[by Agnes Conway]
After calling on the Governor of Ma’an [Khalaf Bey Atell] and Mr Strange, (Intelligence Officer to the Air Force) Mr Horsfield went to Ain Musa with one ton truck of luggage; met his 6 men who had ridden over from Jerash and sent them down to Petra to start preparing the Camp. He came back to Ma’an for the night.
Reference: Conway, A. 1929 (transcribed by A. Thornton). Petra Exploration Fund Diary. "Business Papers to be Kept", Horsfield Collection Box 8, UCL Institute of Archaeology, 21 March: 1.
[by Agnes Conway]
Mr Horsfield left very early for Petra with the rest of the luggage and slept there.
Dr Nielsen and I spent the morning following the aqueduct still further East from Unum el Trab; then North to the bank of the Wady Wahadan, where it follows the Wady West to the railway bridge, and past Ma'an el Sanmijjeto El Basta, on the watershed between Ma'an and Petra. A khan near the Wady Wahadan had the same pottery as the Hammam and Unum el Trab. A glazed stone found at Hammam today is Byzantine. A. C. took compass bearings and photographs of the aqueduct and made a rough map of the system, which can be fitted in to Musil’s map of the Ma’an area in his “Northern Hedjaz”.
The date of such an enormous irrigation system is uncertain. The masonry of the Hammam, in tiers of thick and thin stones, is thought by Mr H and by Pere Savignac to be perhaps Roman. Ma’an is never mentioned by classical authors, and A.E.C. thinks the whole system more likely to be Byzantine, about which period at Ma’an there are no European sources. Dr Nielsen would like to prove the system to be Sabaean or Minaean, as the occupation at that time is known to have been extensive; but there are no signs of actual pre-Roman remains above ground.
The system thus far has only been cursorily and inadequately described in Musil’s Northern Hedjaz. He evidently, without a car, could not cover the area, and nor could any of the earlier visitors.
In the afternoon we drove on the Akaba road to the head of the Star Pass; from which the view down on to a plain studded with fantastic and detached hills, seen in a violet light, is extraordinarily strange and beautiful.
Reference: Conway, A. 1929 (transcribed by A. Thornton). Petra Exploration Fund Diary. "Business Papers to be Kept", Horsfield Collection Box 8, UCL Institute of Archaeology, 22 March: 2-3.
[probably by Agnes Conway]
Dr. Nielsen and A.E.C. left early, arriving at Petra for lunch, and had to put up at [Thomas] Cook’s Camp, our own not being ready. The Circassians from Jerash and local Arabs worked hard all day, under Mr. Horsfield’s direction, clearing out caves and building an oven.
Mr Horsfield, Dr. Nielsen and A.E.C. climbed the mounds of the Roman city to see the points at which Mr H. had decided the dig should be begun.
Dr. N. & A.E.C. photographed and examined the well at El Basta on the way down, which seems to be Roman and is very large and well-built.
Reference: [unsigned, but probably Conway, A.] 1929 (transcribed by A. Thornton). Petra Exploration Fund Diary. "Business Papers to be Kept", Horsfield Collection Box 8, UCL Institute of Archaeology, 23 March: 3.
[probably by Agnes Conway]
Dr. Nielsen and A.E.C. spent the morning on El Habis. He investigated Dalman’s 2nd sanctuary, and its precincts, finding what seems to be a larger cult centre than Dalman supposed, and possibly the earliest in Petra. To the N. and higher up is another altar court, which seems not to have been seen by Dalman 1 The chambers along the southern slope of the hill are partly houses and partly tombs, in some cases a tomb and a house being side by side. The tombs, in some cases a tomb and a house being side by side. The tombs have ornamented facades and the houses are plain. Close to the second sanctuary there are many tombs. In the afternoon he found a long artificially made terrace, also probably connected with the sanctuary and above it to the E. (this was later identified as a water catchment area). A.E.C., after some searching, found the way to the top of El Habis, the acropolis of Petra, on which are the walls of a castle, generally supposed to be a Crusading, and outlining the summit. In one portion are two complete arrow-shoots. She looked down from it onto the southern peak of El Habis, on which is Dalman’s 1st sanctuary, a huge rock-hewn altar.2 She spent the afternoon trying to find the way up to this peak, but without success. A piece of mediaeval Arab pottery (about the time of Saladin) was found on the southern side of El Habis.
