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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/644

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

looted in the last few years without any record, and it is only the chance of some new discoveries that can be looked to for filling up the history. We can at least say that the pottery of the early kings is clearly derived from the later prehistoric types, and that much of the civilization was in common. But it is clear that the second prehistoric civilization was degrading and losing its artistic taste for fine work before the new wave of the dynastic or historic Egyptians came in upon it.

These early historic people are mainly known by the remains of the tombs of the early kings, found by M. Amelineau at Abydos (1896–'99), and probably the first stage of the same race is seen in the rude colossi of the god Min, which I found at Koptos (1894). Unhappily, the work at Abydos was not recorded, and it is not known now out of which of many kings' tombs, nor even out of which cemeteries, the objects have come. Hence scientific results are impossible, unless enough material has escaped the careless and ignorant workmen to reward more accurate reworking of the same ground. We can at present only glean a general picture of the early royal civilization from Abydos, supplemented by some splendid carvings of two reigns found at Hierakonpolis (1897–'98) by Mr. Quibell.

The burials continued to be in tombs of the same form—rectangular pits lined with brickwork and roofed over with beams and brushwood. But they were made larger, and, in the case of the royal tombs, great halls were formed about fifty by thirty-five feet, roofed with beams eighteen or twenty feet long. In these royal tombs were placed a profusion of vases of hard and beautiful stones, bowls of slate, and immense jars of alabaster; these contained the more valuable offerings of precious ointments and other funereal treasures. Besides these, there were hundreds of great jars of pottery, containing provision of bread, meats, dried fruits, water, beer, and wine. Doubtless there were many vases of metals, but these have been almost always robbed from the tomb anciently. Around the tomb were the small graves of the retainers of the king, each with a lesser store like that of their master. The royal tomb was denoted by a great tablet bearing the king's spiritual name by which he would be known in the future world. The private tombs had small tablets, about a foot and a half high, with the names of their occupants. As all these tablets show considerable weathering, it seems that they were placed visible above the tomb. Tombs of the subsequent kings were elaborated with small chambers around the great one, to contain the offerings, and even a long passage was formed with dozens of chambers along each side of it, each chamber containing a separate kind of offering.