Egypt Exploration Eund.
sitting on a platform in front of the mountain,1 and in various other
chapters'2 we see the divine cow with disk and necklace resting on a
monument of that shape, as does also the Great Sphinx of Gizeh. The
great difficulty of this interpretation is the total absence of any access
to the top of the platform; and the brickwork, already mentioned, is not
explained by it. Also, the pyramid is mentioned in the Abbott Papyrus.
Last year we stopped at the entrance of a wide trench in the rock
(well seen in PI. i., Fig. 2), which continued the temple towards the west.
Its vertical sides being lined by a single row of " protodoric columns,"
it looked like a colonnaded court or the beginning of an avenue to
the cliffs, closed on the west by high mounds of rubbish (Arch. Bep.
1905-6 ; Eig. 13). At the foot of these mounds we had discovered the
entrance of a sloping passage or tomb-dromos going underneath the back
part of the temple, and seeming to disappear very soon in the rock ; but
we had left it untouched. The clearing of the back part of the temple
and the opening of the passage was the work of this season. It was all
that remained to be done besides the carrying away of two mounds of
rubbish on both sides of the ramp.
Mr. Currelly, who arrived three weeks before me, and who had the help
of Mr. Dennis, began with the clearing of these two mounds. When I
arrived, at the end of December, at the same time as Mr. Dalison, all the
workmen were sent to the top, in order that we might enter the passage and
free the back part of the temple from the mounds which still covered it.
Pushing forward above the door of the passage, we found that what
looked like an avenue did not continue; beyond the place where the
passage sank into the rock there was a columned hall occupying the whole
width of the trench. Only a few fragments of the shafts have been
preserved, but most of the bases are still in situ (PI. ii., Figs. 3, 4, 5).
There were ten rows of eight, making a total of eighty columns. Between
this hypostyle hall on the west, and the colonnade over the tombs of the
princesses on the east, there was a court, in the middle of which was
the sloping passage. This passage was the part of this year's work which
most strongly raised our curiosity. At a few feet distance we had found
last year the large stele of Usertsen III., allotting daily offerings to " the
cave of Neb-hepet-Ea." This is not the name of a tomb ; and it seemed
probable that we should find there a subterranean sanctuary.
After we had removed the large stones which choked completely the
1 A wooden coffin coming from Mr. Mond's excavations, and in possession of
Mr. Currelly, shows a bare platform in front of the mountain.
- See vignettes to chapters 17 and liS in my edition of the Book of the head.