[By George Horsfield and probably Agnes Conway]
Continued the dig on Zibb Pharaoun [sic], but it continues to be very uninteresting and contains very little pottery beyond that lying on and 15 centimetres below the surface. Found two styloes [sic] a model of a camel in part, and two fragments of crude pottery of a type not turned up before. The trench has been driven forward, and works more easily with the increase of room.
Another dump of town rubbish has been found with the aid of one of the workmen, on the bank of the Wadi Matahar, which looks promising and will be taken in its turn. Most of the site looks shallow, but as soon as the workmen are more used to organised work an attempt must be made on parts which offer difficulties greater than the carting away of sandy earth. Explored the Wadi Siyagh to a quarter of a mile below the Spring. At the angle of the shaft turn is the remains of a building. The sides have been quarried at many points on the surrounding cliffs, probably the source of the stone for the city buildings.
Many toe and finger ladders have been cut in the sides.
Visited many parts of the site in search of points to dig trial pits.
The material and food lacking and previously ordered through Thomas Cook’s agent has in a large measure arrived, so that the worry of trying to buy small quantities, which could only be found at a price and bought with persuasion, is ended.
The men and soldiers brought with us are all pulling well together; order is brought into the arrangement of the Camp and the food supply is sufficient.
A.E.C. explored part of the ridge W. of the Wady el Ma’aisera at Sharkiyah in the morning, and found a great number of cult sites and 3 definite houses, one of 2 stories with a first floor staircase, and another with a low enclosure wall in front plastered in the same way as the chamber. This was joined to another house by a tunnel, and a staircase by the side seems to lead to the private altar 1. She climbed to the highest points all along the ridge, and found the most interesting monuments at the very top – the views down on to the parallel western ridge of the Wady Ma’aiserat el Sharkiyah displayed a wide range of tombs of different types, and this area was visited in the afternoon and proved to be nothing but a necropolis – of shaft graves, shallow graves for sarcophagi, and tomb chambers. There were 4 tomb groups of great interest. In one case a shaft grave communicated with the chamber of a large Hellenistic tomb facade. All seem to be empty. How far these monuments are undescribed she does not yet know, but thinks that Brunnow and Dalman may have made all their observations from lower down the hillside, from which point the interesting monuments at the top are invisible.
Dr Nielsen continued his work on the sanctuaries of El Habis.
[Footnote] 1. (The last two are cisterns). The “private altar” is a water catchment area.
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, 27 March: 9-11.
[by George Horsfield and possibly Agnes Conway)
G.H. Worked on 3rd level and finished clearing of second.
From this came three fragments of figurines etc., camel’s head and horse’s body with trappings and the upper part of a female figure. Cleared up the washing water supply in the morning and finished clearing of high place, el Habis, and cleaned out the tomb chamber on lower level – found nothing. The whole area has been quarried at the high place and part of the basin fronting “altar” cut away.
The proper name of rubbish heap “el Aziz” is “katoote” meaning “that which slides down” from “Kalta” to slide.
Some of the other things bought at Amman arrived. Examined the West side of El Habis for fortifications.
A.E.C. took notes of the caves and foundations of the buildings, some of them built with large unhewn stones, leading up to the Megalithic circle from the South, on the chance that they may prove to be in some way connected. She finished planning the rock inside the circle. Explored the caves and houses at the opening of the Siyagh on the N side, finding that to be a house area with remains of good plaster work and stucco and two pieces of worked white limestone. One of the houses seems to be built in three stories; but the red sandstone has lost its surface to such an extent that it is no good studying houses in that area.
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, 4 April: 22-23.
