Excavations at the northwestern strip of Western Cemetery, 1949-1950
Abu Bakr
The most important part of the Giza Necropolis is the so-called Western Cemetery, a group of huge Mastabas built to the west of the Great Pyramid. In 1902 , the Hearst Expedition of the University of California excavated the northern strip of that part. In 1905 , the Harvard- Boston Expedition took over the work which lasted until 1946. Owing to the death of the great Archgeologist Dr. Reisner, the Expedition stopped its work and since 1949 , the northwestern strip of the concession has been granted to the University of Alexandria. Since then I have been working on this field.

The ancient and modern research in this site was fully described by Reisner in his » History of the Giza Necropolis «, 1942 , Vol. I, Chapter III, pp. 20 — 26 . The present volume is, therefore, devoted to the results of my first season of work which began on December 15 , 1949 and ended on May 25 , 1950 . The wTork was carried out on two sections: the first, next to the great Mastaba known to archaeologists as G. 2000 ; the second, 5 0 0 metres to the west of that Mastaba.
The first section has brought to light many rock-tombs, mostly uninscribed ; the second has yielded many large Mastabas, mostly inscribed. The reader will notice in the description of these Mastabas, that I have followed Dr. Reisner’s classification into different types given in his above-mentioned work.
Mastaba of Akhtj-hetepw
Adjoining the western side of the uninscribed mastaba » A » of crude brick, lies the small mastaba of Akhtj-hetepw. The plan is rectangular (10.50 x 6.50 x height about 2 metres), see general plan.
The stone masonry was not used throughout the structure but to about  1.85 metres above ground level on the southern face and even lower on the northern and western sides. Crude brick was used for the remainder of the work, including the vaulted corridor running alongside the eastern side. the plan is of the corridor type chapel, with an entrance (70 x 60 cm.) at its southern end and two false-doors in its western wall.

An exposed area closed in by the southern side of this mastaba, by one end of the southern side of the uninscribed Mastaba » A » and by the northern side of an as yet unexcavated stone mastaba, was arranged as a forecourt by the building of a brick retaining wall at its western end, with a stone staircase leading up from the forecourt to the level of the ground outside.
The corridor
The corridor (8.50 x 1.1o x height about 2.25 metres) is relatively wide and still retains part of the two sides of the vault which covered it. The vault is of the usual catenary type. The eastern side-wall is vertical and built in crade brick; the northern end-wail is built in the same stone masonry as the western side of the mastaba itself. at the southern end, a door opens into the forecourt.

Between the eastern side-wall of the corridor and the western side of the uninscribed mastaba, rubble stones were piled in as filling.
Shaft no.1: dimension : 1.40 x 1.40 x depth 1.45 metres, unfinished.
Shaft no. 2: dimension : 1.55 x 1.35 x depth 9.50 metres.
T h e entrance to the burial-chamber (1.00 x 0.80 metres) was found blocked with three big limestone slabs; but the robbers, breaking into the chamber, removed one of the three slabs, which was found broken and thrown at the bottom of the shaft.
The chamber (2.10 x 1.00 x 0.80 metres) is just cut in the rock to contain the sarcophagus (1.80 x 0.45 x 0.55 metres), which is also hewn and deepened in the ground of the chamber. It has a lid of two big stone slabs.
The stone masonry is made of large blocks of nummulitic stones (40-65 cm.) x (32 x 40 x33 cm.), with rosy plaster mortar in thick joints ( 1 cm.). The construction in masonry was stopped at a certain moment (1.80 metres above the forecourt level at the southern end and only 1.10 metres at the northern) and continued with bricks. The bricks are small (25-28 cm.) x (7-10 cm.) x (12-14 cm.) with irregular lime and sand mortar joints. Pebbles, flints, pottery and sherds are imbedded in the bricks themselves. Stone and brick faces are covered with a plastering of mud (0.75 cm.), a yellow plaster and sand, hatched straw and mud (0.3 cm.) and are finished with whitewash.
The Ramp to the west of mastaba
Along the western side of the mastaba itself a ramp (2.50 metres width northern side x 0.90 metre height northern side x 4.50 metres length) ascends from the southern end to a point 3.80 metres from the north-western corner.
This mastaba is situated to the north of Mastaba «A» and to the west of that of NFR-IHI. The plan is rectangular (20.60 x 14.00 x height about 3.75 metres).
It is a rubble core of masonry of nummulitic stone, encased between crude brick retaining walls. The type, according to Reisner’s classification, would be » core type VI «.
At the southern end of the eastern face, a small enclosure protrudes from the rectangular plan and is connected with the corridor running along the eastern face of the mastaba by a door, which lies in the axis of the main false-door.

