[probably by Agnes Conway]
Mr Horsfield spent the day completing Camp arrangements, and all the party moved in in the afternoon and slept there.
In a morning of 5 ½ hours Dr Nielsen and A.E.C. visited the Tomb of the Urn, and felt certain that it had originally been a Temple (later decided it was a tomb); and was transformed into a church by making 3 apses out of the 6 Nabataean (tomb) recesses, as suggested by Irby and Mangles. They first tried to climb El Hubta by a staircase which led to El Ramleh, and noticed several places of cult by the way which do not seem to have been described by Dalman1.
They then found a direct way up El Hubta and investigated the sanctuaries along the N.W. wall, described by Dalman, which form an elaborate cult centre. Byzantine pottery was found on the Watch Tower. A.E.C. climbed the most southerly lump and copied an inscription of 6 letters, looking like 1916. The language not identified 2.
She was struck by the interesting views from that point, of El Ramleh from above with staircases and places of cult; of Zibb Atub with both obelisks and the castle clearly visible; and of Al Bijara, with what looked like artificial work on top, and decided to take telephoto photographs from that point if possible. A plane-table map of the top should be made, as it was left out by Brunnow, and Dalman merely deals with the individual sanctuaries.
[Footnote] 1. These are quarry cutting remains
[Footnote] 2. Nabataean
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, 25 March: 5-6.
[by George Horsfield and possibly Agnes Conway]
The dig proceeded slowly and has advanced into the debris about 2 metres beyond the W. side wall – at a depth of 4 ½ metres from the summit, 3.50 m below the top of wall. Pottery has come out more freely and the limit of the finer pottery is passing. To-day 4 baskets fairly full appeared consisting of large round handles and fragments of wine jars, cooking pots and a few fragments of terra sigillata, which I think are of the beginning of the 1st century AD. I have decided to stop the work here for a day or two and have arranged to divide the working party in order to dig into the two mounds lying between Ez Zantour and Zubb Abuf [sic] – so as to have some comparative material. These mounds are very puzzling as they seem early 2nd and 3rd century and would suggest that this part of the city was abandoned at this period and used as a dump for household debris. I began to examine the North area of the city between the Wadi Ma’aisera and Hubda – beyond Wadi Musa. It is extremely difficult to form an opinion of its extent in an early period towards the North. There is the appearance of a defensive wall inside the inhabited area which continues to the Wadi Ma’aisera then turns South following its left bank and is lost in the ruins of what appears to be a Hadrianic building with columns and a court to the S. I could not find the point where it crossed the Wadi.
In front of this at about 15 metres N. is another wall of slight construction, which appears as a heap of stones which does not seem to go anywhere. At the end are the foundations of a large building standing out from the wall to the N. which looks as if it were the base of a Tower – or it may be only the foundation of a lost building – it is built of red standstone, I think the ordinary paving stone, which is seen in many places, lying about in disorder on the ground and others outlining graves which are orientated roughly E. and W.
The area examined is well covered with ruins which appear to be classical in character – with columns, drums and bases –of well-built material like the Kasr-el Bint. They seem to have suffered changes and alterations. There are signs of rough terracing to walls which suggest that this part also has been cultivated at some later date. I noted that some of the fields seem to have been irrigated on the S side, the water probably having been brought from the site before the complete breakdown of the canalisation system.
A.E.C. spent some time at the dig with Mr Horsfield, and went on to the Farasa West valley. There she saw what looked like unrifled tombs near the ceiling of the Greco-Roman Tomb Br.[unnow] 257. She was puzzled by the water arrangements in connection with Br.[unnow] 228, and the water-channel in what ought to be a cistern next door. The interiors of some of these tombs need photographing as types, particularly the pilaster panelling of Br.[unnow] 228 and 253. The closed glen leading to 228 with the block at the end and the cisterns above is a most attractive enceinte and full of greenery; and the swanky grave courtyard of 257 is charming. The white shaft grave area on the way to it with stibadia etc seems queer and old by comparison. An attempted study of the facades is not leading to much at present, and the interiors are proving more interesting.
Spent the afternoon trying to find the way up Jebel en Numer, and walked a long way up the Wadi Umm Ratam and back by the Thughra. In an isolated spot near the Umm Ratam was one rock cut grave in a wonderful position – otherwise the walk was free of all monuments!
Found one doubtful flint implement. (Mousterian).
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, 7 April: 26-29.
[by Agnes Conway]
No dig today as it poured with rain and Mr. Horsfield sorted pots, and A.E.C. welcomed the chance of reading. At lunch-time there was a shout of water in the Wadi Musa, and the whole camp rushed to see it pouring into the Siyagh. It was, however, coming from the Metaha and not from the Sik at that time; so Mr H. and A.E.C. went to examine the large buildings under El Hubta. The enormous façade next but one N. of the Tomb of the Urn has only 2 small but perfectly squared or tooled rooms, one of which seemed to ring hollow in the middle of the floor and may be worth clearing out. The next two at right angles to each other, have no facades and may be houses. The Corinthian Tomb has capitals almost Byzantine, combined with triglyphs and dentals of yellow stone painted with stripes of black. It was impossible to tell whether the inserted stone of the low arches on the left was plastered or not. Inside the Palace Tomb the arrangement of 4 bases for sarcophagi 1, on a high shelf in a niche, was odd and unique in Petra.
The colour of this ceiling and the neighbouring one on the left was superb in the greyish light; a fantastic palette of blood red, orange, pink, grey, pale mauve, and silver, set off by great black splotches from the Bedouin fires.
As soon as the sun shone the colour paled. This English day of thunderclouds, and snatches of deep blue sky brought out all the colour of the rocks and intensified the green. A blinding hail storm was difficult to battle against on the way home. We jumped the Wady Musa and got to camp a few minutes before the Deir Wady became a raging torrent, cutting off the 2 sides of the camp from each other, and threatening the tents, around which trenches had to be dug at once. Before supper the stream was dry again.
[Footnote] 1. The same seen later near right [? In pencil] of Tomb of Urn
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, 21 April: 48-49.