[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]
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.