This enclosure, almost square in plan (2.90 x 2.20 x height about 1.90 metres), is in crude brick of thè same type as the mastaba itself, and its entrance door (width 0 .70 x depth 1 .05 metres) opens at the northern corner of its face. The doorway (width 0.70 x depth 1.10 x height 1.75 metres), connecting it with the corridor.
No evidence concerning the type of this enclosure was found. Was it an open court or a roofed room ?
The corridor (17.00 x 0.90 x height 3.10 metres), which runs north of this chapel and along the eastern side of the mastaba, has battered walls sloping at different angles, plastered with mud and yellowish white gypsum, and whitewashed. Probably, though nothing has remained of it, the roof of the corridor was vaulted, as that of Nfri (G1825), Nfr-ihii (G1820 and Akhtj-htpw (G1805). At the northern end of this corridor there are three recesses in the form of false-doors.
The core is similar to that of Nfri (G1825). The brickwork consists of alternating coarses of headers and stretchers; dimension of the bricks being 12.50 x 18 x 38 cm. The bricks are dark grey with a mortar of a much lighter colour, containing a high proportion of sand. The joints vary between 0.50 cm. and 2. 50 cm. The plastering is about 1 cm. thick in two layers. Over a yellow mortar of gypsum, containing a high proportion of hashed straw, a second greyish one about 0’75 cm. thick is laid. The whole is covered with a very thin coat of whitewash. This plastering, used in the outer enclosure, occurs also in much thicker layers on the walls of the corridor.
Shaft No. 3 :
Dimension : 1.80 x 1.60 x depth 10.50 metres. The upper four metres are built up in mud-bricks, and the remainder is cut out of the rock itself. The entrance (0.75 x 1.11 metre) to the buiial-chamber is in the southern side of the shaft. The chamber itself (2.60 x 2.25 x height 1.70 metres) has a sarcophagus on its western side, cut in its floor out of the main rock (1.75 x 0.90 x depth 0.40 metre). The lid is missing. There were no traces of canopic jars nor of the usual funerary objects.
Shaft No. 4 :
Dimension: 1.80 x 1.85 x depth 9.85 metres. The upper four metres are built up in mud-bricks, the remainder is cut out of the rock. The entrance (0.50 x 1.00 metre) to the burial-chamber is in the southern side of the shaft.

It is an uninscribed mastaba of crude brick built with the eastern and western faces flush with the corresponding ones of the Mastaba of Ni-htp-hnniw; its northern side abuts upon the southern end of the latter. Adjoining its southern face is a limestone mastaba not yet excavated, while on its western face lies the Mastaba of Akhtj-hetepw (G1805).
From the different connexions of the masonry of this mastaba with that of Ni-Hetep-Khenwm and of Akhtj-hetepw and of the unexcavated stone mastaba, one may assume the following sequence as to the order of their construction :
(a) Ni-Hetep-Khenwm.
(b) Uninscribed Mastaba «A».
(c) Akhtj-hetepw.
(d) Unexcavated stone mastaba.

This mastaba is likewise constructed of a core of nummulitic rubble stones encased by crude brick walls on a rectangular plan (11.5 0 x 13.50 x height about 3.75 metres).
On the eastern face there are three recesses in the form of false-doors, one at each end with recessed jambs, the third in the middle having jambs flush with the face of the wall.
The core is similar to that of Ni-htp-hnmiv (G1810). The brickwork consists of alternating courses of headers and stretchers, the dimensions of the bricks are 40 x 20 x height 15 cms. The bricks are dark grey with a mortar of a much lighter colour, containing a high proportion of sand. The joints vary between 0.5  cm. and 2.50 cms.

