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Quibell, James Edward / El Kab
Produced by Steven Giacomelli, Jason Isbell, Anne Storer
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
(This file was produced from images
generously made available by Case Western Reserve University
Preservation Department Digital Library)

Transcriber's Note:
1) Spelling of Sneferu / Snefru left as in the original.
2) [.a] = dot above a

* * * * *









1. Course of work 1
2. Chance of inscribed tombs 2
3. Description of site 2


4. Mastabas and stairway tombs 3
5. Ka-mena mastaba 3
6. A mastaba 4
7. Compound mastaba 4
8. Nefer-shem-em 5
9. Early black cylinder 5
10. Smaller mastabas 5
11. Stairway tomb with inscribed cylinder 7
12. Open graves 8
13. _Majūr_ and cist burials 9


14. Variety of names 11
15. First dating erroneous 11
16. Evidence from El Kab 12
17. From other sites 12
18. Doubtful points 13


19. Early XIIth dynasty tombs and the wall 13
20. Tombs in detail 14
21. Later XIIth dynasty tombs 14
22. Beads 15


23. Few XVIIIth dynasty remains 15
24. Temple of Amenhotep III. 16
25. Foundation deposits 16
26. Temple near the east gate 17
27. The date of the wall 17
28. Bronzes 17
29. Pigeon-house 17


30. Plate I. 17
31. Plates II-VI. Photographs 17
32. " VII-IX. Mastabas and tombs 19
33. Plate X. Alabaster vessels 19
34. Plates XI-XII. Libyan and early pottery 19
35. " XIII-XVII. XIIth dynasty pottery 19
36. " XVIII-XIX. Marks on pottery 20
37. Plate XX. Pottery, scarabs, and cylinders 20
38. " XXI. Foundation deposits 20
39. Plates XXII-XXVI. Plans 21
40. Plate XXVII. Contents of tombs 21


I. Tomb plans.
II. Old Empire stone vases, etc. (photographs).
III. Sandstone statue of Nefer-shem-em, and group of objects
from the tomb of Ka-mena (photographs).
IV. Sandstone table of offerings and two stelæ (photographs).
V. XIIth dynasty statuette and ushabti, a late bronze, etc.
VI. Diorite, alabaster and pottery vessels of Old Empire
VII. Sketches of mastabas.
VIII. Sketch of a mastaba, and box of ivory and glaze veneer.
IX. Views of a stairway tomb.
X. Alabaster vessels, XIIth and IVth dynasties.
XI. Libyan and Old Kingdom pottery.
XII. Old Kingdom pottery.
XIII. Pottery, early XIIth dynasty.
XIV. XIIth dynasty water-jars.
XV. " " pottery.
XVI. " " "
XVII. " " "
XVIII. Marks on Old Kingdom pottery.
XIX. " Middle Kingdom pots.
XX. Pottery, scarabs and inscribed cylinders.
XXI. Foundation deposits.
XXII. Plan of cemetery E. of town.
XXIII. " mastabas N. of town.
XXIV. " tombs in S.E. angle of the enclosure.
XXV. Plan of gateway in wall.
XXVI. " temple of Thothmes III.
XXVII. Catalogue of small Libyan tombs.


1. It was on Mr. Somers Clarke's proposition that El Kab was selected
for last winter's work of the Research Account. Mr. Clarke has for
some years been interested in this site, and has published some of
the XVIIIth dynasty tombs there. He wished to see the smaller tombs
excavated, and the great area inside the town examined, so, with his
colleague, Mr. J. J. Tylor, he offered a considerable subscription to
the funds, on condition that El Kab should be the selected site. To
Mr. Jesse Howarth, equally with these gentlemen, we are indebted for
that support without which the excavations could not have been carried

We arrived at El Kab on the 1st of December, and within four days had
cleared out several of the uninscribed tombs in the famous hill, and
had made them into a most comfortable house. Nothing in Egypt makes so
pleasant a dwelling as a rock-tomb. In a house in which window and
door are one, and three sides and the roof are of solid rock, there
can be no draughts, and the range of temperature night and day is very
small. We had a room each, another for a dining-room, and in two more
I packed away my forty workmen. These were nearly all men known in
previous years at Kuft and Naqada, for the natives of El Kab are few
in number and of inferior physical strength, so that their labour at
two piastres a day was dearer than that of the picked Kuftis at four.
All the conditions of work were very pleasant, much better than I
have known in Egypt before. No crowd of loiterers and dealers' spies
haunted the work as at Kuft, no robbery by workmen threatened us as
at Thebes. Surveying poles were left out for weeks together; at most
villages they would have been stolen the first night for firewood.

