[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 George Horsfield and possibly Agnes Conway]
Dug at B. v C. to east of Ez Zantour. The pottery similar to that from a 1st cent [? In pencil] at lower level. This part of the city must have been abandoned at this period. And lies S. of Dalman’s Byzantine wall.
Spent the morning with Miss C. in El Farasa E. and El Farasa W. exploring tombs.
Dug out three tombs that Miss C discovered in Farasa W., moved much filth from two niches – tombs unexcavated – the other had been excavated but yielded nothing but mutton bones and sheep manure. In Farasa W. saw other niches high up in right hand tombs which may contain something – all accessible ones have been visited by local Arabs.
Saw interesting cistern found by Mahmud on top of Garden Tomb with a vaulted chamber beyond. Hall of fluted columns visited; corrected plan and made notes in Weygand. The horizontal slit on front looks as though it were intended to spring vault from. Saw new type of Tomb; a low chamber with small square door high up in the wall; one on other side of Wady, - half of which has been cut away – exposing section. Have discovered meaning of the horizontal slits in walls – they are to spring arches from; then the interval is covered with slabs to form roof.
At dig in the afternoon – worked quite well – Ali and Arif at one each; spent rest of afternoon in finding N Wall – in which I was successful – but it is very different to Dalman. Cook complains of being roasted – must put shelter over kitchen. A.E.C. went to the Edomite High Place in afternoon and took 3 panorama photographs with the ½ plate camera.
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, 8 April: 28-30.
[By George Horsfield]
Went to El Barid in 1 ½ hours and explored the site and surroundings. The site has Hadrianic monuments and innumerable cisterns and contrivances for catching and holding water. To the west is a stair in a nick in the rock which is almost blocked at the top; beyond it descends into the Wadi which falls to the West. Higher up east is another which falls S.W., so this is the head of the Water shed. To the East outside are many Bedouin graves outlined with stones and 2 built ones – one of which was roughly roofed in – with a small low door to W. This area has apparently been built on – all the rocks surrounding contain cisterns – some of large size. There are extensive quarries and the stone seems of good quality and similar to that used in the 2nd century Petra buildings. To the North is a wider wadi which has the remains of walls extending the whole width one behind the other – on North side is a building and another in the NW Angle: the second court or serai is approached from the E. side and a wall cuts off a passage about 5 m. wide towards the cliff. Probably a caravanserai for camels and pack mules for bringing stones to Petra.
At 11.15 Drifullah brought news of an accident to one of the workmen who had his leg broken at the thigh by a fall of earth. He sat under the working face at the breakfast interval, and a short time before the whistle blew a heavy fall buried him and another man - who escaped injury. Dr Canaan returned; found the man in the police tent at Cooks Camp and set the leg. On my instruction he offered to send the man to Amman to Hospital; it was repeated several times, but he preferred to stay in the village. It is a simple fracture of the thigh. Dr Canaan improvised a stretcher – and the man was carried to his house. The digging continued, the pottery same as before with one inscribed jar handle. The lower depth is being attacked – so the depth is now six metres.
Reference: Horsfield, G. 1929 (transcribed by A. Thornton). Petra Exploration Fund Diary. "Business Papers to be Kept", Horsfield Collection Box 8, UCL Institute of Archaeology, 10 April: 30-31.
[By George Horsfield and probably Agnes Conway]
Visited dig which has progressed fairly and was within 6 m. of Byzantine wall; then went to Upper Farasa Wadi to see Tomb excavations; three were done; all had been cleared out. They are simple shaft tombs with stone slabs resting on ledges immediately over corpse – shaft about one metre deep. This was filled with earth, which had the appearance of never having been disturbed. The stone slaps in one case remained in part in position. Returned to dig which had arrived at wall about 5 ½ m in front of Byzantine wall. On the left was a cistern; broken down on the right, a shapeless mass of stones and earth – which had the appearance of being a foundation; dissected it but was unable to form an opinion as to what it was used for. Immediately in front of wall struck rock, on which foundation of wall rests – which may be a bastion projecting from main wall; it is built of small stones in courses – which seem to be reused material. There are seams of ashes, but very little pottery, which is very mixed; an inscribed jar handle – a sherd of glazed black pottery; a Christian Byzantine lamp, a fragment of a round figured lamp and a piece of glass. Arriving at the rock so soon was surprising as I thought that I was getting in to the “tell” and was expecting to arrive on the foundations of the part of the city lying between the two walls. These have apparently been cleared away or never existed. It is necessary in order to make sure and satisfy scientific curiosity to probe further; but the expectation of finding the town stratifications is gone – at this point.
