II. Chronological List of People Associated with Meydûm Since the Twelfth Century A.D.

The Eckley B. Coxe, Jr., Expedition Excavations at Meydûm, 1929-30

By: Alan Rowe

Originally Published in 1931

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Title Reference

1117-1119 Makrizi and Abû-Mohammed Abdallah. Makrizt, an Arab historian (1364-1442), wrote: “There is another pyramid, called the ‘Pyramid of Meydûm,’ which is like a mountain, and has five stories”; he cites as his authority for this statement Sheikh Abû-Mohammed Abdallah, son of Abderrahîm el-Qaisi, who visited Meydûm in 1117-1119. [32 : 359, footnote 5; 73 : H, 354; 6 : 6]
1737 Frederick Lewis Norden, F.R.S., a Captain in the Danish Navy, saw the Meydûm pyramid from the Nile. He gives three excellent sketches of the pyramid (which he thought was elevated upon a little hill of sand), together with a map showing the position of Meydûm. He records that he saw a number of Chameaux d’eau” (obviously birds with long necks, perhaps flamingoes), which did not come near enough for him to shoot, and also that during the night the travellers were surrounded by many bats. After sunset they had to keep a good guard and fire off a musket every four hours as a warning to the people of the district that they could not be taken by surprise. [40 : I, 81; II, 10]
1737 Pococke and El-Kebery. Richard Pococke, LLD., F.R.S., an English authority on Arabia, journeyed up the Nile in a boat and saw the Meydûm pyramid from a distance. He states that the pyramid was called El-Haram el-Kedah, “The False Pyra¬mid,” by the Moslems, and El-Haram el-Kebir, “The Great Pyramid, ” by the Christians. “To go to this pyramid, it is necessary,” he says, “to have a man from the Sheikh of this country called [el]-Kebery, who lives at Mocanan.” He gives a sketch of the pyramid. [51 : II, Vol. I, 69, 70]
1776-1779 M. Savary, a French visitor, who spent three years in Egypt, mentions the Meydûm pyramid, which he calls “the southern¬most pyramid of Egypt.” [81 : II, 51]
1793 W. G. Browne, an English traveller, visited Meydûm and inspected the pyramid; be removed some debris from its earners in order to examine the outer casing. He was, he says, the first to recog¬nize that the base of the pyramid was not hewn in natural rock, as was believed before, but built of stones. He gives a sketch of the pyramid. [10 : 170, 171]
1799 V. Denon, Jomard, and Malus, members of the scientific expedition accompanying Napoleon’s army to Egypt, compiled a brief description of the Meydûm pyramid. Denon made sketches of it. Maim, and perhaps others, climbed the pyramid on the north side. [78 : 426, 427; 15 : 92, 93; 59 : III, 77-79]
1801 Charles Barton Burr, an Anglo-Indian Captain, left his name and date, August 18, 1801, on the upper part of the north face of the Meydûm pyramid. After the date is written: “British Indian . . . Be Goolam. Hassen . . .” [59, where the Captain’s name is wrongly given as “Baron Burr.”] Burr was a Captain in the British Army which occupied Egypt in 1801. The Super¬intendent of Records, India Office, London, kindly supplies the following information: according to the Bombay Army List of 1801, Captain Burr is shown as Commissary of Cattle on Foreign Service. His regiment (7th Bombay Native Infantry) was in Egypt at the time. Burr was appointed a Cadet in 1788; a Lieutenant on October 1, 1790; a Captain on March 6, 1800; a Major on October 8, 1807; a Lieutenant-Colonel on January 21, 1813; and made a Companion of the Order of the Bath on October 14, 1818. He died in Bombay on May 20, 1821.