There was some delay in getting the necessary permission for digging;
after a fortnight's waiting we received it, and began to work upon
the XIIth dynasty cemetery. Halfway through March the digging was
gradually brought to an end, and map-making and packing occupied the
time till we left in the beginning of April. Fifty-four boxes of
pottery and other objects were brought to England, were exhibited
during the month of July at University College, and were then
dispersed to various museums, Oxford, Philadelphia, Chicago and
Manchester, receiving the largest shares. I have to acknowledge much
help received both in Egypt and England. To Mr. Clarke, besides the
financial support mentioned already, we owe thanks for help in the
work of excavation, in plan-making, drawing, etc., and for his
untiring hospitality. To Miss A. A. Pirie, who was with us for the
later two-thirds of the season, we are indebted for several coloured
drawings of tombs, etc., now at University College, and to her, as
also to my sister, for constant aid in the varied daily occupations of
the digger, tasks in which their experience makes them most valuable
helpers, and which they cheerfully added to the labours of desert
housekeeping. In England, several friends have helped in the work of
unpacking, exhibiting, drawing plates, etc., notably Miss Griffith,
Miss Murray, Mr. Herbert Thompson and Dr. Walker. Few outside the
little ring of diggers and their friends know how much drudgery in
Egypt and in England is taken off our hands by friendly helpers,
working without a thought of reward.

2. The site of El Kab is a large one. The area inside the town walls
alone would have required to clear it five times the money we had at
our disposal; and besides that, there was the hill of XVIIIth dynasty
tombs, the cemeteries outside the walls, and the temples far up on the
desert. It was necessary to make careful choice of such spots as would
repay the labour expended on them. The most obvious place to search
would be the sandstone hill in which we lived, where the fine
inscribed tombs of Paheri and Aahmes are well known. But is there much
chance of finding inscribed tombs anywhere in Egypt except at Thebes?
We know that the tomb was left open for the visits of relatives, and
open it must always have remained, unless it got drifted up with sand,
or unless the quarrying of another tomb on a higher level sent down a
mass of chips which hid it. At the capital, tombs were often lost for
long periods in this way; in less crowded cemeteries the accident
would seem to be less likely to happen. Many traces in the existing
tombs at El Kab show that earlier tombs were quarried away in order to
make room for them. This would seem to minimise the chances of finding
anything valuable of early date; and if by chance some inscribed tomb
still remains hidden in the talus of chips in the lower part of the
hill, the business of making a thorough search there would be so long
and expensive that it will probably remain undiscovered.

3. The greatest monument at El Kab is the town wall, the huge mass of
which must arrest the attention of every passer-by on the river. It
encloses a great square of about 580 yards in the side; the walls are
40 feet thick, and in most places still reach a height of 20 feet. The
diagonal of the square runs, roughly, N. and S., and the S.W. wall is
parallel to the river. The S.W. corner has disappeared; indeed the
river now runs over the point where it must have stood. There is
evidence that the Nile has moved eastward at this point, but not to
any great extent, within the last 2000 years, for some remains of a
landing-stage, believed to be Roman, can still be seen a little south
of the town. About a quarter of the area inside the walls was cut off
from the rest by a curved double wall, and only inside this smaller
area are there many traces of buildings. Here, in the early part of
the century, was a large mound, but now the sebakhin have carried it
all away, and we look over a most desolate space, at one part red with
the broken pottery of all periods, thrown out from the sebakh-digger's
sieve, at another white with the salt that everywhere permeates the
soil. A few great brick walls remain, and the foundations of the
temple, but no part of the superstructure. Outside this town, but
inside the great square of the walls, the character of the ground is
quite different. There are no great masses of pottery, hardly any
brick walls; in the lower parts little parallel ridges in the soil
show that cultivation has been carried on there within the last few
years; for the rest, the ground is covered with pebbles, much like
the untouched desert, and here and there are fragments of pottery,
evidently of early date. These were most numerous on two or three
slight rises which, as we afterwards found, had contained groups of
tombs. Thus, on the day we arrived, was presented the first puzzle of
El Kab. The greater part of the enclosure had never been inhabited, at
least by people living in houses and using pottery. What, then, could
have been the purpose of the huge walls? The north wall (strictly, the
north-west, but called north for convenience) could be crossed by
walking up the great sand-slope, which reaches to its top on both
sides. This is driven up by the prevalent north wind. A similar, but
much smaller, heap has drifted against the north side of the south
wall. From the top of the north wall one has a good view of the whole
neighbourhood. The town lies at the mouth of a wide valley, flanked by
broken ranges of sandstone hills. An hour's walk up this valley is to
be seen the little square block of Amenhotep III's temple, the great
isolated rock of the graffiti, and, rather nearer, the small temple of
Rameses. The low hill to the left, half a mile away, is the hill of
tombs. The row of black dots sloping downwards to the east are the
doorways of the tombs; they follow the bed of soundest rock. Further
to the north is a rock looking, in the distance, like a huge mushroom.
This is a hill of which there remains only the upper part, resting on
great pillars; the flanks of the hill and all the inside of it except
these pillars have been quarried away, the stone being used probably
for the temples of El Kab. The strip of cultivated land is very narrow
at this part, often less than 500 yards wide.

