[by George Horsfield and possibly Agnes Conway]
No. 2 cave continues being cleared in the inner room which has gone more rapidly. No. 3. is cleared except for the floor – a bench of stone about 80 cents. wide existed on right side apparently running the whole length. There is a channel in rear wall to fix it in. The niche at back proves to be only 45 cents deep – purpose unknown. No more pottery.
Began to dig two shaft tombs on Ma’aisera plateau – one was entered from a hole on a corner without touching shaft – Byzantine pottery fragments and nothing else so far. This No. 2. The other shaft No. 1. was filled to the brim with earth. This being cleared to 1 metre disclosed side chamber. On entering found about 10 skulls in disorder on the floor, a mass of bones – 2 pots in a corner – another near a corpse on right side and a Byzantine pot. A lot of pots came out of the shaft – including base of Rabbit Thyton with stone metal eyes – the head of a female with a hook nose – an open mouth and a crescent moon bound on her forehead. Small pots, lamps etc.
A.E.C. climbed El Biyara in the morning, passing a terrace with 3 Dushara niches (given by Dalman as a sanctuary) and then going by two great inclined planes in the rock like the entrance to El Hubta. Above these, right out in the open, is a charming country house of two rooms and a terrace, with a superb view. Steps go all the way to the top, which is a long flat plateau with remains of squared stone ruins all over it, flat with the ground. I could not date them at all. The surface pottery is Byzantine, Greco-Roman, and some very rough stuff, possibly bronze age? There are six enormous cisterns; large round openings in the ground, going down deep and with stones, in some cases squared, that have fallen in from the top. Near the Arabah side of the hill and close up against another hill for shelter, is a rounded topped cave with an early plain door; date unknown. The whole hill was evidently a fastness [sic], and commands the whole country; the views are superb. The easy route from Elji to El Barid is clearly visible and the spur from it that would lead to the Edomite High Place – the first ridge of El Ma’aisera is seen absolutely crammed with buildings, the other ridges by contrast, looking quite empty. A big quarried valley seemed to lead N out of the Siyagh; the last course of the Wady Musa, through black spiky rocks, looked magnificent.
Reference: Horsfield, G. [and possibly 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 April: 52-53.
[by George Horsfield and possibly Agnes Conway]
Completed Cave No. 2. which shows only intrusive burials. The back recess is divided in two, the left being larger and slightly deeper – this had one burial, accompanied by a number of small bells which look as though they belonged to camel trappings cylindrical in shape. The shallower niche had a variety of bones including four jaw bones. One burial seemed more complete and between the knees was found a Byzantine bottle with a long neck. A shaft grave was found on right side against wall and was covered by two slabs of scaly sandstone at the upper end – the lower being open. The neck and part of the body of a large Byzantine pot was found under the slab, and the remains of bones in the sand which filled the hole completely. 70 cents down is a groove on both sides extending all the length – which indicates that it was made for more than one occupant. What is under is awaiting excavation. Tomb No. 1 (in front of Triple Dushara) was worked on and yielded more Byzantine pottery. It contains 13 skulls and a mass of bones which are all mixed up together – suggesting that these people had taken refuge in this tomb and eventually died there. The reason not apparent. The pottery is Byzantine and seems to have contained food. A bottle with long neck and handle blackened with [blank] seems an intrusion as it lay on the sand fallen down shafts. Tomb No 2 is cleared to the floor. Lamps, small bowls and some fragments of thin painted pottery turned up [original emphasis]. At the floor level are apparently 4 graves covered with stone slabs awaiting investigation.
No 3. shaft has disclosed a chamber – but is full to brim with earth work proceeding – nothing found.
Cleared five simple shafts farther to south – found nothing but a mass of stones and broken bones in one – others empty. They were of same type as those in Farasa east, with stone slabs some 60 cents. above corpse – and probably filled in with earth to top.
