The Egyptian Conception of Immortality - The mistaken belief that death and the well-being of the dead overshadowed the existence of the living, is due to the fact that the physical character of the country has preserved for us the cemeteries and the funerary temples better than all the other monuments. The narrow strip of fat black land along the Nile produces generally its three crops a year. It is much too valuable to use as a cemetery. But more than that, it is subject to periodic saturation with water during the inundation, and is, therefore, unsuitable for the burials of a nation which wished to preserve the contents of the graves. On the other hand, the desert, which bounds this fertile strip so closely that a dozen steps will usually carry one from the black land to the gray,'the desert offers a dry preserving soil with absolutely no value to the living. Thus all the funerary monuments were erected on the desert, and except where intentionally destroyed they are preserved to the present day. The palaces, the towns, the farms, and many of the great temples which were erected on the black soil, have been pulled down for building material or buried deep under the steadily rising deposits of the Nile. The tombs of six thousand years of dead have accumulated on the desert edge.
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