|21||THE CIVILIZATION OF THE XIITH DYNASTY.|
32. On the north-west of the pyramid of Hawara where "slag-mounds" appear on my plan I suspected some buildings to have existed. On excavating I found the lower part of a basilica, of which the plan and dimensions in inches are given in Pl. VI. It had been built of small blocks, probably cut up from the labyrinth ; it had then been ruined down to three or four feet high ; afterwards rough brick walls were built on it, and it was divided into rooms for stables. Two capitals, and some pieces of foliage mouldings of early Romanesque style were found here, now in the FitzWilliam Museum at Cambridge. Probably it was a Christian church adjoining the cemetery, and a piece of the cover of a large book made of Coptic papyri was found here. Its ruin and use as a stable may have been due to the Arab invasion. Three papyri of the Vth or Vlth century were found in a curious manner. They are deeds of the sale of monastic property; each was rolled up separately; the rolls were then bound round, along with slips of reed, to prevent their being bent or broken ; then tied up in a linen cloth ; next in a large lump of old tattered woollen embroidery; and the bundle placed in big jar sunk in the ground. They were thus perfectly preserved until we took them out.
33. Before beginning work this season I went over to the other side of the Birket Kurun with Mr. Hewat We visited Dimay (pronounced D'may), and the building some miles further back in the desert, at the old lake level or Nile level, standing at the foot of the hills. What age this building is I could not determine. It has no trace of inscriptions, nor any ornament beyond a plain torus border to the inner doorways. It contains first a large hall, see Pl. VI, from which seven chambers open out, each formerly fitted with double doors. Each end of the hall opens into another room. There is also a strange passage in the wall, opening on the outer face of the front. It has been much dug about and tunnelled, without opening any further chamber or pits below. The front is smooth and flat, of massive blocks with irregular sloping joints; the sides and back are rough, as if intended to receive more building, or as if never dressed down. Along the top of the seven chambers is a roof, with the cornice of the chambers forming a parapet wall. Some more excavation might disclose a clue to its meaning.
On the way to it I found scattered over the desert many worked flints of types not found elsewhere, so far. These are shown in the two lower lines of PL XVI.
THE CIVILIZATION OF THE XIITH DYNASTY.
34. Having spent some weeks in a town of the XIIth
dynasty, having examined hundreds of the rooms, and
having discovered all the ordinary objects of daily life
just as they were last handled by their owners, I seem
to have touched and realized much of the civilization
of that remote age; so that it is hard to believe
that over four thousand years have glided by since
those houses last echoed to the voices of their occupants. The tomb paintings of Beni Hasan show us
the people themselves as they lived ; and so intimate
may you now feel In walking their streets, and sitting
down in their dwellings, that I shall rather describe
them as a living community than as historical abstractions.