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PREFACE

S this volume deals with our work of the second, third and fourth seasons upon the tomb of

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Tut ankh Amen, I shall not trouble the reader with any repetition of the dramatic incidents that rendered the first part of the discovery memorable, further than is needed for a general idea.

It will, no doubt, be remembered from the first volume and the accounts published all over the world, describing how, after many years of toil, we at last reached our goal in the discovery of a step cut in the bed-rock beneath the entrance of the tomb of Rameses VI, which proved to be the beginning of a stairway that led down to the tomb of Tut ankh Amen.

Great was our feeling of awe when we made the discovery, cleared the stairway and steep descending passage, and entered the Antechamber, when we beheld in that hypogeum for the first time the splendour of the Imperial Age in Egypt, fourteen centuries before Christ. The gorgeousness of the sight, its sumptuous splendour, made it appear more like the confused magnificence of those counterfeit splendours which are heaped together in the property-room of some modern theatre, than any possible reality surviving from antiquity.

The effect was bewildering, almost overwhelming. | Moreover, the extent of the discovery had taken us by surprise.

It is true that we had expected to find the tomb of

Tut-ankh-Amen in the Theban Valley, for reasons already pointed out in the first volume, but our supreme surprise was to find it, for all intents and purposes, intact. Unlike the other royal tombs in the Valley which had all been completely plundered, only a few fragments of their furniture being left, this tomb was for practical purposes intact, save for the early depredations of a few metal robbers. To this fact our great surprise and good fortune were due. Had the tombs of the great Pharaohs of the Theban Empire been found in a similar condition, the tomb of Tut ankh Amen would have seemed of comparative insignificance, except that the art of his period would still have remained an outstanding feature.

We soon realized, however, that our first duty was to record, clear and preserve the contents of the Antechamber before attempting any other task. The objects in this chamber were in such dangerous contact that their removal, without causing damage, must be, we saw, a task of some difficulty. It took the greater part of the first season to transport them to the laboratory, where the work of recording, preservation and packing was eventually carried out. It was only after this chamber had been cleared that we were able to penetrate and solve the mystery of the inner sealed door.

Though a shrewd guess anticipated what might be beyond that mysterious sealed door-guarded by two imposing sentinel figures of the king, black and gold, armed with mace and staff-little did we expect the impressive sight revealed as, stone by stone, the masonry blocking the doorway was removed. First, to all appearance, a wall of gold met our gaze, affording no clue to its meaning, until, as the aperture be

came larger, we realized that what was barring our view was an immense golden shrine, and that we were now at the entrance of the actual burial chamber of the king.

An almost incongruous miscellany of objects and furniture, caskets and beds, chairs, footstools, chariots and statues, filled the Antechamber. These were heterogeneous enough, yet exhibiting, in not a few instances, a kindly art full of domestic affection, such as made us wonder whether, in seeking a tomb of a Pharaoh, we had not found the tomb of a boy. From strange ceremonial couches fashioned in the form of uncanny beasts-demon deities comparable to Greek satyrsThoueris, "The Great One," the favourite of the people, in shape partly hippopotamus, partly crocodile and partly feline, personifying "Protection " Hathor, "The Abode of Horus," in the form of a cow, the goddess of pleasure and love, the mortal and immortal nurse; and "The Terrible Goddess of War," or it may be of "The Chase," fashioned like a lion or, perhaps, to be more accurate, a cheetah-from these we passed into the severely simple Burial Chamber occupied almost entirely by its great sepulchral blue and gold shrine.

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It would be difficult to describe our emotions when for the first time the light of our powerful electric lamps flooded the Burial Chamber-" That silent seat of a Lord of the West "-illuminating as it did the walls on which were painted representatives of Amentît, the catafalque drawn on a sled by the chief nobles of the land, King Ay before the Osiride Tutankh· Amen, and lighting up the immense shrine overlaid with gold, and inlaid with brilliant blue faience tiles, nearly filling up the entire area of the chamber-a

space of only one or two feet separating it from the walls on all four sides, while its great roof reached almost to the ceiling.

When we found the first step, when we opened and obtained our first glance at the crowded wonders in the Antechamber; when this sealed door leading to the Burial Chamber was broken through, and when we saw, for the first time in the history of archæology, one of the great sepulchral shrines under which the Pharaohs of Egypt were laid-these, unless my memory misleads me, were the thrilling moments of the first part of the discovery.

There are moments, usually rare and always brief, when life may be vividly stirred by some series of impressive incidents that successively confront us. To these we look back with pleasure, whilst memory loves to contrast their comparative effect on the mind. Such experiences occasionally come to the archæologist to lighten his labours and reward his toil; and, glancing back now at the second season's work, it seems that our interests were never more deeply stirred than when concentrated on the contents of that simple sepulchre. The task, however arduous, then became enthralling. Our first duty was the removal of the various objects around the shrine, to be followed by the dismantling of the latter with its nest of shrines, shielding in their centre the great yellow quartzite sarcophagus.

Around the emblems, symbols, furniture and monuments associated with Egyptian sepulture, especially when seen for the first time, there always hovers the spirit of mystery and awe, and it was when the lid of the noble sarcophagus was gradually raised, revealing the magnificent outer coffin of the king

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