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Closing in on the Tomb of Osiris, Greatest God of Old Egypt!
Professor Thomas Whittemore, the Distinguished American Archaeologist, Describes the Fascination of Uncovering a Monument Greater than the Sphinx or the Pyramids PROFESSOR THOMAS WHITTEMORE, American representative of the Egypt Exploration Fund, has at last begun a thorough exploration of the most wonderful of all Egyptian sitesy tho Temple of Osiris, at Abydos, and all the buildings connected with it. Hero was the abode and the shrine of Osiris, the judge of the dead in the Egyptian religion, the god who Oghts to save mankind from the Evil One. The explorers have found tho entrance to a forgotten tomb, which is perhaps that of Osiris himself, for the gous of the anciont religions were oni* living men. The tomb dates from about 3000 B. C., and is therefore nearly five thousand years old. Around are many temples and tombs and the greatest cemeteries of human remains ever found. Most remarkable is a cemetery of countless jackals, all embalmed with the same care as human beings. Tho explanation is> that the jackals were sacred to the dead, because In life they often guided men out of the track* less desert. By Prof. Thomas Whittemore, of the Egypt Exploration Fund. THREE hundred and fifty miles south ol Cairo, in the western desert, reached by the highway of ancient pilgrimage, In a bay of the Lybian hills, the flaming boundary of the Egyptian world. Is Abydos, the city of tho living dead, the abode of Osiris, the god and judgo of the dead, the vastest cemetery of templeB and of tombs. Timi takes its measure in Egypt here- Plundered and robbed In every age, priceless treasure still remains. Near the curious seventeenth century Coptlo Deir, or convent, a little way from the cultiva tion, green as an emerald just split, close to the village of Benl Mansour, was found among many other graves one very deep shaft of the eleventh or early twelfth dynasty, 2000 B. C? in which the two chambers, facing each other to the north and south, had been thoroughly rifled. The robbers in their haste, however, had failed to notice that the shaft descended much farther still to a lower chamber. Suddenly the words, "an unopened chamber!" came up tJie ladder of boys standing over one another, their bare feet gripping clawlike the cuts made in the hard gebel in both sides of tho shaft, as they pass up the tilled baskets from below to the men at the top. It Is an exciting moment. All the boys are called up out of the shaft, and one of the officers, who has been watching all the time from the edge of the shaft, goes down, using the same cut steps on which the boys have been standing. True enough, he finds the chamber there, sealed with two superimposed courses of brick, plact-d herringbonewise. The bricks are easily and quickly loosened, and as they fall out a blast of hot, damp air, almost like escaping steam from a boiler, strikes his face. The moisture is explained at once by the depth and the infiltration from the not distant cultivation. Flattened out like an eel, he wriggles in close to the side of the chamber, to disturb as little as possible, and finds that he Is literally In mild. "Water is a sore decaver of your dead body." and tho bones have been decomposed. But seven pale little vases-.-4.hree of alabaster, three of pottery and one op liiHeetcJne, show the outline of the head and point the way to the body. By the light of a candle standing in the mud for a candlestick, notes are made of the measurements of the chamber and tho direc tion in which the body lay, and all the objects, with drawings, in the place. This before any thing is touched. This chamber holds the secret of that rays terious building, the Osireion at Abydos?a most remarkable sanctuary, of a style compar able only with that of the Temple of the Sphinx at Gizeh, and probably of the same age, the time of the pyramid builders (c. 3000 B. C.) It is the "Fountain" or "Well" of Osiris at Abydos mentioned by Strabo. i lie well which Strabo saw was In or near a building of huge megalithic blocks, the "Memnonium," which forcibly reminded him of the Egyptian Labyrinth at Hawara, equally renowned for the huge size of its stones and its splendid halls. Tho new building cor responds to Strabo's description of the Mem The House of the Eg}rptian Exploration Fund in the Desert at Abydos. ? . > ? ?? The Mysterious Shaft, Not Yet Entirely Uncovered, That Is Supposed to Lead to the Tomb of Osiris. Skeleton of an Egyptian Woman Buried in a Jar at [ Osiris's Shrine 5,000 Years Ago. uonium; it is in the requisite and probable position, immediately bebind the Great Temple of Abydos, and close to the innermost sanc tuary. In front of the cells, which are ranged along the walls (theso cells are the cells of Osiris mentioned in "The Book of the Dead"), there