[probably by Agnes Conway]
Dr. Nielsen and A.E.C. spent the morning on El Habis. He investigated Dalman’s 2nd sanctuary, and its precincts, finding what seems to be a larger cult centre than Dalman supposed, and possibly the earliest in Petra. To the N. and higher up is another altar court, which seems not to have been seen by Dalman 1 The chambers along the southern slope of the hill are partly houses and partly tombs, in some cases a tomb and a house being side by side. The tombs, in some cases a tomb and a house being side by side. The tombs have ornamented facades and the houses are plain. Close to the second sanctuary there are many tombs. In the afternoon he found a long artificially made terrace, also probably connected with the sanctuary and above it to the E. (this was later identified as a water catchment area). A.E.C., after some searching, found the way to the top of El Habis, the acropolis of Petra, on which are the walls of a castle, generally supposed to be a Crusading, and outlining the summit. In one portion are two complete arrow-shoots. She looked down from it onto the southern peak of El Habis, on which is Dalman’s 1st sanctuary, a huge rock-hewn altar.2 She spent the afternoon trying to find the way up to this peak, but without success. A piece of mediaeval Arab pottery (about the time of Saladin) was found on the southern side of El Habis.
Mr Horsfield and all the men worked all day long preparing the Camp. Mr Horsfield explored the rock chambers above the Camp, some of which have crosses on the walls. The tooling on the walls of all the caves seemed to A.E.C. to be similar to the remains of tooling in the limestone caves of Beit Jabrin in Palestine.
The whole of El Habis is unplanned and should be done – only the 2 actual sanctuaries have been sketched by Dalman.
[Footnote] 1. Later rejected as a sanctuary.
[Footnote] 2. Later identified as a quarry
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, 24 March: 3-5.
[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 Agnes Conway and George Horsfield]
A.E.C. spent the morning with Mr. Horsfield on the N.W. ridge of Wady el Ma’aisera el Sharkiyah revisiting the monuments seen yesterday. He pronounced the house with a 1st floor staircase to be a tomb copying a house. (A.E.C. at end thinks it is a house). Near it is a small shrine with 2 half moon niches not observed yesterday. The room with the low enclosure wall opposite is probably a cistern, possibly Byzantine, made in an entire tomb. The plaster is waterproof, of the kind that would be made to-day and the chamber is plastered to the probable water-level. A channel for the water leads into the next chamber, also a cistern, probably converted from a tomb. The water is gathered above, on the top of the hill, in the face of which the cisterns were made, and the gathering place is what I yesterday mistook for a cult site. We crossed the Wady and went to the north side of the Hellenistic tomb to the ridge on the W. of the Wady Turkamaniya to see the High Place observed from a distance yesterday, which the Bdûl called a “madhbar” and which Mr Horsfield agrees is a cult site and nothing to do with water-works. (Dalman – El Ma’aisera IV)1[Footnote: “1. Identified later as a house”]. From it another cult site of steps leading to a circular “snake” (possibly a phallic object) observed yesterday can be seen. (Dalman – El M. III). Behind the madhbar, a large carefully worked stone hall was called by the Bdûl a “jami” and may have been used in connection with the madhbar. (Both of them formed one house). The upshot of the morning was to emphasize the importance of cisterns and gathering places for rain water on the tops of the ridges and to exhaust that possibility before identifying any of the high squared terraces with water channels as cult sites. The double court with a built hall observed yesterday, is also a cistern, probably Byzantine.
G.Horsfield. The digging proceeded to-day with 15 men – a slight improvement has taken place in their performance, but it will take some time to break them in to organised labour.
The trench has been driven further into the mount and has struck on one side the top of the rock scarp which is seen below – which shows that the lower lying bed is shallow. The type of pottery coming from the lower level is coarse, but is mixed with finer kinds.
[sic] turned up with a Roman mode of dressing the hair. The pottery is small in quantity and found scattered about and not in beds.
The men are dissatisfied with the rate of pay and walked off in a body from the pay table. This was expected, as they have an exaggerated idea of their services, and of the ability of the Pst. [sic] Ex. Fund to pay. They are to be paid in five grades, beginning at 70 mils. One trouble is that Turkish money is still current, and the payment is made in Palestine, which they have hardly seen and do not understand. They are ignorant and very poor and miserable, but if we pay too much to start with, it only means future trouble. Eventually the rate will be the same as in Palestine.
Dr Canaan arrived today and is taking in hand the collection of all the names of the Wadis, Tombs and Mountains – so that they may be compared with the various maps and plans, which cause constant confusion when questioning the local Arabs, by variations.
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, 28 March: 11-13.
[By George Horsfield and probably Agnes Conway]
G. H. No work to-day, spent the morning on Ez Zantour making notes, the afternoon on S. end of El Habis visiting the By-Zantine [sic] fort and examining the site lying below – which I discover has at some time been tilled, the evidence being the piles of stones forming rough walls enclosing fields – very much as is found on other sites in T.J. This has happened after the desertion of the site.
A.E.C. went to Dalman’s El Habis Sanctuary No. 1 with Dr. Nielsen, and both agreed that it was nothing but a quarry. It is certainly far earlier than Al Najar, as the markings have worn away; It was perhaps Nabataean and furnished the stone for the old houses on El Habis and possibly the Castle, which Mr. Horsfield thinks at every period must have been the main citadel of Petra – the present ruins he thinks Byzantine or pre-Byzantine. A.E.C. went on to the theatre district to examine the house and tombs, and found tombs of every internal arrangement mixed up together and what seemed like a magnificent house and cistern underground in the middle of them. The sandstone is so weathered that the late types of facades look extremely primitive. In the afternoon she went to the tomb area above the Circassian camp again, and feels it to be far earlier than the Theatre district, even in the sections that face E. and are not weathered. She went to the head of the Wady where the 2 Ma’aiseras meet and thinks that very early caves and tombs may be silted up there.
