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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Mastaba \Mas"ta*ba\, n. Also Mastabah \Mas"ta*bah\ . [Ar. ma[,c]tabah a large stone bench.]

  1. In Mohammedan countries, a fixed seat, common in dwellings and in public places.

  2. (Egyptology) A type of tomb, of the time of the Memphite dynasties, comprising an oblong structure with sloping sides (sometimes containing a decorated chamber, sometimes of solid masonry), and connected with a mummy chamber in the rock beneath.


n. 1 A wide stone bench built into the wall of a house, shop etc. in the Middle East. 2 (context architecture English) A rectangular structure with a flat top and slightly sloping sides, built during Ancient Egyptian times above tombs that were situated on flat land. Mastabas were made of wood, mud bricks, stone, or a combination of these materials. Some are solid structures, while others can contain one or more rooms, sometimes decorated with paintings or inscriptions.


n. an ancient Egyptian mudbrick tomb with a rectangular base and sloping sides and flat roof; "the Egyptian pyramids developed from the mastaba" [syn: mastabah]


A mastaba (, or ) or " pr- djt" (meaning "house for eternity" or "eternal house" in Ancient Egyptian), is a type of ancient Egyptian tomb in the form of a flat-roofed, rectangular structure with inward sloping sides, constructed out of mud-bricks (from the Nile River) or stone. These edifices marked the burial sites of many eminent Egyptians during Egypt's Early Dynastic Period and Old Kingdom. In the Old Kingdom epoch, kings began to be buried in pyramids instead of mastabas, although non-royal use of mastabas continued for more than a thousand years.

Usage examples of "mastaba".

Working under the critical eye of his father, Ismail was removing the fill from the interior of a small chamber that had been added to the larger adjoining mastaba at a much later date by a man who could not afford a separate tomb of his own.

He cannot know about the body in the mastaba, and if we get them away within the next few days, there is little chance of his finding out.

As Wassef sat on the mastaba of the cafe sullen and angry, the village barber whispered in his ear that Mahommed Selim and Soada had been hunting jackals in the desert all afternoon.

There was not a merchant from the bazaars but had had reason to appreciate his presence, either by friendly gossip over a cup of coffee, or by biting remarks in Arabic, when they lied to him, or by the sweep of his stick over the mastaba and through the chattels of some vile-mouthed pedlar who insulted English ladies whom he was escorting through the bazaar.

He squatted beside me on the mastaba and clapped his hands to summon a servant.

Bas-tet leaped again, onto the mastaba next to me, and Ramses squeezed through the space the cat had cleared for him.

As we retraced our steps I glanced over my shoulder and saw him squatting on the mastaba, still as a glittering life-sized statue.

It was located in the mastaba field almost due north of the pyramid A crew under Abdullah was at work in the area, searching for other tomb entrances, this man must be part of that crew.

Anticipation thrilled through my limbs as I pictured marvels equaling the geese, or even the life-sized painted statues of a noble couple that had been found in another mastaba in the same cemetery.

The Step Pyramid of King Djoser at Saqqara shows how the steps were achieved, mastaba over mastaba.

The Sakkara step-pyramid, which marks the evolution of the low mastaba into the true pyramid, showed clearly and alluringly in the sandy distance.

I found them on the mastaba outside, where Abdullah had dumped them before returning the mare to her owner.

There are no real shops, only tiny cupboards, open at the front, with a stone platform or mastaba, on which the merchants sit cross-legged, awaiting customers.

After inspecting the whole site he found an abandoned mastaba that some predecessor had provided with a door, probably with the idea of using the structure as a storehouse.

Watching the dust accumulate against the walls, Ransom could almost see it several years ahead, reverting to a primitive tumulus, a mastaba of white ash in which some forgotten nomad had once made his home.