Immediately to the east of the walls the ground has been disturbed,
being covered with small and equal rises and depressions; scraps of
XIIth dynasty pottery scattered over its surface showed that here was
the cemetery of the Middle Kingdom.

_Note._--I stopped for five hours at Kafr-es-Zaiat on the railway
journey from Alexandria to Cairo to examine a site, which may be the
Serapeum of the Saite nome. On the map, in the Description de l'Egypt,
some ruins are marked as the village of El Naharieh, north of
Kafr-es-Zaiat. I found, on talking with the people, that ruins had
existed there thirty years ago, but that now all the ground they had
covered had been brought into cultivation. Under the mats in the
mosques some blocks of granite of old Egyptian work may be seen, and
I noticed the cartouche of Necho twice. The sheikh of the village
had, too, a fine lintel, used as a gate-post. This he kindly had moved
for me, and on it I saw the name of the Serapeum of the Saite nome,
_Hat-biti_, again with the cartouche of Necho. (_Cf._ de Rougé,
Géographie de la Basse Égypte, p. 22.)

* * * * *



4. The lower parts of the ground inside the enclosure had been very
thoroughly looted, chiefly by the natives of El Kab, when cultivating.
We found many small graves about 6 feet long, 2 feet wide, and waist
deep, but containing no bones, and with so little pottery in them that
it took some time to determine their period. But in the two low mounds
to the north, and the larger one in the south, graves of several kinds
soon appeared. Of these one set were clearly later than the rest.
Their enclosure walls, within which several burials were found, were
at right angles to the great wall of the town, and cut through the
other graves (mastabas) which, though parallel to one another, were
skew to the town walls. These earlier tombs were of several types: (1)
mastabas with square shafts; (2) mastabas with sloping "stairways,"
both of crude brick; (3) burials in the kind of large earthenware pot
that our workmen call a _majūr_; and (4) burials of that now
well-known type which has been called New Race, Libyan, Neolithic,
etc., and which is distinguished by the contracted position of the
body with the head to the south, and by a very definite class of
pottery, paint slabs, beads, etc. The mastabas were found both within
and outside of the town walls, one group (PL. XXIII) lying quite close
to them. On three diorite bowls found in these graves (one inside the
walls, the others outside) the name of Sneferu appeared. As this is
the only king's name occurring in any of these tombs, it seems
probable that most of them may belong to the reign of Sneferu, or to
the period immediately following. And the town walls, being built
through the Old Kingdom cemetery, are, of course, the later in date.

About thirteen "stairway" tombs and thirty-seven mastabas were
examined. The precise number cannot be given, for when the walls of
the mastaba are entirely denuded, and only the well is left, one
cannot be sure that the grave was ever of the mastaba form. Of smaller
graves which yielded any evidence, there were about fifty-three; but
many more, which, from their position, orientation, and size, could be
assigned to the early period, were quite empty, or contained only a
few potsherds.