A.E.C. photographed in the Edomite High Place; watched the dig at tomb No 2, (1?) and found a Byzantine cistern on El Ma’aisera made out of an early tomb. She went with Dr. Nielsen in the afternoon to the Kataar el Deir and the Klausenschluct, finding Dalman’s 2 sanctuaries after a great deal of trouble. These are country houses, with niches, water-basins and grottoes; once more a charming country suburb, probably Roman like the Deir. The houses are unusually small, but cut out of the best white sand stone, the dressing of which might have been done yesterday and looks like the finest plaster. On the top of the Hill E. of the road to the Deir from the Klausenschluct, is what may be the remains of a fort with a lot of built stone. Above it are 3 Greek crosses.
Reference: Horsfield, G. [and possibly 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 April: 53-55.
By George Horsfield [and possibly Agnes Conway]
Cleared out the “Tomb” House Triple Dushara and found seven graves which had been broken into but retained in part covering slabs, found bones and burnt ashes with them – but no objects or pottery. They seemed undisturbed below surface.
Cleared several shaft graves in vicinity to South – found nothing. One is SW side of Terrace 200 ms. away had mass of bones – human and animal – at the bottom one pot with rim base – of 1st century?
Tombs Nos 1, 2, 3 went on being cleared. Nothing was found in graves. No. 2 had four and was filled with kitchen debris. No. 3 is partly clear but a number of graves not known.
So far the evidence obtained gives no indication of Ma’aisera’s age nor character of occupants. Triple Dushara tomb promised well but nothing but very crude burials so far found.
All the other Tombs so far examined yielded nothing. The pottery from No 1 all Byzantine?
A.E.C. spent the whole morning in grilling sun wearily taking 6 panorama photographs from the Edomite High Place. She visited the dig in the afternoon and the second ridge of El Ma’aisera, puzzling over Dalman’s sanctuary No. 2, which seemed to her a water collecting place and quarry block accidentally left on the roof. But the lower story is also puzzling, as the staircase goes to the roof and gives no access to the 1st floor room with niches. The three huge white stone buildings on this dominating white terrace are unique in Petra, but so much destroyed as to be unfathomable at present. She visited the valley from the Siyagh seen from el Biyara, which proved to be merely a wady with nothing in it and very short.
Reference: Horsfield, G. [and possibly 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 April: 55-56.
[by George Horsfield and possibly Agnes Conway]
In excavating shaft grave the 3rd down in front of Triple Dushara Tomb – certain pots were found when the shaft was excavated - this being full of sand and stones. The chamber is nearly full to the roof with sand – it is about 2 m. high. In the centre 50 cents. above the floor has been found a “charred” mass of bones and on top pots – evidently a burial with offerings?
The pots – some of them have been found before – but this is the first group – we have examined 47 graves up to date and 3 have given evidence of an undisturbed burial while the rest gave indication of the method employed.
AEC and Dr Nielsen climbed Jebel en Mer in the morning. The stairs are in fairly good preservation, but very small; not comparable to those up El Hubta or el Biyara, and we were both unable to see why Jebel en Mer should have been called a special holy mountain. (It wasn’t)! There is not even one Dushara niche on it! Dalman’s 1st sanctuary consists merely of two water basins to catch water from the mountain, opposite a small cave with a made door. On the way up to the terrace on which it is is the small relief of a Roman soldier. The top of the mountain is small in area and strewn with Byzantine pottery. One large cave with remains of a staircase going up to it, has a lot on the ground. The rest of the area, all embraced in Dalman’s sanctuary No. 2, looks merely like a water-collecting system to fill a large Byzantine ? cistern lying below it which has a low curved arch in position. The stones are very large. Some stones lying above the water system may have belonged to a dwelling of some sort, but I could make nothing of it.
Visited the dig in the afternoon and started exploring the ridge behind our camp for the first time. It begins with houses, probably a continuation of the Siyagh quarter, and goes on with tombs, some of which look as though they may have undisturbed burials.
