[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 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 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]
Cleared out the “Tomb” House Triple Dushara and found seven graves which had been broken into but retained in part covering slabs, found bones and burnt ashes with them – but no objects or pottery. They seemed undisturbed below surface.
Cleared several shaft graves in vicinity to South – found nothing. One is SW side of Terrace 200 ms. away had mass of bones – human and animal – at the bottom one pot with rim base – of 1st century?
Tombs Nos 1, 2, 3 went on being cleared. Nothing was found in graves. No. 2 had four and was filled with kitchen debris. No. 3 is partly clear but a number of graves not known.
So far the evidence obtained gives no indication of Ma’aisera’s age nor character of occupants. Triple Dushara tomb promised well but nothing but very crude burials so far found.
All the other Tombs so far examined yielded nothing. The pottery from No 1 all Byzantine?
A.E.C. spent the whole morning in grilling sun wearily taking 6 panorama photographs from the Edomite High Place. She visited the dig in the afternoon and the second ridge of El Ma’aisera, puzzling over Dalman’s sanctuary No. 2, which seemed to her a water collecting place and quarry block accidentally left on the roof. But the lower story is also puzzling, as the staircase goes to the roof and gives no access to the 1st floor room with niches. The three huge white stone buildings on this dominating white terrace are unique in Petra, but so much destroyed as to be unfathomable at present. She visited the valley from the Siyagh seen from el Biyara, which proved to be merely a wady with nothing in it and very short.
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, 25 April: 55-56.
[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.
[possibly George Horsfield and Agnes Conway]
Worked on two Tomb chambers. The first was like the second, No. 1 grave, left to right, had a juglet at the foot lying on top of the sand – bones below. No. 2 had nothing but bones, likewise 3 – 4 had a vase at the feet, a bottle with a long neck at the knees and a basin on the chest – the latter in bits as the cover slabs had caved in – all the whole pieces have received damage to the necks for some reason. There were no signs of burning or lime – bones fibrous and broke to bits.
No. 2 Tomb Chamber was exactly like No 1 – except that at each side there was a recess. From left to right – have done Nos. 3 and 4 – there was a woman ? and child and fragments of a copper wire bracelet and a silver one were found. Nothing else, 4 had nothing at all – the skeleton lay at the bottom – with head in left top corner and knees slightly drawn up and on left side. The “coffin” was filled with sand in both cases and there were odd human bones in it – the corpse being at bottom – which seems to suggest that there was re-use of material for 2nd burial.
The woman and child in No. 3 grave are near the surface – so probably there is another burial under – only part cleared. Doing this took seven hours morning and afternoon – as I did a lot of clearing myself – in afternoon assisted by Ali and Arif, when it went better. On finishing this Tomb I go to Siyagh – which will be to-morrow, to see what I can find. No signs of lime or burning. The pottery seems late and has been found on rubbish tips.
A.E.C. spent the morning on the Deir plateau looking at one of Dalman’s so called sanctuaries, (506) which is nothing at all, and at the impressive Temple platform with remains of columns in position high up on a hill facing the Deir Monument. Behind this Temple is a very large open-fronted hall with a pedimented niche of the period of the Deir. Between the hill and the immediate platform of the Deir, a very large circle is outlined, partly with stones and partly by the natural rock. It was artificially levelled inside, and the hall, Temple, circle and Deir must have formed one enceinte probably in connection with the “Opfergesellschaft” of Ovodat referred to in an inscription near the Tomb or Temple. The caves, partly hewn out of the rock and partly built, in a line with the Deir, look Roman and remind me of the suburb beyond the Sextus Florentinus Tomb. I think they are all rather grand houses with cisterns, large niches etc. One large room, the farthest N. has the walls out back 2 ft. on each side at a distance of 5 ft. from the ground, and there is a great niche at the end. The level ground is covered with remains of Roman buildings. Another Weigand [handwritten in pencil] might find as much to reconstruct there as in the central Hellenistic city. There is one hidden shaft grave and a collection of graves overlooking the Siyagh which I had no time to visit. Photographed tomb in vain with the wide-angle lense all the afternoon and think it in some ways more suited to the work here than the other.
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, 30 April: 61-63.
[possibly by George Horsfield]
Proceeded with Syagh [sic] shaft grave and retrieved a small pot and a lamp. One grave out of four awaits excavation. The excavation of the group SE of El Habis proceeded but the result was disappointing as most of the graves had been rifled. In one case the corpse in an unrifled tomb may be a Christian reuse. This was in the SE group. The SW group is proceeding and from the shaft of one came fragments of alabaster pots with covers – about 4 but many of the fragments are missing.
Reference: [unsigned, possibly Horsfield, G.] 1929 (transcribed by A. Thornton). Petra Exploration Fund Diary. "Business Papers to be Kept", Horsfield Collection Box 8, UCL Institute of Archaeology, 2 May Part 1: 65.