Quibell, James Edward
El Kab — London, 1898

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THE EARLIEST TOMBS.

noticed the cartouche of Necho twice. The sheikh
of the village had, too, a fine lintel, used as a gate-post.
This he kindly had moved for me, and on it I saw the
name of the Serapeum of the Saite nome, Hat-biti,
again with the cartouche of Necho. {Cf. de Rouge,
Geographie de la Basse Egypte, p. 22.)

CHAPTER I.

THE EARLIEST TOMBS.

4. The lower parts of the ground inside the en-
closure had been very thoroughly looted, chiefly by
the natives of El Kab, when cultivating. We found
many small graves about 6 feet long, 2 feet wide, and
waist deep, but containing no bones, and with so
little pottery in them that it took some time to
determine their period. But in the two low mounds
to the north, and the larger one in the south, graves
of several kinds soon appeared. Of these one set
were clearly later than the rest. Their enclosure
walls, within which several burials were found, were
at right angles to the great wall of the town, and cut
through the other graves (mastabas) which, though
parallel to one another, were skew to the town walls.
These earlier tombs were of several types : (1) mas-
tabas with square shafts ; (2) mastabas with sloping
" stairways," both of crude brick ; (3) burials in the
kind of large earthenware pot that our workmen call
a majur; and (4) burials of that now well-known
type which has been called New Race, Libyan,
Neolithic, etc., and which is distinguished by the
contracted position of the body with the head to the
south, and by a very definite class of pottery, paint
slabs, beads, etc. The mastabas were found both
within and outside of the town walls, one group
(PL. XXIII) lying quite close to them. On three
diorite bowls found in these graves (one inside the
walls, the others outside) the name of Sneferu
appeared. As this is the only king's name occurring
in any of these tombs, it seems probable that most of
them may belong to the reign of Sneferu, or to the
period immediately following. And the town walls,
being built through the Old Kingdom cemetery, are,
of course, the later in date.

About thirteen " stairway " tombs and thirty-seven
mastabas were examined. The precise number
cannot be given, for when the walls of the mastaba
are entirely denuded, and only the well is left, one
cannot be sure that the grave was ever of the mas-
taba form. Of smaller graves which yielded any

evidence, there were about fifty-three; but many
more, which, from their position, orientation, and size,
could be assigned to the early period, were quite
empty, or contained only a few potsherds.

5. The most important mastaba was that of Ka-
mena (PL. XXIII). It is one of a group which we
found under the great mound of drifted sand on the
north side of the wall. PL. VII gives two views of
this group of tombs during the process of excavation.
The low walls are denuded near the end of the sand-
slope to a single brick's height ; in the centre they
are a metre high, and they sink again towards the
end under the great wall. They are built with
recessed panels, and were originally plastered and
painted white. Round the whole tomb runs a
boundary wall. The two small closed chambers at
the end of the last passage (corresponding to those
which, in the tomb of Nefer-shem-em, contained his
two statues) were empty, but a few fragments of the
legs of a small sandstone statue were found near. In
the E. wall itself there are two niches ; in and near
them were found many small pieces of worked lime-
stone, some inscribed. They are copied in PL.
XVIII, 49-53 and 55. The face in 49 retained a
touch of green paint on the cheek, an important piece
of evidence for the dating of the Naqada tombs, the
occupants of which also used this method of adorning
themselves. The pieces, 53 and 54, seem to be parts
of a stela ; 50 and 55 are from the bases of limestone
statues.

The inscriptions give us Ka-mena's name, and
show him as a king's acquaintance and a priest.

The chambers inside the mastaba, left blank in the
plan, were found filled with brick earth ; this was
cleared out, but nothing save a scrap of IVth dynasty
pottery was found. The earth was doubtless thrown
in in this way to economise bricks ; the cross walls
would serve only to keep this loose earth from falling
down the well in the centre. The well was about
15 feet deep, filled with thick, damp clay, the bottom
being, even in January, very near the water-level.
The chamber was to the south, closed by a rough-
hewn slab of sandstone three inches thick. It should
be noted that the sandstone in the neighbourhood
breaks naturally into very flat plates, so that it is
easy to pick out slabs which, with very little dressing,
will serve for building ; such pieces were found in
many of the early tombs. This slab being removed,
the chamber was found to be full of a very tenacious
clay, much of which had to be cut away with a knife,
for in so tough a substance a light blow with an adze

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