[By George Horsfield and Agnes Conway]
Went to Ma’an with Arif hassar for money in company with Mahmud Charish. Brought back £200 which I obtained after waiting 3 hours. The digging went on with 25 men without interruption and supervised by Ali Burar.
A.E.C. and Dr. Nielsen went to Al Najr to find Kennedy’s High Place. Approaching it from the back side they could see nothing towards the top that looked worked; but as Difollah shouted down that it was good, AEC was hauled up. The top, which is about 57 yds in length, at first seemed to her a quarry mass only – but gradually it appeared to unfold itself as an altar mass with a gap left in the back wall orientated to the W. At one end is a small niche with a horned altar; at the other a larger niche. It divides itself roughly into 3 terraces, on the middle of which are 4 blocks, beneath what might be a tier of seats on the N edge. On the lower terrace close to the E. precipice, is what might be an altar. A very little pottery of uncertain date is strewn about. Seen from the ground in the E. side is a small projecting platform, upon which there appears to be a similar altar, which must again be investigated from the top. Should it be a High Place a fine view could be had of the sacrifices from the wide open space below which leads up gradually to a tomb area. Dr. Nielsen was unable to climb to the top.
A.E.C. thinks the massif may originally have been a High Place, which was afterwards quarried away to build the city, any staircase approaches being then cut off. Marks of quarry working seem to be clearly visible in the projecting portion on the S., and there are small carvings high up which might be mason’s marks.
In the afternoon A.E.C. walked on the Ma’aisera ridge above the Camp, spotting from above a large built wall inside a cave or tomb, and then going to Kennedy’s fig. 149 to look up the suggestions in his Memorandum.
Dr. Canaan did two big rounds finding place names and collected stories as usual from the Bedu.
Reference: 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 April: 18-20.
[By George Horsfield, Agnes Conway and Tawfiq Canaan]
Spent two hrs. with Dr. Nielsen and Miss Conway in N.W. side of El Habis examining the High Place approaches, also the underlying quarry with its tombs. Spent the rest of the morning at the dig and completed my survey of the South Wall which runs from El Habis to the Castellum in the middle, and is the highest point of the South side of the city, then to the side of Zubb Atuf on the E. In the afternoon cleaned up the high place on El Habis in part; found nothing but sane [sic] and sheep droppings covered with thin grass to a depth of 30 centimetres. Visited the dig and saw the exposed side of the wall which has appeared in it and its junction with the S wall; its outer face, in the fragment exposed, is the same as the wall which limits the Town on the Wadi Farasa. The wall in the dig projects beyond its face and is broken away, which seems to suggest that there was a Tower or at any rate a change in plane of the wall. The pottery is the same and scarce. At the side of the wall inside are the remains of another, crudely built of small shapeless stones, without a foundation, about a meter high. Three Nabataean coins turned up of the common sort with crossed cornucopias which I have often seen and sometimes bought.
I have decided to go to a deeper level and shall proceed to cut off another meter from the front.
A.E.C. spent most of the day making a prismatic compass plan of the circle of old unhewn stones surrounding the rock which she found on March 28th.
J. [sic] B. Canaan: Before noon went through the siq to Wadi-el-Muslin, followed its course and the course of its tributaries up to Wadi-el-Mataha. Made a plan of the Siq, el-Mataha and the surroundings.
Reference: Horsfield, G., [Conway, A.] and Canaan, T. 1929 (transcribed by A Thornton). Petra Exploration Fund Diary. "Business Papers to be Kept", Horsfield Collection Box 8, UCL Institute of Archaeology, 3 April: 21-22.
[By George Horsfield and probably Agnes Conway]
G. H. No work to-day, spent the morning on Ez Zantour making notes, the afternoon on S. end of El Habis visiting the By-Zantine [sic] fort and examining the site lying below – which I discover has at some time been tilled, the evidence being the piles of stones forming rough walls enclosing fields – very much as is found on other sites in T.J. This has happened after the desertion of the site.
A.E.C. went to Dalman’s El Habis Sanctuary No. 1 with Dr. Nielsen, and both agreed that it was nothing but a quarry. It is certainly far earlier than Al Najar, as the markings have worn away; It was perhaps Nabataean and furnished the stone for the old houses on El Habis and possibly the Castle, which Mr. Horsfield thinks at every period must have been the main citadel of Petra – the present ruins he thinks Byzantine or pre-Byzantine. A.E.C. went on to the theatre district to examine the house and tombs, and found tombs of every internal arrangement mixed up together and what seemed like a magnificent house and cistern underground in the middle of them. The sandstone is so weathered that the late types of facades look extremely primitive. In the afternoon she went to the tomb area above the Circassian camp again, and feels it to be far earlier than the Theatre district, even in the sections that face E. and are not weathered. She went to the head of the Wady where the 2 Ma’aiseras meet and thinks that very early caves and tombs may be silted up there.