The interest of the find of Nabataean pottery with an undisturbed burial, fired me to write my first letter to Henry Mond.
Reference: Horsfield, G. [and possibly Conway, A.] 1929 (transcribed by A. Thornton). Petra Exploration Fund Diary. "Business Papers to be Kept", Horsfield Collection Box 8, UCL Institute of Archaeology, 28 April: 59-60.
[possibly George Horsfield and Agnes Conway]
Removed from Ma’aisera to Syagh [sic] and cleared two rooms and seven graves and three Tomb chambers – found nothing. Operating on a shaft grave which has produced so far from the shaft a glass bottle – a fragment of lamp – and a piece of pierced stone-diamonds which has probably formed part of a window grill.
Ma’aisera has belied its hoary appearance. It seems certain from the facts and evidence obtained that it dates from near 1 BC or 14 A.D. allowing a margin on either side. The Assyrian Tombs do not seem more ancient. Two arrangements of insides were noticed – a single grave deep and large at the side – which took nearly half floor area – or this in combination with niches at the back for burials, or alone. The Tombs with Dushara symbols (Triple Dushara Tomb) from the fact of cremation were the most interesting – but as no pottery or object was found then date is uncertain – but in the case of others (No. 3 below particularly) a large amount of “burnt” bones was obtained in fragments – and the signs of burning have been noted on several occasions – but never with the conclusive evidence as to means as that obtained in Triple Dushara in five cases.
The use of sand has obtained in every tomb or grave opened which was wholly or partially undisturbed – and the disappearance of the corpse caused the sand to fall and in several cases where the covers were in place there was a space between the sand and the cover.
The burial images were various – the austere Dushara method with nothing – with the symbol carved in the wall above and at its side a lamp niche – or a profusion of common pots – an iron ring and a bronze cylindrical vessel or just a juglet at the feet.
A.E.C. spent the morning photographing in the Farasas; exploring the Wady en Iver [sic], where Dalman calls a room with a horned altar scratched on the walls a sanctuary, and trying in vain to find the inscription to the Divine Obodat at the end of the En Iver [sic] Valley. Neither Brunnow nor Dalman give instructions that can be followed on the spot. Photographed in the Siyagh in the afternoon and went to the dig on El Habis with Mr Horsfield.
Reference: [unsigned, possibly Horsfield, G. and Conway, A.] 1929 (transcribed by A. Thornton). Petra Exploration Fund Diary. "Business Papers to be Kept", Horsfield Collection Box 8, UCL Institute of Archaeology, 1 May: 63-65.
[By Agnes Conway and George Horsfield]
Went with Mr Horsfield to the opening of four graves in a round arched tomb chamber on El Habis – untouched; and photographed the skeletons. The last day’s dig, and all the men were paid off in the afternoon. Photographed and planned the three storied house in the Siyagh.
Opened the four graves in the North Tomb at El Habis. The first lies across the threshold and was covered with flagstones. The others were roughly coffin shaped and were filled in with gravel from Wadi bed. Began on the one nearest to wall inside, which contained nothing but the remains of a skull and some fragment – it was dissected by [blank] but it had never been disturbed. The next was much the same, but produced a few more bones, likewise next. They were all the same in type and equally barren in objects.
The Threshold grave was more interesting – it was much wider and square ended – on removing cover saw it was broken through into tomb under. There were two skeletons side by side, the upper part of right hand was gone, having fallen through hole and the other partly. The grave was full of sand which seemed to have been washed in. On dissection 11 skulls turned up, and underneath top skeletons was a mass of disordered bones and skulls. It had been used as a charnel house, but the last burials were orderly and the cover was sealed with lime mortar. There was not the slightest indication of the age of graves – about 1.00 m above floor on the sand were found a number of pots. The doorway has a certain architectural character but is crude and poorly executed. Not a thing was found on floor level or in the graves. The orientation was E & W. The dead were laid with their feet to the E.
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, 9 May: 72-74.