Ancient Mysteries Egypt Treasury of Ancient Egypt

Treasury of Ancient Egypt

Treasury of Ancient Egypt
Catalog # SKU0980
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.30 lbs
Author Name Arthur E. P. B. Weigall


The Treasury of
Ancient Egypt



With Miscellaneous Chapters on
Ancient Egyptian History and Archæology

The resident official, travelling from place to place, spends a great deal of time seated in railway stations or on the banks of the Nile, waiting for his train or his boat to arrive; and he has, therefore, a great deal of time for thinking. I often try to fill in these dreary periods by jotting down a few notes on some matter which has recently been discussed, or registering and elaborating arguments which have chanced lately to come into the thoughts. These notes are shaped and "written up" when next there is a spare hour, and a few books to refer to; and ultimately they take the form of articles or papers, some of which find their way into print.

This volume contains twelve chapters, written at various times and in various places, each dealing with some subject drawn from the great treasury of Ancient Egypt.

Excerpt: from Chapter 1

The archæologist whose business it is to bring to light by pick and spade the relics of bygone ages, is often accused of devoting his energies to work which is of no material profit to mankind at the present day. Archæology is an unapplied science, and, apart from its connection with what is called culture, the critic is inclined to judge it as a pleasant and worthless amusement. There is nothing, the critic tells us, of pertinent value to be learned from the Past which will be of use to the ordinary person of the present time; and, though the archæologist can offer acceptable information to the painter, to the theologian, to the philologist, and indeed to most of the followers of the arts and sciences, he has nothing to give to the ordinary layman.

In some directions the imputation is unanswerable; and when the interests of modern times clash with those of the past, as, for example, in Egypt where a beneficial reservoir has destroyed the remains of early days, there can be no question that the recording of the threatened information and the minimising of the destruction, is all that the value of the archæologist's work entitles him to ask for. The critic, however, usually overlooks some of the chief reasons that archæology can give for even this much consideration, reasons which constitute its modern usefulness; and I therefore propose to point out to him three or four of the many claims which it may make upon the attention of the layman.

Excerpt from Chapter 7

It will perhaps be of interest to the reader of romances to illustrate the above remarks by the narration of some of my own experiences; but there are only a few interesting and unusual episodes in which I have had the peculiarly good fortune to be an actor. There will probably be some drama to be felt in the account of the more important discoveries (for there certainly is to the antiquarian himself); but it should be pointed out that the interest of these rare finds pales before the description, which many of us have heard, of how the archæologists of a past century discovered the body of Charlemagne clad in his royal robes and seated upon his throne,-which, by the way, is quite untrue. In spite of all that is said to the contrary, truth is seldom stranger than fiction; and the reader who desires to be told of the discovery of buried cities whose streets are paved with gold should take warning in time and return at once to his novels.

If the dawning interest of the reader has now been thoroughly cooled by these words, it may be presumed that it will be utterly annihilated by the following narration of my first fruitless excavation; and thus one will be able to continue the story with the relieved consciousness that nobody is attending.

In the capacity of assistant to Professor Flinders Petrie, I was set, many years ago, to the task of excavating a supposed royal cemetery in the desert behind the ancient city of Abydos, in Upper Egypt. Two mounds were first attacked; and after many weeks of work in digging through the sand, the superstructure of two great tombs was bared. In the case of the first of these several fine passages of good masonry were cleared, and at last the burial-chamber was reached. In the huge sarcophagus which was there found great hopes were entertained that the body and funeral-offerings of the dead prince would be discovered; but when at last the interior was laid bare the solitary article found was a copy of a French newspaper left behind by the last, and equally disgusted, excavator.

The second tomb defied the most ardent exploration, and failed to show any traces of a burial. The mystery was at last solved by Professor Petrie, who, with his usual keen perception, soon came to the conclusion that the whole tomb was a dummy, built solely to hide an enormous mass of rock chippings the presence of which had been a puzzle for some time. These masons' chippings were evidently the output from some large cutting in the rock, and it became apparent that there must be a great rock tomb in the neighbourhood. Trial trenches in the vicinity presently revealed the existence of a long wall, which, being followed in either direction, proved to be the boundary of a vast court or enclosure built upon the desert at the foot of a conspicuous cliff. A ramp led up to the entrance; but as it was slightly askew and pointed to the southern end of the enclosure, it was supposed that the rock tomb, which presumably ran into the cliff from somewhere inside this area, was situated at that end. The next few weeks were occupied in the tedious task of probing the sand hereabouts, and at length in clearing it away altogether down to the surface of the underlying rock. Nothing was found, however; and sadly we turned to the exact middle of the court, and began to work slowly to the foot of the cliff. Here, in the very middle of the back wall, a pillared chamber was found, and it seemed certain that the entrance to the tomb would now be discovered.

Paperback, 5 x 8, 270+ pages (illustrated)

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