[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.
[by Agnes Conway]
Mr Horsfield left very early for Petra with the rest of the luggage and slept there.
Dr Nielsen and I spent the morning following the aqueduct still further East from Unum el Trab; then North to the bank of the Wady Wahadan, where it follows the Wady West to the railway bridge, and past Ma'an el Sanmijjeto El Basta, on the watershed between Ma'an and Petra. A khan near the Wady Wahadan had the same pottery as the Hammam and Unum el Trab. A glazed stone found at Hammam today is Byzantine. A. C. took compass bearings and photographs of the aqueduct and made a rough map of the system, which can be fitted in to Musil’s map of the Ma’an area in his “Northern Hedjaz”.
The date of such an enormous irrigation system is uncertain. The masonry of the Hammam, in tiers of thick and thin stones, is thought by Mr H and by Pere Savignac to be perhaps Roman. Ma’an is never mentioned by classical authors, and A.E.C. thinks the whole system more likely to be Byzantine, about which period at Ma’an there are no European sources. Dr Nielsen would like to prove the system to be Sabaean or Minaean, as the occupation at that time is known to have been extensive; but there are no signs of actual pre-Roman remains above ground.
The system thus far has only been cursorily and inadequately described in Musil’s Northern Hedjaz. He evidently, without a car, could not cover the area, and nor could any of the earlier visitors.
In the afternoon we drove on the Akaba road to the head of the Star Pass; from which the view down on to a plain studded with fantastic and detached hills, seen in a violet light, is extraordinarily strange and beautiful.
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, 22 March: 2-3.
[By George Horsfield and Agnes Conway]
Went to Ma’an with Arif hassar for money in company with Mahmud Charish. Brought back £200 which I obtained after waiting 3 hours. The digging went on with 25 men without interruption and supervised by Ali Burar.
A.E.C. and Dr. Nielsen went to Al Najr to find Kennedy’s High Place. Approaching it from the back side they could see nothing towards the top that looked worked; but as Difollah shouted down that it was good, AEC was hauled up. The top, which is about 57 yds in length, at first seemed to her a quarry mass only – but gradually it appeared to unfold itself as an altar mass with a gap left in the back wall orientated to the W. At one end is a small niche with a horned altar; at the other a larger niche. It divides itself roughly into 3 terraces, on the middle of which are 4 blocks, beneath what might be a tier of seats on the N edge. On the lower terrace close to the E. precipice, is what might be an altar. A very little pottery of uncertain date is strewn about. Seen from the ground in the E. side is a small projecting platform, upon which there appears to be a similar altar, which must again be investigated from the top. Should it be a High Place a fine view could be had of the sacrifices from the wide open space below which leads up gradually to a tomb area. Dr. Nielsen was unable to climb to the top.
A.E.C. thinks the massif may originally have been a High Place, which was afterwards quarried away to build the city, any staircase approaches being then cut off. Marks of quarry working seem to be clearly visible in the projecting portion on the S., and there are small carvings high up which might be mason’s marks.
In the afternoon A.E.C. walked on the Ma’aisera ridge above the Camp, spotting from above a large built wall inside a cave or tomb, and then going to Kennedy’s fig. 149 to look up the suggestions in his Memorandum.
Dr. Canaan did two big rounds finding place names and collected stories as usual from the Bedu.
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, 1 April: 18-20.
[possibly by Agnes Conway]
Mr Horsfield went to Maar [sic] to get money and started packing pottery. AEC went to Zibb Atuf and got the larger cistern dug out. She brought back all the fragments of pottery, which include most of the types from Byzantine to Nabataen and Greco-Roman already found here. She then dug a square yard in front of the small cistern to see whether there was an artificial channel for the liquids from the round altar. A wall 50 centimetres thick was found running at right angles from the corner of the cistern to the natural stone. Immediately in front of the cistern, at the 40 cm level, a stratum of burning was struck, full of burnt pottery, which Mr H declared to be Nabataean. The outflow of the liquid must have been stopped by the wall, one stone of which is still in position standing above the ground.
She went down by the S. way to the Wady En Mer and the Hrabet-en-Mer, where the Obodat inscription is. This shrine to the Divine Obodat, if it is one, looks exactly like a house. What Dalman calls a statue and which should probably be translated “image” is clearly an omphalos in a niche; the spot above it, said by Dalman to be the hollow for the upper part of the statue, being the last remains of the fine tooling of the niche above the omphalos. The stone on which the inscription is, occupies the position of a 9 inch vertical beam in relation to the ceiling, and covers two yards to the front of the niche. The beam, squared and tooled its whole length where it is not inscribed, as well as on the bottom face, has apparently been broken off to the left of the inscription, and forms an integral part of the ceiling, which, elsewhere, is extremely roughly tooled. The walls are delicately tooled and squared. The omphalos looks like the Dushara symbol commonly employed at Bostra on the coins. If so, the Divine Obedat was worshipped as Dushara. Does the inscription imply that it was put up by a private family in their private house? That is what it looks like.
Photographed the Stibadium house above the Siyagh and finished planning the excavated Siyagh house.
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, 8 May: 71-72.