before; it is of very fine masonry made of enormous blocks of quartzite.
The depth of the chamber from the ceiling, which has been entirely
carried away, is nearly metres. It seems probable that the sym-
metrical chamber on the north side was of the same size; but we could
not even trace it. It was covered with something like 30 feet of rubbish.
The chambers which are beyond the doorway towards the temple are still
full of sand. We know now of the existence of four chambers beside the
passage, but one only could be excavated. Except in the passage no
sculptures appear anywhere. We see only remains of painted scenes
hardly discernible, with the name of Menephtah.
What was the purpose of this huge construction, the roof of which
seems to have been a layer of sand put over the monolithic blocks of the
ceilings ? At present no such building is known in Egypt, and it raises
questions which will be answered only when we shall have removed tons
of rubbish and sand which prevented us from going further. The labour
is greater since we are in loose sand, which constantly falls in again. We
are now at a short distance from the temple, but we are confronted by
the huge mounds of rubbish thrown out by Mariette's men when they dug
out the temple.
Can we consider this work as a sham tomb for Menephtah ? It
certainly looks like it now; but that does not mean that it was
originally intended to be the cenotaph of a king of the XlXth Dynasty.
It seems to me that we have here a clear case of usurpation. The walls
of these chambers are certainly older; I should not wonder if they went
back as far as the Xllth Dynasty. This we shall know when we reach
the end of the construction, which may be a subterranean sanctuary under
the temple of Seti I.
The fact of the usurpation by Menephtah is apparent from the inscrip-
tions. In all the rooms we excavated, except the passage, there is no
sculpture. The inscriptions and figures are not outlined in black and red,
as in the unfinished tombs of the kings at Biban el Moluk; they are not.
prepared for being engraved, they are painted. This points to a rather hasty
way of taking possession of the monuments. The inscriptions are arranged
without any order. In the passage they are disposed as in the entrance ves-
tibules of the Royal Tombs at Thebes. Those on the left go down like the
man entering the tomb; on the other side they go up with the man going
out. (PI. III.). One would expect that on the left side of the passage would
be the beginning. It is just the reverse. On the left we have first the
title of chap. 99, the chapter " of bringing the boat," and the text as far
as the end of the catalogue of the parts of the ship. Then comes a chapter