Weblog of the September 2010 Petra excavation campaigns

Thursday, August 31, 2010: Arrival in Amman

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.

Fig. 2: Thomas Kabs and Will Kennedy concentrating during the flight to Amman (photo: S. Hoffmann)
Fig. 2: Thomas Kabs and Will Kennedy concentrating during the flight to Amman (photo: S. Hoffmann)

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.

Fig. 3: Blue sky over Amman seen from the French Institute (photo: S. Hoffmann)
Fig. 3: Blue sky over Amman seen from the French Institute (photo: S. Hoffmann)

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.

Fig. 4: Narrow spaces bringing people closer (photo: S. G. Schmid)
Fig. 4: Narrow spaces bringing people closer (photo: S. G. Schmid)
Fig. 5: Traffic jam on the road to Wadi Mousa (photo: S. Hoffmann)
Fig. 5: Traffic jam on the road to Wadi Mousa (photo: S. Hoffmann)

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.

Fig. 6: Ali Chalaf inspecting Nazzal’s camp (photo: S. Hoffmann)
Fig. 6: Ali Chalaf inspecting Nazzal’s camp (photo: S. Hoffmann)

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…

Fig. 7: Excavation tools waiting to be inspected (photo: S. Hoffmann)
Fig. 7: Excavation tools waiting to be inspected (photo: S. Hoffmann)
Fig. 8: A small brake while carrying stuff, admiring the beautiful garden behind Nazzal’s camp (photo: S. Hoffmann)
Fig. 8: A small brake while carrying stuff, admiring the beautiful garden behind Nazzal’s camp (photo: S. Hoffmann)
Fig. 9: Nazzal’s camp getting started (photo: S. Hoffmann)
Fig. 9: Nazzal’s camp getting started (photo: S. Hoffmann)

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.

Fig. 10: Bernhard Kolb pointing out this year’s strategy at az-Zantur (photo: S. G. Schmid)
Fig. 10: Bernhard Kolb pointing out this year’s strategy at az-Zantur (photo: S. G. Schmid)
Fig. 11: Stephan Schmid explaining this year’s workload at the Soldier Tomb complex in Wadi Farasa East (photo: S. Hoffmann)
Fig. 11: Stephan Schmid explaining this year’s workload at the Soldier Tomb complex in Wadi Farasa East (photo: S. Hoffmann)
Fig. 12: Lucy Wadeson pointing out tombs BD 779 and 781 where her project is going to take place (photo: S. G. Schmid)
Fig. 12: Lucy Wadeson pointing out tombs BD 779 and 781 where her project is going to take place (photo: S. G. Schmid)
Fig. 13: Lucy Wadeson showing the intimidated audience what exactly is to due inside tomb BD 779 (photo: S. G. Schmid)
Fig. 13: Lucy Wadeson showing the intimidated audience what exactly is to due inside tomb BD 779 (photo: S. G. Schmid)

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.

Fig. 14: Guido Teltsch and Will Kennedy trying to find their way through a narrow valley not often visited by tourists (photo: S. Hoffmann)
Fig. 14: Guido Teltsch and Will Kennedy trying to find their way through a narrow valley not often visited by tourists (photo: S. Hoffmann)
Fig. 15: Guido Teltsch, Will Kennedy, Karin Petrovszky and Marco Dehner exploring the city centre of Petra (photo: S. Hoffmann)
Fig. 15: Guido Teltsch, Will Kennedy, Karin Petrovszky and Marco Dehner exploring the city centre of Petra (photo: S. Hoffmann)