1801-1826 J. J. Rifaud, a French traveller, of Marseilles, visited the Meydûm pyramid, which he briefly describes. The natives of Meydûm village were offering antiquities for sale. [58 : 191, 192]
1804 Unknown Person who cut the date, and his name, of which only the last letter, N, can be read, above Captain Burr’s inscription on the Meydûm pyramid. [69]
1816-1818 Robert Richardson, M.D., and the Earl of Belmore, saw perhaps the Meydûm pyramid, which the former calls the “pyramid of Asawee.” [67 : II, 144]
1820 C. Vidua, a name inscribed on the east face of the Meydûm pyramid. (Noticed by the present writer.)
? H. Foskell, a name placed near Vidua’s inscription on the pyra¬mid. (Noticed by the present writer.)
1827-1828 Mrs. Charles Lushington, an English traveller, saw the Meydûm pyramid, apparently from a Nile boat. [28 : 112, 113]
1837 (date of publication) Domenico Valeriani, an Italian professor, in his description Egypt, briefly mentions the Meydûm pyramid and gives two sketches of it made from the drawings of Denon. [70 : I, 38; 71 : I, 474-476]
1837 J. S. Perring, an English engineer, measured the pyramid of Meydûm, and made a sketch of it, together with a provisional section, which did not show the chamber and passages, as they were not cleared out until the time of Maspero in 1881-1882. He also dug two trial pits, one at the northeast angle of the pyramid, and the other on the western side, in order to inspect the base. [73 : III, 78-80; 41 : III, 19, 20]
1843 Richard Lepsius, the German Egyptologist (assisted by Erbkam and Weidenbach), measured the pyramid of Meydûm and pre¬pared drawings of it. He cleared some débris from around the pyramid [24 : H (text), page 1]. Baedeker [1 : 18] says that the holes “in one of the faces of the pyramid are due to the examina¬tions of Lepsius and Erbkam, to whom this pyramid was of great help for studying the construction of other pyramids.”
1871 H. H. the Khedive Ismail, Vigne, Daninos Bey, Youssef Bey Choudt, the Mudir of Beni-Suef, and the Head Sheikh of Meydûm. The workmen of M. Vigne, a lawyer of Alexandria, who had received permission from the Egyptian Government to look for animal bones in the ancient cemeteries of Egypt, found a lime¬stone stela just to the north of the Meydûm pyramid. The Head Sheikh of Meydûm, hearing of the discovery, stopped the work and at once telegraphed the news of the find to H. H. the Khedive. A. Mariette, the Director General of the Department of Antiqui¬ties, ordered Daninos Bey to proceed to Meydûm via el-Wâsta station, where, according to his instructions, he was to be met by the Mudir of Beni-Suef with a thousand workmen. Daninos, who was accompanied by Youssef Bey Choudt, one of the aides-de-camp to H. H. the Khedive, saw that the stela came from a mastabah belonging to a certain Ra-hotep and Nefert his wife. Near the stela he discovered the beautiful statues of these two persons which are now in the Cairo Museum. From a letter sent by Marlette to Daninos we gather that H. H. the Khedive visited Meydûm himself in order to see the statues. [33 : VIII, 69-73]
1871-1872 Marielle, Vassalli Bey, and Daninos Bey. Following the above-mentioned discoveries, Marlette, Vassalli-Bey — the keeper of the Bûlâq Museum — and Daninos Bey, carried out excavations at Meydûm for about a week onwards from December 25, 1871. They opened up some mastabah tombs to the north of the pyra¬mid, and in the mastabah of Nefer-Maat found the famous “Panel of the Geese,” now in the Cairo Museum, which Maspero, [30 : 62] describes as “one of the best pieces of Egyptian painting which is to be seen in any Museum in the world.” [See also 29 : 4, 5; 27 : 468-487]

