National Geographic : 2002 Oct
did he think of him-that he was a man with out backbone?" muses Raven. "On the other hand, Horemheb was very quiet about what he did during the Akhenaten period." Clues about the relationship between these two men may still lie hidden under the space that separates their mortuary complexes. Raven plans to dig there next spring. Sorting through what he finds won't be easy, though. As with the rest of Saqqara this area is riddled with the burials of unknown officials and commoners from other eras, and looters have tunneled between the tomb shafts. "It's like Swiss cheese underground," says Raven. "That makes a very complex puzzle-but if it were straightforward it would be boring, wouldn't it?" The long parade of Egyptian kings ended with Alexander the Great's conquest of 332 B.C. Foreign ways eroded the civilization that had risen to greatness along the Nile, but the mon uments in the desert endured, and daily life continued much as it had for millennia. Late one afternoon I climb the weathered stump of a mud-brick palace built in Memphis during the last years of native rule. From the top I look over the modern village of Mit Rahina, where wash hangs from the windows of two-story red-brick houses and children run laughing down streets of dirt. Farmers on don keys start home from the surrounding fields, and herders walk their cattle in from distant pastures. Along the western horizon I see what the ancient Egyptians did-the pyramids of Abusir, Saqqara, Dahshur. Finally, just LE] ,I ',0 beside the Step Pyra- Did commoners hope to live mid, the sun slips like kings inthe hereafter? away to join Osiris for Find out at nationalgeo the night. ] graphic.com/ngm/0210.