5. The most important mastaba was that of Ka-mena (PL. XXIII). It is
one of a group which we found under the great mound of drifted sand on
the north side of the wall. PL. VII gives two views of this group of
tombs during the process of excavation. The low walls are denuded near
the end of the sand-slope to a single brick's height; in the centre
they are a metre high, and they sink again towards the end under the
great wall. They are built with recessed panels, and were originally
plastered and painted white. Round the whole tomb runs a boundary
wall. The two small closed chambers at the end of the last passage
(corresponding to those which, in the tomb of Nefer-shem-em, contained
his two statues) were empty, but a few fragments of the legs of a
small sandstone statue were found near. In the E. wall itself there
are two niches; in and near them were found many small pieces of
worked limestone, some inscribed. They are copied in PL. XVIII, 49-53
and 55. The face in 49 retained a touch of green paint on the cheek,
an important piece of evidence for the dating of the Naqada tombs, the
occupants of which also used this method of adorning themselves. The
pieces, 53 and 54, seem to be parts of a stela; 50 and 55 are from the
bases of limestone statues.

The inscriptions give us Ka-mena's name, and show him as a king's
acquaintance and a priest.

The chambers inside the mastaba, left blank in the plan, were found
filled with brick earth; this was cleared out, but nothing save a
scrap of IVth dynasty pottery was found. The earth was doubtless
thrown in in this way to economise bricks; the cross walls would
serve only to keep this loose earth from falling down the well in the
centre. The well was about 15 feet deep, filled with thick, damp clay,
the bottom being, even in January, very near the water-level. The
chamber was to the south, closed by a rough-hewn slab of sandstone
three inches thick. It should be noted that the sandstone in the
neighbourhood breaks naturally into very flat plates, so that it is
easy to pick out slabs which, with very little dressing, will serve
for building; such pieces were found in many of the early tombs.
This slab being removed, the chamber was found to be full of a very
tenacious clay, much of which had to be cut away with a knife, for in
so tough a substance a light blow with an adze has no effect, and a
heavy one may damage some valuable object before it can be seen. The
whole chamber was lined with flat sandstone blocks, but the thin roof
slabs had given way under pressure of the earth above. The style of
building was irregular (_v._ PL. I), the blocks being fitted, but not
squared. The body had lain on the west side, with its head north; no
trace of a coffin remained, and the bones were a mere white paste,
only to be distinguished by scraping sections with a knife through
mud and bone. Under the whole body was a bed of white sand. Near
the entrance were six vases (XI, 12), of a shape and fabric
indistinguishable from a late Neolithic form common at Naqada, and
opposite the middle of the body was a group of important objects.
These were: a model granary in rough red pottery (PL. VI), each little
storehouse having an opening above, closed by a stopper; another
similar granary in fragments, three vertical alabaster jars, an
alabaster circular table, and the group of bowls and model tools shown
in PL. III. These last consist of--

(1.) A bowl and ewer, probably of copper, not of bronze.

(2.) A bowl of porphyry, a flat bowl of a beautiful light-coloured and
translucent diorite, and a flat dish made of a darker variety of the
same stone. This last is inscribed with the Ka name of Snefru, Neb
Maat, the chisel-like sign of the _maat_ being written on the convex
side of the sickle, and the door-frame of the name surmounted by a

(3.) A set of model tools, axe, knife, adzes and chisels, shown again
in outline on PL. XVIII, 56-65. These have been analysed by Dr.
Gladstone, who writes as follows:--

"The largest fragment gave--

Per cent.
Copper 98·4
Arsenic 0·3
Iron 0·2
Bismuth trace
Lead trace
Antimony trace?
Oxygen as cuprous oxide trace

It is, of course, essentially copper, the minute quantities of the
other constituents being due, in all probability, to impurities in the
ore. The total absence of tin is the most notable feature."

6. The small mastaba W. of Ka-mena's is of simpler construction.
The brickwork may have been recessed, though this could not be
ascertained, as its walls were only two bricks high, and the panelling
in the other mastabas does not reach so near the ground. There is no
enclosing wall, but there is a passage on the east side, with low
cross walls which I do not understand. The chamber at the bottom of
the well is to the south; it was not closed by a stone. Near the
mouth, to the east, was a small coffin of red pottery; its size showed
it to be that of a child buried in a contracted position. Between the
coffin and the side of the chamber was a diorite bowl; south of this
were two vertical jars and a circular table, all of alabaster. On the
west side of the chamber lay the body, on its left side, and with the
head north; the arms and legs were sharply bent, the heels being
brought close to the hips.

