Burial of Kamenu

Site: el-Kab, Tomb: Mastaba A


Adapted from Quilbell, El Kab, 1897, pp. 8-9

The most important mastaba was that of Kamena. It is one of a group which we found under the great mound of drifted sand on the north side of the wall.

The low walls are denuded near the end of the sandslope to a single brick's height; in the centre they are a metre high, and they sink again towards the end under the great wall. They are built with recessed panels, and were originally plastered and painted white. Round the whole tomb runs a boundary wall. The two small closed chambers at the end of the last passage were empty, but a few fragments of the legs of a small sandstone statue were found near. In the E. wall itself there are two niches; in and near them were found many small pieces of worked limestone, some inscribed. The inscriptions give us Ka-mena's name, and show him as a king's acquaintance and a priest.

Nothing was found in the chambers inside the mastaba. The shafet was about 15 feet deep, with a chamber was to the south, closed by a roughhewn slab of sandstone three inches thick. The whole chamber was lined with flat sandstone blocks, but the thin roof slabs had given way under pressure of the earth above. The body had lain on the west side, with its head north ; no trace of a coffin remained, and the bones were a mere white paste, only to be distinguished by scraping sections with a knife through mud and bone. Under the whole body was a bed of white sand.

Near the entrance were six vases, of a shape and fabric indistinguishable from a late Neolithic form common at Naqada, and opposite the middle of the body was a group of important objects. These were:

  • a model granary in rough red pottery, each little storehouse having an opening above, closed by a stopper; Ashmolean - E408
  • another similar granary in fragments,
  • three vertical alabaster jars,
  • an alabaster circular table,
  • and a group of bowls and model tools.
  • A bowl and ewer, probably of copper, not of bronze.
  • A bowl of porphyry, a flat bowl of a beautiful light-coloured and translucent diorite,
  • and a flat dish made of a darker variety of the same stone. This last is inscribed with the Ka name of Snefru, Neb Maat.
  • A set of model tools, axe, knife, adzes and chisels
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