[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.
[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.