There are no traces of the plastering with which the walls must have been covered.
SHAFTS — All shafts were either unfinished or empty. No traces of burials were found in the burial chambers. Shaft №9, dimensions 1.10 x 1.1 0 x Deps.  6.90 m. Shaft №10, dimensions 1.10 x 1.1 0 x Deps.  13.20 m.
Adjoining Mastaba » A » and to tbe east of it, there extends a complex consisting of an enclosure wall, of which two sides, eastern and southern, are built flush with the corresponding eastern face of the chapel enclosure of Ni-htp-hnmw and with the southern face of the above-mentioned Mastaba «A » respectively (5.o0 x 13.50 x height about 2.00 metres). Inside this enclosure a crude brick structure is flanked by a corridor on its eastern side. At its southern end is a small entrance vestibule (0.80 x 1.00 metres) connected with this corridor, with the corridor of Mastaba » A » and with the exterior.
The eastern face of this structure has four recesses, two with recessed jambs and false-doors, alternating with two simple ones.
This structure contains six openings, every one is double and occupies the whole breadth of the structure, both parts being connected by an arched door at the bottom of a partition wall.
In each case, one of the openings is in the form of a shaft, the other to which it leads, is a small vaulted room containing a burial. It is most interesting to notice that the disposition of the mouths of the shafts alternate in plan with the vaulted burial-chambers.
Mastaba of Nefer Ihy
This is a corridor mastaba in brick, inserted (see general plan) behind the mastaba of Nfri (G1825) and that of Abdw (G1830), which lies on its eastern side. To the west of it is the mastaba of Ni-Htp-Hnmw (G1810). The corridor opens at its northern end into a doorway flush with the northern face of the mastaba.
The main entrance, however, seems to have been at its southern end, through a door opening in the axis of the east-western passage between the mastaba of Nfri and that of Abdw.
The quadrangular space enclosed by these later ones and the mastaba of Nfr-Ihii and an unexcavated
stone mastaba to the south was used to afford a corridor, leading to the passage between the mastaba
of Nfri (G1825) and that of Abdw, and to a room between the above-mentioned door and the north-south
corridor running along the eastern facade of the mastaba of Nfr-Ihii.
This room, which retains part of its vaulted ceiling, was used as a chapel, although it does not open in front of any false-door.

This unusual plan, which reminds one of the IV th Dynasty Type Of Chapel, Dating From The Reign Of Kheops, is only a result of the irregular setting of the superstructure in the middle of an already built-up site.
The superstructure (26.6o x 12.00 x height 3.00 metres) is of the usual type, walls of crude brick inclined according to a rectangular plan, and retaining a coarse rubble filling.
The corridor runs north-south along the eastern face of the superstructure. Its eastern wall is the western face of the Mastaba of Nlri (G1825) , continued southwards by a crude brick wall, less inclined than the mastaba face and abutting on its south-western corner. In the eastern face of the superstructure there are eight recesses for false-doors. Only one, the third from the southern end, has retained a limestone lintel and drum, set in the masonry upon crude brick jambs.
Four shafts were cut in a row behind the eastern face. The first from the north seems to be connected in plan with the third recess from the north, and the second with the fifth and sixth recesses, while each of the remaining two shafts is connected with one recess, the seventh and eighth respectively. The shafts are square in plan and have side-wall in crude brick, built upon the rock-hewn sides of the pits themselves. All the shafts are found empty without any traces of burial and I give for each only the measurements.
There are two unfinished shafts dug in the western side of the mastaba and marked on the General Plan with Shafts Nos. 21 and 22.

The Mastaba of Nfri has a superstructure of crude brick in a fairly good state of preservation. It has a long corridor running along the whole length of the eastern facade, and contains a deep niche with a false-door in white limestone at its southern end, and three other false-doors built in brick (see General Plan). A complex of three small rooms-vestibule, open court and magazine, projects from the rectangular plan at the southern end of the eastern facade, abutting on the wall in front of the doorway to the recess and giving access to this.
According to the elaborate classification of Reisner, the mastaba would be of the core type No. VI, e.
The construction of the superstructure consists of a composite rubble core encased on all four faces by retaining walls of crude brick. The actual mastaba seems to be the result of a second stage of building plan; for the wall of the corridor chapel has been built against another eastern facade complete’ with a recess for the original niche of the chapel and two other smaller niches ; the whole having been already plastered on its entire length with white stucco which still shows even on the southern face.

The rubble core is of dry nummulitic blocks and is of a rectangular plan. A cavity in its southern end is walled with rubble masonry and seems to be connected with a walled brick doorway on the inside of the casing of the southern face. The southern corner of the eastern part of the core is occupied by a rectangular recess of brickwork containing the earlier niche for the false-door.
Shaft No. 27:
Dimensions:2.00 x 1.80 x 9.00 deep metres. The upper four metres are built up inmud-bricks and the remainder are cut out in the rock itself. Both the entrance to the burial-chamber and the burial-chamber itself are unfinished. The chamber (1.80 x 1.35 x 1.30(h) metres) contains no traces of burial.
Shaft No. 28:
Dimensions: 2.20 x 1.90 x 10.60 deep metres. The four upper metres are built of mud-bricks within the superstructure of the mastaba. The remainder part of the pit is cut out in the rock itself.
The entrance (1.10 x 1.20 metres ) to the burial-chamber was blocked with huge mud-bricks, except a small part through which the robbers were able to reach the sarcophagus.
The core is of local nummulitic rubble stone. The rubble masonry employs a mortar of gypsum. Brickwork displays alternating courses of headers and stretchers, an arrangement common at that period. It is used in vertical walls in the annexes to the chapels and in the offering-room, and also as lining to the shafts. Battering walls occur internally and externally, as casing of the rubble core.

