Thursday, March 13, 2014
How it all begun ...
How it all begun ...
This year, the arrival in Jordan was marked by a late comeback of winter. Heavy rain and even snow covered all of the country. Since during the past months there was almost no precipitation, this was actually good news.
However, for our group travelling from Amman to Petra, it turned out to be quite a challenge. While the four wheel driven pick up steered by Stephan Schmid had no problems with difficult roads, the van with the rest of the group was stuck at Shobak. Hence, we had to drive twice with the pickup from Shobak to Petra in order to get all the people and material there.
After everybody was rescued from the snow storm, the group found refuge at Suleiman’s home in Umm Sayhoun, the village of the B’dool tribe.
Fortunately, the next day, our first working day, weather improved considerably and the first climbing to the top of Umm al-Biyara was a rather pleasant one. Very quickly, with the routine of already the fifth consecutive campaign, the camp was installed.
The final result with the tent installed inside the cave. The dark spots on the green tent cover turned out to be mice piss. Obviously, our storage cave down in Petra was invaded by a small mice population over the year. The final result added a delicious smell to the cave (and the tent itself).
As everywhere during that period of the year and in the mountains, weather conditions can change very quickly. This is why during the first days of work we had everything from sunshine and hot temperatures to rain and freezing cold, as the following pictures may illustrate.
The first days on Umm al-Biyara were marked by the installation of the camp and the trenches we plan to work on this season. One is the continuation of a building begun last year, the second one is a new building, already mapped during our 2010 survey but not excavated so far.
Hard work requires a healthy and abundant nutrition. This is why we always have a particular eye on the preparation of our meals on top of Umm al-Biyara. With the years, many of us have become quite fit in outdoor cuisine.
Once the camp is installed, two people have the privilege of staying the night over on top of Umm al Biyara, usually enjoying the comfortable furniture, a compulsive dinner, drinking one or two glasses of tea, and watching a beautiful clear sky full of stars.
Our first week on Umm al-Biyara was also marked by the visit of a team from Spiegel TV, producing an episode of the popular show Terra X for ZDF (German TV). During almost one entire day there was intensive TV work going on on top of the hill.
While the excavation already started on Umm al-Biyara, the NEPP survey project will begin only in ten days. During that time, the NEPP participants already at Petra profit in order to explore the area around the NEPP.