avoid Friday, Sunday (crowded)
can also be reached by camel for E£150 (3 hours)
Mastaba of Meruruka
This large mastaba is officially the first "sight" that we saw in Egypt. Walking to the small entranceway -- where we were ushered to the front of the line by our gude, Fateh -- we finally saw the amazing expanse of Egyptian art.
Mastabas are one of th earliest forms of burial complexes, and probably evolved from the earliest pit burials -- they are usually a series of chambers that have a structure built over them that looks vaguely like a bench. From the mastaba tombs, step pyramid evolved, and then the true pyramids that we are so familiar with.
Mereruke was a vizier to Teti (the founder of the sixth dynasty); and chief judge, and inspector as well as his son-in-law. His mastaba is very large -- 32 rooms in total. 21 of the rooms are for Mereruka, six rooms for his wife Watet-khet-hor (a priestess of Hathor), and five rooms for his son, Meri-Teti. Even with the decline of the pyarmids surrounding the mastaba, it is obvious that the level of craftsmanship is very high.
There are dozens of hunting scenes in the tomb, with many kind of animals and fish. Net fishing, and spearing are depicted with a dozen or more different kinds of fish. Different antelopes and cattle are also shown.
There are a number of scenes with alligators and hippos, all representing evil. There are also scenes of taxmen and punishment of defaulters -- along with scenes of entertainment. The scenes of sailing and of the marsh are particularly well detailed.
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