Mr Horsfield and all the men worked all day long preparing the Camp. Mr Horsfield explored the rock chambers above the Camp, some of which have crosses on the walls. The tooling on the walls of all the caves seemed to A.E.C. to be similar to the remains of tooling in the limestone caves of Beit Jabrin in Palestine.
The whole of El Habis is unplanned and should be done – only the 2 actual sanctuaries have been sketched by Dalman.
[Footnote] 1. Later rejected as a sanctuary.
[Footnote] 2. Later identified as a quarry
Reference: [unsigned, but probably Conway, A.] 1929 (transcribed by A. Thornton). Petra Exploration Fund Diary. "Business Papers to be Kept", Horsfield Collection Box 8, UCL Institute of Archaeology, 24 March: 3-5.
[probably by Agnes Conway]
Mr Horsfield spent the day completing Camp arrangements, and all the party moved in in the afternoon and slept there.
In a morning of 5 ½ hours Dr Nielsen and A.E.C. visited the Tomb of the Urn, and felt certain that it had originally been a Temple (later decided it was a tomb); and was transformed into a church by making 3 apses out of the 6 Nabataean (tomb) recesses, as suggested by Irby and Mangles. They first tried to climb El Hubta by a staircase which led to El Ramleh, and noticed several places of cult by the way which do not seem to have been described by Dalman1.
They then found a direct way up El Hubta and investigated the sanctuaries along the N.W. wall, described by Dalman, which form an elaborate cult centre. Byzantine pottery was found on the Watch Tower. A.E.C. climbed the most southerly lump and copied an inscription of 6 letters, looking like 1916. The language not identified 2.
She was struck by the interesting views from that point, of El Ramleh from above with staircases and places of cult; of Zibb Atub with both obelisks and the castle clearly visible; and of Al Bijara, with what looked like artificial work on top, and decided to take telephoto photographs from that point if possible. A plane-table map of the top should be made, as it was left out by Brunnow, and Dalman merely deals with the individual sanctuaries.
[Footnote] 1. These are quarry cutting remains
[Footnote] 2. Nabataean
Reference: [unsigned, but probably Conway, A.] 1929 (transcribed by A. Thornton). Petra Exploration Fund Diary. "Business Papers to be Kept", Horsfield Collection Box 8, UCL Institute of Archaeology, 25 March: 5-6.
[by Agnes Conway and George Horsfield]
Dr. Nielsen spent the day working at the Sanctuaries on El Habis, and felt that he had discovered enough in one morning to justify his journey. This complex of cult monuments, all orientated to the west, seem to him to be the earliest Arabian sanctuaries, circa the 2nd millennium B.C. He thinks that the bulls heads on the so-called “pulpit” and the cone shaped top, somewhat resembling a coil, of snakes, are of human workmanship, though much weathered. (He turned this down afterwards). A.E.C. spent the morning and afternoon exploring the Wady El Tughra. Below El Habis, S of the sanctuaries, she found what might almost be called a cemetery of shaft graves, some leading into large tomb chambers below. All were of solid construction and considerable depth, but the roofs in all cases had gone and the contents were rifled. One shaft grave had 3 small detached obelisks near it, and the holes for the bases stood at the head of the grave 1. The graves on the opposite side of the Wady under El Bijara are much later. Two sumptuous Nabataean temple graves have later partition walls of large stones, regularly built (prob. Bedouin?). One large tomb with a niche for a single grave has only a small hole knocked out of the slab and might be worth exploring for its contents.