Reference: Horsfield, G. 1929 [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, 5 April: 23-24.
[By George Horsfield and probably Agnes Conway)
Excavated Miss Conway’s stone circle to the N. Ali in charge.
Dig went on. The stratifications are clearly defined; plenty of house rubbish, mixed with bones, but hardly any pottery – such as is coming out much coarser; mostly cooking pots but occasional pieces of finer sorts. The wall on W side is now showing its foundations, which are only just below the surface and consist of a mass of loose material, carelessly thrown in, seemingly in mud, though the earth in the interstices shows an appearance of lime and poor stuff. The wall I have not dated; it could be Byzantine – but the pottery overlying it is all of the 2nd century – so it must be earlier.
A.E.C. spent the morning with the diggers in her stone circle. At one point on the outside it was dug down to bed rock, 2 ½ metres below the top of the stones. Nothing was found in the earth except charcoal. The ground in front of the central red stone was dug down to the rock and had nothing at all in it, showing that the earth had been filled in to level it when the circle was first built. The gaps in the circle were filled up with underground stones, but the E. end ran in to a black rock, beyond the end of which there was a 6 metre gap. This entrance is in the right place to suit a flight of steps in the sandstone, found by Dr Nielsen – to the S.W. of the circle. She completed the plan in the afternoon, putting in the black and white rocks, which are evidently part of the sanctuary. All agree that this an early sanctuary, probably the earliest building yet found in Petra, and presumably Edomite.
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, 6 April: 25-26.
[probably by Agnes Conway]
A.E.C. and Dr Nielsen spent the day at El Medras, the “Klamm-Heiligurn["] [sic] and Al Kantara, searching for Dalman’s sanctuaries and finding nothing relating to cult. El Medras seems to have been an open country suburb, high and cool, with an unimpeded view to Mount Hor; on this hot day it was breezy and fresh compared with Petra, with air like El Barid, and country of the same sort.
The two great rooms of Nabataean inscriptions (dated by Brunnow 70 B.C. and by Dussaud 17 A.D.) were probably houses; and above the upper complex of so-called cult objects, given in Dalman I (p. 130) is a staircase leading to the S. court with houses, while over another broken down staircase leading out of this courtyard, is another terrace with houses. There are no signs of graves, and the whole of the water complex must have served the houses, as far as I can see, as the rest of the country about is empty. The rock 71 (Dalman I, p. 120) is covered with Dusores niches, but all the other pits seem to be part of the system for collecting water into cisterns and ornamental basins. It looks to me like a charming arrangement of water basins in the shadow of the rock, with a triclinium in the shade where we had lunch, which might have been a place for rich Petraeans to move out to in the summer. There could be no defence. The house fronts, where they still exist, have a door or two side windows. The whole suburb was, I imagine, one of period and design, perhaps 70 B.C. or 17 A.D., like the inscriptions.
From the plateau of El-Hremije we went down the Huraimiya gorge to Dalman’s “Klamheiligturn” [sic]; which is a house of one triclinium, with the complete front preserved in unweathered red sandstone – a door between two windows, like any modern street house. It was plastered and has remains of Nabataean inscriptions, and was dark and cool, with a cistern opposite.
Above it, up the gorge, is an enormous room with a Roman niche. Probably all belonged together and may have been the summer house of a rich Petraean. When the staircase to the Khaznah was unblocked it would not have been far to go, but as a winter house it would have been quite dark and cold.
Dr Nielsen found two sanctuaries in El Kantara (Dalman’s) in which he did not believe.
A curious thing is that all the rooms seen to-day were covered with Arab graffiti as well as Nabataean inscriptions.
Reference: [unsigned, 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, 14 April: 34-36.
[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 and Agnes Conway]
Visited dig first thing. Have decided to abandon it, as it is impossible to find anything further. Several wine jar handles inscribed turned up; also part of a small polished black lamp which seems to be the prototype of the inexplicable ugly one produced locally. Found another tomb exactly the same as before, but opened it without allowing much earth to enter. The corpse lay straight on its back with hands crossed on stomach; very crumbly; bones and all fell in bits when disturbed. No objects.
