|16||THE PYRAMID OF HAWARA.|
closing slab is now partly broken away, and the recess is empty.
25. The sepulchre is an elaborate and massive construction. The chamber itself is a monolith 267.5 inches long, 94.2 wide, and 73.9 high to the top of the enormous block, with a course 18.5 high upon that, giving a total height inside of 92.4, the floor being at +11.3, and the roof at +103.7 level. The thickness of the upper course is 36 inches from its face; but the chamber itself is about 25 inches, according to the outside seen in the forced passage from the western well. It would accordingly weigh about 110 tons. The workmanship is most excellent ; the sides are flat and regular, the inner corners so sharply wrought that - though I looked at them - I never suspected that there was not a joint there until I failed to find any joint in the sides, and the surface so polished that the hard flinty sandstone reflects the light of the candle one carries. The funeral furniture we will describe further on. The total distance from the well chamber to the inside of the sepulchre is 109.5.
The sepulchre is roofed by three enormous slabs of the same hard sandstone, over four feet in thickness, and extending far beyond the chamber walls on each side. The original access to the chamber was closed, after the interment, by lowering one of these slabs - which weighs about forty-five tons - into its place. While the pyramid was being built, and until its final closing, this great mass was supported in a chamber, or space, left for it in the superincumbent masonry, called here the super-chamber (roof +249½ level). Thus the passage from the well chamber led straight to the top of the wall of the sepulchre, into which anyone could thus descend. When the block was lowered into place it left but a narrow space over its edge, by which the workmen could pass from above it out into the well chamber. The plunderers had not attempted to raise it, but had - probably by fire and water - scaled and broken away the lower edge enough to enable them to squeeze through into the sepulchre.
Above the sepulchre roof there is then, partly a very shallow space left between that and an upper roof of horizontal beams of limestone, and partly the super-chamber. But no pressure whatever bears upon the middle of the sandstone roof of the sepulchre, the beams above it being supported on blocks along the edges of the sandstone roof, and being so deep as to sustain their own weight and any pressure that may come on them. The super-chamber is roofed by longitudinal beams to support the great sloping roof. Above these double roofs then comes the third roof of the slanting beams of limestone, the one which I cut through weighing about fifty-five tons. These beams are well dressed on the joints, and mortared together; along the outer edge the dressing ends in an even cut bevel edge, forming a beautifully straight side to the joint face, and beyond that the outer face of the stone projects roughly about a couple of inches. This pent roof rests on the masonry filling built up around the sepulchre, and the beams would therefore have tended to press against one another, unlike the earlier pyramids, in which the beams always act as cantilevers lying on the walls beneath them. But here such pressure was avoided by resting the beams on the haunches of the horizontal beams below them, thus tending to save those beams from the effect of their own weight ; and in truth there need be here no thrust whatever, as the centre of gravity of the sloping beams is within - well within - the line of vertical support of the haunches of the horizontal beams on which they lie, which are again sustained by blocks from the sepulchre roof which rests on solid masonry. So here the pressure of the weight of the great cantilevers was ingeniously placed so as to tend to sustain the horizontal beams and chamber roof by putting weight on their haunches. The butting of the sloping beams was however well provided for, if it should be required, by a wall of fine stones between them and the side of the rock pit. And, as if to try and save even such a roof from pressure, an arch of brick, three feet in thickness, was thrown over the whole structure. The position of this arch, and the nature of the roof, was seen in my tunnelling into the chamber: and the dwarf wall of bricks laid in mud, which retained the sand and dust from falling into the rock pit during the building formed one side of my tunnel.
The second branch from the tunnel showed somewhat of the construction of the roof of the well chamber, as I there reached the ends of some enormous beams of horizontal roofing; the outline of these will be seen on the plan Pl. II in broken line outside the N.E. corner of the well chamber, the course of the tunnel being marked by dotted lines.
26. We will now turn to the contents of the sepulchre. The sarcophagus of Amenemhat will be seen in plan and side views in Pl. IV. It and all the other articles in this chamber are of the same quartzite sandstone as the chamber. There is no trace of inscription visible, and no ornament beside the old
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