7. To the west of this is the compound mastaba marked C in the plan.
The southern half was built later than the northern, the panelling of
which can be seen inside the first well beyond the cross wall. The
spaces marked 1, 3 and 6 are only chambers filled with clay; 2, 4 and
5 are all tomb wells.

The well (4) was exceptional in that its chamber was to the west and
not to the south. It was 5·3 m. deep, and scattered through the earth
in it were coarse pots of the types in PL. XII (23, 30, 31, 33, 34,
40). Inside the chamber were two vertical alabaster jars, a circular
table, a diorite bowl, fragments of malachite, a small river shell
containing white paint, and one of the pots (XI, 12) like those in
Ka-mena's tomb.

At the bottom of the next well (5) stood one of the large
hemispherical pots (_majūrs_) which were used as coffins (XX, 5).
It was 60 cm. in diameter, but was empty and inverted. Against the
mouth of the chamber was a stone slab two metres high, one side of it
much broken away. The chamber was, as in all these tombs, filled with
thick mud, and scattered through this mud, or on the floor, lay the
following objects: a diorite bowl of the ordinary shape, containing a
small vase of alabaster inverted over a mass of green paint (malachite),
a smaller bowl also of diorite, an alabaster table upside down, and two
more alabaster vessels.

Below these lay what once had been a very curious box. The pattern of
the lid is shown in PL. VIII, 2. It is composed of small flat strips
of ivory, 1 mm. thick, and of pieces of glaze, blue and black; these
had apparently been glued on to a background of wood, but this had
entirely decayed, and the thin film of decoration was left in the mass
of heavy clay. After clearing it sufficiently to learn its nature and
size, we drove a piece of tinplate under it, and so lifted out the
whole lump of earth in which it was contained. Inside the house we
could at leisure scrape away the soil from one side, and pour melted
beeswax in its place, then turn the whole over and repeat the process
on the other side. In this way a large piece was brought to England
embedded in wax. This wax was afterwards removed, and replaced on the
inside by plaster of Paris. The size of the box was about 12 inches
long by 8 inches broad, and 5 inches high. It had been much crushed,
and the sides could not be saved. The contents were a small porphyry
bowl (X, 44), a shell, and some green paint.

8. The mastabas C, Ca, and D were contained in the same boundary wall.
C appears to be the earliest, then Ca, then D. The inner half of the
passage between C and D is lined with stone; at the end, bricked up in
a little chamber, were found the two statues of Nefer-shem-em; to him,
therefore, belonged the tomb D. The statue to the west was in
sandstone (PL. III), a standing figure, 1/3 life-size; the head was
missing, only a few fragments of it being found below the statue. The
surface of the stone had been covered with a fine layer of plaster,
reddened with haematite, of which some traces remained; the skirt was
painted white.

The other statue of limestone represents Nefer-shem-em seated. The
head is well preserved, and the whole statue is a good example of Old
Kingdom work, though not of the most finished style, and much damaged
by salt. It does not show the "Schminkstriche." The inscriptions
incised on the base of the standing figure, and on the right side of
the chair of the seated one, are the same:--

_Suten rekh se hez neter hon Nefer-shem-em._

(Number in Ghizeh Catalogue, 650.)

The mastaba D of Nefer-shem-em is of the ordinary type, with two
niches on the east, two chambers filled with brick earth, and a
central well. This well was filled with bodies, not buried with
care, but thrown down in every contorted attitude. The position of
twenty-three skulls and bodies was noted, and then, as no plan or
arrangement appeared, the rest were left to be taken out by the men. A
scarab of Amen-ankh-as, found in one of the bodies on the upper level,
appears to give the late XVIIIth dynasty as the date for this mass of

9. The next mastaba (E) is of a curious form; the S. niche is over
one of the wells instead of being in the outer wall. Both wells were
cleared until we were stopped by water. From one came the fragments of
a pottery sarcophagus of the small type.

