Weblog of the March/April 2011 Petra excavation campaigns

Week seven (Sunday, April 17, to Saturday, April 23, 2011)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

As everybody knew, that this is the last week of this year’s seasons at Petra, work started out with a kind of gloom on all sites. The NEPP survey project team still had some remains of „al-Wadis“ in their heads and legs, so there was not much enthusiasm in stumbeling over stones and bowing down to collect sherds in the first day after the weekend. One must bear in mind, that the area suveyed is very vaste containing a lot of building remains that have to be well documented.

Fig. 79: Bernhard Kolb jumping like a young rabbit on top of the debris of the NEPP site.
Fig. 79: Bernhard Kolb jumping like a young rabbit on top of the debris of the NEPP site.

At the Aslah complex the cleaning of the aera in front of the tomb was already finished last week. Therefore, the drawing and documenting of the outside of the tomb was started. Inside the tomb, the floor was cleaned and the excavation of the shaft grave in front of the central niche continued.

Fig. 80: View onto the excavated area in front of the Aslah tomb.
Fig. 80: View onto the excavated area in front of the Aslah tomb.

At the Khubta tombs too, work started out with drawing and documenting of the site. Excavation continued inside the shaft graves of the tomb on the left side, and in the trench in front of the tomb on the right side. As the doumentation of Lucy Wadeson is very professional and detailed, even the tomb facades were excavated and cleaned (see picture).

Fig. 81: Workmen trying to climb the steep tomb facade at Khubta.
Fig. 81: Workmen trying to climb the steep tomb facade at Khubta.

Monday, April 25, 2011

During the week some members, who had worked on Umm el-Biyara, had to climb up to finish their personal documentation or fill in the gaps with missing informations. But the documentation of this year’s season on Umm el-Biyara was (more or less) already finished during the weekend. Therefore the NEPP survey team was fully functional and not weakened by lack of man/woman power.

Fig. 82: Jana Falkenberg marking the fix points on top of Umm al-Biyara.
Fig. 82: Jana Falkenberg marking the fix points on top of Umm al-Biyara.

At the Aslah complex the shaft grave in front of the central niche was fully excavated, cleaned and drawn. It revealed two shoulder edges on the inside, therefore it must have contained three burials. Inside the grave some human remains were discovered and carefully excavated and recovered. There were also some rather unexpected finds in the tomb (see further down)

Fig. 83: View into the shaft grave in front of the central niche of the Aslah tomb.
Fig. 83: View into the shaft grave in front of the central niche of the Aslah tomb.

At the Khubta tombs documentation continued on this day. As the excavation project of Lucy Wadeson had to cope with very limited monetary ressources, they weren’t able to afford additional material ... not even a ladder for taking pictures.

Fig. 84: Every tool is welcome to get a better picture ...
Fig. 84: Every tool is welcome to get a better picture ...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Although surveying means no excavation, walking around a huge area over and over during the entire day, trying to identify structures, recording and eventually interpreting them, all under the burning sun, is real hard work. Luckily there were some shops nearby, where the team could rest for a moment and take a recreation nap.

Fig. 85: Stephan Schmid, Bernhard Kolb and Guido Teltsch having a break.
Fig. 85: Stephan Schmid, Bernhard Kolb and Guido Teltsch having a break.

A very surprising discovery was made inside the shaft grave in the tomb of the Aslah complex. A ensemble of unguentaria was found together with a fully preserved lamp in one of the burials. This realy are some merited earnings for the hard work during the last four weeks.

Fig. 86: View of the nice ensemble of unguentaria and a lamp found in the shaft grave of the central niche at the Aslah complex.
Fig. 86: View of the nice ensemble of unguentaria and a lamp found in the shaft grave of the central niche at the Aslah complex.

Documentation, documentation, documentation. Sometimes almost the harder task than just excavate is the exhaustive and highly professional documentation of the discoveries. Not a single stone or sherd, not a scratch in the shaft grave or a strange layer of earth in the trench is allowed to be omitted. And that is how the international team at the Khubta tombs does it (and of course the other teams, too).

