once made it likely that these other
fragments were the debris of graves which had been already rifled.
Adjoining this row of amphorae was a piece of Eoman concrete pave-
ment, and coarse brick and mortar work came to light. In one of these
amphone, which was filled with ashes, we found a headless figurine,
on which the colours were still well preserved, of a technique resembling
the Tanagra work, and near it a negro's head of the Fayoum fabric.
A little lower down again we came upon fragments of bones, and one
or two skulls, which again looked very unpromising j and on getting into
the graves themselves, we found that they had been completely cleaned
out. The Eoman amphoraj lying untouched fifteen feet above them,
tended to show that the rifling had been done in Eoman times.
In the graves themselves there was nothing left. Bones and ornaments
alike had been cleared out. Here again Ave struck a vault with four
chambers in it, the roof of one of which, cut in the sandstone, was
stuccoed and painted in three colours. After clearing out this system of
tombs, we continued to dig downwards in the hopes of getting upon
another layer, but the soil below was absolutely virgin and undisturbed,
and it soon became obvious that we had dug out the lowest set of tombs.
The hole made here was about thirty feet in depth, and the shaft
communicating with the tombs some six or seven feet more.
The hole, however, was useful in certain ways, for it made it clear that
there were graves of an interesting epoch on this site. The pottery
found here was markedly better than that at Hadra, which all belonged
to a base epoch. The question is how far this rifling of tombs has gone;
whether the vast cemetery which lies in this district has been entirely