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thrust your foot through a body, or crush a head. ... We counted on one spot upwards of fifty mummy-pits, discernible by their mouths or entrances being open, on the sides of the hills."-Travels, pp. 142, 149.


"The sacred valley, named Beban el Malook, begins at Gournou, runs towards the south-west, and gradually turns due south. It contains the celebrated tombs of the Kings of Egypt, and divides itself into two principal branches, one of which runs two miles farther to the westward, making five miles from the Nile to the extremity. The other, which contains most of the tombs, is separated from Gournou only by a high chain of rocks, which can be crossed from Thebes in less than an hour. The same rocks surround the sacred ground, which can be visited only by a single natural entrance, that is formed like a gateway, or by the craggy paths across the mountains. The tombs are all cut out of the solid rock, which is of hard stone, as white as it is possible for stone to be. They consist, in general, of a long square passage which leads to a staircase, sometimes with a gallery at each side of it, and other chambers. Advancing further, we come to wider apartments, and other passages and stairs, and at last into a large hall, where the great sarcophagus lay, which contained the remains of the kings."-BELZONI's Travels, pp. 224, 225.

The entrance to one of the principal tombs was discovered with great labour by Belzoni, eighteen feet below the surface of the ground. The following is the account he himself gives of this discovery : "I caused the earth to be opened at the foot of a steep hill, and under a torrent, which, when it rains in the desert, pours a great quantity of water over the very spot I have caused to be dug. No one could imagine that the

ancient Egyptians would make the entrance into such an immense and superb excavation just under a torrent of water; but I had strong reasons to suppose that there was a tomb in that place.... The next day, in the evening, we perceived the part of the rock that was cut, and formed the entrance. Early next morning the task was resumed, and about noon the workmen reached the entrance, which was eighteen feet below the surface of the ground. The appearance indicated that the tomb was of the first rate; but I did not expect to find such a one as it really proved to be. The (workmen) advanced till they saw it was probably a large tomb, when they protested they could go no farther, the tomb was so much choked up with large stones, which they could not get out of the passage. I descended,... pointed out to them where they might dig, and in an hour there was room enough for me to enter through a passage that the earth had left under the ceiling of the first corridor, which is thirty-six feet...long....I perceived immediately, by the paintings on the ceiling,...that this was the entrance into a large and magnificent tomb. At the end of this corridor, I came to a staircase twentythree feet long.... The door at the bottom is twelve feet high. At the foot of the staircase I entered another corridor,... each side sculptured... and painted. ceiling, also, is finely painted. The more I saw, the more I was eager to see ;...but I was checked in my anxiety at this time, for at the end of this passage I reached a large pit, which intercepted my progress. This pit is thirty feet deep....On the opposite side of the pit, facing the entrance, I perceived a small aperture two feet wide, and two feet six inches high, and at the bottom of the wall a quantity of rubbish. A rope fastened to a piece of wood, that was laid across the passage ...appears to have been used by the ancients for descending into the pit; and from the small aperture on the opposite side hung another, which reached the bottom, no doubt for the purpose of ascending. We could


clearly perceive that the water which entered the passages from the torrents of rain, ran into this pit, and the wood and rope fastened to it crumbled to dust on touching them. At the bottom of the pit were several pieces of wood placed against the side of it, so as to assist the person who was to ascend by the rope into the aperture.... The next day, by means of a long beam, we succeeded in sending a man up into the aperture, and, having contrived to make a bridge of two beams, we crossed the pit. The little aperture we found to be an opening forced through a wall that had entirely closed the entrance, which was as large as the corridor. The Egyptians had closely shut it up, plastered the wall over and painted it like the rest of the sides of the pit, so that but for the aperture, it would have been impossible to suppose that there was any farther proceeding; and any one would conclude that the tomb ended with the pit. The rope in the inside of the wall did not fall to dust, but remained pretty strong, the water not having reached it at all; and the wood to which it was attached was in good preservation. It was owing to this method of keeping the damp out of the inner parts of the tomb, that these apartments are so well preserved.... When we had passed through the little aperture, we found ourselves in a beautiful hall,...in which were four pillars three feet square....At the end of this room, which I call the Entrance-hall, and opposite the aperture is a large door, from which three steps led down into a chamber with two pillars. I gave it the name of the Drawing-room, for it is covered with figures, which, though only outlined, are so fine and perfect that one would think they had been drawn only the day before. Returning into the Entrance-hall, there is, on the left of the aperture, a large staircase, which descended into a corridor.*... The paintings became more perfect as we advanced farther into the interior. They retained their gloss, or a kind of varnish over the * A corridor is a gallery or covered passage.

colours, which had a beautiful effect. The figures are painted on a white ground. At the end of this corridor we descended ten steps, which I call the Small stairs, into another, seventeen feet... (long). From this we entered a small chamber, ...to which I gave the name of the Room of beauties, for it is adorned with the most beautiful figures. ... Proceeding farther, we entered a large hall...(with) two rows of square pillars,...(and a small chamber on each side). This hall I termed the Hall of Pillars;...at the end of (it) we entered a large Saloon with an arched roof or ceiling, which is separated from the Hall of Pillars only by a step; so that the two may be reckoned one....On the right...is a small chamber without anything in it, roughly cut, as if unfinished....On the left we entered a chamber with two square pillars....This I called the Side-board Room, as it has a projection of three feet in form of a side-board all round, which was, perhaps, intended to contain the articles necessary for the funeral ceremony....At the same end of the room, and facing the Hall of Pillars, we entered by a large door into another chamber with four pillars, one of which is fallen down....It is covered with white plaster, where the rock did not cut smoothly; but there is no painting on it. I named it the Bull's Room,. ...as we found the carcase of a bull in it, embalmed with asphaltum; and also, scattered in various places, an immense quantity of small wooden figures of mummies six or eight inches long....

"But the description of what we found in the centre of the Saloon...merits the most particular attention, not having its equal in the world....It is a sarcophagus* of the finest alabaster,...and it is transparent when a light is placed in the inside of it. It is minutely sculptured within and without with several hundred figures, which do not exceed two inches in height, and represent, as I suppose, the whole of the funeral procession and ceremonies relating to the deceased.

* A very large stone coffin, in which the mummy was laid. See vignette.



"The figures of every description on the walls of this wonderful tomb are sculptured, and painted over, except in the outlined chamber before mentioned, which was only prepared for the sculptor."-BELZONI's Travels, pp. 230-238.

"The scene must have been mournfully grand, when the funeral procession disturbed the usual stillness, and the cries of the mourners re-echoed among the rocks, as they passed with the royal corpse to the habitation it was destined to occupy, hollowed down deep in the earth. It needs only to refer to Scripture to realize something of its power."-See GENESIS L. 7-10; HARDY'S Notices of the Holy Land, p. 54.

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