224 Route 16. MA'ABDEH. From Cairo
numerous graves of the Middle Empire hâve recently been dis¬
covered, the interesting contents of which are now in the muséum
at Cairo. Grœco- Roman tombs were also found hère, containing
mummies with painted plaster heads instead of face-masks.
At El-Harîb, on the E. bank, are the ruins of an ancient Egyp¬
tian town, at the mouth of a wâdi ascending to the Arabian moun¬
tains. The walls, provided in places with window-openings, are
high, but fragments of demotic inscriptions show them to be of late
date. Small caves in the rocks contain bones from mummies of
men and cats.
220 M. Manfalût (rail, stat., p. 203) lies on the W. bank close
to the river, which must hâve made great encroachments hère since
the end of the 18th century. Between Manfalût and Assiût (27 M.
by river, only 17 M. by land) the Nile makes many curves.
Ma'abdeh, a small village on the E. bank, lies on a narrow
strip of fertile land between the Nile and the S. end of the rocky
Gebel Abu Feida. The hills to the N.E. of Ma'abdeh contain tombs
of the Ancient Empire. To the S. is the Gebel Kurneh, with a
quarry exhausted in the reign of Sethos IL (inscription).
About 31/2 M. to the N.E., on the plateau of the Arabian hills, is
the so-called Crocodile Grotto, which, however, is hardly worth visiting,
as practically nothing is to be seen except the charred remains of the
mummies of crocodiles. — To the S.E. of Ma'abdeh lies the village of 'Arab
el-'Atyat, with tombs and quarries.
On the E. bank are (227 M.) the three villages of Béni Mo¬
hammed. To the N.E. of thèse, on the N. verge of a large and
fertile plain that extends S. to almost opposite Assiût, lies the Coptic
village Deir el- Gebraif Gabrawi), containing a Greek inscription (dis¬
covered by Mr. Harris) in the form of a dedication ofthe Lusitanian
Cohort, which served under Diocletian and Maximian, to Zeus,
Hercules, and Nikë (Victoria). In the Gebel Marâg, a ridge about
172 hr. distant, are numerous rock-tombs belonging to princes and
grandees of the nome of the 'Serpent Mountain'.
Thèse tombs, mostly dating from the close of the Early Empire, are
divided into a N.E. and a S.W. group, the former comprising 80 tombs
(4 with inscriptions and représentations), the latter about 40 (12 with re¬
présentations). The most interesting are two of the S.E. group, situated
above the village of Deir el-Gebrai, belonging to Zaw and Ebe (llth Dyn.),
'princes of the nome ofthe Serpent Mountain and of the nome of Abydos'.
Like the graves of Benihasan, thèse tombs contain interesting représent¬
ations of nandicraftsmen, harvest-scenes, fishing and hunting scènes, etc.
Above Béni Mohammed the Nile makes several great bend3 and
is divided into two arms by the large island Gezîret Behîg. On the
E. arm lies (233 M.) Ebnûb (Abnoub), a district-capital, with 5800 in¬
hab. (4800 Copts) and fine palm-groves.
The mountains on the E. bank now recède, while the foot-hills
of the Libyan chain on the W. bank approach the river, which is
hère barred by the Dam of Assiût (Assiout Barrage), an imposing
work intended to regulate the amount of water in the Ibrâhîmîyeh
Canal and the irrigation of the provinces of Assiût, Minia, and