Garstang, John  
Maḥâsna and Bêt Khallâf — London, 1903

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INTRODUCTION.

Minutoli, who recorded his observations in 1824.
After lamenting the loss of some fragments of
alabaster and hard-stone, amongst other objects
observed, he related that he secured a small portion
of the broken pieces of a valuable mummy, " doubt-
less the remains of the prince who was buried there "
(ohne Zweifel die Reste des hier beigesetzten
Fiirsten). In this one sentence, as it will be seen,
lies the foundation of the tradition. Its quotation is
sufficient for the present purpose ; but it is of interest
to notice that the burial described in the ensuing
context, with its gilded head and feet-soles, which
he regarded as that of the prince, was probably of
the later dynastic or even Ptolemaic period; and
that there is neither evidence nor indication of a
burial of the early dynasties.

In the second place, there exists a doorway of
glazed tiles, bearing a name identified with Neter-
Khet. It came from within the pyramid, and is now
at Berlin. Opinion is divided as to its date. Dr.
Borchardt, after a detailed examination, drawing his
evidences from the material, its construction, fixing,
the characters upon it, and the forms of the hiero-
glyphs, decided that it was certainly of the XXVIth
Dynasty. Yet in view of recent discoveries in early
tombs, it is to be admitted (as did Dr. Borchardt at
the time he wrote) that the point is at least open to
reconsideration. Some archaeologists believe that the
door-frame in the main is of date contemporary, or
nearly so, with the inception of the Pyramid ; while
some who have examined it see signs of restoration
on the lintel upon which the name is inscribed.

12. However that may be, sufficient has been
made clear to account for the tradition. It is em-
bodied in these two facts, stripped clean of their later
growths ; the one, that the first observer believed he
had seen signs of a royal burial within the Pyramid ;
the other, that later observers believed they had
found evidence that Neter-Khet was builder of the
Pyramid. It was perhaps not unnatural, without
other evidences, for still later observers to think as a
result that Neter-Khet was buried at Saqqara ; and
so the tradition grew until it was believed, and myth-
like assumed to itself, with time and neglect, the
similitude of a fact. It is needless to recall the many
theories that have been built and rebuilt upon this
slender foundation. All that is proved in this respect
with regard to the step-pyramid at Saqqara, upon
actual evidence, is that its origin was traditionally
ascribed to a king now reasonably identified with
Neter-Khet, and that this tradition was at least as

old as the XXVIth Dynasty: and further, that when
the pyramid was entered a number of burials were
found within, all of which seem to have been later
than the XXVIth Dynasty. Archaeology agrees
readily that the date of the pyramid may well have
been of the Illrd Dynasty ; but it cannot admit,
however much the literature on the subject be sifted
and searched, that there exists at the present time
any real evidence to show that an early royal burial
was placed within the pyramid. There is sufficient
analogy to show that a king was by no means
necessarily buried in the pyramid he had con-
structed.

13. On the other hand, at Bet Khallaf this great
tomb of the Illrd Dynasty stands unique in character
and size, not far from the royal burial place of the
earlier dynasties and from the site of ancient This.
It is attended by tombs, also large and imposing, of
the chief officials of this king, while the tomb of
another king of the same age is close by it to the
north. A great necropolis of the same period, as it
appears from more recent excavations, is separated
from it by a short distance only. Its stairways were
concealed and its passages guarded by enormous
stones. Its superstructure stands thirty feet or more
clear of the desert, and its burial chamber lay nearly
a hundred feet below the top. Precautions more
extensive and more elaborate than in any earlier
royal tomb had been taken to guard against robbery
and to preserve the security of the remains. The
bones found within attested the burial of one man ;
there was no suggestion of a second or a later burial,
the character of the tomb almost precluded the
possibility. The thousand offerings, many of them
sealed with the royal and official names of Neter-
Khet, bore out in detail the analogy afforded as to
the tomb-furniture of the early kings by the royal
cemetery at Abydos. The absence of some particular
object familiar in the earlier tombs is to be attributed
to a possible change of custom rather than to other
causes : there is here the unique instance of the tomb
of a king with its contents almost complete, unmixed
with later offerings.

BIBLIOGRAPHY.

1824. Minutoli : Reise zum Tenipel des Jupiter Ammon (p.

298, etc.).
1829. Perring: The Pyramids of Gizek, III. (PI. XII.).
1839. Valeriani and Segato : Atlante Monumentale del Basso e

delP Alto Egitto, Torao I. (PI. 37 A-D).
1849. Lepsius : Denkmdler, II. (i. and text).
1891-2. Borchardt: Zeitschrift (p. 83). Also 1898.

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