at all frequent when the excavation turned westwards. It is a curious
feature of Atfieh that the older cemeteries appear to lie nearer to the
cultivation and inside the Ptolemaic.
One other feature was shared by the two sites—the fact that brick
facing was the practice in neither, the depth of the tombs not demanding
it. There were two exceptions to this rule in cemetery A, one being a
shaft descending 24 feet; and in both sites at times a careful search would
yield slight traces of a single layer of mud-brick lying on the original
surface level of the desert, some 6 inches down. It was this fortunate
absence of any facing which had saved these two fine sites from destruction
at the hands of the fellahin. The gravel filling of the graves contained
no sebakh, and could only be distinguished from the surrounding stratum
of the desert by a slight difference of consistency observable to the pick
of the trained workmen. The superficial trial-pits of the fellahin which
lay scattered broadcast over the site had failed to find the familiar mud-
brick or to disclose the differences in the ground, and had been abandoned.
I had gradually increased the men when results first began to appear,
and the three weeks spent on cemetery B accounted for well over 300
cartonnage burials, and produced a fair measure of useful papyrus
cartonnage. The end of the work was marred by a fatal case of
typhoid among the men. Unable to detect its origin (the water supply
was excellent and renewed twice daily), faced for a second time in two
months with contagion, and having no means at hand except the sun to
disinfect the tent, I reluctantly decided to disband my Fayumis. For a
last week I worked on with the local labour I had previously been
training. On Wednesday, March 15th, I finally broke off work, and, after
packing the results obtained, left Atfieh on Monday, March 20th.
There still remains the fringe of both cemeteries to their east and west,
and the ridge to the south of cemetery A contains at any rate some
Ptolemaic burials. A fortnight's work with a small gang of twenty or
thirty men will probably account for what remains to be done.
J. de M. Johnson.