Visited with Miss C. el Maisera el Garbiyah and saw a quantity of Tombs, one of which, “Hadrianic”1, retained remains of external plaster on its cornice and suggestions of blue and red colour. This is the only Tomb so far found that retains any part of its external plastering, though it has been suspected in many other cases. Miss C. has pointed out three Tombs which she wants to dig out. They are filled with sand and are without any external distinction [? In pencil] – so may fulfil our expectation of being ancient and undisturbed – or at any rate may illustrate something of the Nabataean civilization – of which so far not a trace has been found except on coins. The Mediterranean seems the source of inspiration – Syria supplied the tools, Dabourha [? In pencil] and Dik – which seem to have been used by the stone cutters who carved out some of the Tombs. The Hadrianic Tombs are cut with a pick, which is used with a swinging circular stroke and produces a fine even cutting – the other is more careless and rough. The dating of all these is very difficult, but none seem to have a remote antiquity, as even some of the least classical and flattest in execution have pedimented doors; others have architraves, or small cornice; some of the architraves even develop ears at the top. So it would appear that the flat type with strings and very small stepped gables – sometimes with ornamented portals, were just as liable to be produced as well as the developed classical type. In the same way archaeologists will be mystified to find in English churches “15thcentury monuments” and early Victorian all stuck on the same wall, possibly executed by the same hand. The pick strokes do indicate that there was a difference[, in pencil] in time in some cases – but all cases may be found in contradiction [? In pencil] – so that a conclusion from this method of analysis is liable to error. The only means of correct dating is by digging.
A. E. C. spent the morning examining the monuments on the East, opposite the theatre. The lower two tiers all appear to be houses, and one is large, with 7 rooms and a large hall, and probably a cistern underneath. The area seems originally to have been a tomb area, and several shaft graves remain at that level. When the theatre was made the houses may have been built too, as they all seem late and of excellent workmanship. The upper tiers are graves, with the doubtful exception of Br 812, which is a triclinium with a house façade, into which three large grave niches may have been inserted at the time the large neighbouring tomb was built. Brunnow has paid no attention whatever to the house levels.
Behind these houses on the top terrace is a row of silted up graves; but these are more likely to have been rifled than those in the Wady Ma’aisera el Gharbiyah. Dr Nielsen and Dr Canaan spent the day at Elji, where they found a new (?) Nabataean inscription and saw several classical fragments built into the village houses.
[Footnote] 1. Like Madain Salih Tomb, 8 A.D.
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, 16 April, Part 2: 37-40.
[By George Horsfield]
To Sabra starting at 7.0 a.m.; arrived at 8.30 a.m.; via Wadi Tughra to top of watershed. Road horrible most of the way, especially descent into Wady. Found theatre, of which only a very small part remains on the right hand side with a water pool high up at the back – higher up still could see, through a crack in the mountain, view of trees and a catchment area. It is on the left bank of Wady; lower down water was found flowing in bed of Wady
Examined ruins on right bank; very mutilated and fallen down; saw sections of pillars and bases and piles of stones. The houses extended some distance up stream - was unable to decide on nature of buildings; part of one which stands at back on rock has base of large stones. Ali Burass produced a fragment of half smelted copper ore intermingled with charcoal; further search produced a piece of copper ore and many other fragments of black refuse which had been fused by fire. Hunted for furnaces; found piles of ashes among stones lying at foot of ruin built on rock. Evidently there is a copper mine somewhere in neighbourhood, but such search as we were able to make at the foot of the mountain was ineffective. Found also what we thought was iron pyrites (reddle). The place evidently was used for smelting copper found somewhere in the neighbourhood. The buildings are all “classical” and seem to date from about end of 2nd century A.D. Found no tombs; they must exist. I looked on all sides for roads – but could find not the slightest indication of one anywhere.
