teen or eighteen inches in diameter, and resemble rude altars, their summits being slightly
hollowed. In the shallow basins thus formed I have seen traces of fire, as if votive offerings
had recently been burnt there. It is said that small objects, such as kerchiefs of embroidered
muslin or silk shawls and other trifles, are occasionally sacrificed at this tomb by Jews.
The burial of Joseph in Shechem is recorded in Joshua xxiv. 32, and the next verse states
that " Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him in a hill that pertained to Phinehas
his son, which was given him in Mount Ephraim."
About three miles and a half due south of Joseph's Tomb stands the picturesque and
flourishing little village of 'Awertah, surrounded by extensive olive-groves and fig-orchards.
Numerous rock-cut tombs, cisterns, and wine-presses, unused for centuries, prove 'Awertah
to be a very ancient place. It is regarded with great veneration by Moslems, Jews, and
Samaritans, for here, according to the Samaritan chronicle, are " the tombs of the holy priests
Eleazar and Phinehas." 'Awertah was inhabited by the Samaritans until the seventh
century of our era. It is now occupied exclusively by Moslems. They, however, not only
guard the sacred tombs reverently and keep them in good repair, but willingly and with
evident pride point them out to passing travellers. The traditional tomb of Phinehas (Kubr
el 'Azeirat) is a rude structure of stone and plaster, about fourteen feet in length and seven
and a half in breadth, with a high gabled top (see page 238). The tomb of Eleazar (El
'Azeir) is on a mound on the west side of the village, in a large paved court, in a corner of
which there is a mosque dedicated to a Moslem sheikh. This tomb is eighteen feet three
inches in length and fifteen feet and a half in breadth. A low stone wall immediately
surrounds it, and a grand old terebinth-tree overshadows it. A large jar of coarse pottery
is generally kept here, filled with water for the use of pilgrims (see page 242).
In nearly every mukam, or shrine, held sacred by the Moslem, this welcome refreshment
is provided either by endowment or by the dwellers in the neighbourhood, as a means of
propitiating the goodwill of the saint or prophet to whom it is dedicated. On entering one
of these sacred enclosures it is customary to say " Destur ya Sheikh! " or " Destur ya Neby!"
—that is, u Permission, O Sheikh ! " or, " Permission, O Prophet! " as the case may be.
Every village in Palestine has its sacred " place; " sometimes marked only by a heap of
stones or by a venerable tree on which votive offerings are suspended, but more generally by
a whitewashed structure of plaster and stone, surmounted by a dome (kubbeh), built over the
grave of a famous chieftain or a revered "wely," that is, a Moslem saint—in which case the
building itself is familiarly called a "wely." Similar structures are erected on spots connected
with traditions relating to heroes and prophets and saints of old, including Pagans, Hebrews,
Samaritans, and Christians. A building of this kind is called in Arabic a " mukam; " that is,
a station, literally a " place," like the corresponding Hebrew word " makom."
Local traditions thus preserved, have in many instances assisted explorers in the recovery
of Biblical sites. The entrance to these sacred enclosures is rarely provided with a door, and
yet peasants often deposit their ploughs and other implements and tools within a mukam, or