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similar buildings and walls, the whole suggesting the idea that in former years a fortress of considerable dimensions had been erected here to guard the passes to the river which break the cliffs behind. From the heights on which we stood, the view of these masses of masonry crowning the lofty mounds, together with the quarried precipices and the sharp outline of the ranges of desert mountain beyond, with the placid Nile, lined with palmgroves, sweeping beneath us, was striking in the extreme. When we had feasted our eyes upon it, we descended to the cave, the entrance to which we were disappointed to find was so choked with sand that it was with the greatest difficulty one of the Arabs squeezed himself into the bowels of the earth, where he stood every chance of being suffocated. On these occasions they always go in feet first, not merely in order to get as much air as possible, but because the passages are often so narrow and choked as to prevent their turning round. . The man came to the surface in a few moments, saying that the passage was blocked ; so we sent to the village for some mattocks, and went meanwhile to examine another cave,

The entrance to this was a little larger, but it presented more difficulties of excavation on account of the masses of rock by which it was encased. I managed to crawl in a short distance, feet first, but all progress was almost immediately blocked by a number of sarcophagi piled one upon the other. The lid of one was broken, and I poked my foot into it in the dark. There was something so very “uncanny” in the soft feeling of the mummy against it, that I drew it back with great alacrity. It was impossible to get the mummy out without a great expenditure of time and labour, as though the crack in the lid was big enough to allow of my foot passing in, the mummy could only have been got out piecemeal. Moreover, there is no particular interest attaching to fragments of a mummy. There were perhaps ornaments in the sarcophagus, but its position made it impossible either to get the lid off or to grub into its interior; so we abandoned it for the present, lest by spending too much time over it we might lose, something that was more interesting, and proceeded to a third cave which was nearer the bank of the river. The entrance to this was by a square hole in the face of the cliff, about five feet from its base. We put two Arabs in, very much as one would put ferrets into a rabbit-hole; and as they stayed in nearly half an hour we began to get alarmed, although they had lights. Finally they reappeared, thoroughly exhausted. They reported that, after Squeezing along a narrow passage for about a hundred feet, they came to four chambers, opening into one another, but containing no sarcophagi. From these they ascended about ten feet by a perpendicular shaft, into a number of small chambers, they could not tell how many on account of the bats, which they averred were so numerous as to prevent their making any observations. Of course all inquiry as to whether there were hieroglyphics on the walls was comparatively useless, as their accuracy could not be relied upon ; but they declared most positively that there were none. Their account was, however, sufficiently interesting to tempt Daninos Bey to try his luck. I was unfortunately not strong enough to attempt the scramble. He soon reappeared in a half-stifled condition, saying that he had been obliged to come back for want of air, and on account of the extreme narrowness of the passage, in which he was afraid of sticking permanently. Our exertions, though they had not so far been attended with any great success, had given us an appetite, so we adjourned to the date-grove for luncheon, sending the Arabs in search of bricks, if there were any stamped with hieroglyphics. In a short time they brought us several fragments, but Daninos Bey could make nothing of them, they were so imperfect. It was not until we reached the spot from which they had been taken that, by piecing the most perfect fragments together, and comparing several, he deciphered their meaning. The inscription read as follows:—

“AVouter-hom ateft en Ammon
Pinedjem, pet our Khent Isis,”

which, being interpreted, signifies “Grand Priest of Ammon Pinedjem, Protector of the Grand Sanctuary of Isis.” The bricks on which this inscription was stamped were about fifteen inches by nine, and the presumption is that this wall formed part of a temple dedicated to Isis, which was built by the pontiff-king Pinedjem, the third of the twentyH

first dynasty, who reigned about 1043 B.C.; and this hypothesis is borne out by the fact that the signification of the ancient Egyptian name of the town, Isembheb, is “the Isis of Heb,” thus indicating that the locality was one sacred to the goddess, and adorned doubtless by a temple which had been erected in her honour by the priest-king Pinedjem. The history of the dynasty to which these kings belonged is so obscure that it would be most interesting if further light could be thrown upon it; and it is probable that these ruins conceal records which would be of great historical value. It would appear from what we do know, that during the dynasty of the Rameses they exercised supreme spiritual functions at Tanis, the Zoan of the Bible, in Lower Egypt, and at Thebes; and that when, owing to the weakness of the sixteenth and last Rameses, the high priest Herhor, then chief prophet of Ammon, succeeded in overthrowing this dynasty, he established himself upon the throne of Egypt, and fixed the seat of government at Tanis; but the high priests of Thebes, in order to retain the spiritual supremacy of that ancient city, started a con

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