Egypt Exploration Fund [Hrsg.]
Archaeological report: comprising the work of the Egypt Exploration Fund and the progress of egyptology during the year ... — 1911-1912

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1 cm
Gkaeco-Boman Branch.


slightly to the north of Kom el Eaheb. This was designed to be our
northernmost camp which was to give us the opportunity of bringing our
prospecting lines into contact with those pushed southwards from Belmesa
by Drs. Grenfell and Hunt. Near this point were extensive remains of
house-settlements on the desert, an early monastery with its ground plan
still capable of reconstruction (palm-grove and garden, well, church, and
cells), extensive rubbish mounds, and an early Coptic cemetery. Travelling
northwards again we found at intervals isolated remains of houses which
made it probable that here was a settlement of early Christian hermits.
Some houses were cleared with little success, the mounds were tested
from every point (yielding only a trace of papyrus), and experimental
shafts were sunk through the remains of the monastery itself. The site
of Kom el Eaheb itself was next examined. On low ground adjoining
the village and now at times actually flooded, is a small and unplundered
dynastic site. This we left untouched. Behind this and extending up
the gravel slopes of a hill, the crest of which is crowned by a modern
Moslem cemetery, is also a small mixed cemetery. Some work here
revealed a resined mummy or two, which were probably Ptolemaic; but
there was no trace of cartonnage, and damp conditions were present. It
had also been the custom for the modern Moslem to open and plunder a
grave and to bury their own dead in the pit thus left, so that only a bare
half-dozen or so had escaped. The pebble filling of the graves, common in
this district on the west, was here first noted. A further cemetery a mile
to the north was thoroughly tested, but proved to be either Soman or
early Christian, probably the latter.

Having thus linked up our work to the north we were now free to
move continuously southwards. On February 6th, therefore, camp was
shifted to the site opposite the modern village of Taieba. Here there
proved to be a vast range of graves, both late dynastic, Soman, and Coptic,
and we were extremely lucky to locate a cartonnage site (Taieba A) at
some distance to the south of the main cemetery on the second working
day. It was, however, on damp ground and had been anciently plundered,
probably in Soman times. With the driving force of the west wind
unbroken by cultivation, work is here quickly obliterated, but certain
indications went to show that the graves must have been opened while
the wooden shahid (the grave-mark universal in these districts) was still
visible above ground, i.e., in early times. Moreover, graves of the Soman
period itself had alwajrs escaped. Interest centred in the fact that here
was encountered for the first time in my experience a system of superficial
group-graves, or rather graves in line on a common axis orientated roughly
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