I have not found any traces of the ponds, but I have proofs that vege-
tation was artificially sustained. On the lower platform there are
several round pits sunk into the rock to a depth of about ten feet.
They are full of Nile mud, hardened by the watering of the palm or
apricot trees planted in them. Several of the stumps were found in
situ. The natives told me that there are a great number of these pits,
which they call " sagiehs," along the avenue where the Sphinxes stood.
With the trees I found small alabaster pots, probably filled with some
sacred oil or incense, and which I suppose to have been amulets put
there in order to protect the trees and insure their growth.
An interesting piece of work which will have to be done next winter,
now that the clearing is finished, is the sorting of the inscribed and
sculptured stones, to be, if possible, replaced in their original positions.
Coptic walls will have to be taken down, as they often are built of blocks
with interesting sculptures. In the first year of the work I discovered a
block belonging to a representation, at present unique, of an obelisk being
transported on a large boat. Only the bows of the boat could be seen.
Later on I found the rudder, but still the middle part was missing.
This has now been found, and nearly the whole length of obelisk is
seen. To bind the obelisk to its sledge there is a long horizontal rope,
with cross-ropes passing at regular intervals over each of the wedges
on which the heavy monument rests. Another sculpture, the blocks of
which have been found in the basement of the Coptic tower, shows a
seated colossus on a boat towed along the river by two barges with
many rowers. As we know to what part of the temple this sculpture
belongs, it will be easy to put it back again.
The last find made this winter was of rude Coptic mummies, buried
in rectangular brick constructions, which we had thought to be beds for
the monks. These " beds " were placed at the entrance of the southern
Hall of Offerings, which evidently was the principal church of the
convent. When we removed them we found they were graves; the
mummies were buried one over the other, two or three in one tomb.
They had numerous wrappings, without ornament or painting, but
generally there were a leather apron and a leather belt upon the body.