South of the Mastaba of Nfri (see General Plan) lies the Mastaba of Abdw.
The plan (about 10.15 x 6.85 x height 3.05 metres) shows clearly two stages of construction.
The first stage consists of a mastaba with a corridor on the eastern face and an entrance at its northern end. The owner added along the eastern side a large chapel of the same length.

The chapel is separated from the street running north and south by a superstructure of the same length as the mastaba and similar in construction to those of a real mastaba, but possessing two pits, do not reach lower than ground level. A narrow corridor runs between this pseudo-mastaba and the chapel.
It is rectangular in plan (about 5.50 x 2.40 metres) and built of local nummuhtic limestone enclosing a filling into which two unfinished pits Nos. 35 and 36 are sunk.
The four faces are vertical and in the eastern one are inserted three false-doors, which are badly weathered. The middle one still retains on its drum the inscription «The royal acquaintance, ibdw». This inscription proves that the superstructure really forms part of the complex of the Mastaba of Abdw.
THE CHAPEL The entrance to the chapel was through the passage between the southern face of Nfri’s
Mastaba and the northern face of that of Abdw.
It is now blocked at its eastern end by an additional construction of the same breadth as the pseudo-mastaba (length 1 -30 metres) and containing a pit No. 34 lined with bricks on three of its faces. A false-door is also inserted into its eastern face (see General Plan).
One enters the chapel through the above-mentioned passage to the narrow transversal corridor about 6.
60 x 0. 75 metres, which lies between the pseudo-mastaba and the chapel.
It leads to the entrance door (0.60 x0.60 x height 1.80 metres), opening at the southern end of the eastern face of the chapel. All the walls of this chapel are vertical and built of big limestone blocks, the dressing of which is unfinished.
The chapel (4.50 x 2.10 x height 2.25 metres) occupies the whole length of the mastaba and consists of a rectangular hall with two pillars (0.40 x 0.35 x height 2.25 metres) square in section, along its longitudinal axis. This chapel was roofed with long slabs, most of them found in situ. They were placed in two rows on either side of a stone beam running south-north upon the two pillars.
The only parts of this chapel, which bear inscriptions, are the lintel on the entrance door, the drum, the two jambs and the four faces of each pillar. The scenes are characterized by the treatment of the individual figures, of which all the hands are drawn wrongly.
Access to the mastaba is gained through a door (0.60 x 0.60 x height 1.85 metres) in the northern corner of the chapel. It opens into the corridor (4.00 x 0.9 0 x height 2.25 metres), running along the eastern face of the mastaba. At its southern end a false-door is set, tapering in the graded face of the mastaba.

This is an uninscribed mastaba of local limestone. It lies south of that of Abdw (see General Plan). The corridor, running along the eastern side, is reached by a passage running west-east between the southern side of this mastaba and the northern side of an unexcavated stone mastaba.
The mastaba is in a very bad state of preservation, most of its eastern portion being in ruins.

The northern false-door is still in place and lies close to the serdab which is found at the northern end of the corridor. The false-door is a rough specimen of the usual type, and is uninscribed.
The serdab adjoins the southern wall of the Mastaba of Abdw, and indeed the western tip of this wall serves as the northern wall of the serdab. It is square in shape (1.20 x 1 .20 x height about 1 -50 metres) and was found opened containing fragments of rotten wood, apparently the remains of statues.
The Shafts : Nos. 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49.
There are eleven shafts disposed in three parallel rows. The main shaft is the southernmost in the first row to the western corridor No. 42. All the others are unfinished and also unused.
The shaft is entirely dug out of the rock, and the top , which was built in stone, has disappeared
with the other ruined portions of the mastaba. At the bottom, on its eastern side,
lies the burial-chamber: the entrance to this (1.30 metres) was blocked up by three horizontal
rows of stones, the top and bottom rows consisting of large blocks, whilst the middle one was of small stones.