Following the Wady southwards a large irregular lump of sandstone in the middle (the Kegelberg) is also a collection of shaft graves, and further on on the western side are a few shaft graves in front of some of the largest Hellenistic tombs. The green plateau between the Wady and the W. face of El Biijara is a mass of large worked stones, probably Greco-Roman and looked to her like remains of the town.
Where the Wady en Mer runs into the Wady el Tughra are a few rock-hewn caves, almost entirely silted up with sand, which might be worth excavation.
G. H. started digging in mound S.W. Zubb Pharoon [sic], on the part that lies above Dalmans [sic] “Byzantine” Wall. It is covered with Byzantine pottery but the steps cut in the side of the mound produced very little. The mound in this part is composed of sand and a certain amount of burnt debris, probably from wood fires, but contained no charcoal. The sand is loose and the digging had to be done with caution for fear of a land slide.
In the afternoon moved further South, where the debris is deep, and higher up the mound, which is apparently surmounted by a fortified wall which is not shown in Dalman’s plan. It breaks out from the Byzantine wall then turns until it meets the rock, with a shaft tomb. Below this lies another with slabs in place, one being broken so that you can peer in. It is partially filled with debris, and seems to have a chamber on either side.
The pottery finds were poor, but a deep cutting may be interesting. The evidence so far obtained points to the wall being pre-Byzantine, as it is buried in debris of this period.
Today the Camp was finished. It is situated in the Wadi Deir, in caves on both sides. In the West is the cookhouse, Living Room, W.C. and stables, and beyond a Bathroom. Dr Nielsen and Miss Conway are accommodated in tents. On the East is the Guardroom, which is also used as a Store House; adjoining is a small cave for G.H. and next door is the Guest Room. It is fairly compact, and the guard room covers all points of approach.
Many deficiencies have been discovered in the equipment, which was reduced as much as possible. These are being taken in hand, and Thos. Cook and Son’s camp, in the person of the Manager, has been most helpful. It is impossible to buy anything at Elgi, except the poorest things. No vegetables are obtainable. Milk is procurable. Chickens and sheep have to be got from the Arabs some miles away. Arrangements are beginning to work, so that all the attention of the Expedition may be given to the work of exploration.
[Footnote]: 1. These are probably not holes for obelisks, but the ordinary ones for offerings. Mr Horsfield excavated these shaft graves later on.
Reference: [unsigned, but by Agnes Conway and George Horsfield] 1929 (transcribed by A. Thornton). Petra Exploration Fund Diary. "Business Papers to be Kept", Horsfield Collection Box 8, UCL Institute of Archaeology, 26 March: 6-9.
[By George Horsfield and probably Agnes Conway]
Continued the dig on Zibb Pharaoun [sic], but it continues to be very uninteresting and contains very little pottery beyond that lying on and 15 centimetres below the surface. Found two styloes [sic] a model of a camel in part, and two fragments of crude pottery of a type not turned up before. The trench has been driven forward, and works more easily with the increase of room.
Another dump of town rubbish has been found with the aid of one of the workmen, on the bank of the Wadi Matahar, which looks promising and will be taken in its turn. Most of the site looks shallow, but as soon as the workmen are more used to organised work an attempt must be made on parts which offer difficulties greater than the carting away of sandy earth. Explored the Wadi Siyagh to a quarter of a mile below the Spring. At the angle of the shaft turn is the remains of a building. The sides have been quarried at many points on the surrounding cliffs, probably the source of the stone for the city buildings.
Many toe and finger ladders have been cut in the sides.
Visited many parts of the site in search of points to dig trial pits.
The material and food lacking and previously ordered through Thomas Cook’s agent has in a large measure arrived, so that the worry of trying to buy small quantities, which could only be found at a price and bought with persuasion, is ended.
The men and soldiers brought with us are all pulling well together; order is brought into the arrangement of the Camp and the food supply is sufficient.
