[probably by Agnes Conway and] by George Horsfield
A.E.C. took Mr Horsfield to see 3 silted up caves above the Wady Farasa, which may be worth digging at to see if they are early. He also investigated Dr Nielsen’s El Habis sanctuaries and climbed a mountain at the back of Wady Ed Deir and our Camp, to copy a new Nabataean inscription found by his Circassian Inspector, Ali, at the very top.
Dr. Canaan covered a large area identifying place-names. A.E.C. and Dr. Nielsen went up the Ma’aisera again. She worked through Dalman’s Sanctuary No. III, which seems the most complete and interesting of them all, and was delighted with the long terrace on the edge of the Ma’aisera El Garbiyah which looks like the esplanade of a great Italian city.
March 30. G. Horsfield
No digging was done as the workmen failed to turn up. Saw the Sheikh Bashir and it seems to be his doing, as he wants to collect his share of the plunder. I informed him that I was indifferent whether they came or not. Explored the mountain on the W side of Wadi Deir over the Camp with Ali, and copied in part the Nabataean inscription which Ali found the other day. My transcription was poor and the inscription deteriorated, so Dr Nielsen was not able to make it out.
The excavators from Doura (on the Euphrates), Mr and Mrs Hopkins and Mr Johnstone, arrived about 7.30 p.m. in search of a cave for the night with a letter from Alright [sic] of the American School. Gave them a table and a corner of the living area – which is a nuisance for the rest of the party, though they in no way interfere with us except by their presence. We have decided to clear out another cave on the other side, which will do to put up chance visitors who will have the benefit of the guards and complete independence.
Reference: [probably Conway, A. and] Horsfield, G. 1929. Petra Exploration Fund Diary. "Business Papers to be Kept", Horsfield Collection Box 8, UCL Institute of Archaeology, 30 March: 15-16.
[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 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 and Agnes Conway]
G. H. Changed digging back to Katooti [see 4 April entry] – spent morning writing up Hadrianic North part of city wall. Afternoon on dig which I don’t in the least understand. Pottery all [? In pencil]
A.E.C. photographed in the morning in El Farasa W. & El Farasa E. and found an enormous cistern near the mouth of Wady en Mer. She took the interiors of 2 tombs with sarcophagi under the ceiling with the half-plate camera in afternoon, in El Farasa W.
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, 9 April: 30.
[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.
[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.