[by Agnes Conway and George Horsfield]
Dr. Nielsen spent the day working at the Sanctuaries on El Habis, and felt that he had discovered enough in one morning to justify his journey. This complex of cult monuments, all orientated to the west, seem to him to be the earliest Arabian sanctuaries, circa the 2nd millennium B.C. He thinks that the bulls heads on the so-called “pulpit” and the cone shaped top, somewhat resembling a coil, of snakes, are of human workmanship, though much weathered. (He turned this down afterwards). A.E.C. spent the morning and afternoon exploring the Wady El Tughra. Below El Habis, S of the sanctuaries, she found what might almost be called a cemetery of shaft graves, some leading into large tomb chambers below. All were of solid construction and considerable depth, but the roofs in all cases had gone and the contents were rifled. One shaft grave had 3 small detached obelisks near it, and the holes for the bases stood at the head of the grave 1. The graves on the opposite side of the Wady under El Bijara are much later. Two sumptuous Nabataean temple graves have later partition walls of large stones, regularly built (prob. Bedouin?). One large tomb with a niche for a single grave has only a small hole knocked out of the slab and might be worth exploring for its contents.
Following the Wady southwards a large irregular lump of sandstone in the middle (the Kegelberg) is also a collection of shaft graves, and further on on the western side are a few shaft graves in front of some of the largest Hellenistic tombs. The green plateau between the Wady and the W. face of El Biijara is a mass of large worked stones, probably Greco-Roman and looked to her like remains of the town.
Where the Wady en Mer runs into the Wady el Tughra are a few rock-hewn caves, almost entirely silted up with sand, which might be worth excavation.
G. H. started digging in mound S.W. Zubb Pharoon [sic], on the part that lies above Dalmans [sic] “Byzantine” Wall. It is covered with Byzantine pottery but the steps cut in the side of the mound produced very little. The mound in this part is composed of sand and a certain amount of burnt debris, probably from wood fires, but contained no charcoal. The sand is loose and the digging had to be done with caution for fear of a land slide.
In the afternoon moved further South, where the debris is deep, and higher up the mound, which is apparently surmounted by a fortified wall which is not shown in Dalman’s plan. It breaks out from the Byzantine wall then turns until it meets the rock, with a shaft tomb. Below this lies another with slabs in place, one being broken so that you can peer in. It is partially filled with debris, and seems to have a chamber on either side.
The pottery finds were poor, but a deep cutting may be interesting. The evidence so far obtained points to the wall being pre-Byzantine, as it is buried in debris of this period.
Today the Camp was finished. It is situated in the Wadi Deir, in caves on both sides. In the West is the cookhouse, Living Room, W.C. and stables, and beyond a Bathroom. Dr Nielsen and Miss Conway are accommodated in tents. On the East is the Guardroom, which is also used as a Store House; adjoining is a small cave for G.H. and next door is the Guest Room. It is fairly compact, and the guard room covers all points of approach.
Many deficiencies have been discovered in the equipment, which was reduced as much as possible. These are being taken in hand, and Thos. Cook and Son’s camp, in the person of the Manager, has been most helpful. It is impossible to buy anything at Elgi, except the poorest things. No vegetables are obtainable. Milk is procurable. Chickens and sheep have to be got from the Arabs some miles away. Arrangements are beginning to work, so that all the attention of the Expedition may be given to the work of exploration.
[Footnote]: 1. These are probably not holes for obelisks, but the ordinary ones for offerings. Mr Horsfield excavated these shaft graves later on.
Reference: [unsigned, but by Agnes Conway and George Horsfield] 1929 (transcribed by A. Thornton). Petra Exploration Fund Diary. "Business Papers to be Kept", Horsfield Collection Box 8, UCL Institute of Archaeology, 26 March: 6-9.
[By George Horsfield and probably Agnes Conway]
Thirty men arrived to work – took on 25 and started to dig again and some progress was made. The pottery is more perfect, but the ordinary Graeco Roman type-lamps and various small pots, finer fragments of red pottery and 2 pieces of glass. Picked up various fragments of thin red painted pottery, a base and part of a rim – all on the surface and in different parts of the S. side of the site.