A.E.C. explored part of the ridge W. of the Wady el Ma’aisera at Sharkiyah in the morning, and found a great number of cult sites and 3 definite houses, one of 2 stories with a first floor staircase, and another with a low enclosure wall in front plastered in the same way as the chamber. This was joined to another house by a tunnel, and a staircase by the side seems to lead to the private altar 1. She climbed to the highest points all along the ridge, and found the most interesting monuments at the very top – the views down on to the parallel western ridge of the Wady Ma’aiserat el Sharkiyah displayed a wide range of tombs of different types, and this area was visited in the afternoon and proved to be nothing but a necropolis – of shaft graves, shallow graves for sarcophagi, and tomb chambers. There were 4 tomb groups of great interest. In one case a shaft grave communicated with the chamber of a large Hellenistic tomb facade. All seem to be empty. How far these monuments are undescribed she does not yet know, but thinks that Brunnow and Dalman may have made all their observations from lower down the hillside, from which point the interesting monuments at the top are invisible.
Dr Nielsen continued his work on the sanctuaries of El Habis.
[Footnote] 1. (The last two are cisterns). The “private altar” is a water catchment area.
Reference: Horsfield, G [and probably Conway, A]. 1929 (transcribed by A. Thornton). Petra Exploration Fund Diary. "Business Papers to be Kept", Horsfield Collection Box 8, UCL Institute of Archaeology, 27 March: 9-11.
[by Agnes Conway and George Horsfield]
A.E.C. spent the morning with Mr. Horsfield on the N.W. ridge of Wady el Ma’aisera el Sharkiyah revisiting the monuments seen yesterday. He pronounced the house with a 1st floor staircase to be a tomb copying a house. (A.E.C. at end thinks it is a house). Near it is a small shrine with 2 half moon niches not observed yesterday. The room with the low enclosure wall opposite is probably a cistern, possibly Byzantine, made in an entire tomb. The plaster is waterproof, of the kind that would be made to-day and the chamber is plastered to the probable water-level. A channel for the water leads into the next chamber, also a cistern, probably converted from a tomb. The water is gathered above, on the top of the hill, in the face of which the cisterns were made, and the gathering place is what I yesterday mistook for a cult site. We crossed the Wady and went to the north side of the Hellenistic tomb to the ridge on the W. of the Wady Turkamaniya to see the High Place observed from a distance yesterday, which the Bdûl called a “madhbar” and which Mr Horsfield agrees is a cult site and nothing to do with water-works. (Dalman – El Ma’aisera IV)1[Footnote: “1. Identified later as a house”]. From it another cult site of steps leading to a circular “snake” (possibly a phallic object) observed yesterday can be seen. (Dalman – El M. III). Behind the madhbar, a large carefully worked stone hall was called by the Bdûl a “jami” and may have been used in connection with the madhbar. (Both of them formed one house). The upshot of the morning was to emphasize the importance of cisterns and gathering places for rain water on the tops of the ridges and to exhaust that possibility before identifying any of the high squared terraces with water channels as cult sites. The double court with a built hall observed yesterday, is also a cistern, probably Byzantine.
G.Horsfield. The digging proceeded to-day with 15 men – a slight improvement has taken place in their performance, but it will take some time to break them in to organised labour.
The trench has been driven further into the mount and has struck on one side the top of the rock scarp which is seen below – which shows that the lower lying bed is shallow. The type of pottery coming from the lower level is coarse, but is mixed with finer kinds.
[sic] turned up with a Roman mode of dressing the hair. The pottery is small in quantity and found scattered about and not in beds.
The men are dissatisfied with the rate of pay and walked off in a body from the pay table. This was expected, as they have an exaggerated idea of their services, and of the ability of the Pst. [sic] Ex. Fund to pay. They are to be paid in five grades, beginning at 70 mils. One trouble is that Turkish money is still current, and the payment is made in Palestine, which they have hardly seen and do not understand. They are ignorant and very poor and miserable, but if we pay too much to start with, it only means future trouble. Eventually the rate will be the same as in Palestine.
Dr Canaan arrived today and is taking in hand the collection of all the names of the Wadis, Tombs and Mountains – so that they may be compared with the various maps and plans, which cause constant confusion when questioning the local Arabs, by variations.