is no pavement; the granito threshold goes straight down all round to a depth ot four metres, at which depth water was fouud. It looks certainly as if the building was a sac red pool or tank, partially roofed. The cen tral portion between" the two colonnades or aisles was open to the sky. The ancient quar riers have worked their will upon It, especially In Roman times, but enough remains to show Its plan completely and reveal ihe enormous Eize of its stones and pillars. Another exciting and remarkable find is that of a woman buried in a simple trench. Very carefully, with bellows and sometimes even with our breath, the sand is gently blown away until her whole body is revealed to us in all her jewels, with which a tender fancy had decked her for the grave. Like a coronet about her brow lie masses of beads, corrles, suporb uncut carnelians, blue glazed amulets and 6carabs. Her arm bears a bracelet of scarabs, amulets and beads, and on her left hand, lying like a withered leaf, she wears a ring of five email scarabs, one bearing the cartouche of Bheshonk, or Shishak, of the twenty-second dynasty, the great king who defeated Roho boam and sacked Jerusalem itself. Again, as always, all the beads and scarabs are drawn in position and their settings noted, so that they are rest rung in the original order in which they were found. In tlio camel track close to the house of the Egypt Exploration Fund in which the excava tors live was found, just beneath the desert eand, a cometery of Ptolemaic ibises. The ibis was a bird sacred to the god Thoth who, as measurer of the earth and heavens, the magi cian priest, the scribe of the gods, stood near Osiris when he weighed the heart of the dead. Flocks of those sacred birds, moving in their slow, rhythmic flight over the temple lakes, have left their immortal shadow in the wall relief. They were held in divine honor, living and in death. They were mummified with the Game care given to the mummification of men. in elaborate wrappings of the linen and in an astounding variety of patterns and of form, in eome of which was represented the bird-god himself. They were preserved in large clay jars, and In a few cases, individually, in pear shaped pots. More than ninety of the large jars were found and over 1,500 adult birds were examined. So ravaged were they by the white ant that scarcely fifty were brought out of Egypt, and these only by being strengthened with fixative showered over them from a blow pipe. Similarly, it is often a thrilling operation to save figures of ivory or of wood which, if lifted as found, would vanish into dust, but which, slowly and patiently fed with paraffin with a spoon until all their veins are filled again, stand once more upright. Camden M. Cobtirn, who was at the time visit ing the camp, made the following notes about the jackals which we found here: Although deep underground, the stench wai 60 great when the catacomb of jackals waj first reopened that it was disagreeable at a hundred yards distant. The first man who attempted to enter the cave with him was al most asphyxiated, but wo crawled out without harm. To the writer, three days later, was assigned the odoriferous duty of finding among these tons of decayed or half mummified bodies a number of specimens fit for scientific examina tion, to settle the question as to the exact re lation existing between the ancient and modern jackal and to discuss also whether these beasts thus honored with religious burial wero all true jackais or whether wolves and dogs wer? included, for even yet the ordinary modern Arab dog seems half jackal. 1 found these catacombs to be almost worthy of comparison in size with certain famous catacombs of the early Christian period used Map of the Famous Well of Osiris, Long Thought a Myth, but Now Actually Uncovered. for human cemeteries, while, so far as tne number of burials were concerned, these rooms contained more bodies than were ever put in any other series of catacombs. The central passage of this place I should estimate as being at least 150 feet lo^g and perhaps eeven to ten feet wide, and this was piled from end to end with corpses from three to six feet deep, while the many-sided chambers wer? packed at least equally full. All Egypt must have been searched Tor the hundreds of thousands of sacred animals which were crowded into this huge tomb dug fof them In the holy ground of Abydos. Here were big and little, old and young, originally mummi fied and bandaged and sometimes with fine decorations wrought in needlework upon the mummy wrappings. But either because this was defectively accomplished or because the burial place was not so well chosen as in the case of the ibises, or because of their brief opening to the air last year, these bodies were all partly decayed and the wrappings rotten. Crawling on hands and knees for four hours over these piles