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56

EL BERSHEH.

enormous underground quarries, which are also
found all along its sides. Immense masses of
stone have been extracted from them; the
quarry at the end of the ravine, which is about
the largest of all, supplying alone more than
250,000 cubic metres of stone. It appears
to have been worked chiefly in Ptolemaic
times.

The ceilings of these quarries are lined out
in red with demotic notes and marks, and car-
touches sometimes appear on the pillars which
were left to support the roof. The cartouche
of Nekhtnebef appears several times in the
large quarry on the northern side above
the Bab. In the same quarry there are rough
drawings in black, representing a girl smelling
a lotus with a doll (?) in her right hand, two
crocodiles, one of them devouring a fish,
also a hippopotamus, and various red quarry
marks.

The longest demotic graffiti are on two pillars
in one of the lower quarries at the end of the
ravine on the southern side. They are dated,
and appear to refer to the making of a statue
or statues. Almost opposite the quarry in
which they occur is another, in which there is a
rather carefully painted figure of Osiris seated,
with the remains of short inscriptions in both
hieratic and demotic. This drawing is in green,
and looks like the work of a scribe rather than
that of a quarryman.

Considering the great area of the quarries,
the pillars which were left to support the moun-
tain above were few and small, as will be seen
by a reference to the map ; but the roof has
fallen in only in a few places, and nowhere has
the whole quarry collapsed, showing how well
the workmen knew their material.

The methods employed in the excavations do
not call for special remark, except that when
hard nodules were met with in the lime-stone
rock they were removed by heating them with
fire and then probably splitting them by throw-
ing cold water on the heated stone. The smoke

of the fire has made a narrow fringe round the
nodule, but has not spread over the remaining
surface of the wall or roof.

And now, leaving the narrow ravine, let us
return to the mouth of the valley and examine
the tombs. They are scattered on both the
shoulders of the hill, and belong chiefly to
two periods, namely the Vth—VTth and the
Xlth—Xlltb Dynasties.

North Side.

Here we can count thirty-six rock-cut tombs.
The earliest appear to be A and B, which are
situated on a low level some distance to the
north of all the others. A has the remains of
an early inscription on the facade outside. In
plan it is a small square chamber, with several
box-like receptacles cut in the walls. The
owner's name is unfortunately destroyed, but
his wife's appears as Hathor-en-ankh. The
style of the inscription and the name point to
the Vth or Vlth Dynasty. B is uninscribed.

From these tombs we make our way across
steep slopes to the ancient road which runs up
the face of'the hill, passing by tomb C, which
is unfinished, but which has two so-called Proto-
doric columns half completed in it. The
entrance is by a plain rectangular doorway
cut in the facade, and leading into a single
chamber, which measures 205-6" x 288", and is
divided by an architrave 4*75" deep, supported
by the above-mentioned columns. The columns
are octagonal, the average width of the sides
being 9"25", and are surmounted by an abacus
3-25" deep, measuring 22" along the architrave,
which is unfinished at the back. This tomb is
probably not older than the Xlth Dynasty.
Proceeding up the road we reach a spot where
two paths leave it and where it turns abruptly
to the north. Here we follow the small path
and find ourselves below a group (D) of three

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