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vellers; it had, however, its use, as the very fragments he threw aside as useless, were to me one of the most interesting objects I could have discovered. The mummy case itself was one of great beauty and perfection, and evidently belonged to a person above the lower order. The head, chest, and arms having been stript of their coverings, were flung into a corner of the chamber, and on examining I found that the arms of the body, which appeared to be that of a young man, presented an appearance so truly abnormal, and so different from any thing the effect of disease, or known congenital malformation in the human body, that I carried them with me, and they will be found figured in the appendix.*
I determined to take up my abode in the outer chamber of this sepulchre for the night, and so placed my blankets and provisions in one corner, while the donkey-men provided for themselves and their animals in another, and set about lighting a fire.
Numbers of the Arabs, several of whom are Bedawees, reside in these tombs, whose principal livelihood is obtained either in searching for antiquities, raising mummies, or acting as guides. They are the wildest and most ferocious-looking set of people I think I ever saw, and seem to despise the cultivating Egyptians of the neighbouring village with the greatest cordiality.
THE CATACOMBS OF SACKARA.
The moment it was known that a Frank wished to see the tombs and pyramids, I was beset by a whole bevy of them, and although I chose one who appeared the most intelligent and least vociferous of the party, yet the rest were determined to come for the sake of a chance piaster, though warned of their uselessness, and the slight hopes of reward.
The entrance to the catacombs, which extend for near a mile along here, is very close to the top of the ledge of rock which just peeps above the surface of the sand, and you descend into the opening, which is exceedingly narrow and nearly choked up with rubbish.
This tomb, to which the Arabs give the name of Bergámi, is one of vast extent, and matchless elegance of design and finish ; all carved with the greatest precision out of the solid rock.
Its outer hall, or apartment, is of great size, and adorned with massive pillars on either hand. Off the sides of this portion of the tomb are a series of small chambers, their walls covered with hieroglyphics ; in form they are for the most part square, and have in general three niches for the bodies; one opposite the door, and one on either side. Two square wells lead down to a great depth into a lower tier of sepulchral chambers, similarly coated with phonetic writing. These characters are not, I find, carved in the actual walls, but on slabs of stone about six or eight inches thick, with which all the minor apartments are coated, connected
THEIR PROBABLE EXTENT.
with such accuracy, that the joining is with difficulty discerned. The cement used was lime, still retaining its power of effervescence; it resembles close-ground pumice-stone, of a pinkish grey colour, is of excessive hardness; and adheres with the greatest tenacity to the smooth surface of the slabs, which are a kind of Portland stone, and easily worked. The hieroglyphics are of two sorts, one cut about one-fourth of an inch in the stone, the other in alto relievo ; the former were painted, and the colours of many remain most perfect, although it is acknowledged that these tombs must have been formed 2500 years ago at least.
The ascent to the entrance of these tombs is very steep, and formed of the sand and stones, &c. leading to the top of the range of rock which here faces toward the west. Were the present entrances the original ones? And is the under tier of chambers but a story, in one vast hypogea carved in the side of the rock to which there was an entrance below, or at the several sets of apartments ? Analogy of other rock-carved sepulchres, as at Petra and Telmessus, and on a small scale in the side of the valley of Jehoshaphat, would lead me to suppose, that were the sand that now forms the enormous mass of the descent cleared away, the front of this range of rock would be found to present the openings of many hundreds of tombs, equal in extent and beauty to that we now visited. It is much to be regretted, that enterprising tra
REPOSITORY OF ANTIQUITIES.
vellers have not, instead of rushing on to Thebes, &c., spent some time, and examined more carefully the catacombs of Sackara, to which little has been added since the days of Pocock and Dr. Shaw. It is even now the great reservoir from whence the Arabs get the numbers of minor antiquities that supply the Cairo market ; but they are fearful of revealing the place of their treasure, as its exposé might deprive them of its profit.
Visit to one of the pyramids of Sackara-Its entrance-Chambers—Roof—Re
marks upon the pyramid - Buckshese— Tomb of Beer-dor-etho-- The plain of Memphis - Inquiry into the probable site of that city-Opinions of authorsReflections on its destruction-Scene in a tomb-Mooslim ablutions Mummy pits—Difficulty of exploring - Urns of the Ibis—Desert grouse-Hyenas---Approach to the great pyramids—The sphynx-A pic-nic at the pyramids-Ascent of that of Chephrenes--Its construction-Difficulties of the ascent-Coating -Description of Herodotus—Dangerous position—View from the summitMode of descent-Pyramid of Cheops — The king's chamber-Acoustic tubes-A picture— Upper chambers— Their use and construction-Crystaline incrustation-Colonel Vyse—Interior of Belzoni's or Chephrenes’ pyramid-Return to Alexandria-Inspection of the catacombs-Description of the excavationsTheir probable date-Lake Mareotis-Shells.
My next visit was to the neighbouring pyramid, which is about one-fourth of a mile distant; the intervening ground being similar to that near Abouseer, burrowed like a rabbit warren in the sands and rubbish, mixed with the fragments of mummies, bits of blue porcelain, linen, and great quantities of agates.
This pyramid, although formed on the type of those at Geza is somewhat different in external appearance, being apparently constructed in steps, five of which appear above the sands, each step up