|7||THE TOWN OF KAHUN|
The best room in each house, the master's private court, had a tank of stone in the middle of the floor ; this tank was about 14 inches square, and about as deep, in the middle of a square block, 5 ft. 3 ins. on each side (3 cubits), the tank and its pavement being all one stone. Similar places are found in poorer rooms, with the tank a separate box of stone, and slabs placed around it, sloping towards it These places seem curiously like Muslim arrangements for feet-washing and ablutions before prayers ; possibly the custom is ancient, and the Egyptians may have used these tanks for ceremonial ablution, and stood on the stone slabs. Around the tank-stone were twelve columns supporting the roof; and it seems very likely therefore, as there would be a wide space across the tank, that the middle of the hall was open ; thus the arrangement would he somewhat like an atrium supported by columns. (PL. XVI, fig. 3.) The whole size of the block of each house is 138 feet by 198 feet: and this area. contained about 70 rooms and passages. The best hall is 20 feet square, and the mandara is 63 feet long. Thus these great mansions were by no means scanty homes for the high officials and nobles who had charge of the royal works.
15. We next turn to the three great southern houses. These are of exactly the same size as the northern row, but quite differently arranged. The entrance opens into a vestibule with a column. Thence a short passage leads immediately into the rooms of the house; while a long passage leads away to the back premises. Another long passage led along the opposite side of the house, from the middle of the house to the store-rooms at either end. And against the street wall was a compact mass of nine store-rooms forming a square block, three each way. The plans of these houses have been so much altered by being divided into tenements, and new doorway knocked through, that it is difficult to trace the full details in their present deficient state.
We will next notice the dwellings or stores to the south of the acropolis, backing against the thick wall. These blocks are on one repeated plan. The set of copper chisels and hatchets, found in a basket, in the first season, lay in the second block from the south, in a room marked C. A copper dish with a central cup riveted into it, was found in the northernmost chamber next the wall; this is now at Ghizeh. In the same block are two or three rock-cut cellars, the mouths of which are marked by squares on the plan; between three of them is a rock-cut passage, which had been walled across by brickwork. These cellar-mouths were closed by flap doors of stout wood, one of which was still lying in place. The largest of these cellars, with two chambers, was used till the late XIXth or XXth dynasty as a family tomb. The only name found in it was that of the lady Maket; and hence this is called the Maket tomb, and the contents are described as such in Chap. V. The large circles in this district are granaries of thin brickwork. Some of the best papyri of the XIIth and XIIIth dynasties were found in the middle block of these buildings.
Other sets of chambers, to the south of the first southern mansion, were probably store-rooms. They are on a repeated plan, but joined together so that one door suffices for twenty-three rooms.
Behind the other south mansions are some workmen's streets. The separate houses have about seven small rooms each. But in two of these houses some curious wall paintings remain. In the block behind the middle mansion, on a wall marked "paint" on the plan, is a curious subject painted in red, yellow. and white, with some amount of black filling in, on the smooth mud plaster. (PL. XVI, fig. 6.) It shews a large house, with a view of the inside on a level above the outside, a convention known in other Egyptian paintings. The form of the building is interesting. It appears to have been a series of arched chambers , much like some in this town, which were covered by a wide vaulting of brick. The ends of these chambers were walled up in the lower part, and closed with a lattice of wooden bars above. The larger space may perhaps represent the end of a longer gallery, which approached the spectator nearer than the others. In the view of the interior there is the usual group of a servant offering to his master, and various jars placed upon wooden stands. The piles of round objects may really represent a row of cakes on a table, here drawn one above another like the piles of objects on a table of offerings. The white space on the left is indistinct in the painting; but it probably is another building, with an arched doorway next behind the master. In another room in the block of building south of the east mansion is marked "Paint cols," where a columnar building is painted which is here drawn (PL. XVI, fig. 4). This painting is remarkable for the flat curve of the arched roof of the building, the short pillars filling in the tympanum, and the columnar front. This represents a structure more like a later Greek, than an Egyptian, temple; and the forms of the columns (given on a larger scale above) are not like any Egyptian columns so far as we know.
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