Reference: [Conway, A. and Horsfield G.] 1929 (transcribed by A. Thornton). Petra Exploration Fund Diary. "Business Papers to be Kept", Horsfield Collection Box 8, UCL Institute of Archaeology, 28 March: 11-13.
[By Agnes Conway]
The day, being a Friday, was a holiday from the dig.
Dr Canaan began his work on local place names, which he is deriving from the local Bedouins, especially the Bdûl, and took one with him to the Deir. He also began a collection of local flora to get the local names.
Dr Nielsen and A.E.C. went up the Wady Turkamaniya to a hill at Idhra’ al Hisha which commands a superb view of the whole city area of Petra and the great mountain circle. The circle at the top of the hill is outlined with enormous stones and was thought by them to be the northern fort of Petra (First discovery of Megalithic circle). They visited the Turkamaniya Tomb and the sanctuary visited yesterday, which turns out to be Dalman’s Ma’aisera Sanctuary No 4. They compared Dalman’s plan on the spot, and considered some of it a romance.
Mr Horsfield and A.E.C. went in the afternoon over part of the same ground and decided to dig out the 2 sarcophagi in the vault of the Turkamaniya tomb. Mr Horsfield noticed 2 stone coffins at the bottom of the Turkamaniya Wady, opposite the Tomb, under 10 ft of deposit, which may be very early and unrifled. (Xtian)
The stone circle at the top of the hill, unhewn and very small for a fort, he thought might turn out to be the enclosure wall of a very early sanctuary, as a worn away rock inside might conceivably be an early alter and is on the most dominating site in Petra. A.E.C. decided to take telephoto plates of the views in every direction to make a panorama of the Petra basin. They walked down to the Wady Mataba where a wall of large stones built on no foundations canalized the Wady – they followed up lengths of wall as far as the Nymphaeum, all of which represent important problems as the fortification of Petra.
Dr Nielsen continued his work on the Sanctuaries on El Habis.
Reference: Conway, A. 1929 (transcribed by A. Thornton). Petra Exploration Fund Diary. "Business Papers to be Kept", Horsfield Collection Box 8, UCL Institute of Archaeology, 29 March: 14-15.
[probably by Agnes Conway and] by George Horsfield
A.E.C. took Mr Horsfield to see 3 silted up caves above the Wady Farasa, which may be worth digging at to see if they are early. He also investigated Dr Nielsen’s El Habis sanctuaries and climbed a mountain at the back of Wady Ed Deir and our Camp, to copy a new Nabataean inscription found by his Circassian Inspector, Ali, at the very top.
Dr. Canaan covered a large area identifying place-names. A.E.C. and Dr. Nielsen went up the Ma’aisera again. She worked through Dalman’s Sanctuary No. III, which seems the most complete and interesting of them all, and was delighted with the long terrace on the edge of the Ma’aisera El Garbiyah which looks like the esplanade of a great Italian city.
March 30. G. Horsfield
No digging was done as the workmen failed to turn up. Saw the Sheikh Bashir and it seems to be his doing, as he wants to collect his share of the plunder. I informed him that I was indifferent whether they came or not. Explored the mountain on the W side of Wadi Deir over the Camp with Ali, and copied in part the Nabataean inscription which Ali found the other day. My transcription was poor and the inscription deteriorated, so Dr Nielsen was not able to make it out.
The excavators from Doura (on the Euphrates), Mr and Mrs Hopkins and Mr Johnstone, arrived about 7.30 p.m. in search of a cave for the night with a letter from Alright [sic] of the American School. Gave them a table and a corner of the living area – which is a nuisance for the rest of the party, though they in no way interfere with us except by their presence. We have decided to clear out another cave on the other side, which will do to put up chance visitors who will have the benefit of the guards and complete independence.
Reference: [probably Conway, A. and] Horsfield, G. 1929. Petra Exploration Fund Diary. "Business Papers to be Kept", Horsfield Collection Box 8, UCL Institute of Archaeology, 30 March: 15-16.