Weblog of the March/April 2010 Petra excavation campaigns

Week four (Sunday, April 4, to Saturday, April 10, 2010)

Sunday, April 4, 2010: The 4th week starts

The Umm el-Biyara team is close to the shutting down of their camp site on the plateau for this year’s survey campaign, as soon as the last measuring point is taken by the measurement team consisting of Will Kennedy and Guido Teltsch (guided by structure lady Maxie Maria Haufe). As they were on a beer trip at Aquaba during the weekend, nobody really knows if this will take one day or another whole week ...

Will Kennedy and Guido Teltsch trying hard to remember all the functions of the Leica Satellite System (photo: A. Barmasse)
Fig. 44: Will Kennedy and Guido Teltsch trying hard to remember all the functions of the Leica Satellite System (photo: A. Barmasse)

At the Aslah Triclinium excavation work is going on. For the last week no more trenches will be opened, so there will be enough time to wash and study the pottery and to finalize all work ontime.

Robert and Wiltrud Wenning looking forward to another exciting excavation day at the Aslah Triclinium (photo: A. Barmasse)
Fig. 45: Robert and Wiltrud Wenning looking forward to another exciting excavation day at the Aslah Triclinium (photo: A. Barmasse)

Monday, April 5, 2010: Easter at Petra

The easter weekend also had a small impact on the daily life in the camp. Wiltrud Wenning took the opportunity to create a wonderfull easter tree and to decorate some very nice table decorations consisting of an ficus leave with chocolate eggs on top of it. And Maxie Maria Haufe painted a whole carton of eggs in different colors. Everything was a real pleasure, not only to look at, but also to eat it.

View of the nice easter decoration on the lunch table at Nazzal’s camp (photo: A. Barmasse)
Fig. 46: View of the nice easter decoration on the lunch table at Nazzal’s camp (photo: A. Barmasse)

The afternoon life consisted (as usual) of washing, laying out and classifying the collected pottery sherds on the old tent platforms in front of Nazzal’s camp. During this work there are always interresting talks developping – be it on a rather professional or on a personal level –, and there is always a funny story of the day to laugh about. Some of the team even sit outside after the sun has set and darkness has fallen upon good old Petra.

Thomas Kabs and Maxie Maria Haufe zipping on an delicious Arak, while Marco Dehner is hypnotizing the pottery sherds (photo: A. Barmasse)
Fig. 47: Thomas Kabs and Maxie Maria Haufe zipping on an delicious Arak, while Marco Dehner is hypnotizing the pottery sherds (photo: A. Barmasse)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010: World of Wonders at Petra

Today two journalists of the German print media Welt der Wunder arrived at Petra to get to know better the excavations itself and daily life of archqeologists in Petra. With Stephan Schmid qnd Robert Wenning they had to experts at hand, and they seemed quite pleased about the adventures and the tasks of today’s explorers in the field. We are eager to buy the edition of Welt der Wunder with the petra report in it.

Robert Wenning is discussing with Thorsten Ehrenberg some of the unresolved questions about the Nabataeans (photo: A. Barmasse)
Fig. 48: Robert Wenning is discussing with Thorsten Ehrenberg some of the unresolved questions about the Nabataeans (photo: A. Barmasse)

On Umm el-Biyara Stephan Schmid and André Barmasse were spending the last night in the tent in the cave before all the stuff will brought down again on donkeys and stored for the next year’s excavation season. The three weeks camping have shown that there are no major problems for two people staying up. Instead, for an excavation season it is not suitable for the team members to walk up on Umm el-Biyara every day, to dig and to go back down to Nazzal’s camp again. But if more then two people stay up there are some major infrastructural and hygenic problems to solve.

With a camp fire burning and a breathtaking sunset on silent Umm el-Biyara daily problems suddenly seem so small .. (photo: A. Barmasse)
Fig. 49: With a camp fire burning and a breathtaking sunset on silent Umm el-Biyara daily problems suddenly seem so small ... (photo: A. Barmasse)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010: Last night on Umm el-Biyara

Ultimate day’s work on Umm el-Biyara was to draw and number the saved architectural elements and to take photos of all the structures found during this year’s survey campaign. Some of the architectural stones were carried down to Nazzal’s camp on donkey, some were to heavy and had to be left up on Umm el-Biyara.

Will Kennedy sitting cool in the middle of a steep hill covered all over with architectural remains drawing a block with an Eros (photo: A. Barmasse)
Fig. 50: Will Kennedy sitting cool in the middle of a steep hill covered all over with architectural remains drawing a block with an Eros (photo: A. Barmasse)

In the evening all members of the excaation team were invited by one of the workmen at the Aslah Triclinium to a nice barbeque in Beidha, a quiet and wonderful landscape near Petra. The chickens roasted on that camp fire were most delicious, and it was really hard to leave some in the plate for the family, but we followed this custom, knowing that this way we might get invited another time.

View from within the barbeque tent to the wonderful and very green landscape in Beidha (photo: A. Barmasse)
Fig. 51: View from within the barbeque tent to the wonderful and very green landscape in Beidha (photo: A. Barmasse)

Thursday, April 8, 2010: The excavation team dissolves

As of this day the excavation team is slowly dissolving itself. Its members begin to pack their stuff – and together with it of course all their memories of this year’s unforgettable spring campaign in Petra – and are heading home again. Piotr Bienkowski already left Petra two days ago with direction back to England, Laurent Gorgerat and André Barmasse were driving today back to Amman together with Stephan Schmid, who had to fullfill some administration duties before the weekend. Luckily, the people from Germany stayed until Saturday, and therefore had enough time to clean up the camp.

View of all the rubbish accumulated during four weeks of excavation (photo: A. Barmasse)
Fig. 52: View of all the rubbish accumulated during four weeks of excavation (photo: A. Barmasse)

And while Laurent Gorgerat and André Barmasse prepared for an excellent Lebanese dinner in the capital Amman, people worked at the Nazzal’s camp right into the deepest night. Besides cleaning there was also a need to finalize all the digital plans, for which around ten thousands of metric points were taken with the Leica satellite system.

Maxie Maria Haufe, Will Kennedy and Guido Teltsch deciding whether the spots in the computer are metric ones or simply ants (photo: A. Barmasse)
Fig. 53: Maxie Maria Haufe, Will Kennedy and Guido Teltsch deciding whether the spots in the computer are metric ones or simply ants (photo: A. Barmasse)

Friday, April 9, 2010: Flying home to Switzerland

The two guys from Basel again stayed at the Institut du Proche-Orient at Amman, but they had to get up very early in order to avoid a long wait at the airport. Fortunately, they already checked in at the city terminal check-in of Royal Jordanian yesterday. But as Laurent Gorgerat had his GPS and field glasses in the hand luggage and André Barmasse was stupid enough to take pictures of the police checking Laurent’s bag, they had to slightly wait a little bit. But after a nice flight they landed safely at Zurich airport.

Laurent Gorgerat sitting in the Zurich airport shuttle listening delightedly to the authentic Swiss ambiance sounds for tourist (photo: A. Barmasse)
Fig. 54: Laurent Gorgerat sitting in the Zurich airport shuttle listening delightedly to the authentic Swiss ambiance sounds for tourist (photo: A. Barmasse)

Saturday, April 10, 2010: Flying home to Germany

Are there any photos around from Saturday? No? Well then ... maybe a video footage would be nice to end this blog.