The small mastaba (301) nearer the town wall was of more interest. In
its well were found fragments of the rough early pottery (PL. XII), of
the short type of earthenware coffin, and of a _majūr_ (XX, 5),
also a piece of a diorite bowl, on which the name Sneferu had been
very roughly scratched, and a small (3/4-inch) black stone cylinder
(XX, 32). This is of a type already fairly well known from bought
specimens (there are twenty-one in the Edwards Coll.), and suspected
to be early, but not hitherto found by a European. The engraving shows
a figure seated before a table and wearing a huge wig.

10. The next mastaba (No, 288) was inside the town. Just to the south
of the tomb passage, as if thrown out from it, lay a great many pots
of coarse pottery of the shapes shown in the top of PL. XII. These
pots were also found in the passages between mastabas, and fragments
of them in very great quantities were scattered over the tombs,
especially over those of the "stairway" type. This suggests that the
coarse pottery was used, not in the interment, but for the offerings
brought by relatives to the tombs. They were placed, probably,
opposite the niches, and when they became inconveniently numerous,
were thrown away over the tomb wall. Several hundreds of these pots
were found, heaped together, behind two mastabas to the north of the
wall (PL. VII, C, D).

The tomb had been robbed. Fragments of one of the large, circular,
bowl coffins (XX, 5) were scattered through the earth all down the
shaft, and the great slab which had closed the door was thrown over
at the bottom of the well. The chamber was empty, but under the flat
stone were found fragments of a slate dish, of an alabaster table, and
of four diorite bowls. Of one of these, the largest I have seen (PL.
II, 1), more than two-thirds of the pieces remained; it was inscribed,
in neat, deep characters, _suten biti Sneferu_, the name of the king
being written without the cartouche. In this tomb was also one of the
coarse bars of pottery that I have found both in Old Kingdom and in
Neolithic tombs, the use of which is by no means clear. They were,
when complete, about 2 feet 6 inches long, and 4 inches thick; they
are flat on one side, rounded on the other. The sides of one Neolithic
tomb at Ballas were lined with bars of this kind. In another, the body
was sheltered by a large inverted dish resting upon several of them;
frequently fragments of two or three were found in a tomb. Perhaps
they were used as supports for the coffin.

In tomb No. 312, which was probably a mastaba, though the walls were
not observed, the well was but 2 metres deep. The chamber was at the
west, and was just large enough to contain the pottery coffin and a
few pots. The coffin was of the short type (3 feet long); the body lay
on its left side, crouched up, head to the N., and face E. One bone
from the foot lay outside the coffin at the foot end, where also lay
a small bowl of diorite, part of another in limestone, bracelets in
shell and horn, an ivory hairpin, and a shell containing green paint.
Through the earth in the tomb-shaft were scattered a large number of
coarse pots (PL. XII, two of 41, 45, 43, a hundred and four of 22,
more than a hundred of 31).

In tomb No. 318, the burial chamber lay to the west of the well, 2 m.
above the bottom of it, 3·7 m. from the top. The bones were scattered
and broken, but the chamber was so small that the burial must have
been a contracted one. There remained a diorite bowl (11 inches
diameter), a vertical alabaster jar, a smaller one containing green
paint, and part of a bowl in a good red ware, of the same open shape
as the bronze bowl of Ka-mena's tomb.

No. 315 contained a fragment of sculpture (XVIII, 55). No. 319 had the
regular group of alabaster table and small and large diorite bowl,
with two of the long egg-shaped pots (XI, 12), a vase with a spout
(PL. XII, 55), and one of the open red pottery bowls, as in No. 318,
and Ka-mena (PL. XII, 51).

Next comes a group of tombs with square wells, and chambers closed by
a large block of stone, which tombs are probably mastabas, although
the panelled brickwork was not found.

No. 42. A large square well, 200 m. to the N. of the town wall.
Scattered in the earth were fragments of all the common coarse
varieties of IVth dynasty pottery, and also of the bowl-like coffins
(XX, 5). The half of an ivory cylinder (XX, 33) and the small black
cylinder (XX, 31), with an inscription which is, apparently, not
Egyptian, were found amongst them; there was also a small slate dish,
and the egg-shaped pot (XII, 49).

No. 88, inside the town, was a well 2 metres deep. The chamber was
closed by a large stone (1·00 m. × ·65 m.), but an entrance had been
effected behind it. There remained in the chamber four stone bowls of
the shapes so often found together (X, 22, 39, 44, 48), and in the
shaft were part of a _majūr_, and twenty-five coarse pots (nineteen
of XII, 23, two of 37, four of 31).