[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 probably Agnes Conway]
Transferred the digging to Ma’aisera to two caves, which were silted up nearly to the top. No. 1. which was about 30 [? In pencil] m. higher than the other, up the Hill showed a broken doorway and part of the roof. It was full of stones and earth and measured 2 m. x 2.75 m. and 2.50 m. high. Digging in front brought to light the floor of a chamber (?) the side and front walls of which had disappeared[.] The floor was deeply chased and against the outside wall of the inner chamber parallel to it, ran a double chase, with a wall of 15 centimetres between. The chases ran on the floor at right angles, roughly dividing it into squares, but unequally and irregularly. It looked as though it was in process of being quarried. Very little pottery. Top Byzantine and the rest of the same type; say 2nd and 3rdcenturies, with a glazed base of a vase. In the inner chamber inside at the floor level on the right, were found two small vases of plain red ware, one a sort of juglet with a handle and the other a small vase with a swollen out body rising from a ring base. There were no signs of a burial and the primary use of the cave (?) was left undecided. On the right above the roof and 50 cents. away from the inner wall was a cutting that looked like a shaft grave. When cleared, it was 65 cents. deep and contained nothing but earth and stones. No. 2. is larger and consists of an outer and an inner chamber, with a recess, and is situated about 3 m. above the Wadi bed. The inner chamber has a roof which has partly fallen in; the blocks lay on the surface and were half buried. The entrance has worked blocks of stone placed to form jambs; and part of a moulded architrave, very rough and worn, was found nearby. Outside, at 75 cents. below surface, are remains of a kitchen midden, the surface of which only has so far been touched. The pottery is fragmentary and Byzantine on the surface, mixed with sandy earth and stones. The inner room is filled with earth and stones and has produced no pottery so far.
No. 3. lies on left of No. 2. and has only just been attacked. It shows a recess with a roof, part of which has fallen in and blocks the entrance. So far nothing but a little Byzantine pottery has been found on and below (50 cents.) the surface.
The ledge above, which is wide and continuously sloping upwards, has fragments of pottery scattered over its surface, some of which is ribbed, some plain. Whether these caves – or grottoes – are domestic or funerary is at present not apparent.
A.E.C. followed the right bank of the Ma’aisera el Gharbiyah to the end of the town. The upper levels appear to have been covered with houses, some of which were later turned into tombs. The whole area is now considered by Mr. Horsfield to be the earliest part of Petra; possibly the unwalled city of Strabo’s time. She went to the Siyagh with Dr. Nielsen in the afternoon, and was struck by the immense number of houses, up to 4 stories, on each side of what must have been a real town street. Houses are now appearing quite common! She went to a high level on the N. side where cisterns and quarries have made what Dalman considers a sanctuary, but incomprehensible at the moment.
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, 20 April: 45-48.
[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.
[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]
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.
[possibly George Horsfield and Agnes Conway]
Removed from Ma’aisera to Syagh [sic] and cleared two rooms and seven graves and three Tomb chambers – found nothing. Operating on a shaft grave which has produced so far from the shaft a glass bottle – a fragment of lamp – and a piece of pierced stone-diamonds which has probably formed part of a window grill.
Ma’aisera has belied its hoary appearance. It seems certain from the facts and evidence obtained that it dates from near 1 BC or 14 A.D. allowing a margin on either side. The Assyrian Tombs do not seem more ancient. Two arrangements of insides were noticed – a single grave deep and large at the side – which took nearly half floor area – or this in combination with niches at the back for burials, or alone. The Tombs with Dushara symbols (Triple Dushara Tomb) from the fact of cremation were the most interesting – but as no pottery or object was found then date is uncertain – but in the case of others (No. 3 below particularly) a large amount of “burnt” bones was obtained in fragments – and the signs of burning have been noted on several occasions – but never with the conclusive evidence as to means as that obtained in Triple Dushara in five cases.
The use of sand has obtained in every tomb or grave opened which was wholly or partially undisturbed – and the disappearance of the corpse caused the sand to fall and in several cases where the covers were in place there was a space between the sand and the cover.
The burial images were various – the austere Dushara method with nothing – with the symbol carved in the wall above and at its side a lamp niche – or a profusion of common pots – an iron ring and a bronze cylindrical vessel or just a juglet at the feet.
A.E.C. spent the morning photographing in the Farasas; exploring the Wady en Iver [sic], where Dalman calls a room with a horned altar scratched on the walls a sanctuary, and trying in vain to find the inscription to the Divine Obodat at the end of the En Iver [sic] Valley. Neither Brunnow nor Dalman give instructions that can be followed on the spot. Photographed in the Siyagh in the afternoon and went to the dig on El Habis with Mr Horsfield.
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, 1 May: 63-65.
[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.
[possibly by George Horsfield]
The grave produced nothing but a mass of bones showing no sign of cremation.
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, 3 May Part 1: 65.