Reference: Horsfield, G. 1929 [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, 5 April: 23-24.
[By George Horsfield and possibly Agnes Conway]
Dug at B. v C. to east of Ez Zantour. The pottery similar to that from a 1st cent [? In pencil] at lower level. This part of the city must have been abandoned at this period. And lies S. of Dalman’s Byzantine wall.
Spent the morning with Miss C. in El Farasa E. and El Farasa W. exploring tombs.
Dug out three tombs that Miss C discovered in Farasa W., moved much filth from two niches – tombs unexcavated – the other had been excavated but yielded nothing but mutton bones and sheep manure. In Farasa W. saw other niches high up in right hand tombs which may contain something – all accessible ones have been visited by local Arabs.
Saw interesting cistern found by Mahmud on top of Garden Tomb with a vaulted chamber beyond. Hall of fluted columns visited; corrected plan and made notes in Weygand. The horizontal slit on front looks as though it were intended to spring vault from. Saw new type of Tomb; a low chamber with small square door high up in the wall; one on other side of Wady, - half of which has been cut away – exposing section. Have discovered meaning of the horizontal slits in walls – they are to spring arches from; then the interval is covered with slabs to form roof.
At dig in the afternoon – worked quite well – Ali and Arif at one each; spent rest of afternoon in finding N Wall – in which I was successful – but it is very different to Dalman. Cook complains of being roasted – must put shelter over kitchen. A.E.C. went to the Edomite High Place in afternoon and took 3 panorama photographs with the ½ plate camera.
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, 8 April: 28-30.
[By George Horsfield and possibly Agnes Conway]
Went on with dig, which was showing signs of reaching undisturbed level. Cleared up all the dangerous overhanging parts. The pottery coming out is mostly fragments of cookery pots – large wine jars with inscribed handles – and some fragments of black glazed ware undecorated. (This Mr Crowfoot says is dated 300-150 BC). A small black lamp slightly oval with a small projection on one side – and poorly modelled – and a spoon-handle broken, same as another found yesterday, came out.
Took photographs of S wall and Zantour.
In early afternoon bottom was definitely reached at six metres – red crumply sandstone. Have decided to dig a long trench into the tell on S. side near the Habis – beginning Saturday, as that seems to be the most ancient and the deepest place.
Paid the men for two weeks’ work; no grumbles and all passed off in an orderly manner.
The High Commissioner arrived and is staying with Cooks. [Austen] Harrison write to say he was unable to come and visit us.
A.E.C. spent the morning on the nearer El Ma’aisera ridge looking at Kennedy’s Memorandum queries in connection with the great tomb, Fives court etc. She could find no sign of a sanctuary, but think the whole lay-out may be an elaborate example of the type of enceinte described on the Turkomanya tomb. A new type of tomb turned up, and two unfinished very early tombs, as well as more cisterns. A complete investigation of the ridge might be done and would be interesting if there is time for anything intensive. She took 5 panorama telephoto views from the Edomite circle in the afternoon glow.
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, 11 April: 31-32.
[probably by Agnes Conway]
A.E.C. spent the morning on Al-Ma’aisera looking at all the tombs leading to the watch-room overlooking the barred Wady Marras Hamdan outside the town. The tombs are particularly small, and there are many niches with facades too small for tombs. When above the Turkomanya Wady, I saw a line of camels which turned out to the be the last of 300 or so, which had come from Hayil, a 20 days’ journey, with 50 Wahabis to look after them. From Ma’an they went by Ain Hai and ain Khraje to El Barid, where they slept last night. They went out by El Thughra on the way to Akaba and a 5 days’ journey to Egypt to sell the camels. They said the Star Pass was too hard on the camels legs and so was the Siq. This seems to imply that El Barid may have been the last station on the way to Petra on the Southern and Eastern Trade Routes, as well as the first station from Petra on the way to Gaza. It was a first hand demonstration of the Trade Routes that we never could have hoped for, and a very fine spectacle. The afternoon went on shopping chores and consultations with Mr Read [Head] about my camera. The “Sybil” focus is all wrong and impossible to use.
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, 12 April: 33.
[By George Horsfield and possibly Agnes Conway]
Began to dig on S. face of the city between the outer and the Byzantine wall, on a face of 10 metres. The ground was covered with the fragments of stone slabs that seem to have formed the sides and covers to Xian graves – one of which had been destroyed. They were on the surface.
The surface is sandy earth with small fragments of pottery[.] One lamp with a cross and several Byzantine coins were turned up. Visited with Miss C. the Tombs at foot of Biyara on the other side of W. Tughra. Afternoon was on the dig all the time; the surface is clear up the wall and the S. end down [? in pencil] about ¾ in. Very little pottery is turning up. Remains of wood ash are appearing – but the pottery is limited and uninteresting and very fragmentary.
Wall stones are turning up just below the surface and fragments of stone are mingled with the earth, particularly at foot of Byzantine wall.
A.E.C. spent the afternoon on the nearer Ma’aisera ridge and in the wadi-al Gharbiyah, where, in a small area are six silted up caves almost at Wady level on each side. Four are hidden by falls of detritus and two filled to the very top with sand, - thinks these may all be tombs, and that one is of the large Serai type and worth digging.
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, 13 April: 33-34.
[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 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.