|14||THE PYRAMID OF HAWARA.|
709 from the probable casing edge, some signs were found, marked in red paint with a fine brush on the ends of two adjacent bricks, a few courses above the lowest brick. These signs are shown in Pl.IV. They faced northward, i.e. were on the face of the pyramid core while yet it was in process of being built. They evidently refer to a measuring up of the pyramid some time before its completion, in order to test the regularity of the work, and the need of any corrections in the further construction. The meaning apparently is that the vertical line is two cubits (shewn by the two dots and a stroke beneath for the cubit arm) from the het ka, or heart of the building. Now, on referring to the measures of the tunnel, it appears that the middle of it (and these marks were within two or three inches of the middle) is 84 inches (or two double cubits of 42 inches) from the axis of the pyramid (see Pl. II). We know that the Egyptians always worked from an axis line, which we may see still drawn along the middle of roofs in the rock cuttings, and down the middle of designs. And we also know that they habitually marked two or three supplementary marks at one or two cubits from any important point (see " Pyramids of Gizeh," pp. 93-4). Hence it appears that when the pyramid was rather more than a quarter built, and the sides were about two-thirds of the ultimate length, a measurement of the work was made, the axis or "heart of the building" was defined, and supplementary marks placed at one or two cubits from it, in case it should be defaced on the bricks. Another noticeable point is that the bricks, when stacked before building, were sprinkled with white or yellow wash (as coals now are), to prevent any being stolen. The splashes and spots are clearly not put on after the bricks were built together.
20. The first stage in the building was the clearing from the ground the pebbles and sand of the desert. Then the rock which is here only a hardened sand, was excavated to form the central hollow or pit, for the chamber, and the trenches in which the passages were to be built. The enormous monolith chamber of sandstone was brought from Upper Egypt, weighing over 100 tons, and was lowered into the pit: the sarcophagus and the two coffers were placed in it, the roof stones placed - two in position and the third elevated to allow of an entrance - and then the great beams of stone, horizontal, and over those sloping, were set over the whole chamber, resting on masonry which was built in around the monolith. The passages were all built in the rock trenches, and then a great brick arch (Pl. IV) was thrown across the whole of the masonry of the chamber, and the bricks of the pyramid were piled up above it all.
21. We will now notice the details of construction, beginning at the entrance. The plan of all the passages is given on Pl. II, and their sections on a larger scale in Plate III. The present entrance is formed by a broken edge of floor, broken side blocks, and a vertical joint face of the roof. This roof edge is 27 inches inside the line of the brick core base, and 9 inches above the N.W. pavement, or +421 in the system of levels here adopted from an arbitrary zero. The axis of the passage is 961.5 from the middle of the south face. Passage width is 38.4 upper end. 38.6 mid, and 38.0 at bottom. Half of the floor is taken up by a flight of shallow steps, which leave 9.4 or 9.5 width of slope at the sides. These steps were cleared and measured in one part, and hence drawn throughout; they were occasionally seen in clearing the passage, but not measured in other parts. Their average width of the tread is 13.27 on the slope, or 12.5 horizontal The height of the passage is 70.2, 70.4, perpendicular, or 74.7 vertical. The angle from end to end is 19° 37½ slope.
At the bottom the roof is +96 and rises to +100 in a short passage 6o.3 long on W., or 59.4 E., and 33.4 wide leading to the ante-chamber. This is curiously set askew, the ends and sides being all aslant to the passages. It is 148.6 on W., 146.3 on E., 84.2 wide. Thence a passage continues 67 long, and 31.0 wide, to the chamber under the first trap-door. This chamber is 89.5 wide, and 61.0 long; the trap-door being 70 long and overlapping the chamber side 9 inches at both the south and the west. The trap-door system used three times in this pyramid was arranged by roofing a chamber with a sliding block of stone, the side of which thus covered the end of the high-level passage, the floor of which was on a level with the roof of the chamber. Of these trap-doors only the first had been drawn, the others were carelessly left in their recesses and presented no obstacle to the plunderers who had broken their way past the first They are all shaded in the plan (Pl. II) and their positions are there seen. The first trap-door is 70 wide, 71½ high, and about 104 long, weighing therefore about 22 tons ; all the trap-doors have a groove along the sides to allow of a rope being passed around them whereby to drag them along in their recesses, though in what way 22 tons was to be thus slid along is hard to see. A short passage of 71.3 long and 29.1 wide, leads into the
home - previous page - next page