INTRODUCTION
 
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INTRODUCTION.

1. THE work of the season 1889-90 has completed the exploration of the towns of Gurob and Kahun, which was begun in the previous year. During my absence Mr. Fraser took charge of the place, and succeeded in opening the pyramid of Illahun: and on my return I continued the clearing of the XIIth dynasty-town at Kahun, while soon after Mr. W. 0. Hughes- Hughes joined me, and took up the excavations at Gurob, to which I could not attend along with the other work. The planning of the town of Kahun required close attention, as over two thousand chambers were cleared; and each required to be measured, and entered in the working plan which was kept, before, it was refilled with the earth from other rooms. The most interesting piece of work was the clearing of the Maket tomb. It so seldom happens that a large tomb is found quite undisturbed, and can be entirely cleared in a careful manner, that the details are worth a full record; moreover, the series of added burials in these chambers, the heaping on one side of all the small objects from time to time, and the Phoenician and Aegean pottery found here, are remarkable details. The entrance to the tomb was found late one afternoon; anticipating a long affair, we blocked it with earth, and then opened it next morning. The outer chamber we first cleared, as it only contained broken pottery and some earth: .and in this and the rest of the clearance I only allowed the lad Mekowi to be below with me. He was the lucky head of the party who cleared Horuta's tomb ; excitable and restless, he always preferred speculative work, and I gave him the business of opening up the foundation deposit of Usertesen's temple. On this tomb being found by two lads who were half afraid of it, Mekowi eagerly offered to share it with them if he might; and as he was very well in hand, and could be quite trusted, I was glad of the change. The outer chamber being clear I began to open the coffins which blocked the door of the main chamber; and as each object was found I recorded it and handed it to Mekowi to lay in the outer chamber. Hour after hour I went on gradually clearing the coffins, until there was hardly any space left In the outer chamber to place the finds. The work was heavy, for not only the weighty coffins needed to be shifted, but a large beam of roofing had broken, and a block of stone lay on the tup of the coffins, almost crushing them. This needed to be shifted off, and yet there was no foot- hold from which to reach it except on the treacherously rotten coffins, so that: it made a troublesome delay. Towards evening I finished, and came out, streaming with perspiration, and covered with the black dust of the mummies and wrappings. All the things found were then carefully packed in baskets) and carried over to our house. In these plates will be seen drawings of every object found (excepting duplicates) - even every variety of beads ; and it is much to be wished that whenever a tomb or group of objects is discovered undisturbed, a similar index of the whole should be published for reference and study, quite apart from any artistic picture of special pieces.

2. My work at Kahun was finished in January, and Mr. Hughes-Hughes had given up Gurob about the same time. After a brief trip in the Fayum, and packing up all the collections, I left Egypt in March to undertake excavations for the Palestine Exploration Fund. The delays were considerable, owing to an immaterial error in the firman; and at last I only succeeded in getting fairly to work a few days before the miserable month of Ramadan. As the workers came to the work at Tell Hesy from a village six miles off, it was all the more difficult; and only after making a difference in the pay did I force the men to stay all night at the Tell: the women never would stop, but walked each way every day. To drive such a gang, - all of them utterly unaccustomed to steady continuous work,- during Ramadan, was not a happy task. But by repeated weeding out of the laziest I got together at last a tolerable body, which dispersed however like a puff


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