Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Hawass: Cemetery of the Artisans

Another fleeting article on the Egyptian Gazette website - this time Zahi Hawass describes, briefly, working at the artisans' tombs:
"One day, while working in the workers’ cemetery, we discovered the beginnings of a ramp outlined with low walls of limestone rubble. This ramp led directly to the upper part of the escarpment, where we found more tombs, larger and more elaborate than those in the lower cemetery, looking out over the valley below.
Many were completely rock-out and had a stone facade in front of a low cliff face; others were freestanding mastabas of limestone and mud brick. The artifacts and statuary in these tombs was of higher quality than those from the lower cemetery, and the inscriptions told us that the people buried here were of higher status than those below, holding titles such as “Inspector of Dragging Stones,” “Inspector of the Craftsmen,” “Inspector of the Sculptors,” “Chief of the Estates,” “Overseer of the Linen,” “Overseer of the Tomb Makers,” “Overseer of the Harbor,” and even “Overseer of the Side of the Pyramid.” The most important title found here was “Director of the King’s Work.” I believe these are the tombs of the artisans who designed and decorated the pyramid complexes and the administrators who oversaw their construction. Based on the pottery, names, and titles found in this cemetery, my conclusion is that it was begun as early as the reign of Khufu and continued in use through the end of Dynasty 5, from about 2589 to 2345 BC. "
See the above page for the remainder of this article - but it won't be around for more than a day or two.

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