[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 Agnes Conway]
No dig today as it poured with rain and Mr. Horsfield sorted pots, and A.E.C. welcomed the chance of reading. At lunch-time there was a shout of water in the Wadi Musa, and the whole camp rushed to see it pouring into the Siyagh. It was, however, coming from the Metaha and not from the Sik at that time; so Mr H. and A.E.C. went to examine the large buildings under El Hubta. The enormous façade next but one N. of the Tomb of the Urn has only 2 small but perfectly squared or tooled rooms, one of which seemed to ring hollow in the middle of the floor and may be worth clearing out. The next two at right angles to each other, have no facades and may be houses. The Corinthian Tomb has capitals almost Byzantine, combined with triglyphs and dentals of yellow stone painted with stripes of black. It was impossible to tell whether the inserted stone of the low arches on the left was plastered or not. Inside the Palace Tomb the arrangement of 4 bases for sarcophagi 1, on a high shelf in a niche, was odd and unique in Petra.
The colour of this ceiling and the neighbouring one on the left was superb in the greyish light; a fantastic palette of blood red, orange, pink, grey, pale mauve, and silver, set off by great black splotches from the Bedouin fires.
As soon as the sun shone the colour paled. This English day of thunderclouds, and snatches of deep blue sky brought out all the colour of the rocks and intensified the green. A blinding hail storm was difficult to battle against on the way home. We jumped the Wady Musa and got to camp a few minutes before the Deir Wady became a raging torrent, cutting off the 2 sides of the camp from each other, and threatening the tents, around which trenches had to be dug at once. Before supper the stream was dry again.
[Footnote] 1. The same seen later near right [? In pencil] of Tomb of Urn
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 April: 48-49.
[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]
Completed Cave No. 2. which shows only intrusive burials. The back recess is divided in two, the left being larger and slightly deeper – this had one burial, accompanied by a number of small bells which look as though they belonged to camel trappings cylindrical in shape. The shallower niche had a variety of bones including four jaw bones. One burial seemed more complete and between the knees was found a Byzantine bottle with a long neck. A shaft grave was found on right side against wall and was covered by two slabs of scaly sandstone at the upper end – the lower being open. The neck and part of the body of a large Byzantine pot was found under the slab, and the remains of bones in the sand which filled the hole completely. 70 cents down is a groove on both sides extending all the length – which indicates that it was made for more than one occupant. What is under is awaiting excavation. Tomb No. 1 (in front of Triple Dushara) was worked on and yielded more Byzantine pottery. It contains 13 skulls and a mass of bones which are all mixed up together – suggesting that these people had taken refuge in this tomb and eventually died there. The reason not apparent. The pottery is Byzantine and seems to have contained food. A bottle with long neck and handle blackened with [blank] seems an intrusion as it lay on the sand fallen down shafts. Tomb No 2 is cleared to the floor. Lamps, small bowls and some fragments of thin painted pottery turned up [original emphasis]. At the floor level are apparently 4 graves covered with stone slabs awaiting investigation.
No 3. shaft has disclosed a chamber – but is full to brim with earth work proceeding – nothing found.
Cleared five simple shafts farther to south – found nothing but a mass of stones and broken bones in one – others empty. They were of same type as those in Farasa east, with stone slabs some 60 cents. above corpse – and probably filled in with earth to top.
A.E.C. photographed in the Edomite High Place; watched the dig at tomb No 2, (1?) and found a Byzantine cistern on El Ma’aisera made out of an early tomb. She went with Dr. Nielsen in the afternoon to the Kataar el Deir and the Klausenschluct, finding Dalman’s 2 sanctuaries after a great deal of trouble. These are country houses, with niches, water-basins and grottoes; once more a charming country suburb, probably Roman like the Deir. The houses are unusually small, but cut out of the best white sand stone, the dressing of which might have been done yesterday and looks like the finest plaster. On the top of the Hill E. of the road to the Deir from the Klausenschluct, is what may be the remains of a fort with a lot of built stone. Above it are 3 Greek crosses.
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, 24 April: 53-55.
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.
[by George Horsfield and possibly Agnes Conway]
Went on clearing Triple Dushara Tomb. In one case all the covering slabs were in position – the grave above these was filled nearly to ground level with lime concrete – on removing sand (slab?) – found grave full of red sand: on removing slowly and with extreme care centimetre by centimetre, found a layer of lime down centre of grave and extending to sides but not completely filling grave at this level – it was compact and smooth. Scraping thus away came on black calcined substance which was not very thick – possessed no shape, and whose depth was difficult to estimate. In it were fragments of bone – friable and dry. Scraping thus away came on more lime and eventually to sand again. At one end was a large piece of stone. This grave I have numbered No. 3.
