Egypt Explokation Eund.
Under the supervision of Mr. Legge, who kindly contributed to the
expense,' the rubbish coming from former excavations was sifted. It
produced a few interesting fragments, among which was a wooden seal
of the time of the early kings. We have good reason to believe that
early remains are to be found in other parts of the necropolis.
We also dug into an enormous circular pit cut in very bad rock. It
looked like a huge well; but the absence of any signs of water showed
that it was not a well. We were obliged to stop before reaching the
bottom for fear of a collapse of the sides.
We began digging close to our house in a large trench the plan of which
is not yet clear; but a staircase has been found leading to it. This
will be our first work to continue next winter. Edouahd jSTaville.
To the north of the Temple of Barneses lies a long ridge between two
roads which Mariette found to contain tombs of the Old and Middle
Kingdoms. The extreme eastern edge of this ridge slopes down abruptly
to the cultivation, and apparently had never been excavated. We there-
fore began our work here, and, starting to' the south, opened some three
hundred graves, for the most part of the Vth and Vlth Dynasties, with
a few of the Xllth and XVIIIth.
The poorest graves of the earliest period consisted of a shallow hollow
in the rock, in which the body lay in a contracted position under an
inverted rough clay coffin elliptical in shape. ISTo funerary furniture
except an occasional pottery vase was found with this type of burial.
The majority of the fifth and sixth dynasty graves, however, consisted
of a shaft not deeper than 12 feet, from the bottom of which opened a
chamber not much larger than was necessary to contain an oblong wooden
coffin. The whole grave was cut in the hard water-laid sand, and it was
rarely that a few rows of brickwork were placed around the top of the
shaft to hold back the loose surface sand. The entrance to the chamber
was usually closed with a wall of bricks.
In the chamber stood an oblong coffin, but the ravages of the white
ants had been so thorough that throughout the whole of this site we found
only one coffin intact; the rest fell to pieces at the touch. The body,
with but few exceptions, lay on the left side, with the head to the north-
west, in a more or less extended position. The knees were generally
slightly bent, and the arms were crossed on the breast or laid by the side,
with sometimes one hand on the pelvis.