of bodies, one sees many a ghastly sight?thousands of skulls or half mummified head3, bodies broken and mashed, bones that crumble at a touch, eyes staring wild or hollow sockets filled with black paste, mouths closed just as they had been reverent ly arranged by the priestly undertaker 2,003 years ago, or sprung wide open as if the creature had sent out a horrible wall in the last moment of its life. The sight of white, eharp teeth glinting everywhere in the light of the candle was indeed weird and gruesome. That four hours' experience can never bo for gotten; shoulders bent, back cramped, down almost with nose and face touching these grinning skulls, feet, hands and knees crunch ing into a mass of putrefying bones which often fall to powdor as you touch them or cause a cloud of mummy dust to envelop you, filling eyes and mouth and nostrils. Modern dust blown by the Khamsin is bad enough, but this is dust that no breath of wind has touched for Mummies of Jackals Dug Up in tho Animal Cemetery at Abytlos. twenty centuries. The oyes are Inflamed u U by a fever and tho respiration is clogged and spasmodic. Let us bo careful, too. If thia mummification was with bitumen It only neods a careless movement of the candle, and In a moment your body and those of the sacred beasts will be offered to the gods in a heca* tomb of flame! Why was tho Jackal so revered and why wag tris burial place selected In the holy city of Ab.vdos? The answer Is exactly tho same as In the case of the Ibis. The jackal was sacred to Anuhts, who, In tha myth of Osiris, was one of the chief deities con cerned in winning immortality for the human race. Anubis was the friend of tho righteous dead and guided the soul across the trackless desert to the fields of Aalu. According to Egyp tian theology, the Judgment came immediately after death and was held In the Hall of Maat, where forty-two Judges listened to tho plea of the deceased that he had been sinless, and where the heart of the dead man was weighed In the scales against tho ostrich feather?sym bol of Maat?goddosB of-truth. This weighing was conducted under the eyo of Thoth, scribe of tho godB, and of Anubis, the "Opener of the Ways," who stands close to the balance ready to start quickly on his journey with the justified dead, while a little further off crouches the monster Ament, "Devourer," waiting for his prey if the decision is adverse. The reason why tho Jackal was chosen as 6ymbol or Incarnation of Anubis is perfectly plain. On each side Egypt Is Inclosed by moun tains, beyond which lie limitless deserts. One day I climbed to tho top of the "gebeV* and started out over the Sahara toward the Bunset to find out for myself what this region was that was regarded by the ancient Egyp tians as the Shadow of Death. Before night I had become satisfied that the Egyptian sym bolism could not be improved; dreary, limit less. with no hint of vegetation or life of any kind, no blade of grass, no bird or Insect or boast to be seen, with its imitation wadys and deceptive mirages and endless stretches of bare sand curled into wild shapes; it looked like a demon land, and I did not wonder that the authorized version of the Old Testament translates "jackal," the one inhabitant of this realm of death, by "dragon." This is, pecu liarly, the animal of the desert. Practically every soul must pass through thl? wilderness before it can reach tho blessed oasis, the kingdom of Osiris. Tho jackal's omniscience as to where any dead body is hid den, his wails In the night as if for lost soula, his certainty of direction out in the limitless, trackless, demonic desert, and the fact that ?hough his home is the desert, yet ho is never far from an oasis, made this animal tho best possible symbol of a guide for the dead. Blessed even now is the lost traveler on these sands who sees a jackal track! It was only last year that a member of this very camp was lost on the "gebel," and would hava spent the night tjiere had he not, by good for tune, found a jackal track which guided him to the valley. Not folly, but religious devotion, caused the Egyptians to honor this animal and thus plo torially teach a great truth concerning tha mystic journey from death to life and the soul's need of a heavenly guide if it make the journey successfully. Yonder far to the west is Khar gah, the longed for oasis, and Anubis is tha only possible guide thither and tho jackal Is his embodiment. Let us give him honor! " ?