Examined the graves found in Wadi Turkomaniya [sic] and made notes in last part of the morning – doubtful as to their antiquity. In afternoon spent some time on dig – it was uninteresting. The top of the Scarp has appeared on the left hand side – so that now the rock surface is appearing across the whole width of the cut. Pottery is scarce.
Examined the Nabataean wall from El Habis as far as the dig, and noted it all. There is a grave yard at the El Habis end which contains graves on the surface of the same type as those in the Turkamaniya Wadi – presumably Christian – many are orientated E & W.
Money is running short – more is to be obtained – the problem is how? Mahmud is doubtful about riding in, as it takes a long time and an equally long time to return. Took on a scullion (Ali) and seems to have satisfied the cook’s wants for the moment. He has quarrelled with the Circassians and removed to the kitchen to sleep. We now have 3 Arabs as servants, Deifullah the night watchman and general go-between – Huaymil, wood and water fetcher and the scullion. We seem more settled down, but I am constantly worried by idiotic domestic details which require settling, but it is often difficult to make the necessary politic decision, so that the matter is arranged and no one is disgruntled.
Dr. Canaan continued his long walks, picking up place-names, and found two High Places on Al Qantara. Dr. Nielsen went to El Ma’aisera No III sanctuary and was greatly impressed.
A.E.C. visited the circle on the mount with the American party, who thought the masonry either very early or Byzantine, and probably the former. After leaving Colonel Armstrong at Sextus Florentinus, she explored the N.W. wall beyond, finding Dalman’s Sanctuaries under el Hubta, which seemed to her to belong to a Hadrianic suburb. She climbed the S. peak of El Habis in the afternoon to see Dolman’s [sic] Sanctuary I, which seemed to bear no signs of cult but was inexplicable. (Certainly a quarry).
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, 31 March: 17-18.
[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 possibly Agnes Conway]
Began to dig on S. face of the city between the outer and the Byzantine wall, on a face of 10 metres. The ground was covered with the fragments of stone slabs that seem to have formed the sides and covers to Xian graves – one of which had been destroyed. They were on the surface.
The surface is sandy earth with small fragments of pottery[.] One lamp with a cross and several Byzantine coins were turned up. Visited with Miss C. the Tombs at foot of Biyara on the other side of W. Tughra. Afternoon was on the dig all the time; the surface is clear up the wall and the S. end down [? in pencil] about ¾ in. Very little pottery is turning up. Remains of wood ash are appearing – but the pottery is limited and uninteresting and very fragmentary.
Wall stones are turning up just below the surface and fragments of stone are mingled with the earth, particularly at foot of Byzantine wall.
A.E.C. spent the afternoon on the nearer Ma’aisera ridge and in the wadi-al Gharbiyah, where, in a small area are six silted up caves almost at Wady level on each side. Four are hidden by falls of detritus and two filled to the very top with sand, - thinks these may all be tombs, and that one is of the large Serai type and worth digging.
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, 13 April: 33-34.
[By George Horsfield]
Sorted pots from Katoote. Dig on S side progresses and is cutting through a Christian cemetery. Got part of skull and some bones – bones very rotten. Two graves were one on top of another. Pottery infrequent and very fragmentary. Some lamps – red Byzantine; usual type.
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, 15 April: 36.
[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]
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.
[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]
Have now reduced the Tombs to three – No. 3 in front of Triple Dushara has had further clearing – found more pots – and a mass of bones white and friable and hard and charred. The charred seem to have been thrown in in heaps – for there is no sign of lime or buring, though the surrounding sand has a considerable amount of black in it in powder form.
They would seem to be first century if my dating of pottery correct.
One tomb more to W. – tomb with 4 graves - has brought nothing out of chamber or shaft – just sand – inside in floor are 4 graves with covers “intact.” The other is proceeding and has proved similarly blank up to date – but floor not yet explored – it seems like a side niche.
A.E.C. spent the morning at the dig with Mr H. helping to clear away the upper layers of sand from the burials. After photographing with the ½ plate camera in the afternoon, the spring of the shutter broke and everything will have to be taken with the wide angle lense in future. No luck here with cameras, watches, lamps, electric torches or shoes!
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, 29 April: 60-61.