Harageh is a series of cemeteries with shaft tombs from various periods. The tombs were dug in an area which lay like an island of desert sand and bedrock surrounded by cultivated land. Many of the tombs date from the Middle Kingdom, c. 2000-1800 BC. Originally, in connection with these tombs, a tomb stela was set up (a stone tablet, usually with a round top) with offering formulae and the name of the tomb’s owner. In most cases however, it is impossible to determine whether the stela comes originally from the tomb where it was discovered. Grave-robbers seem to have removed or exchanged them when they went down the shaft to the burial chamber.
View from Lahun towards Harageh. Photo: Janne Klerk
Petrie’s assistant Reginald Engelbach began the excavations at Harageh at the end of 1913. He divided the area into 13 cemeteries. He had the assistance of the young philologist, Battiscombe Gunn, while Petrie himself was working in nearby Lahun. The annual excavation report from the site was not published until 10 years later, since Engelbach and Gunn had both been serving in the First World War. Not until 20 years later did the Glyptotek receive two stelae from Harageh and subsequently a third in 1927.