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THE OSIEEION

INTRODUCTION.

1. The excavations this year were carried on by
Mrs. Petrie and myself. Mrs. Petrie managed the
actual excavations, overseeing the men, paying the
wages, in short, all the dull and uninteresting,
though very necessary, part of the work, whereas I
had the more congenial and amusing employment of
copying the sculptures. Till the sculptures were
sufficiently cleared for me to draw them, I spent my
time in the Sety Temple, making fac-simile copies
of the Coptic graffiti on its walls. Then, when it
was possible to draw in the hypogeum, I set to work
there, but it was entirely owing to Miss Hansard's
kind help that I was able to secure drawings of all
the sculpture that we uncovered (with one exception,
the sloping passage), before they were silted up. I
have to thank Miss Eckenstein also for her help in
copying in fac-simile the Greek and Phoenician
graffiti in the Sety Temple, which are published in
this volume. My thanks are due also to many
people for assistance in various ways, but particularly
to Mr. Thompson and Dr. Walker for help in trans-
lating the hieroglyphic inscriptions, and to Mr.
Griffith, Mr. Crum, and Mr. Milne for translating
the hieratic, Coptic, and Greek graffiti.

I should like also to say that anything that is good
in this book is due to Professor Petrie and to Mr.
Griffith, to whom I owe all my knowledge of
Egyptology.

In the previous season Mr. Caulfeild had partially
cleared the long passage within the temenos wall;
the passage itself had not been laid bare, but the
great mass of sand had been removed, leaving a
gigantic furrow like a natural ravine (Pl. I. i.).
The method of constructing this great hypogeum
rendered it comparatively easy to discover that
there was building below, though the depth at
which it lay made it impossible to clear more than
a small portion. The nature of the desert is that
after removing from two to four feet of loose wind-

blown sand, the hard marl, called gebel by the
workmen, comes into view. This is so firmly
compacted together that it can be cut like rock.
The ancient builders took advantage of this fact,
and excavated passages and halls with steeply
sloping, almost perpendicular, sides. These were
lined and roofed with great blocks of stone, and
the hollow at the top filled up with sand; the
building was then completely hidden from the
outside. In our clearance it was only necessary to
descend a few feet till the rock-like gebel was
exposed, and then to follow down the excavation ;
and the trial-pits that we sunk within the temenos
invariably showed that the gebel had been cut
perpendicularly to admit of building below. We
spent three weeks in hunting for a place where the
roof still appeared to remain, and were puzzled all
the time at the number of right-angled turns which
this extraordinary passage, as we then thought it,
appeared to make. These turns, as we now know,
must be the rock cuttings to hold chambers and
halls. Finally we decided on a likely place, where
the Roman rubbish, which had filled the part
already cleared by Mr. Caulfeild, touched the clean
marl filling of the desert. Here it was that we
hoped to find the place where the roof was still
intact. For days I carried candles and matches in
in my pocket ready to enter the passage as soon as
there was a hole big enough to squeeze through ;
but they were never required. Throughout this
excavation it was always the unexpected that
happened ; we expected to find a passage, we found
chambers and halls ; we expected to find it roofed
in, the roof had been completely quarried away; we
expected to find a tomb, we found a place of
worship.

Our first deep pit brought us into the South
Chamber, which gave us the cartouche of Merenptah,
and made us realize that we had found a building
which has no known counterpart in Egypt. Then
came the discovery of the Great Hall and then of

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