6 THE TOWN OF KAHUN
 
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14. The acropolis has most unfortunately been far more destroyed by denudation than any other region, as a natural consequence of its elevation. On the west the ground falls gently away; on the north it falls irregularly; and on the east and south sides it has been scarped away, and faced with a massive retaining wall, which formed the side of a banked-up platform on which the buildings stood. Thus the grand quarters were well above the roofs of all the other houses of the town. The access to this acropolis was by one entrance at the S.E.; here the doorkeeper's room is first seen on the right hand; then a square entry, out of which three stairways arose. The wider stairway on the east (PL. XVI, fig. 1), had a separate door to it, and was the front entrance, leading probably to rooms overlooking the town eastwards; while the two lesser stairways (PL. XVI, fig. 2) probably led to the back rooms. The whole acropolis was occupied with one great house, as its space is exactly the same as that of the other great houses in the same line. Many pieces of brightly painted dado were found here, in the rooms with stone bases of columns. Though the lower part of the scarping is hewn in the solid rock, yet it is all faced with brickwork, plastered over; and even the steps are of brick, and so very little worn away that they shew the place not to have been occupied for long. These stairways were all filled up with fallen walls, and were quite indistinguishably smoothed over in the slope of the hill, until we excavated them : about ten feet of rubbish had to be removed from the deeper parts.

On the south of the acropolis was an open space of ground at the foot of its great retaining wall. In this ground is an isolated building, which from its place before the entrance, was probably a guard house. Doubtless the king would occasionally visit the town, when inspecting the progress of his pyramid and temple; and he would rest in the acropolis, while his guard would have quarters before the door. This building was deserted early in the history of the place, as it was filled up with the broken pottery of the Xllth dynasty, thrown away by those who dwelt in the rest of the town. This agrees to its being an official dwelling, not needed after the pyramid was built The five great houses along the north wall are all on one plan, with such very slight modifications that we may ignore them. Four of these houses join in a row ; then there is a narrower house of different plan, and lastly one more like the four others. The entrance is from the street on the south; a moderate sized doorway, which had a half round lintel of stone, of which I found a piece lying in one entrance. The doorkeeper's room faced the door. On the left hand we pass along a passage leading to offices, guest chambers, and to the business rooms of the master apparently. Behind these, in the centre of the house is a group of private rooms opening on a hall with four pillars. Behind this again is a large space which was probably open to the sky along the northern part with a colonnade along the south side, to give a broad shady place for sitting in the summer time; what is now known as the mandara or reception-hall for strangers. There was also a direct access to this mandara by a long passage straight from the entrance. Besides this long passage there is another side by side with it : such a duplication would not have been made for nothing, and as the second passage opens on several small rooms, with a separate hall with columns, it is pretty evident that this was the women's side of the house. It had ready access to the front door, a private passage of its own, a hall, and direct access to the mandara. The rooms on the other side of the house seem to have been also private, as they open only from the mandara. They may have been the private chambers of the master and his family; and containing the best hall, with a tank surrounded by columns, this is not unlikely. In the fourth house these private rooms were cut off, and joined to the women's apartments of the third house. The rooms along the north wall were probably long store rooms and granaries.

Thus there were three ways on entering; to the left to the men-servants' rooms, offices, and business rooms; or straight through to the mandara; or thirdly, to the right, to the women's rooms. The large rooms all required columns to support the roof, as 8 or 9 feet seems to have been the longest roofing beam. These columns were usually of wood, to judge by the large diameter of the marks on the bases : and the lower part of one column, which stood in situ in the fifth house on its stone base, was an octagonal one of wood (see PL. VI, fig. 12). The stone bases were very wide and flat, like those carved in the rock at Beni Hasan, or like the model column found here (PL. VI, fig. 13). Some of the columns were of stone, octagonal (PL. VI, fig. 1), eight ribbed (fig. II) or sixteen fluted (fig. 6). The capitals were either plain abaci (6) or brackets (1) or palm leaf form (7, 8) ; that the latter was known in the Xllth dynasty is shewn by the ape seated on a palm leaf capital (8), carved in ivory, now at Ghizeh, and dated to Amenemhat II by a cylinder found with it.


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