Weblog of the March/April 2014 Petra excavation campaigns

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The second week of work started, quite a special one, in as much that Stephan Schmid had left the team in order to guide a group of students from Humboldt-University through Jordan, Palestine and Israel. First he drove to Amman in order to pick up Jana Falkenberg and Bernhard Kolb from the airport, dropped them at Petra and then continued to Aqaba in order to cross the border. That study trip was jointly organised by the Faculty of Theology and the Institute of Archaeology of Humboldt-University, so participants too came from both branches. During Stephan’s absence, Piotr Bienkowsi was in charge of Umm al-Biyara and, therefore, there was a chance that work may continue after all. But still, during one entire week, Stephan was asking himself whether they would work or not.

Fig. 22: Will Kennedy (left) and Sophie Horacek (right) working
Fig. 22: Will Kennedy (left) and Sophie Horacek (right) working
Fig. 23: Will Kennedy, Raphael Eser and Sophie Horacek (from left) not working
Fig. 23: Will Kennedy, Raphael Eser and Sophie Horacek (from left) not working

Sunday, March 23, 2014

While especially the last picture seems shocking at first sight, Piotr Bienkowski was able to convincingly explain that these people are actually so tired from work that during lunch break they immediately fall asleep, as may be underlined by the next picture.

Fig. 24: Polly Agoridou being crushed from work
Fig. 24: Polly Agoridou being crushed from work

During Stephan Schmid’s absence, some of his usual tasks have to be shared and taken over by other people. For example, Christoph Schneider was nominated Abu Fuchar for a couple of weeks, while Will Kennedy had to take the official excavation photographs for the documentation of our work. This is how he discovered the meaning of terms such as „exposure time“ ...

Fig. 25: One of Will Kennedy’s attempts to spell „exposure time“
Fig. 25: One of Will Kennedy’s attempts to spell „exposure time“

Monday, March 24, 2014

Since time is short and work a lot, everybody was helping out wherever it was needed. This is why Sophie Horacek, Will Kennedy and Piotr Bienkowski went working in the trench of Christoph Schneider, Polly Agoridou and Raphael Eser and vice versa in order to speed up things.

Fig. 26: Christoph Schneider, Raphael Eser, Sophie Horacek and Will Kennedy (from left) working in ST 7
Fig. 26: Christoph Schneider, Raphael Eser, Sophie Horacek and Will Kennedy (from left) working in ST 7

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

And since the people of the NEPP project, that will start but in the third week, had some (not too many) free time, they decided to come up the mountain and help the Umm people as well.

Fig. 27: Laura Weis (left) and Jana Falkenberg (right) taking measurements with the total station in the middle of a truly impressive surrounding
Fig. 27: Laura Weis (left) and Jana Falkenberg (right) taking measurements with the total station in the middle of a truly impressive surrounding

So, at the end of the day everybody was tired and needed some special care in order to be fit for the next day, varying from person to person…

Fig. 28: Raphael Eser, Sophie Horacek and Polly Agoridou perparing an excellent meal in the kitchen of Nazzal’s Camp
Fig. 28: Raphael Eser, Sophie Horacek and Polly Agoridou perparing an excellent meal in the kitchen of Nazzal’s Camp

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

And during all that time Stephan Schmid had to visit sites he dreamed of since over 20 years ...

Fig. 29: Theologists and archaeologists from Humboldt-University discussing architectural members at Caesarea Maritima
Fig. 29: Theologists and archaeologists from Humboldt-University discussing architectural members at Caesarea Maritima

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Weekends do have something particular, even on archaeological excavations. In our case this is especially true, since everybody knew that the last weekends will not be real weekends. In other words, we will have to work through the last two weeks in order to accomplish all that was planned. Hence, the real weekends are usually taken by assault by the students. They do explore parts of Petra one usually does not see. Or they drive to site further away. Or they go to Aqaba for swimming in the Red Sea etc.

So this first weekend a part of the group went on to explore the Wadi Mattaha and the Wadi Mujlim backwards, i.e. starting from the city center and following the wadis and the water installations until the entrance to the Siq. After the havy rain we had about a week ago, a lot of plants were growing and quite some climbing was needed in order to avoid water in natural or manmade basins.

Fig. 30: Bénédicte Kahn, Raphael Eser, Sophie Horacek, Polly Agoridou and Laura Weis (from left) ready to explore Wadi Mattaha
Fig. 22: Bénédicte Kahn, Raphael Eser, Sophie Horacek, Polly Agoridou and Laura Weis (from left) ready to explore Wadi Mattaha
Fig. 31: Laura Weis, Polly Agoridou, Sophie Horacek, Raphael Eser and Bénédicte Khan (from left) fighting their way off in Wadi Mattaha
Fig. 23: Laura Weis, Polly Agoridou, Sophie Horacek, Raphael Eser and Bénédicte Khan (from left) fighting their way off in Wadi Mattaha

Friday, March 28, 2014

But there can also be more peaceful moments during weekends, at least at the beginning of a campaign. So the people that profit from spare time in order to climb up mountains have time for self- and other reflexion, think about the world, live, MAs and other important stuff.

Fig. 32: Polly Agoridou (center left) on top of el-Khubta, trying to make off the world (in her mind)
Fig. 24: Polly Agoridou (center left) on top of el-Khubta, trying to make off the world (in her mind)
Fig. 33: And yet others take picture of young goats and sheep in order to show to their families
Fig. 25: And yet others take picture of young goats and sheep in order to show to their families