Egypt (Aswan), see map p. xvi. ROCK-CUT TOMBS of the governors of Aswan, dating from the Old and Middle Kingdom (mainly the VI and XII Dynasties). The tombs were cut into the sheer face of the cliffs, which overlook the western bank of the Nile. Steep causeways, with steps and a central rail for the transport of the sarcophagus, led straight from the river to the entrances of the tombs. The older tombs (eg that of Sebni and Mekhu; Harkuf) had broad, transverse chambers
Qubbet-el-Hawwa: tombs of Sabni and Mekhu, offering table and false door (VI Dynasty)
cut out of the rock, with squared pillars and offering tables. The exterior was plain except for stelae at the entrance. The Middle Kingdom tombs (eg Sarenput I and II) were more elaborate on the outside; there was a columned rock-cut forecourt (11m×15.25m, Sarenput I) with six pillars and a central gate, and the BATTERED facade was decorated with reliefs. The interior was aligned on a straight axis, an oblong ‘reception room’ with four pillars narrowed to a niched corridor which ended in the pillared cult chamber with the FALSE DOOR. The sarcophagus was placed in a subsidiary pit reached by a low corridor.
In masonry, the prominent and sometimes enlarged cornerstones usually laid in alternative headers and stretchers. Quoins were characteristic for Israelite buildings in Palestine (eg MEGIDDO, or the Solomonic wall in JERUSALEM).