[possibly Agnes Conway]
Mr. Horsfield and A.E.C. went to see the house opposite the theatre, and the Tomb of Onaisu, from which Mr. Horsfield hopes to get the chronology of the Tombs straightened out. He noticed a new type of crenellated tomb in the site, where the crenellations are real battlements. There is an intermediate form of tomb in the Outer Siq in which the crenellations come to the top, but have no cornice. The house has remains of painted plaster in one room, in a recognizable design, and the room is vaulted. They went on to Zibb Atuf, and agreed that the obelisks were connected with the quarry and had nothing to do with the Place of Sacrifice. Mr H. thought the entrance towers Byzantine, and the two on a lower level of a different date, but could not understand them as fortifications.
He thinks the cut stone on the rim of the altar of the Great High Place implies some superstructure and suggests that it was a shrine rather than an altar; made perhaps to hold some sacred stone emblem of Dushara which may have stood on the base of the so-called altar of burnt offerings. Such a stone might easily have been thrown down the hill side. From the stone cutting of the triclinium (?) wall, he thought the work was of the 1st century B.C. Should the altar be a shrine, A.E.C. thought the victims might have been slaughtered beside the round basin, in which the blood might have been collected and poured on the sacred stone. In this case why should a runnel join the round basin to drain liquids into the court?1 On the way up above the theatre they reached the plateau where the snake relief is (better photograph needed). Mr H. thought this must be a shrine; but the surrounding caves are all houses; some of them very fine ones. The whole lot are included by Dalman as the 2nd sanctuary of the Theatre-berg! In the afternoon they visited the silted up caves in the Wady Ma’aisera el Gharbiyah and decided which should be dug tomorrow.
[Footnote] 1. A later dig showed that it did not drain into the court, but ran down the mountain at the back.
Reference:[unsigned, but 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, 19 April: 44-45.
[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]
Have now reduced the Tombs to three – No. 3 in front of Triple Dushara has had further clearing – found more pots – and a mass of bones white and friable and hard and charred. The charred seem to have been thrown in in heaps – for there is no sign of lime or buring, though the surrounding sand has a considerable amount of black in it in powder form.
They would seem to be first century if my dating of pottery correct.
One tomb more to W. – tomb with 4 graves - has brought nothing out of chamber or shaft – just sand – inside in floor are 4 graves with covers “intact.” The other is proceeding and has proved similarly blank up to date – but floor not yet explored – it seems like a side niche.
A.E.C. spent the morning at the dig with Mr H. helping to clear away the upper layers of sand from the burials. After photographing with the ½ plate camera in the afternoon, the spring of the shutter broke and everything will have to be taken with the wide angle lense in future. No luck here with cameras, watches, lamps, electric torches or shoes!
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, 29 April: 60-61.
[possibly George Horsfield and Agnes Conway]
Worked on two Tomb chambers. The first was like the second, No. 1 grave, left to right, had a juglet at the foot lying on top of the sand – bones below. No. 2 had nothing but bones, likewise 3 – 4 had a vase at the feet, a bottle with a long neck at the knees and a basin on the chest – the latter in bits as the cover slabs had caved in – all the whole pieces have received damage to the necks for some reason. There were no signs of burning or lime – bones fibrous and broke to bits.
No. 2 Tomb Chamber was exactly like No 1 – except that at each side there was a recess. From left to right – have done Nos. 3 and 4 – there was a woman ? and child and fragments of a copper wire bracelet and a silver one were found. Nothing else, 4 had nothing at all – the skeleton lay at the bottom – with head in left top corner and knees slightly drawn up and on left side. The “coffin” was filled with sand in both cases and there were odd human bones in it – the corpse being at bottom – which seems to suggest that there was re-use of material for 2nd burial.
The woman and child in No. 3 grave are near the surface – so probably there is another burial under – only part cleared. Doing this took seven hours morning and afternoon – as I did a lot of clearing myself – in afternoon assisted by Ali and Arif, when it went better. On finishing this Tomb I go to Siyagh – which will be to-morrow, to see what I can find. No signs of lime or burning. The pottery seems late and has been found on rubbish tips.
A.E.C. spent the morning on the Deir plateau looking at one of Dalman’s so called sanctuaries, (506) which is nothing at all, and at the impressive Temple platform with remains of columns in position high up on a hill facing the Deir Monument. Behind this Temple is a very large open-fronted hall with a pedimented niche of the period of the Deir. Between the hill and the immediate platform of the Deir, a very large circle is outlined, partly with stones and partly by the natural rock. It was artificially levelled inside, and the hall, Temple, circle and Deir must have formed one enceinte probably in connection with the “Opfergesellschaft” of Ovodat referred to in an inscription near the Tomb or Temple. The caves, partly hewn out of the rock and partly built, in a line with the Deir, look Roman and remind me of the suburb beyond the Sextus Florentinus Tomb. I think they are all rather grand houses with cisterns, large niches etc. One large room, the farthest N. has the walls out back 2 ft. on each side at a distance of 5 ft. from the ground, and there is a great niche at the end. The level ground is covered with remains of Roman buildings. Another Weigand [handwritten in pencil] might find as much to reconstruct there as in the central Hellenistic city. There is one hidden shaft grave and a collection of graves overlooking the Siyagh which I had no time to visit. Photographed tomb in vain with the wide-angle lense all the afternoon and think it in some ways more suited to the work here than the other.
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, 30 April: 61-63.
[possibly George Horsfield and Agnes Conway]
Working on Tombs to S. of El Habis. They are very disappointing as all so far observed have been disturbed. The finds amount to a few pots, bones and sherds, but not amounting to much. Can find no signs of cremations.
The undisturbed tomb seems to be entered from a crack in the rock and if my surmise is correct should be both interesting and important. The “crack” is a vertical stratification – in which stairs are commonly cut. At one end it shows signs of cutting – but the sides show a natural weathered surface – the width is the same as a shaft and length just over 4 metres.
Finished photographing at the Edomite High Place and describing it. I’m never going there again! Measured houses in the Siyagh in the afternoon.
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, 5 May: 68.
[possibly by both George Horsfield and Agnes Conway]
The Tombs south of El Habis have all petered out without giving any evidence different to that already obtained, nor producing anything in the way of pottery that was not previously known and explored – nor was there the faintest evidence of cremations. The one thing not previously found was a collection of alabaster pots – all in fragments – there seem to be four in all – large and small.
The North Tomb was finished clearing at the end of the working day – there are three graves and all unopened. Pottery has been found in the Chamber of the same character as previously known – but with one or two fresh shapes. The works are now closed down and will allow of time to consider them in their different evidences. The main feeling is disappointment at the lack of variety and their comparative modernity. Every effort has been made to find the oldest and deepest sites – the same with the tombs and graves. The evidence has been the same in all cases and seems conclusive that the civilization was of Mediterranean origin – except for the “Assyrian” Pylon Tombs. Taking Medain Salih as the fixed chronological starting point then Petra is not older – but must have existed and flourished under the same trade and cultural impulse – which dies towards the end of the first century at M.S. but was diverted in the case of Petra to being intermediary between N. & S. This then was the flourishing period – the 2nd century, which filled Provincia Arabia with cities and completed the Graeco-Romanization of Petra in the monuments of Hadrian.
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, 7 May: 69-71.