Fig. 87: Lucy Wadeson and Thomas Kabs peaking out of their graves ... the ones they had to excavate, I mean.
Fig. 87: Lucy Wadeson and Thomas Kabs peaking out of their graves ... the ones they had to excavate, I mean.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

No matter the feast and the meal, the last architectural blocks from Umm al-Biyara had to be finished today, as part of a deadline drawn by the head of the excavations, Stephan Schmid, himself. This is why Will Kennedy had to work until past midnight, and, since the generator stops between ten and eleven p. m., he had to use his pathfinder skills in order to enlighten himself (and the blocks).

Fig. 88: Will Kennedy at his working place around 03.00 a. m. (and still awake).
Fig. 88: Will Kennedy at his working place around 03.00 a. m. (and still awake).

At the Aslah complex work slowly came to and end, in order to have the last working day of this week free for some remaining drawings and documentations onsite and at the Nazzal’s camp. It was a very successfull campaign 2011 and were looking forward to the preliminary report, published soon on this website.

Fig. 89: Picture of the 2011 team at the Aslah complex.
Fig. 89: Picture of the 2011 team at the Aslah complex.

At the Khubta tombs time was a little bit tight, as inside the shaft graves of the left tomb were discoverd some human remains, that had to be carefully recoverd on the same day. So there was a little bit overtime, but everything went smoothly and the grave was finished and cleaned in the afternoon and therefore ready for documentation.

Fig. 90: Some human remains in one of the shaft graves of the Khubta tombs.
Fig. 90: Some human remains in one of the shaft graves of the Khubta tombs.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

As usual, the last working day of this year’s season cannot be called a working day. It is rather a day of joy, fun and a little bit of cleaning up the site. Everybody is walking back to Nazzal’s camp, dumping the working material at the tree in front of it, drinking a last tea with the workmen, and shaking hands farewell („next year, inshallah!“). Some of the workmen go back to their village, others continue their job as tourist guides.

Fig. 91: Captain Jack Sparrow al-Bedool on his desert sea camel.
Fig. 91: Captain Jack Sparrow al-Bedool on his desert sea camel.

The team fom Khubta, although a little bit pressed because of the human remains found yesterday in the tomb, finished their work. There was even time for a last breakfast together and the offical team photo. This year’s excavations at the Khubta site too were very succefull and revelaed a lot of new informations about the dating of the tomb in comparision with its facade. We are looking forward to the preliminary report, published soon on this website.

Fig. 92: Last breakfast for the year 2011 at the Khubta tombs site.
Fig. 92: Last breakfast for the year 2011 at the Khubta tombs site.

The evening of the last day on the last week of this year’s excavations and surveys at Petra ended rather wet. The international composition of the team and the different characters of its members created an very relaxed and very joyfull athmosphere. Everybody had contributed in his/her own way to a very special time during this year. Going back home, everybody will have a grin on the face, thinking about the funny stories and events that took place at Petra ...

Fig. 93: Every archaeologists weekend dream: a wet and mouth-pleasing „al-Wadi“ at the Forum Hotel. What a strange guy in the background ...
Fig. 93: Every archaeologists weekend dream: a wet and mouth-pleasing „al-Wadi“ at the Forum Hotel. What a strange guy in the background ...

Friday, April 29, 2011

Weekend also means going to the tent restaurant to our friend Abu Djadj and to taste the vast selection of traditional and not so traditional dishes proposed to the average tourist. Unless you are daltonian, the eye has its share as well, so everybody is waiting for that moment, especially T. T. Kabs.

Fig. 94: Colourful weekend dish at the Cave Restaurant in Petra.
Fig. 94: Colourful weekend dish at the Cave Restaurant in Petra.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Thanks for following us on this year’s blog. I hope we will see you again next year live at Petra or virtualy on this website. Best wishes from the team, and especially from the webmaster (the strange guy with the sunglasses).

Fig. 95: photo of the Umm el-Biyara team (copyright by Magnus Roth).
Fig. 95: photo of the Umm el-Biyara team (copyright by Magnus Roth).