Moved the workmen to “Caliph” to dig further into this mound from which some fairly good fragments turned up. Found nothing on going deeper in – a mass of building rubbish lime and red sand with certain streaks of wood ash. This was followed up and finally abandoned. Paid off 30 workmen. The Circassians have got up a separate mess with Ali as cook, which it is hoped will prove more satisfactory.
Dr. Tewfik Canaan left us to-day, to our regret. He came as a stranger to all of us – but our nearer acquaintance with him proved his worth. He set an excellent example by his energy, cheeriness and resource. As a friend he left us. He doctored all and sundry, making friends with all with whom he came in contact.
A.E.C. went to see High Places with Dr Nielsen in the Siyagh, and then to measure the large house found two days ago opposite the Theatre. There, in some mysterious manner, she lost Dr Canaan’s watch! She went straight up the Wady bed of the Ma’aisera el Gharbiyah, from the Turkamaniya to the wall at the top, in the afternoon noting all the silted up caves in the Wady bed, and higher up the banks, of which there are a great many. Facaded tombs do not begin till very high up, and end with a large clump of them right at the top. Then there is a building with sides like a tomb and the proportions of its neighbours, but open, front and back, with a platform on the Wady side. A large tomb at the back, of the “Serai” type, still has a grave niche, filled with large stones to the very top, though the bottom row has been removed. She came back over the highest top of the ridge between the Gharbiyah and the Wady Marris Hamdan and found quarrying on the sky-line. The water channel from the top flows into the cistern behind Kennedy’s Stibadium to Brunnow 559.
Reference: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, 18 April: 42-43.
[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]
Cold after rain and snow, a slight fall of snow on the mountains to S.E. Visitors to Cooks Camp can’t move, as all the roads are impassable.
The digging at No. 2. cave has cleared the front “court” and part of the inside. A Byzantine rubbish tip was found 50 cents. below surface. Below that more pottery and the head of a Figurine with a late 1st century A.D. type of hairdressing. Certain pieces of whitish grey green pottery are new, one piece has a pattern on its handle which looks like two wriggling snakes. The court has steps round it – and the floor is unique – but as it is not yet cleaned up it is difficult to make out – it seems to have channels cut in it, and may be the result of quarrying!
No. 3. cave is uninteresting – pottery Byzantine and gives no promise.
Dug out 2 Xtian ? tombs opposite Turkomaniya – both empty except one which had 3 small fragments of bone. The underpart of the grave box in both cases was straight on the earth.
In afternoon went down Siyagh with Dr. N. and Miss C to visit the houses of which it is full. Up on the W side of Deir found 3 early and interesting rooms, - the one with Nab. inscriptions being particularly interesting – it was a [? In pencil] with rounded end. Pottery in vicinity Byz. The plateau leading to these rooms has about 50 cents. of sandy earth on it. The so-called Sanctuary is not a Sanct.
Finished afternoon at dig – nothing new. The door to chamber is built of masonry inserted into the red sandstone; also the cill of door. The masonry is rough chiselled, with margins about 3 cents. wide.
The Siyagh and el Ma’aisera I think are certainly, with Habis, the oldest part of the city – but our exploration is hardly sufficiently advanced to make deductions from the evidence available.
Continued sorting of pots.
A.E.C. went with 3 men to dig the 2 chambers seen yesterday in the engaged pillar tomb N. of the Tomb of the Urn. Though the S. one rang hollow, there was nothing but 1 ½ ft of manure on a stone floor. The pottery was Bedouin with one small fragment of Greco-Roman. In the N room there was nothing at all; but the tomb chamber, of the size of a shaft grave, seems to have been on the upper floor, and the purpose of the 2 small, beautifully squared chambers on the ground floor, is still unknown.
Mahmud climbed to the top of the 4 sacrophagi bases in the Palace Tomb and picked among the divisions; but there was nothing new to be seen.
A.C. found a view point in the Siyagh from which 9 tiers of houses on El Habis can be distinguished. There are however tombs as well, and the hill-side is still a puzzle. The shaft-grave complex at the S.W. end is at the back of what must once have been a huge row of Nabataean tombs along the edge of the Wady Tuglera. These seem to have been quarried and to have fallen down and their relation to the shaft graves behind them I cannot fathom. (These lead into them from the top).
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, 22 April: 49-51.
[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.