Title page


porter's lodge. This seems to have been a place for ablutions, as in the large room (Pl. XV) a square stone trough was let into the ground, 34 inches square outside, and about 4 inches thick, the depth being about 18 inches. Similar troughs sunk in the floor occur in the town, with sloping slabs of stone around them, for the washing water to run down. In this lodge was found a scarab (bottom Pl, IX) and a broken bronze knife (Pl. XVII).

About four feet of the higher walls of the lodge remain, while some are almost level wifh the ground ; the whole of it was covered with a heap of blown sand and disintegrated mud brick. The great wall around the temple similarly varies from only a brick or two, to about three feet high. The back wall may have been of the same thickness as the sides, but it was so much washed away that this is not certain.

38. The temple stood on a prominent point of rocky ground, standing forward just over the Nile plain ; while on the north of it the hill swept round forming a sort of bay about a quarter of a mile across. Here .the town for the workmen and the stores was built. The outer wall of the town ran from the end of the north side of the temple northward for about quarter mile (only a part of it is shown on Pl. XV), thus skirting along the edge of the bay and then dipping down into the desert behind it, before turning eastward at right angles to enclose the town. Just before reaching the plain on the east, it turned southward for a short way, but - excepting this - the town stood open to the Nile valley on the east side.

The architect not only thus laid out the site with a rectangular enclosure, adjoining the temple, but he also laid out the streets and blocks of chambers, or houses, in regular lines. The plan was to run rows of building about one hundred and fifty feet long, branching from the long west wall, some of which are shown on Pl. XV ; and then longer and wider blocks branch from the north wall. Thus the western of the longer blocks nearly closed the entrances to the western streets, and so the whole of the western blocks could be guarded by a single watchman at the end.

39. The rooms are generally grouped together in sets of half a dozen to a dozen with one outer door to the street They were planned by the architect in round numbers of cubits throughout. Thus - to take a chance example - 208, 125, 121,82,64,61, and 42, inches are 10,5, 4, 3, and 2 cubits of 20.8,20.9, 20.1, 20.5, 21.3, 20.3, and 21 inches. The dimensions vary so much that no very accurate settlement of the length of the cubit can be made.

The chambers were sometimes vaulted with a barrel roof of brick ; but more usually they seem to have been covered with beams and thatch. In one room a massive log of wood remained, about a foot square and 8 feet long, with marks of the attachment of cross pieces let in. All of the doorways were arched over, wherever they are yet preserved; the bricks being spaced apart on the outer side of the arch by chips of limestone, to the same effect as the wedge form of voussoirs. Probably some sort of centreing was employed, as the arch being 42 inches wide inside the whole would be too heavy to lift up in one mass and set into place, as Arab bricklayers will do now. The barrel-vaulted chambers may have been filled up with sand as the arch advanced, and emptied after completion. There can be no question now about the common use of the arch in domestic building of the XIIth dynasty; nor in large structures where it was suitable, as in the pyramid of Hawara, to prevent the brickwork settling down and splitting on the pointed roofstones.

Though it does not appear that upper stories were built, since there was no scant of ground as in a large city, yet stairs were provided to go on to the roof, as in modern houses. Many of these staircases remain as will be seen in the Plan XV; wherever sufficiently preserved they are found in two parts, with a turn in the middle. The flights are 25 to 28 inches wide, and usually of five or six steps each.

The regularity and care with which the rooms were laid out is seen not only by their being in whole numbers of cubits, but by the repetition of the same plan. The general similarity of the design repeated in each block is evident, and in some cases the plan is exactly copied. This is well seen in the south side of rank B. Here I have drawn (Pl. XV) the three sets of chambers superposed in outline, using full line, broken line, and dotted line to distinguish them. The differences are hardly ever more than an inch or two, except in the northern side.

No special place seems to have been set apart for the fire, generally it was against one side, as in modern huts, and somewhat sunk in the floor.

40. In the larger rooms columns were often employed to support the roof. These seem probably to have been of wood shaped octagonally, to judge by the marks left upon the stone bases which remain. The bases are generally from 20 to 24 inches diameter at the under side, and about 3 inches less on the top.


home - previous page - next page