[by Agnes Conway]
After calling on the Governor of Ma’an [Khalaf Bey Atell] and Mr Strange, (Intelligence Officer to the Air Force) Mr Horsfield went to Ain Musa with one ton truck of luggage; met his 6 men who had ridden over from Jerash and sent them down to Petra to start preparing the Camp. He came back to Ma’an for the night.
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 March: 1.
[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.
[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.
[probably by Agnes Conway]
A.E.C. and Dr Nielsen spent the day at El Medras, the “Klamm-Heiligurn["] [sic] and Al Kantara, searching for Dalman’s sanctuaries and finding nothing relating to cult. El Medras seems to have been an open country suburb, high and cool, with an unimpeded view to Mount Hor; on this hot day it was breezy and fresh compared with Petra, with air like El Barid, and country of the same sort.
The two great rooms of Nabataean inscriptions (dated by Brunnow 70 B.C. and by Dussaud 17 A.D.) were probably houses; and above the upper complex of so-called cult objects, given in Dalman I (p. 130) is a staircase leading to the S. court with houses, while over another broken down staircase leading out of this courtyard, is another terrace with houses. There are no signs of graves, and the whole of the water complex must have served the houses, as far as I can see, as the rest of the country about is empty. The rock 71 (Dalman I, p. 120) is covered with Dusores niches, but all the other pits seem to be part of the system for collecting water into cisterns and ornamental basins. It looks to me like a charming arrangement of water basins in the shadow of the rock, with a triclinium in the shade where we had lunch, which might have been a place for rich Petraeans to move out to in the summer. There could be no defence. The house fronts, where they still exist, have a door or two side windows. The whole suburb was, I imagine, one of period and design, perhaps 70 B.C. or 17 A.D., like the inscriptions.
From the plateau of El-Hremije we went down the Huraimiya gorge to Dalman’s “Klamheiligturn” [sic]; which is a house of one triclinium, with the complete front preserved in unweathered red sandstone – a door between two windows, like any modern street house. It was plastered and has remains of Nabataean inscriptions, and was dark and cool, with a cistern opposite.
Above it, up the gorge, is an enormous room with a Roman niche. Probably all belonged together and may have been the summer house of a rich Petraean. When the staircase to the Khaznah was unblocked it would not have been far to go, but as a winter house it would have been quite dark and cold.
Dr Nielsen found two sanctuaries in El Kantara (Dalman’s) in which he did not believe.
A curious thing is that all the rooms seen to-day were covered with Arab graffiti as well as Nabataean inscriptions.
Reference: [unsigned, 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, 14 April: 34-36.
[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.
[By George Horsfield and possibly Agnes Conway]
Cold after rain and snow, a slight fall of snow on the mountains to S.E. Visitors to Cooks Camp can’t move, as all the roads are impassable.
The digging at No. 2. cave has cleared the front “court” and part of the inside. A Byzantine rubbish tip was found 50 cents. below surface. Below that more pottery and the head of a Figurine with a late 1st century A.D. type of hairdressing. Certain pieces of whitish grey green pottery are new, one piece has a pattern on its handle which looks like two wriggling snakes. The court has steps round it – and the floor is unique – but as it is not yet cleaned up it is difficult to make out – it seems to have channels cut in it, and may be the result of quarrying!
No. 3. cave is uninteresting – pottery Byzantine and gives no promise.
Dug out 2 Xtian ? tombs opposite Turkomaniya – both empty except one which had 3 small fragments of bone. The underpart of the grave box in both cases was straight on the earth.
In afternoon went down Siyagh with Dr. N. and Miss C to visit the houses of which it is full. Up on the W side of Deir found 3 early and interesting rooms, - the one with Nab. inscriptions being particularly interesting – it was a [? In pencil] with rounded end. Pottery in vicinity Byz. The plateau leading to these rooms has about 50 cents. of sandy earth on it. The so-called Sanctuary is not a Sanct.
Finished afternoon at dig – nothing new. The door to chamber is built of masonry inserted into the red sandstone; also the cill of door. The masonry is rough chiselled, with margins about 3 cents. wide.
The Siyagh and el Ma’aisera I think are certainly, with Habis, the oldest part of the city – but our exploration is hardly sufficiently advanced to make deductions from the evidence available.
Continued sorting of pots.
A.E.C. went with 3 men to dig the 2 chambers seen yesterday in the engaged pillar tomb N. of the Tomb of the Urn. Though the S. one rang hollow, there was nothing but 1 ½ ft of manure on a stone floor. The pottery was Bedouin with one small fragment of Greco-Roman. In the N room there was nothing at all; but the tomb chamber, of the size of a shaft grave, seems to have been on the upper floor, and the purpose of the 2 small, beautifully squared chambers on the ground floor, is still unknown.
Mahmud climbed to the top of the 4 sacrophagi bases in the Palace Tomb and picked among the divisions; but there was nothing new to be seen.
A.C. found a view point in the Siyagh from which 9 tiers of houses on El Habis can be distinguished. There are however tombs as well, and the hill-side is still a puzzle. The shaft-grave complex at the S.W. end is at the back of what must once have been a huge row of Nabataean tombs along the edge of the Wady Tuglera. These seem to have been quarried and to have fallen down and their relation to the shaft graves behind them I cannot fathom. (These lead into them from the top).
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, 22 April: 49-51.