No. 101. A well, 3 metres deep, with chamber to the south, contained,
with the regular coarse pottery, the less common shape XII, 26, and
also some fragments of the later Neolithic large vases (Naqada, XL, 40
or 46). Necks of these same vases were in No. 150 with the coarse
pottery, and also one of the yellow clay dolls, about 15 cm. long,
representing a woman with very long legs, and a great square-ended
wig. These dolls are well known, and were supposed to be of the Middle
Kingdom. There was no sign in this tomb of a secondary burial, so it
may be that the dolls are even of the Old Kingdom.

No. 185. At 2·10 metres below the surface were the pieces of a small
pottery cist, a _majūr_ (complete), under which lay the body, in
the contracted position, the head to the south, a stone bowl, and an
ivory comb, together with a few beads, felspar discs, and shell-shaped
beads of serpentine, apparently of Neolithic style. Forty cm. lower
were some cylindrical beads in green glaze, and shells with the stains
of green paint. In the earth above were scattered examples of the
regular series of coarse pots (XII, 23, 31, 35, 45).

No. 187, a well 3 metres deep, contained only an inverted pottery
cist, inside which was a body lying upon the left side, with the head
to the north.

No. 191, a well 2·50 metres deep, was peculiar in that it contained no
chamber; the body was protected from the earth above by a double roof
of sandstone slabs, supported on other slabs at the sides. The body
was sharply bent up, the knees being nearly opposite the mouth; it lay
on the left side with the head south. At the head stood an alabaster
vase (X, 31) of a late Neolithic shape. This tomb, but for its
exceptional depth, might be classed among the Neolithic interments.

In No. 192 the body was in an abnormal position, for while the arms
lay at full length, and the thighs in a line with the body, the knees
were so sharply bent that heels and hips were in contact. The head was
to the north, and the face east.

No. 204 was another square well with a chamber below, which had been
closed by a thin brick wall; it contained a square, flat, slate
palette, parts of a slate dish, and three pots of a Neolithic shape
(XI, 12).

No. 228 was a square well near a group of stairway tombs. In it were
two burials, the first in a pottery cist placed in one corner of the
well at 1·5 metres from the surface. The body was contracted, the head
to the north; the only object placed with the body was a shell near
the hips. Below this cist lay another body in a wooden box painted
white. This also was in the sharply contracted Neolithic position,
hands and knees both before the face; the head lay to the north, and
the body was on its left side. Lower still in the well were pots of
the coarse Old Kingdom types. Both these bodies, presumably, are
secondary burials.

No. 231 contained three pots of Old Kingdom types (XII, 23, 54, 31),
with fragments of a large _majūr_ (XX, 5), and one sherd of a thin
ware, black inside, and decorated outside with rows of pricked marks.
This cannot be distinguished from certain fragments obtained in the
Neolithic cemetery at Ballas.

No. 280, a well north of the wall, sunk below water-level, but in the
filling were found the regular group of coarse pots (XII, 31, 36, 35,

In 197 the coarse pottery occurred with chips of malachite, and in 233
with a vertical alabaster vase and fragments of a large vase identical
with a large late Neolithic shape.

11. We next turn to the other large class of tombs, those entered by
stairways. These may all have been mastabas. The characteristic
massive brick walls remain in several cases, in one, at least,
retaining the recessed panel work and niches. But it may be that these
stairway tombs are rather older than those mastabas which have square
wells, and it seems best not to group them together. The appearance of
these tombs may be seen in Miss Murray's black and white reproduction
of two sketches by Miss Pirie (PL. IX).

The first view shows the stairway, as seen from below, looking
northward; in the other view one is supposed to be looking southward
at the vertical end of the shaft, the tomb entrance and the stone

All these tombs were robbed, excepting, possibly, one. This (St. 2)
was the smallest tomb of the kind that I have seen. The stair was
reduced to a couple of roughly cut steps; the total depth was only 1
m., and though a large stone slab had been placed as a door to the
burial chamber, a robber had only to pierce 20 cm. of soil to get into
the chamber through the roof. The chamber, which was about a metre
square, was filled with a thick damp clay. The bones had decayed so
much that only a few parts could be identified but distinctive
fragments of the skull, the hip ends of the two femurs, a tibia, a
radius and ulna, enabled one to see that the body had lain on the
left side with the head to the north. Before the face was an ivory cup
(shape X, 44). Below the body was a little red dust with spots of
white in it, probably the remains of a wooden coffin painted white.