[? In pencil] The Wadi is all right except at the head. The “fort” at the head of Wadi Tughra is evidently the remains of a village; has cisterns cut in the rock and the remains of field walls and terraces. The descent into Petra is equally lacking in a road; the going is rough. Two of the horses cast their shoes.
Reference: Horsfield, G. 1929 (transcribed by A. Thornton). Petra Exploration Fund Diary. "Business Papers to be Kept", Horsfield Collection Box 8, UCL Institute of Archaeology, 17 April: 40-42.
[by George Horsfield and probably Agnes Conway]
Transferred the digging to Ma’aisera to two caves, which were silted up nearly to the top. No. 1. which was about 30 [? In pencil] m. higher than the other, up the Hill showed a broken doorway and part of the roof. It was full of stones and earth and measured 2 m. x 2.75 m. and 2.50 m. high. Digging in front brought to light the floor of a chamber (?) the side and front walls of which had disappeared[.] The floor was deeply chased and against the outside wall of the inner chamber parallel to it, ran a double chase, with a wall of 15 centimetres between. The chases ran on the floor at right angles, roughly dividing it into squares, but unequally and irregularly. It looked as though it was in process of being quarried. Very little pottery. Top Byzantine and the rest of the same type; say 2nd and 3rdcenturies, with a glazed base of a vase. In the inner chamber inside at the floor level on the right, were found two small vases of plain red ware, one a sort of juglet with a handle and the other a small vase with a swollen out body rising from a ring base. There were no signs of a burial and the primary use of the cave (?) was left undecided. On the right above the roof and 50 cents. away from the inner wall was a cutting that looked like a shaft grave. When cleared, it was 65 cents. deep and contained nothing but earth and stones. No. 2. is larger and consists of an outer and an inner chamber, with a recess, and is situated about 3 m. above the Wadi bed. The inner chamber has a roof which has partly fallen in; the blocks lay on the surface and were half buried. The entrance has worked blocks of stone placed to form jambs; and part of a moulded architrave, very rough and worn, was found nearby. Outside, at 75 cents. below surface, are remains of a kitchen midden, the surface of which only has so far been touched. The pottery is fragmentary and Byzantine on the surface, mixed with sandy earth and stones. The inner room is filled with earth and stones and has produced no pottery so far.
No. 3. lies on left of No. 2. and has only just been attacked. It shows a recess with a roof, part of which has fallen in and blocks the entrance. So far nothing but a little Byzantine pottery has been found on and below (50 cents.) the surface.
The ledge above, which is wide and continuously sloping upwards, has fragments of pottery scattered over its surface, some of which is ribbed, some plain. Whether these caves – or grottoes – are domestic or funerary is at present not apparent.
A.E.C. followed the right bank of the Ma’aisera el Gharbiyah to the end of the town. The upper levels appear to have been covered with houses, some of which were later turned into tombs. The whole area is now considered by Mr. Horsfield to be the earliest part of Petra; possibly the unwalled city of Strabo’s time. She went to the Siyagh with Dr. Nielsen in the afternoon, and was struck by the immense number of houses, up to 4 stories, on each side of what must have been a real town street. Houses are now appearing quite common! She went to a high level on the N. side where cisterns and quarries have made what Dalman considers a sanctuary, but incomprehensible at the moment.
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, 20 April: 45-48.
[by George Horsfield and possibly Agnes Conway]
Went on clearing Triple Dushara Tomb. In one case all the covering slabs were in position – the grave above these was filled nearly to ground level with lime concrete – on removing sand (slab?) – found grave full of red sand: on removing slowly and with extreme care centimetre by centimetre, found a layer of lime down centre of grave and extending to sides but not completely filling grave at this level – it was compact and smooth. Scraping thus away came on black calcined substance which was not very thick – possessed no shape, and whose depth was difficult to estimate. In it were fragments of bone – friable and dry. Scraping thus away came on more lime and eventually to sand again. At one end was a large piece of stone. This grave I have numbered No. 3.
