|middle of the twenty-eighth century B. C., and this relief (Fig.
41) contains the oldest known representation of a sea-going
ship. Yet at that time the Pharaoh had already been carrying on such over-sea
commerce for centuries.
FIG. 42. RESTORATION OF
A GROUP OF TOMBS OF THE NOBLES IN THE PYRAMID AGE
These tombs are grouped about the royal pyramids, as seen
in Fig. 39.
They are sometimes of vast size. The square openings in the top are shafts
leading down to the burial chambers in the native rock far below the tomb
structures. These structures are of stone, surrounding a heap of sand and
gravel inside (Fig. 38, 4).
The chapel room is in the east side, of which the door can be seen in the
front of each tomb. The reliefs shown in Figs.
43-48 adorn the inside walls of these chapels.
Besides maintaining his copper mines in Sinai, the king was also
already sending cara- vans of donkeys far up the Nile into the Sudan to
traffic with the blacks of the south, and to bring back ebony, ivory, ostrich
feathers, and fragrant gums. The officials who con- ducted these caravans
were the earliest explorers of inner Africa, and in their tombs at the
First Cataract they have left interesting records of their exciting adventures
among the wild tribes of the south ó adventures in which some of them lost
their lives.1 The Pharaoh was also sending
his ships on expeditions to a land called Punt, at the south end of the
Red Sea (see map, p. 36),
to procure the same products and to bring them back by water.
navigation on the Red Sea