Egypt Exploration Fund [Hrsg.]
Archaeological report: comprising the work of the Egypt Exploration Fund and the progress of egyptology during the year ... — 1896-1897

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Egypt Exploration Fund.

Our hopes in this direction, however, were destined to be soon dashed.
The Egyptians generally buried their dead in high ground near the edge
of the desert, though often for greater security they went further back
into the hills. But there were no hills nearer to Oxyrhynchus than the
basalt range six miles off, which is much too hard to be suitable for
rock tombs, and the intervening plain contains scarcely a rise; so that
the Roman cemetery was necessarily placed in the low ground outside
the town, with the result that the tombs were nearly all affected more or
less by damp. Very many of them had, as usual, been plundered
anciently, and most of the remainder were not earlier than the third
century a.d. Some of these were mere narrow slits two or three feet
deep, but the greater number ranged from six to ten feet in depth. The
body was not buried inside a coffin, but was placed between two rows of
squared limestone blocks, one or two courses high, and another row of
blocks was placed on these as a lid. These limestone blocks seem in
some cases to have been taken from other tombs than those in which
they were found, sometimes from buildings in the town. One of them,
turned face downwards as the lid, was inscribed . . .] lajpou /3j<uo-a? lk/3
evdoifii, and three other inscribed tombstones were found.

Occasionally there were two or three layers of limestone blocks
forming the lid; sometimes there were layers at intervals in the filling
of the tomb, the highest being just under the surface ; and in a few
instances the stones forming the lid were placed against each other at
an angle. The bodies were as a rule not mummified nor ornamented in
any way. Mummy tablets were not used; but in their stead the name
and age of the deceased was frequently found scrawled on a piece of
pottery, or sometimes on a complete amphora, which was thrown into the
filling. In a few graves we found short limestone figures, from a half to
a third life-size, carved in relief on a large block, and originally painted.
These figures appear to have been representations of the deceased • but
to judge from the battered condition of most of them, and from the
position in which they were found—half way down the filling or turned
face downwards as one of the stones covering the body—they seemed in
no case to belong to the tomb in which they were discovered. The same
applies also to two much-damaged gryphons and a criosphynx of
limestone which were discovered in these graves. In one tomb we
found a thin gold necklace, bracelet, and ring; and in another a small
gold tongue-plate.

Among these third century and later tombs were a few apparently
earlier ones which had not been plundered, all of them being plain
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