an archaeological site in the Arab Republic of Egypt, located 5 km from Helwan.
About 10,000 underground tombs were discovered by Z. Saad and others in the period 1942–52, most dating from the First and Second dynasties of the Old Kingdom (30th to 27th centuries B.C.). The tombs, the upper parts of which have not been preserved, were built of clay, mud brick, and wood. Limestone blocks and slabs were sometimes used for making the floors and ceilings and for lining the walls; their use attests to the beginnings of stone construction. Twenty-five stelae, with carvings in relief, were also found. The storage chambers contained clay vessels for food, flint knives, copper vessels, and artistically crafted objects, such as seals, figurines, ornaments, and spoons, all made of ivory. The corpses show no trace of mummification and were either placed in wooden sarcophagi or wrapped in rush mats and linen cloths.