Title page




4. In the first season at Illahun I had done some months of work toward finding the entrance to the pyramid, but without success. The external construction of the pyramid is peculiar, and unlike any other. It is partly composed of a nature rock, dressed into form up to a height of about 4.0 feet, - which is misattributed in Baedecker to the pyramid of Hawara. Upon this rock is the built portion of the pyramid core. And this is also unlike any other pyramid in being built with a framing of cross walls. These walls run fight through the diagonals, up to the top of the building; and have offset walls at right angles to the sides. The walls are of stone in the lower part, and of bricks above. The whole of the filling in of the pyramid bulk between the walls is of mud-brick.

Much ancient tunnelling has been done in search of the chambers, between the rock and the brick structure; this part is honeycombed with forced passages from the N. side. Much of these I cleared out in search of the chambers, but in vain. Seeing that there was certainly no entrance in the brickwork, I then supposed that the stone lining of the chambers had probably been built in an open cutting in the rock as in every other pyramid that we know of. If so there would be a gap in the rock base, where the passage was built in; and I therefore set about clearing all around the pyramid at the edge of the top of the rock. This was easy enough around most of the circuit, being only a few feet deep. But at the S.E. comer it was very difficult, the rock being there defective, and the bulk being filled up with layers of rubble chips, thrown in and rammed down. Not being able to reach the edge of the rock therefore, I tested it in another way. Clearing a trench in the fragments as low as the rock bed of the pavement, sometimes 15 or 20 feet deep down, and having seen solid rock, we then cut away the stuff above and tracked up the rock, or over the surface oF the rubble beds of construction where I could be certain of their being undisturbed. Thus the whole surface of the pyramid core was searched here for the entrance : but yet in vain.

5. The case seemed almost hopeless; after some months of clearances we could not reach the chamber hollow either in the tunnels, on the top of the rock base, nor could we find any sign of an entrance on the outside. I had however made a clearing near the S.E. corner on the ground level, to find the position of the pavement ; and having found an edge of rock, part of the pavement bed, I made the men track it along, greatly against their wills. We came on a pit on the S. side, but it was so far out from the pyramid that it hardly seemed likely to be more than one of the many rock shafts of tombs, which abound near the pyramid. As I was just leaving I did not therefore push on with it; but I commended it to Mr. Fraser, when he took charge of the place in my absence, as a possible entrance ; or, if not that, a tomb which had better be examined. He opened it, and at about 40 feet down found a doorway on the north side which led up to' the pyramid. The mouth of this shaft is very wide and sloping, having been much broken away by use, probably when the place was plundered for stone. We know, from graffiti on the blocks, that RAMESSU II destroyed the temple and the casing of this pyramid for stone; doubtless to build at Ahnas, where I have seen the name of USERTESEN II on a column of Ramessu. Probably therefore the masons removed the pavement of the pyramid ; and, so doing, they would find this entrance. To their plundering therefore may be attributed the breaking up of the limestone chamber in the pyramid, and the removal of much of the stone, The well entrance is so dangerous that a Bedawi boy, who was looking about there after it was opened,

home - previous page - next page