during the work, and the western end of it is very uncertain. The columns are marked here in outline by analogy from six bases, found in my first season's work, which are marked solid black. The outer square wall was also traced and surveyed in the first season.
The design of the plan (PL. XXV) evidently was a temple in an enclosing wall; surrounded by a great square enclosure, which also comprised another space similar to the temple area, side by side with that The only dimensions which appear to be laid out in round numbers are the breadth of the temple area, which is 100 cubits of 20.7 inches, and the length of the forecourt of the temple, which was the same as the breadth. Probably other rows of columns stood in this temple, beside those marked here; but this ground was not exhaustively turned over; and as those lines marked are dependent on only two bases of each row being found, it is very likely that no trace would be left of other lines. The axis is marked by the middle between the walls; but it coincides exactly with the doorway. The southern enclosure may have had other doorways, but only those marked were observed. Nearly all the dwellings of the town are restricted to these two inner enclosures ; and most of the square outside of them is bare sand, with only occasional buildings. It will be noticed how the dyke, which protects the Fayum, joins the desert edge almost in a line with the axis of the temple, and the entrance. Doubtless the temple was placed facing the end of the dyke ; and a slight displacement of the back, by re-lining it, accounts for the difference. The end of it has been further diverted to the south in later times.
35. So far as the history of the place can be traced, it is very nearly what I had supposed last season; but we can now be rather more definite. The temple was founded by Tahutmes III, and nothing whatever of earlier kings has been found here. So far as we can judge, all the three enclosures belong to his time. Within forty or fifty years of this, at most, there is evidence of the foreigners being here, Aegean pottery being found under Amenhotep III. Khuenaten cut out the name of Amen in the temple. Probably Tutankhamen was the king who reinserted the name of the Theban deity. Still the temple stood, and the foreigners were here. Then we find the temple nearly all carried bodily away; hardly any of the stones are left, and no chips to speak of; it was not therefore cut to pieces by small workers for miscellaneous stone, or there would be strata of fragments as at the Labyrinth. As we know that Ramessu II carried away the pyramid casing and temples of Illahun to Ahnas for materials, it is pretty certain that this archplunderer swept away the temple of Tahutmes Ill in the same shameless manner. Probably before his time dwellings had invaded the temple enclosure ; and as soon as the temple was removed the people soon filled the space with a mass of houses. As we have before noticed, the town was ruined and deserted under Merenptah, the range of kings' names on amulets coming suddenly to an end, doubtless by the expulsion of the foreign inhabitants in the Libyan war. But some slight occupation existed under Ramessu III, as his name has been found in two or three instances.
36. A very remarkable custom existed in this town, which I believe is unknown as yet elsewhere in ancient Egypt. In many instances the floor of a room has been taken up; a hole about two feet across and a foot deep was dug in the ground. A large quantity of distinctly personal property, such as clothing, a stool, a mirror, necklaces, kohl tubes, and toilet vases of stone and pottery, were thrown in, and then all burnt in the hole. The fire was smothered by potsherds laid flat over it; and lastly the floor was relaid. Such was the arrangement of one instance which I examined in detail; and such is indicated by the state of the things in other finds, and the accounts given by Mr. Hughes-Hughes and by the native diggers. It is evident that the objects buried are such as belong to an individual personally, and not to a household. No bones were ever found with the burnt deposits. These were not therefore funereal pyres. Yet we cannot imagine a general custom of burning and burying valuable property, except on the death of the owner. I conclude therefore that there was a custom among the foreign residents of burying the body in the Egyptian fashion, especially as I found light-haired bodies in the cemetery; and that the personal property which would have been piled on the funereal pyre in the Mediterranean home of the Akhaians, was here sacrificed in the house, and so put out of sight. In most instances Aegean pottery was found in these deposits, an evidence of their belonging to the foreigners.
37. We will now notice such groups of these burnt remains as bear a date. On the upper part of PL. XVII is a group of the time of Amenhotep III ; it is dated by a kohl tube (20) with part of his cartouch, . . ma neb, and that of a daughter of his Hent- taui-neb, who is otherwise unknown. The signs are
home - previous page - next page