[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]
A.E.C. spent the morning on Al-Ma’aisera looking at all the tombs leading to the watch-room overlooking the barred Wady Marras Hamdan outside the town. The tombs are particularly small, and there are many niches with facades too small for tombs. When above the Turkomanya Wady, I saw a line of camels which turned out to the be the last of 300 or so, which had come from Hayil, a 20 days’ journey, with 50 Wahabis to look after them. From Ma’an they went by Ain Hai and ain Khraje to El Barid, where they slept last night. They went out by El Thughra on the way to Akaba and a 5 days’ journey to Egypt to sell the camels. They said the Star Pass was too hard on the camels legs and so was the Siq. This seems to imply that El Barid may have been the last station on the way to Petra on the Southern and Eastern Trade Routes, as well as the first station from Petra on the way to Gaza. It was a first hand demonstration of the Trade Routes that we never could have hoped for, and a very fine spectacle. The afternoon went on shopping chores and consultations with Mr Read [Head] about my camera. The “Sybil” focus is all wrong and impossible to use.
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, 12 April: 33.