10 INTRODUCTION
 
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of thickness was above the water. It was needful therefore to cut it across; and this was a tedious work, as though the stone was but limestone, it was very hard and peculiarly tough, so that only dust could be bruised off it, with hardly ever even a small chip. The men worked at it in relays night and day, and although it was contract work, and they were most anxious to finish it, it was for six weeks that their picks echoed in that tomb every hour of the twentyfour. Then one half of the lid was lifted, and I spent over six hours under the water, with generally only my head out, trying to loosen and extract the coffin. This proved impossible, and it needed some days' work to lift the other piece of the lid. Again I went over to Hawara (for I was living at Illahun then) and got out the lid of the outer coffin, the second piece of the sarcophagus lid having been raised. But to stir the inner coffin was beyond all our efforts. It was set tight in a bed of sand in the sarcophagus; and was so deep beneath the water that only the lid could be reached, the body of the coffin being scarcely touchable at all, even when my head was all but submerged in the salt and acrid water. Of course I had to sit under the water, on the coffin, to do anything at all ; and the lid of the sarcophagus, weighing three or four tons each piece, could only be tilted just enough to leave room for my head about the middle of one side, between the water and the inside of the huge stones. Thus the greater part of the coffin could only be reached by the feet. In this way I cleared out much of the sand packing, by scraping with my feet, and lifting out the sand very quietly, for the least current in the water carried it all down again. Still we could not stir the coffin. I then sent for some iron bolts, which were kindly lent me by Mr. Hewat ; and another day I drilled holes with a centre-bit in the coffin (there being no inscription on it), and put in the iron bolts. Then tying ropes to these, our party of men hauled with all their might, but could not stir the coffin. Then we tied the ropes to a crowbar, so as to give a better hold, and another sturdy haul was made, while I felt the coffin with my foot to see if it moved. There was a slight shift. On hearing of this they pulled more lustily, and howling and hauling, up the coffin came inch by inch, and at last rose, a vast brown mass out of the water, "like a buffalo" as the Arabs said. With some more desperate hauling we got it out into air, but its weight then proved too much for us; yet we could scarcely raise the lid, because of the low roof of the tomb. So partly by breaking away the feet we at last slid the lid back, and found the inner coffin. This was but slight, and soon removed.

13. On the breast of the mummy, outside all the bandages, was a superb gold ba bird with human head, and outspread wings, all encrusted with minute mosaic of lazuli. Then after carefully removing all the beads of lazuli, beryl, and silver, which had formed a network over the mummy, we towed the mummy out to the mouth of the tomb, and at the bottom of the well I cut him up. I fortunately had the help of Mr. Fraser on this day, which was of great use both in extracting the coffin, and in registering the positions of all the amulets. As I cut away the pitch and outer bandages, one after another of the gold amulets came in sight, and our men must have wondered to see me leave them all untouched as I went on exploring in the wrappings, until the whole group of chest amulets were all exposed in position, and we could note all their relative places as a whole. These were the most gorgeous of all such amulets, a dozen being in solid gold exquisitely chased and finished, and several of these inlaid cloisonn´e with minute pieces of lazuli and other stones, all cut exactly to fit the gold ouches, and polished. Lower on the body long strings of scarabs, hearts, and eyes, curved round, with the group of figures of gods all delicately carved in lazuli, in the midst. A hundred stone amulets finely wrought and polished lay upon this body, besides the gold ones mentioned, gold plates on fingers and toes, gold bands on the wrists, and a gold sheath between the legs. The whole of this unparalleled series is now in the Bulak Museum.

Yet there was something more, for in each corner of the stone sarcophagus, at the shoulders and feet of the coffin, stood an alabaster canopic jar, with inscription for the deceased Horuta. Such was the outfit for the future life of an Egyptian noble of the later times, probably about the end of the XXVIth dynasty. And it is most fortunate that such a series has been cleared scientifically and not plundered by ignorant reises who would have retained the treasure, or by even ruder unlicensed pillagers. That I was able to control this work while living many miles off at Illahun, and to just step in when each stage was ready for my attention, is due to the certainty felt by my men that they would have their fair reward for the value found, so that they had no inducement to pillage or conceal things. I paid that lucky group nearly fifty pounds, besides their wages, for the discoveries in this tomb. But for their trusting to my


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