Beit Khallaf

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Beit Khallaf
Beit Khallaf is located in Egypt
Beit Khallaf
Beit Khallaf
Location in Egypt
Coordinates: 26°19′N 31°47′E / 26.317°N 31.783°E / 26.317; 31.783
Country  Egypt
Governorate Sohag
Time zone EST (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) +3 (UTC)

Beit Khallaf (Arabic: بيت خلاف [ˈbeːt χalˈlaːf]) is a small village located 10 kilometers west of Girga in Middle Egypt.


Outside the village are five Third Dynasty mud brick mastaba tombs, which were investigated by archaeologist John Garstang in 1900-1901.[1] Garstang believed he had found the burial place of the 3rd Dynasty Kings Djoser and Sanakht, but it is now generally believed that it is more likely that they were private tombs of the same period.[2]

Possible skull of Pharaoh Sanakht (Hen Nekht) from mastaba K2 at Beit Khallaf.

The largest tomb, K1, rises 8 metres above the desert and covers an area of over 3800 square meters.[2] A two metre thick outer wall holds the filling with sand and stone and huge brickwork are made around pits and corners. The burial shaft lies 25 metres below the surface at the bottom of a stairway which was blocked by six massive stones.[1] The ceiling above the stairway was constructed of descending barrel vaults supported by mud brick arches and are thought to be the oldest known vaults in Egypt.[2] Nearly 800 cylindrical alabaster vases were removed from the stairway, including some with mud caps sealed with the name of 'Neter-Khet' (Netjerikhet).[1] The burial chamber comprised 18 chambers leading out from a central passage.[1] Unfortunately the burial has been disturbed by plunderers who had dug a small hole underneath the mastaba, and the bones were scattered and offering vessels were 'strewn about in confusion'.[1] The second largest tomb, K2, was of a similar design to K1, contained human remains and a small fragment inscribed with the name of 'Hen-nekht' or 'sa-nekht' (Sanakht).[1]

Coordinates: 26°19′N 31°47′E / 26.317°N 31.783°E / 26.317; 31.783


  1. ^ a b c d e f Garstang, John (1903). Maḥâsna and Bêt Khallâf. London: Bernard Quaritch. Retrieved 22 May 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c Arnold, Dieter (2003). The Encyclopedia of Ancient Egyptian Architecture. London: Tauris. pp. 29–28. 

Further reading[edit]

Primary Sources[edit]

The Garstang Museum of Archaeology, University of Liverpool hold photographic materials from John Garstang's excavation at Beit Khallaf. The catalogue is available online on the Archives Hub website.

External links[edit]