No. 2 was of the same order, but was completely calcined without a fragment of bone. Of this a sample was obtained and put in a jar – found in another place – for future investigation. This explains the absence of remains found in other graves examined – which evidenced (“ashes”) calcined remains and which at the time were not understood – in spite of the lime – which was thought to be accidental and probably rubbish thrown in. All the deep graves, five in the Triple Dushara, gave the same evidence, but only in the one case was the calcinations combustion perfect: of the two other graves – one was empty and the other had the remains of an adult and of a child side by side – divided roughly with stones. This grave was shallow and lay at right angles inside a pair of the others – that is, between two ends and the inside wall.
Now working at shafts in neighbourhood – front and sides of same tomb – finding Byzantine pottery and in one a welter of bones thrown in anyhow – some of which have a burnt appearance. This shaft leads to an interior chamber not yet cleared. Byzantine pottery was found with bones in shaft. Tomb next door Triple Dushara cleared and seemed same type, but had been disturbed – graves shallow and same type as empty one in T.D. modern coffin shape and shallow, divided by thin walls – no evidence of covering slabs.
Clearing out the Tombs above T.D. with low Assyrian facades. They are plain and square – work proceeding. No other graves have brought anything to light. There is an entire absence of pottery until Byzantine period – all of which is of a domestic character.
A.E.C. spent the morning with Dr. Neilsen photographing the tiny Roman? houses in the Klausenschluct and going to the Deir. The building that looked like a fort is much more likely to be a Byzantine dwelling. It is built of large and small stones very roughly, is high up against the cliff, on which are cut four Greek crosses, and has small windows like arrow-shoots. There are two Nestorian crosses and one Greek cross on the small two-storied house, and the whole quarter may in Byzantine times have been lived in by Christians. This is Br 460, who gives the Christian inscriptions inside and calls it a hermitage. A large cistern, seemingly Byzantine, is near the houses.
All the buildings on the Deir plateau, forming Dalman’s seven sanctuaries, seem to be houses. There was not time to finish examining these. In Dalman, No. 506, the finish of the black tooling, with a black border around it, resembles the best finished Roman tomb by the bottom of the western Ma’aisera wady, and the four obelisk Tomb and the one below it.
Took five Edomite High Place ½ plate panoramas in the afternoon.
Reference: Horsfield, G. 1929. [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, 27 April: 56-59.
[possibly Agnes Conway]
A.E.C. and Dr Nielsen went to Zibb Atup [sic] with 3 men to dig out the cistern. It proved to be full of water, so after they had baled it out they went away, as it was impossible to retrieve any pottery from the mud. She and Dr Nielsen visited the quarry, agreeing that the obelisks had nothing to do with the Sanctuary. A.E.C. photographed the Byzantine pots and found two cisterns on the E side towards which the baled out water had poured. They returned by the N. route; Dalman’s Processional Way; but had to be carried by Mahmud to the 2nd terrace, where the snake shrine is, and again to ground level. Dr Nielsen revised his view of the moon-shrine and thinks it too far from Zibb Atup [sic] to have anything to do with the Sanctuary. A.E.C. photographed all the afternoon from the Edomite High Place.
Reference: [unsigned, 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, 2 May Part 2: 65-66.
[possibly by Agnes Conway]
Photographed the Siyagh from El Habis, El Habis from El Ma’aisera and the Deir ridge from the latter. It takes almost a whole morning to take 6 half-plate photographs in different places if it entails setting the thing up afresh each time.
To the Deir in the afternoon, looking at the Roman houses and cisterns and grasping that the Temple is not a tomb, but has the outline of a horned altar in the niche. The water channel from the Mountains that feed the row of cisterns is the largest I have seen in Petra. Dalman’s so-called sanctuary No. 496, which looked like a grave in the distance, is a Syrian arched entrance to a trichinium with a Roman horned altar on the left. I imagine it must be a house, and is the only one I know with an arched entrance in Petra. The view over the Ghor at sunset was clear and all the Sinai peninsular visible to me for the first time. The light beyond the black Siyagh was extra-ordinarily beautiful.
Reference: [unsigned, 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, 3 May Part 2: 66-67.