Earliest Egypt

A History of Egypt from the Earliest Times to the Persian Conquest (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1905), Chapter III, pp. 25-50


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34 A HISTORY OF EGYPT

to it in the northern kingdom was a suburb of Buto, called Pe. Each capital had its patroness or protecting goddess:Buto, the serpent-goddess, in the North; and in the South the vulture-goddess, Nekhbet. But at both capitals the hawk-god Horus was worshipped as the distinctive patron deity of both kings. The people of the time believed in a life hereafter, subject to wants of the same nature as those of the present life. Their cemeteries are widely distributed along the margin of the desert in Upper Egypt, and of late years thousands of interments have been excavated. The tomb is usually a flat bottomed oval or rectangular pit, in which the body, doubled into the "contracted" or "embryonic" posture, lies on its side (Fig. 12). In the earliest burials it is wrapped in a skin, but later also in woven fabric; there is no trace of embalmment. Beneath the body is frequently a mat of plaited rushes ; it often has in the hand or at the breast a slate palette for grinding face-paint, the green malachite for which lies near in a small bag. The body is besides accompanied by other articles of toilet or of adornment and is surrounded by jars of pottery or stone containing ash or organic matter, the remains of food, drink and ointment for the deceased in the hereafter. Not only were the toilet and other bodily wants of the deceased thus provided for, but he was also given his flint weapons or bone tipped harpoons that he might replenish his larder from the chase. Clay models of objects which he might need were also given him, especially boats. The pits are

FIG. 12. A PREDYNASTIC GRAVE.



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