8 THE TOWN OF KAHUN
 
Home
Title page
Contents
Search

 

To the east of the southern mansions are several streets of workmen's houses. These were very small and poor,containing only-four rooms each. In the second block at "XVII" on the plan (PL. XIV), were found two bodies buried with three small but brilliant scarabs of the XVIIIth dynasty. The southern ends of all these streets have been washed away entirely by denudation ; and half of the part that is planned here is only a few inches deep, just enough to trace the plan by. At the east wall is a gateway, with a porter's room by it. It seems strange that they should have troubled to make a gate here, if the town lay open to the south. And it would also seem strange if such a stout enclosure wall should have been built for no purpose. I am therefore inclined to suppose that although there is no trace now of a wall on the south side, that nevertheless the town was originally walled all around, and that the south wall and half of the east have been denuded away as completely as the south ends of the streets.

All the streets appear to have had a channel of stone down the middle ; such was found in the long E.-W. street, and in several of the small eastern streets, and was therefore probably general. This channel is not deep, but rather a slight curved hollowing of the upper sides of the line of stone, which is about 32 inches wide. Probably therefore the street sloped down to the middle, like an old English street to the kennel; and thus occasional rain, and waste water from the houses, would be led off without making the street muddy. This is far the earliest example of street drainage known, and the system must have been general in Egypt at that age for it to have been used in a labourers' town such as this.

16. Lastly there is the large mass of streets forming the western division. These were evidently workmen's dwellings, at least in the northern part. The houses have four or five rooms each, with steps leading up to the roof. Each house therefore probably had an enclosed court on the roof, like a modern Egyptian dwelling, where fuel and straw could be stacked. Many of these houses contain granaries. The southern part of this region was excavated in the first season, and this part of the plan was published in " Kahun," PL. XV

The roofing of the houses was usually made with beams of wood, on which poles were placed, and to these were lashed down bundles of straw or reeds. The mud plastering was then applied both inside and outside, and many fragments of this roofing were found in the rooms. Occasionally a barrel vault of brickwork was thrown across the whole room. The upper part is so generally destroyed that we cannot often find any of the roof; but one large room in the western part of the town, and some of the rooms of the first north mansion (where the wall was preserved against the acropolis), shew us the brick vaulting. There is no evidence about centering being used to build the vault on ; and probably where wood was so scarce as in Egypt, it would be a better and simpler plan to fill the chamber with sand, and lay the bricks on the sand until the arch was completed, emptying the chamber by the doorway. All of the doorways, so far as they are preserved, are arched over with semicircular arches, two courses deep of brick on edge. The spacing of the bricks on the outer edge, to give the voussoir form, is done by chips of limestone wedged in.

Rats were as great a plague in the XIIth dynasty as they are at present in Egypt. Nearly every room has its corners tunnelled by the rats; and the holes are stuffed up with stones and rubbish to keep them back.

CHAPTER III.

THE ANTIQUITIES OF KAHUN.

17. In the account of the objects found during the first season's work here, the principal classes of things have already been described, ("Kahun," chap. III). The present account therefore is supplementary to that, and we shall notice the various fresh objects found, without recounting those of the previous collection.

Many more of the incised pottery dishes have been found (PL. V), and with fresh designs. The fish with lotus border (3), the lions (5) and other types are noticeable. But the object of these dishes is not at all determined. Their very rough surface seems to make it unlikely that any wet or juicy food should have been put in them. Another curious object is the coop (8) which is made of pottery, pierced with air holes, and fitted with a sliding door. It was not intended merely for a trap, as the number of air holes show : it must have been for retaining animals alive ; and it seems very possible that it was for holding eggs in the hatching oven, so that, when the chicks came out they might not stray about, and could be carried away in the warm pottery cage" without chilling.


home - previous page - next page