The various participants travelled from Germany and Switzerland to Amman where everybody met either at the airport, the French institute or in the offices of the Department of Antiquities where the four project directors (Bernhard Kolb from Basel, Lucy Wadeson from Oxford/Amman, Brian „the Brain“ Beckers from Berlin and Stephan Schmid from Berlin) had to obtain the respective working permits, perfectly prepared by the friendly staff of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan.
Arriving at Amman brought the nice surprise that weather was definitely much better than in central Europe (not very difficult) but not as hot as in the previous weeks where temperatures above 40C were rather the rule than the exception. Now, with temperatures within the 30sC, fieldwork is likely to be much easier. As always, the French and German Institutes at Amman provided a very helpful infrastructure in order to get everything started.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010: Travel to Petra
Profiting from the perfect preparatory work, our sojourn at Amman was cut down to a record suspect half a day and we left already during afternoon of September 1st to Petra. While most team members had to squeeze themselves in a minivan in order to drive down to Petra, Christoph Schneider and Stephan Schmid accomplished the delicate task of shopping for a dozen people at Safeway before taking the desert highway towards South.
When arriving at Petra the team immediately took its quarters in the Burckhardt Archaeological Centre (vulgo good old Nazzal’s Camp). Ali Chalaf Al-B’dool, the best camp manager under the Jordanian sun, had prepared everything and the camp was literally blinking and shining upon our arrival.
Thursday, September 2, 2010: First day at Nazzal’s Camp
The first day at Petra was devoted to the preparation of the various projects. This meant carrying down the entire infrastructure, tools etc. from the caves above Nazzal’s camp, filling all the shelves with the documentation forms and so on and so far. At this occasion we realized the deep impact of André Barmasse’s absence, always having been the spiritus rector of packing and unpacking our material…
Friday, September 3, 2010: Exploring the sites
Today the last three remaining team members arrived from Amman. This last day before the beginning of our field work was devoted to preparing the various documentation forms for all projects as well as to a visit to the different sites in order to sort out who is working at which site, how many workmen will be needed, what strategy shall be used in order to achieve the various goals and so on. The spare time of our first weekend at Petra was used for the exploration of the site, profiting from a comparable low tourist presence and, therefore, enjoying the rare situation of free sight to the most spectacular tomb façades and so on.
Since our Total Station was blocked at the customs office at Amman airport upon arrival, Lucy Wadeson was kind enough to borrow one from CBRL Amman. Now the big suspense is whether we will be able to work with that model as we are used to work with a different one … Nevertheless, continuous phone calls with various administrations at Amman will hopefully enable us to get our Total Station through customs soon.
Saturday, September 4, 2010: Exploring Petra
On the last free day before the first excavation week the team members individually visited some more sites in and around Petra.