[By George Horsfield, Agnes Conway and Tawfiq Canaan]
Spent two hrs. with Dr. Nielsen and Miss Conway in N.W. side of El Habis examining the High Place approaches, also the underlying quarry with its tombs. Spent the rest of the morning at the dig and completed my survey of the South Wall which runs from El Habis to the Castellum in the middle, and is the highest point of the South side of the city, then to the side of Zubb Atuf on the E. In the afternoon cleaned up the high place on El Habis in part; found nothing but sane [sic] and sheep droppings covered with thin grass to a depth of 30 centimetres. Visited the dig and saw the exposed side of the wall which has appeared in it and its junction with the S wall; its outer face, in the fragment exposed, is the same as the wall which limits the Town on the Wadi Farasa. The wall in the dig projects beyond its face and is broken away, which seems to suggest that there was a Tower or at any rate a change in plane of the wall. The pottery is the same and scarce. At the side of the wall inside are the remains of another, crudely built of small shapeless stones, without a foundation, about a meter high. Three Nabataean coins turned up of the common sort with crossed cornucopias which I have often seen and sometimes bought.
I have decided to go to a deeper level and shall proceed to cut off another meter from the front.
A.E.C. spent most of the day making a prismatic compass plan of the circle of old unhewn stones surrounding the rock which she found on March 28th.
J. [sic] B. Canaan: Before noon went through the siq to Wadi-el-Muslin, followed its course and the course of its tributaries up to Wadi-el-Mataha. Made a plan of the Siq, el-Mataha and the surroundings.
Reference: Horsfield, G., [Conway, A.] and Canaan, T. 1929 (transcribed by A Thornton). Petra Exploration Fund Diary. "Business Papers to be Kept", Horsfield Collection Box 8, UCL Institute of Archaeology, 3 April: 21-22.
[By George Horsfield and probably Agnes Conway)
Excavated Miss Conway’s stone circle to the N. Ali in charge.
Dig went on. The stratifications are clearly defined; plenty of house rubbish, mixed with bones, but hardly any pottery – such as is coming out much coarser; mostly cooking pots but occasional pieces of finer sorts. The wall on W side is now showing its foundations, which are only just below the surface and consist of a mass of loose material, carelessly thrown in, seemingly in mud, though the earth in the interstices shows an appearance of lime and poor stuff. The wall I have not dated; it could be Byzantine – but the pottery overlying it is all of the 2nd century – so it must be earlier.
A.E.C. spent the morning with the diggers in her stone circle. At one point on the outside it was dug down to bed rock, 2 ½ metres below the top of the stones. Nothing was found in the earth except charcoal. The ground in front of the central red stone was dug down to the rock and had nothing at all in it, showing that the earth had been filled in to level it when the circle was first built. The gaps in the circle were filled up with underground stones, but the E. end ran in to a black rock, beyond the end of which there was a 6 metre gap. This entrance is in the right place to suit a flight of steps in the sandstone, found by Dr Nielsen – to the S.W. of the circle. She completed the plan in the afternoon, putting in the black and white rocks, which are evidently part of the sanctuary. All agree that this an early sanctuary, probably the earliest building yet found in Petra, and presumably Edomite.
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, 6 April: 25-26.
[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.
[By Agnes Conway and George Horsfield]
Went with Mr Horsfield to the opening of four graves in a round arched tomb chamber on El Habis – untouched; and photographed the skeletons. The last day’s dig, and all the men were paid off in the afternoon. Photographed and planned the three storied house in the Siyagh.
Opened the four graves in the North Tomb at El Habis. The first lies across the threshold and was covered with flagstones. The others were roughly coffin shaped and were filled in with gravel from Wadi bed. Began on the one nearest to wall inside, which contained nothing but the remains of a skull and some fragment – it was dissected by [blank] but it had never been disturbed. The next was much the same, but produced a few more bones, likewise next. They were all the same in type and equally barren in objects.
The Threshold grave was more interesting – it was much wider and square ended – on removing cover saw it was broken through into tomb under. There were two skeletons side by side, the upper part of right hand was gone, having fallen through hole and the other partly. The grave was full of sand which seemed to have been washed in. On dissection 11 skulls turned up, and underneath top skeletons was a mass of disordered bones and skulls. It had been used as a charnel house, but the last burials were orderly and the cover was sealed with lime mortar. There was not the slightest indication of the age of graves – about 1.00 m above floor on the sand were found a number of pots. The doorway has a certain architectural character but is crude and poorly executed. Not a thing was found on floor level or in the graves. The orientation was E & W. The dead were laid with their feet to the E.
Reference: Conway, A. and Horsfield G. 1929 (transcribed by A. Thornton). Petra Exploration Fund Diary. "Business Papers to be Kept", Horsfield Collection Box 8, UCL Institute of Archaeology, 9 May: 72-74.