9 INTRODUCTION
 
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examined. At the time I had no rope ladder, and the well being very deep I did not care to trust to the ropes we were using. This season I took two of my rope ladders (made for the Gizeh work originally and, among other matters, thought I would see the tomb for myself. A small boy went down before me; and, as I followed, he rushed back frantically from the chamber to the foot of the shaft bringing a large amulet coated with gold leaf. In the very first mummy he touched there was a profusion of amulets. And body after body proved to bear a full complement of eyes, hearts, scarabs, figures of gods, and all the other objects of the spiritual armoury, some in porcelain, some in carnelian, lazuli, and other stones.

However delightful such results may be, the circumstances were not attractive. The tomb chambers were very large, as will be seen on the plan (PL.VII); and the length of fifty feet was nearly all dark, as the walls and ceiling were quite black owing to the water having filled the tomb at one time. There was still water nearly waist deep remaining in the tomb, and to reach the sarcophagi it was necessary to wade cautiously among the fragments of slippery woodwork which lay all about under the water, and to avoid breaking one's shins on floating coffins, while skulls bobbed around on the waves. The two sarcophagi, at the end of the long chamber, we opened; the first had its lid already shifted, and gradually I levered it over until it fell plunge into the water, and sent up such a salt spray over me that I could not look at anything for some minutes. The inner sarcophagus took two or three mornings' hard work to move the lid off. The front sarcophagus being higher than this one, the lid had to be lifted up nearly a foot before it could be moved sideways ; and to lift it at all there was only about a foot width at either end where it could be reached, the sides being both inaccessible. To raise two and a half tons thus with a couple of small crowbars was beyond Arab skill, and I had to direct every movement.

11. But a far richer prize still awaited us in this tomb. I noticed on the north side of the long chamber a slight recess, which I could just descry on the black surface by the glimmer of the candle I carried. On looking closer at it I found that the back of the recess showed marks of trowelled mortar, and at the top a small hole led inward some distance. It was evident that something was walled up here. The men were then set to pick away the mortar, and lever out the blocks of stone. These blocks were placed with only the narrow end outward, all the length of the block running back in the masonry. Of course the water covered the lower part of the recess, as of all the chamber. After going in six or seven feet the lad came running to my tent one afternoon in the greatest excitement saying that there were images as long as a candle. I went down at once, and began working at the place. After removing a block I disclosed a rare sight, a recess in the masonry, about two feet wide and four feet back, full of ushabtis standing in regular files, line beyond line. At the sight of all these the lad who worked this tomb yelled with frantic delight in the echoing chamber, dancing about in the water, and snapping his fingers, beside himself with joy. It was a fascinating view indeed, the two hundred bewigged heads and placid faces all rising out of the water which more than half filled the hollow. Baskets were then fetched from the other work, carefully filled, and carried tenderly to my tent, where the figures were all stacked in safety. It was a joyful day for the party in that tomb, for I always give a fair equivalent for everything found, and that night they had what would be a year's wages for an Egyptian, as their reward. The figures moreover were the finest work, and all modelled by hand ; so that I had good reason to rejoice, as well as the workmen. But this could not be all, and soon we saw that these ushabtis had stood facing to the side of a great sarcophagus. This had therefore to be cleared of the masonry. And in a few days a boy came up once more, with the news of "more images," and a significant nod. On going down I found a recess on the other side of the sarcophagus with a similar garrison of ushabtis; but these were more difficult to reach, and I had to squeeze into the hole and loosen them with my feet before I could reach them out. Going down Horuta's tomb always reminded me of the descent of Ishtar into Hades; first I left my coat at the top, then took off my hat last thing before descending, then at the bottom of the shaft I had to leave my trousers and boots, apd last of all I often had - as for these ushabtis - to finally part with my shirt, and get under the water to reach the work. Of course the tomb was not excavated under the water originally, but the water level has been raised about Hawara by the Arab high-level canal.

12. The sarcophagus now remained to be opened. The lid was too enormous for us to raise it entire, weighing as it did about seven tons. It was only accessible on one side, the rest being blocked by rock or massive masonry, and only the top of its two feet

 

 

 


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