* FROM LUCILLE'S DIARY OTHER received n letter from room redecorated. S!ie said that the new pink and whits rugs which grandmother hud helped her tew tho rags for now harmonized so beauti fully with the rosebud -wall paper that sho wished mother and grand mother could pay her a sitit im mediately while It was all to fresh end pretty. *1 wish we could," jrjihed mother, "but 1 shouldn't consider it tjuite safe to take mother into the country now. J should l>o afraid ot Ik t catching cold. I'll write Anna that we'll go out later, when the weather tj more net tled. 1 do hope she won t bo disap pointed." "Mother," 1 eaid with sudden ln ?Aunt Anna last week saying that the had had her guest splratlon, "if you arc afraid she will be disappointed I'll go out for a little visit. You know I haven't been to tho farm for several months, and I think that a rest out there will do me good. It certainly Is refreshing to both soul and body to get away from tho social whirl once in a while." "Perhaps It will do you Rood." Mother looked at me in a wistful way I could not understand. "But, Luoile. If you do go, please try to bo very thoughtful about not making any extra work." VKIIV UKLIGHTFIJI*. ?This is perfectly delightful," I *aid to Aunt Anna when uho took mo into t!i<s guest chambcr soon after iny Jiriival at the farm. "I'm glad you like It, IjUcIIc," she replied as Bhe gently flngerod tho crisp dimity curtalua. "1 have taken a lot of pleasure In fixing It, and I had hoped so much that your mother and grandmother would be the first ones to occupy It." "I shall tell them what they have to look forward to," I said pleasantly, for I knew that notwithstanding Aunt Anna's tactlessness, I must of course be welcome. "I think," I said ns we were finish ing supper that night, "that mother was wise not to bring grandmother out here yet, as you splendidly rug ged people do not keep your house as warm au wo steam-heated folks do nt home, I really was a little chilly while lying down this afternoon." "We might put the oil heater In Lucil??'s room, John." said Aunt Anna. "Yes, wo might." answered Uncle John, not very enthusiastically, I fancied. "Is it up in the gurret or down cellar?" "In the garret, T believe." "How perfectly clear of you to go to so much trouble for me," I said gratefully, as Uncle Jolin rose from the table mid, lighting a candle, started up tho stairs to llio attic. He very soon returned with tho oil stove, which had not been used for ao long that it had to be cleaned. "Now," said Uncle John, after the fctovo had at last been tilled, taken to my room and lighted, "I hope your warm city blood won't bo chilled any more." "The heater will certainly bo cozy." I returned laughingly. Although Uncle John has a grumbling and ungracious manner at times, I Know him to bo exceedingly kind at heart, and 1 was sure h?: took the greatest pleasure In making me comfortable. 1 was nleased m ?Iia ?' i??? lug my room warm enough to read In. for I planned to retire to It early and enjoy the new novel and tho marrons glaces that Georgo Itcquior had given me when putting mo ou tho train. So I ran up very soon to eee how the stove was working. The room was not so warm aa I had hoped and 1 turned the wick up a little hlghor and returned to the kitchen to chat with Aunt Anna and Nan. who were washing the dishes. An hour later, when wc were all Kitting around tho living room lamp, Aunt Anna looked up from her darn ing and said thr.t rIio thought she smellcd Btnoke. "I wonder if Lu clle's stove Is all right," she said. "It can't sinoke," replied Uncle John. "I was careful not to turn It up high." I heard this hit of con versation, but did .iot comprehend its full meaning, for I was lost In a A TIonillltliK SIGHT. "Well, I'm suro I smell smoke," ra inarked Aunt Anna, after a few mo menta. "Please run upstairs, Nan, and see if everything Is all right In the guest room." In a minute we were startled by a shriek from Nan. "Oh!" sho scrcamed, "everybody come up hero quick!" I actually thought the houso must be on Are, and we all rushed upstairs pellmell to my room, which we found literally covered with soot. I never beheld such a sight In my life. Everything in the room had a thick coating of greasy black. Fortunate ly I had not yet taken time to un pack much of my things, but my pretty yellow crane negligee in wlich i hail been resting' before supper was completely ruined. Aunt Anna was eo terribly upset about the room that Bhe did not appear to think my loss of any importance at all. "Kverything is spoiled?tho paper, the rugs, tho curtains, tho counter pane! Isn't It a perfcct bhamc?" sho sobbed. "Yes, It's a " Well, I won't ro peat what Uncle John said, for it is mortifying to havo a relative whu uses such violent languago. When I discovered that I had to tloep with Nun, and that Aunt Anna continually bewailed tho unfortunato little accident, 1 decided lo leavo tho next morning 1 really thought I should he Just in tho way while they wero having the room done over. Tho curtailing of iny visit was ccrtainly a disappointment to me, as t had hoped to liavo a nico quiet rest bo? fore East :r. Sometimes It seems to mo that I Buffer moro disappointments than any one I know. Copyright, JOli, by the Star Company. Great Britain IU slits itcsorved.