No. 2 was of the same order, but was completely calcined without a fragment of bone. Of this a sample was obtained and put in a jar – found in another place – for future investigation. This explains the absence of remains found in other graves examined – which evidenced (“ashes”) calcined remains and which at the time were not understood – in spite of the lime – which was thought to be accidental and probably rubbish thrown in. All the deep graves, five in the Triple Dushara, gave the same evidence, but only in the one case was the calcinations combustion perfect: of the two other graves – one was empty and the other had the remains of an adult and of a child side by side – divided roughly with stones. This grave was shallow and lay at right angles inside a pair of the others – that is, between two ends and the inside wall.
Now working at shafts in neighbourhood – front and sides of same tomb – finding Byzantine pottery and in one a welter of bones thrown in anyhow – some of which have a burnt appearance. This shaft leads to an interior chamber not yet cleared. Byzantine pottery was found with bones in shaft. Tomb next door Triple Dushara cleared and seemed same type, but had been disturbed – graves shallow and same type as empty one in T.D. modern coffin shape and shallow, divided by thin walls – no evidence of covering slabs.
Clearing out the Tombs above T.D. with low Assyrian facades. They are plain and square – work proceeding. No other graves have brought anything to light. There is an entire absence of pottery until Byzantine period – all of which is of a domestic character.
A.E.C. spent the morning with Dr. Neilsen photographing the tiny Roman? houses in the Klausenschluct and going to the Deir. The building that looked like a fort is much more likely to be a Byzantine dwelling. It is built of large and small stones very roughly, is high up against the cliff, on which are cut four Greek crosses, and has small windows like arrow-shoots. There are two Nestorian crosses and one Greek cross on the small two-storied house, and the whole quarter may in Byzantine times have been lived in by Christians. This is Br 460, who gives the Christian inscriptions inside and calls it a hermitage. A large cistern, seemingly Byzantine, is near the houses.
All the buildings on the Deir plateau, forming Dalman’s seven sanctuaries, seem to be houses. There was not time to finish examining these. In Dalman, No. 506, the finish of the black tooling, with a black border around it, resembles the best finished Roman tomb by the bottom of the western Ma’aisera wady, and the four obelisk Tomb and the one below it.
Took five Edomite High Place ½ plate panoramas in the afternoon.
Reference: Horsfield, G. 1929. [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, 27 April: 56-59.
[by George Horsfield and possibly Agnes Conway]
In excavating shaft grave the 3rd down in front of Triple Dushara Tomb – certain pots were found when the shaft was excavated - this being full of sand and stones. The chamber is nearly full to the roof with sand – it is about 2 m. high. In the centre 50 cents. above the floor has been found a “charred” mass of bones and on top pots – evidently a burial with offerings?
The pots – some of them have been found before – but this is the first group – we have examined 47 graves up to date and 3 have given evidence of an undisturbed burial while the rest gave indication of the method employed.
AEC and Dr Nielsen climbed Jebel en Mer in the morning. The stairs are in fairly good preservation, but very small; not comparable to those up El Hubta or el Biyara, and we were both unable to see why Jebel en Mer should have been called a special holy mountain. (It wasn’t)! There is not even one Dushara niche on it! Dalman’s 1st sanctuary consists merely of two water basins to catch water from the mountain, opposite a small cave with a made door. On the way up to the terrace on which it is is the small relief of a Roman soldier. The top of the mountain is small in area and strewn with Byzantine pottery. One large cave with remains of a staircase going up to it, has a lot on the ground. The rest of the area, all embraced in Dalman’s sanctuary No. 2, looks merely like a water-collecting system to fill a large Byzantine ? cistern lying below it which has a low curved arch in position. The stones are very large. Some stones lying above the water system may have belonged to a dwelling of some sort, but I could make nothing of it.
Visited the dig in the afternoon and started exploring the ridge behind our camp for the first time. It begins with houses, probably a continuation of the Siyagh quarter, and goes on with tombs, some of which look as though they may have undisturbed burials.
The interest of the find of Nabataean pottery with an undisturbed burial, fired me to write my first letter to Henry Mond.
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, 28 April: 59-60.
[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.