Egypt Exploration Fond.
former excavations. It turned out to be a mass of huge stones piled up
intentionally, probably at the time of the building of the convent.
The top of the middle platform being cleared, I went further south,
to the supporting wall of the platform, and to the vestibule of the
Hathor shrine. On the retaining wall are still seen sculptured enormous
hawks and traces of vultures and asps which were mutilated by the
enemies of the worship of Amon. Parallel to the retaining wall
ran an enclosure wall which did not reach the height of the platform,
but which formed with it a passage ending in a staircase now entirely
ruined. It seems to have been the only way to reach the Hathor shrine.
In this and in other parts of the temple we gathered fragments of the
famous Punt wall. Small as these fragments often are, they give us
important information as to the nature of the land of Punt. Its African
character comes out more and more clearly. Although the name of
Punt may have applied also to the coast of South Arabia, it is certain
that the Egyptian boats sent by the Queen anchored on the African shore.
In the newly-discovered fragments we find two kinds of monkeys climbing
up the palm trees : the dog-headed baboon, the sacred animal of Thoth,
and the round-headed monkey. We see also bulls with long and
twisted horns, like the animals which, as I have been told, were brought
to Egypt some years ago from the Abyssinian coast. Two panthers
are fighting together; the head of a giraffe appears reaching to the
top of a tree, and a hippopotamus is also sculptured as one of the
animals of the country.
A small fragment speaks of "cutting ebony in great quantity,"
and on another we see the axes of the Egyptians felling large branches
off one of the dark-stemmed trees which had not hitherto been identified,
but which can now be proved to be ebony. A chip serves to show that
the people had two different kinds of houses, one of which was made of
wicker-work. It is doubtful whether we shall find many more fragments ;
unfortunately, what we have are not sufficient to permit us to recon-
struct entirely the invaluable Punt sculptures, which have been most
wantonly destroyed in ancient and modern times.
The Hathor shrine had been cleared entirely by Mariette, but its
vestibule was still covered with rubbish and large stones to nearly half
its height. When we reached the floor, we came unexpectedly upon
an untouched tomb. A pit had been dug to a depth of about thirteen
feet, and at the bottom one could see the bricks and stones which closed
the entrance. After I had removed them and passed the very narrow
opening, I found myself in a small, rock-hewn chamber. It was nearly