388 Route 4. SAKKARA. Environs
with its W. side, and about a thousand paces to the W. of it, we
observe a space of ground enclosed by broad and massive, but now
very dilapidated, walls on the E., N., and W. sides, while the S.
side is bounded by the natural hills of the desert. The object of
this enclosure is a mystery to Egyptologists. M. Mariette, however,
conjectures, with much probability, that the place was used as a
pen for the numerous cattle slaughtered here as victims. Repeat¬
ed excavations have been made within the precincts of the enclos¬
ure, but without result. Each side is 440 yds. in length.
Proceeding hence towards the Mastaba Far'un, we observe the
tomb rising before us at no great distance, so that the route to it
cannot be mistaken. On the N.W. side of the mastaba is a very
dilapidated pyramid now used by the Arabs as a quarry. The
mastaba, which may be ascended, is oblong in form, like all the
other tombs of the kind, with walls sloping inwards. The entrance
is on the N. side. It was first explored by M. Mariette, who as¬
certained that it was the tomb of King Unas of the 5th Dynasty.
We may either retrace our steps hence to M. Mariette's house,
or traverse a depression to the N. of the mastaba, opening to¬
wards the E. , and leading direct to the village of Sakkara.
If several days have been allowed for the excursion to Sakkara, the
traveller may next proceed to visit Dahshur, situated »/4 hr. to the S. of
the Mastaba Far'un. This place is perhaps identical with the Acanthus
of Diodorus, where a leaky cask is once said to have stood, into which
water from the Nile was daily poured by 360 priests. On the margin of
the desert there still grow numerous sunt trees, as in ancient times. On
the desert plateau of Dahshur rise two large and two smaller pyramids
of limestone, and two of brick, together with remains of others, all of
which are at a considerable distance from each other. The northernmost
brick pyramid, which was once covered with slabs of stone, is curious.
It is sometimes pointed out, but without any authority, as the fabulous
pyramid which Herodotus mentions as having been erected by King
Asychis, who is said to have compelled his labourers to make bricks of
mud laboriously obtained from the bottom of a lake by means of poles.
The entrance on the N. side was once approached by a vestibule. The pre¬
sent height of the pyramid is about 90 ft. only.
On the S. side of another ruined pyramid, situated to the S.W. of
the last, are traces of two embankments (p. 330), descending towards the
E. from the larger Stone Puramid on the W. The latter is still 326 ft. in
height and 234 yds. in width, being nearly as large as the Great Pyramid
of Gizeh, and in its solitude presents a very imposing appearance, even
to an accustomed eye.
To the E. and S. are remains of several other pyramids. Still farther
to the S. rises a pyramid of peculiar form, sometimes called the Blunted
Pyramid (comp. p. 156), the lower slopes rising at an angle of 54° 41',
while the sides of the apex form an angle of 42° 59'. The whole pyramid
was probably originally intended to have the same slope as the apex (as
the sides of the neighbouring pyramid rise at an angle of 43° 36 ), but
the lower part was never completed. This pyramid is 206'/2 yds. square
and 321 ft. in height. The interior was explored so early as the year
1660 by Mr. Melton, an English traveller. In 1860 M. Le Brun found a
small chamber in the interior. No clue to the name of the builder has
been discovered. On the extreme S. side of the plateau rises a brick
pyramid, 99 ft. in height, marking the S. extremity of the vast Necro¬
polis of Memphis, which extends down to Abu Roash (p. 356), towards
the X, a distance of 23 M. — From Dahshur to the Pyramid of Medum,
and to the Fayum, see K. 9.