Egypt Exploration Fund.
Gemellus, a wealthy Eoman citizen who owned an estate at Euhemeria
in the reigns of Domitian and Trajan, while the doorstep of the same
house, on being turned over, proved to be an inscription with a petition
to one of the later Ptolemies concerning the right of asylum in temples.
Fayfun sites have hitherto supplied but very few ostraca, probably
because papyrus was cheaper and more plentiful than in most parts of
Upper Egypt, and there was less reason for resorting to bits of pottery.
Kasr el Banat, however, was an exception, and few days passed without
three or four turning up, while on one occasion over seventy were found
together in an oven. Terra-cottas of the usual Fayum types were also
common, especially in the houses of the second or third centuries a.d. ;
and a great variety of pots was found, together with some coins (billon
or copper), and miscellaneous domestic objects in wood, iron, or bronze.
Of these the most interesting was an inlaid wooden box, shaped like a
The local temple, which was of brick and stood by itself a little to the
west of the town, had already been for the most part dug out; but in a
few unopened chambers some demotic and Greek papyri were found,
showing that this temple was, as usual in the Fayum, dedicated to Sebek
and Isis, as well ,as a large pot containing a bronze incense-burner and
other ornaments belonging to the temple. Most of the objects found in
the temple were of the late Ptolemaic period; those in the rest of the site
belonged, with a few exceptions, to the first three centuries a.d. Nothing-
was discovered later than the fourth century.
A little more than a month's work was sufficient to finish the town at
Kasr el Banat, and we then devoted our attention to the cemetery, which
was immediately to the south-west of it. This, however, proved to be
very poor, so after a fortnight we removed our camp to another site, about
three kilometres to the south-east, called, after the name of the nearest
Here the cemetery, which was immediately to the west of the site, but
much more extensive than that of Kasr el Banat, was first explored. The
tombs fell into three clearly-defined classes: (1) early Ptolemaic (about
b.c. 280—150) ; (2) late Ptolemaic and early Eoman (about b.c. 150 to
a.d. 80); (3) late Eoman (about a.d. 80—300). All of these were shallow,
none being more than eight feet deep.
In the first class the bodies were generally mummified and placed in
plain wooden coffins with rudely-carved heads, either in a bricked-up
recess at the side of the tomb, or under an arched covering of bricks.
Pottery coffins were also used in the poorer burials, and some of these had