[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.