National Geographic : 1941 Oct
Daily Life in Ancient Egypt: The Later Period 479 were buried, the tombs were rock-cut in the sides of the precipitous cliffs that border the Nile Valley throughout Upper Egypt. The mastabeh tomb disappeared, and the pyramid, no longer the special prerogative of the royal dead, was greatly reduced in size and relative importance. Deep into the western cliffs at Thebes winds a long and tortuous valley, its boulder-strewn way ending in a secluded natural amphi theatre. Here, far from prying eyes, King Thiut-mose I about 1520 B. c. had his architect Ineny excavate for him a secret tomb. The job was done, as an inscription in Ineny's own tomb tells us, with "no one seeing, no one hearing"-which may possibly mean that "dead men tell no tales," for it must have required a considerable gang to excavate and clear the underground passages and chambers of the tomb. After the royal burial the small and simple entrance way, nestled against the base of the precipitous rock wall, was filled in with debris and thus obliterated from view. The example of Thut-mose I was followed by his successors, the kings of the XVIIIth, XIXth, and XXth Dynasties; and the de serted bay in the western cliffs became what we now know as the Valley of the Tombs of the Kings, a site familiar as the resting place of Egypt's royal dead. Funerary beliefs were now dominated by magic, as typified by a series of spells, designed to assure the comfort and well-being of the deceased in the world beyond the tomb, and known collectively as the "Book of the Dead". Exemption from the penalties likely to be exacted for a not altogether blameless exist ence could be purchased, and the morality of the individual and the nation suffered accordingly. This and the other unhealthy conditions latent in the new order of things, however, did not seriously affect the unparalleled pros perity of the country until after the fall of the second of the great dynasties discussed on pages 484-515, the XVIIIth (1580-1320 B. c.) and the XIXth (1320-1205 B. c.).* * See other richly illustrated articles in NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE: "By Felucca Down the Nile," by Willard Price, April, 1940; "Crossing the Untrav ersed Libyan Desert," by A. M. Hassanein Bey, Sept., 1924; "East of Suez to the Mount of the Decalogue," by M. O . Williams, Dec., 1927; "Flying Over Egypt, Sinai, and Palestine," by Brig. Gen. P . R. C. Groves and Maj. J. R . McCrindle, Sept., 1926; "Land of Ietropolitan Museu o Art Egypt: A Narrow Green Strip of Fertility Stretch ing for a Thousand Miles Through Walls of Desert," Tfit- t ankh-Amiin's Mummy Lay under by Alfred Pearce Dennis, March, 1926; "Resurrection Wings of Gold Cloisonn6 of Ancient Egypt," by James Baikie, Sept., 1913; "The Tomb of Tutankhamen," by M. O. Williams, Innermost of three coffins was this golden shell. May, 1923; "Under Egypt's Golden Sun," by B. The head-dress vulture is Nekhebet, goddess of Upper Anthony Stewart, April, 1940. Egypt; the cobra Buto, goddess of Lower Egypt.