Life, love and conflict in the hill country around 1200BC
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Richard Abbott

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How should the pattern be finished? Makty-Rasut leaned back against the tomb wall, rough and unsmoothed as yet, and nowhere near the full length it would extend out to. The courtyard designs were all complete, but the details for the transverse corridor had only been recently agreed with the senior priest whose eternal home it would be. Only a few of the key highlights of the main approach had been roughed out. In any case, these were just designs at this stage. They had not been called out of their potential to be created in sculpture and paint.

The man had insisted on one of the less common variations of the scene where his heart was being weighed. He had good reasons from his own religious experience, and Makty-Rasut had readily agreed once the request had been made. But in other things the old man was willing to be flexible. They had sat together while the priest told him something of his life’s endeavours, and they worked together on the ideas that emerged.

Makty-Rasut marked two deep parallel lines on the pottery sherd he had brought, to represent the walls of the corridor. He had sent the rest of the team home early. It was a festival day tomorrow anyway, and he wanted the time to himself to think, alone in the tomb. It was easier. He wanted to have some ideas to show the priest when they next met, and he could not think clearly when the area was full of his team working and jibing.

Dreams had steered much of the old man’s life. A dream had first sent him out, years ago now, into the provinces. Gedjet mainly, with a short spell up in Beth Shean at one point, and other brief sojourns elsewhere. Another dream had called him back to Waset. Other dreams, too, at different times, held less profound significance but were still vivid in the priest’s memory. So dreams should figure prominently on the chamber walls. The journey out to Gedjet was a focal point. It could blend several traditional elements with some unique ones. That should please the old man, whose words often betrayed the same mix of past and future, convention and innovation.

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