In and below the white paste, which was all that was left of the bones
of the hand, were two nuggets of gold (one 18 dwts. = 28 grammes) and
a handful of barrel-shaped carnelian beads mixed with very small beads
of gold. By scraping away the earth very gently, one could see that
the gold beads had been strung together to form bands 5 or 6 mm.
broad, alternating with bands of carnelian. A gold bar, 2 cm. long,
pierced with five holes, had clearly served to hold the strings on
which the beads were threaded. There was also a bracelet of a single
thick gold wire. The total weight of gold was about 4 oz. (125
grammes). In the N.W. corner of the tomb, behind the head, were five
vessels of ivory, two very coarse vertical jars (14 and 19 cm.), two
bowls (23 and 26 cm. diameter), one with a spout (X, 26), and a bowl
of the spreading shape of Ka-mena's bronze (XII, 51); there was also a
small double vase of limestone (X, 15). A little steatite plaque with
the inscription Neb.ra was stated by the workmen to have come from
this tomb, and there is no reason to doubt them; but I did not
actually see it in place. The name Neb.ra is one of the three Ka names
on the shoulder of the famous archaic statue No. I at Ghizeh, and the
name on the plaque may perhaps be the same, though it is not written
in the square Ka frame.

In the side of the tomb were two small balls of limestone and one of
carnelian, in shape and size like playing marbles, and some fragments
of malachite. By the door were some chips of diorite bowls. The
marbles were clearly part of a set for a game (_cf._ Naqada, PL. VII),
and the fact that the set was incomplete, and that the stone bowls
were broken, makes it probable, in spite of the presence of the gold
nuggets, that the tomb had been partially plundered. The early robbers
may easily have passed over the gold, for the moist and tough clay
hides small objects only too well; it was only the weight of two small
lumps of clay that betrayed to me the presence of the nuggets inside.

The quantity of gold remaining in so small a tomb shows how rich the
large interments may have been, and how strong was the temptation to
rob them.

In Stairway 1 the lines of the surrounding mass of brickwork were
traced, but the walls were not high enough to show the recessed
panels, which probably once existed.

In Stairway 6, a large tomb, coarse shapes of pottery (XII, 23, 35)
were found, and also vertical alabaster jars, fragments of an
alabaster table, and of bowls, hairpins of ivory, and an oblong slate
palette with two stone rubbers. This was of one of the later shapes of
Naqada. There was also a large pot (of the shape XII, 49, but larger),
similar to the later pottery of the New Race.

Stairway 5 must be counted in this group of tombs, though it differed
from the common type in three respects. It was much larger, the
brickwork being 41 metres long by 20 wide; instead of an open stairway
it had a small shaft opening into a long inclined plane which led down
to the burial chamber; the chamber, too, was very large (7 m. square).
The recessed brickwork remained on the west side, and the passage
which led to the niche on the east side can still be traced. The
clearing of this tomb formed a tedious task for six men during three
weeks, and nothing important was found. A pot (X, 29), found inside
the great chamber, suggested that it had been entered during the
XVIIIth dynasty, and three alabaster vases (28 cm. high) were most
probably canopic jars from some late burial. This tomb is a prominent
object to anyone looking north from the El Kab wall, and has the
appearance of a natural mound.

Another stairway tomb was remarkable for the great number of coarse
limestone and alabaster vertical jars which were piled at the bottom
of the stair. There were 150 of these, but nothing else in the tomb,
except a few pieces from a bowl of brown incised ware (XX, 1),
somewhat like the rare incised pottery found at Naqada.

Staircase 8 contained a stand of coarse pottery and a small coarse
saucer (XII, 31, 44), the rough handmade vase (XII, 23), fragments of
large water-jars of better ware, and two alabaster bowls, one of the
sharp-edged type (XI, 33), the other of the common shape, drawn in at
the mouth (XI, 44); there were also two mud jar-seals of flat
saucer-like shape.

In Stairway 9 the sides of the shaft had been plastered with mud. The
stone door of the burial chamber was still standing, the robbers
having apparently found it easier to force their way through the
comparatively soft earth above the great slab.

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