Saîd and Another Arab, unnamed. Daninos Bey records (1871) an Arabic inscription on the tomb of Nefer-Maat at Meydûm, which states that a certain Said had advised making excavations in this tomb in order to discover treasures. But as the excavator (another Arab) found absolutely nothing, he gave himself the satisfaction, at the end of the inscription, of heaping maledictions upon the head of the worthy Said, who had misled him by his false assurances. [33 : VIII, 73]

1876 (about) W. J. Loftie, an English traveller, visited Meydûm. He gives a more or less detailed account of the pyramid as well as of the tombs, and refers to certain unnamed members of his party who had visited the site before. [25 : 139ff; 201-213]
(date of publication)
George Ebers, the German Egyptologist, wrote a brief account of the Meydûm pyramid and mastabahs for the 1877 edition of Bædeker’s guide, Aegypten, and, for the edition of 1891, an extended account. He saw the pyramid from the Nile and gives a sketch of it. [17 : I, 172]
1879 Villiers Stuart, an Irish member of Parliament who visited Egypt and wrote some interesting comments upon its antiquities, de¬scribes the remains he saw at Meydûm. He removed some debris from the sides of the pyramid in order to examine its base. [67: 27-39]
1881 George Rawlinson, the English archaeologist, describes the Meydûm pyramid which he says some call a “pyramid” and others a tower.” He thought it was “emplaced upon a rocky knoll.” [52 : I, 184, 185]. Rawlinson refers to Birch and Fergusson. [3 : 28; 21 : 1, 100]
1881-1882 G. Maspero, Director General of the Department of Antiquities opened the Meydûm pyramid and cleared some mastabah tombs untouched by Mariette. [29 : 4; 31 : I, 149, 150; and L’Ar-cheologie Egyptienne, 143.]
1882 Villiers Stuart (see 1879) again visited Meydûm as he had heard that Maspero had cleared out the pyramid chamber. He now gives further information about the site, and states (wrongly) that Maspero had removed the debris from the north face of the pyramid down to the level of the desert. [68 : 467 ff; 69 : Chapter IV]
1883 Brugsch, Prince Friedrich Karl, and Von Garnier. Heinrich Brugsch-Pasha, the German Egyptologist, together with Prince Friedrich Karl and Major F. X. von Gamier, saw the Meydûm pyramid from the distance. [11 : 49]
(date of publication)
W. M. F. Petrie gives some brief details of the Meydûm pyramid and mastabahs. [45 : 147, 148]
1887 Unknown Person, who wrote the date of his visit in the chapel of the mastabah of Ri-hotep at Meydûm. Petrie [42 : I, 15] writes as follows about this chapel: “Some traveller chose to unearth it, soon before 1887, which date is written in the tomb; and it has stood open since then, with the result that every face within reach is mutilated, most of the figures spoiled, and all the edges of the stone broken away. I completely reburied it.”
(dates of publication)
E. A. Wallis Budge describes during this period, in various editions of Cook’s Guides, the site at Meydûm.
1891 W. M. F. Petrie, assisted by F. Bliss and Fraser, made excava¬tions at Meydûm; he examined the inside of the pyramid, cleared the pyramid temple, causeway ends, and many tombs, and made the first complete map of the site. Petrie records that the local inhabitants used the stone from the pyramid for tombs and other structures. [42; and 46 : 138-147]
1891 P. E. Newberry, the English Egyptologist, visited Meydûm during the time Petrie was working there. He copied the hieratic graffiti on the ceiling of the entrance passage of the pyramid. [39 : 102, 103]. The graffiti had previously been noticed by Maspero. [31 : I, 149, 150]
(date of publication)
A. Marlette published an excellent account of the Meydûm pyramid. [28 : Plate XV]
(dates of publication)
Georg Steindorff, the German Egyptologist, made repeated visits to Egypt during this period for the purpose of revising Bædeker’s Egypt, of which the edition of 1929 gives some details of Meydûm.
1897 Borchardt and Reisner. L. Borchardt, the German Egyptologist, and G. A. Reisner, the American Egyptologist, now of the Harvard-Boston Expedition, visited Meydûm for a few hours and took some photographs. [6 : 3]
1899 M. A. Robert, Inspector of the Register of the Land Survey of Egypt, visited Meydûm and placed a survey pole on the top of the pyramid. He records various graffiti on the north face of the pyramid, and a line of hieroglyphs in the same place; the latter he was not able to copy. The earliest graffiti are Ptolemaic and mention Plutogenes, the son of Philippos; Antikrates; and Philippos and Antiphonos, the sons of Antikrates. The other graffiti are given in this list under dates of 1801 and 1804. [59 : III, 77-79]
(date of publication)
R. Weill, the French Egyptologist, gives a full account of the tombs and finds at Meydûm. [75 : 273ff.]
1909-1910 W. M. F. Petrie, assisted by E. Mackay, G. A. Wainwright, B. Fletcher, and Bushe-Fox, made further excavations at and near Meydûm (see 1891). Among other things, he found two tombs inside the peribolus wall of the pyramid of the king, the southern one of which seems to have been originally a small pyramid, perhaps belonging to the queen. A pyramid constructional ramp was also found to the south of the causeway. [43 and 44]
1913 Engelbach and Rohmer. R. Engelbach, the English Egyptologist, together with Sax Rohmer (Ward), the novelist, and his wife, visited Meydûm, and entered the pyramid. The local natives asserted that Mrs. Rohmer was the first woman within their knowledge to have visited the sarcophagus chamber. (Com-municated by Mr. Engelbach.)
1926 L. Borchardt (assisted by Dr. Wolf and Dipl.-Ing. Ricke) again visited Meydûm (see 1897) and made important researches on the construction of the pyramid. He removed some debris from the sides in order to examine the base. His publication is accom¬panied by valuable drawings. Borchardt mentions that he found persons up on the pyramid who, as they said, “kept watch over their fields” from it. He did not observe any stone-hammers with them! [6]
1928 The Aircraft Operating Company, Ltd., of London, made an air survey of Meydûm on August 17. A photograph was taken at an altitude of 11,000 feet. (Communicated by Survey Depart¬ment of Egypt.)

The above chronological list will thus have given the reader some idea of the amount of work that has been done on the site in the past and of the names of the persons associated with such work.

1 A similar list, giving the names from the earliest times up to the twelfth century A. D., Li in course of preparation and will be published later.

Cite This Article

Rowe, Alan. "II. Chronological List of People Associated with Meydûm Since the Twelfth Century A.D.." The Museum Journal XXII, no. 1 (March, 1931): 6-11. Accessed July 13, 2024. https://www.penn.museum/sites/journal/9298/

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