The International Aslah Project

Preliminary Report on the 2010 Season

by Robert Wenning and Laurent Gorgerat

II. Introduction

The Aslah-triclinium-complex is situated on a rocky plateau of the Bab as-Siq area directly opposite of the entrance into the Siq lying high above the path along the Wadi Musa, which leads into the Siq (fig. 1). A small, but long stretched rock oriented north-south formed the boundary of the complex to the east and a much higher rock closed the area in the north (fig. 2). Between the two rocks a path leads to the large rocky area of ar-Ramla in the north. The southern part of the long stretched rock looks more or less semicircular in shape if seen from the west Wenning 2004: fig. pp. 44–45. , which could have been of some significance. We defined the area in front of the triclinium as the Southern Terrace, while the area in front of the tomb Br. 24 was called the Northern Terrace.

Fig. 1: Bab as-Siq. General plan of the Aslah-triclinium-complex (drawing: M. Dehner and L. Gorgerat)
Fig. 1: Bab as-Siq. General plan of the Aslah-triclinium-complex (drawing: M. Dehner and L. Gorgerat)

At the Southern Terrace, the triclinium of Aslah (D. 17), two small lateral chambers (D. 16, 17') and a row of niches (D. 15) are cut into the rock, while the eastern face and the top of the rock remained without installations. The façade faces the large plateau in front of the rock and is orientated towards the entrance of the Siq. From the Siq entrance itself only the upper part of the rock is visible. Nevertheless, this orientation seems to be intended. The rock façade itself is divided into irregular layers, which are either curved in shape or drop down diagonally. No artificial smoothing of the rock nor channels protect the façade or the triclinium against rainwater, but it probably did not cause as much damage as on steeper rock cliffs.

The rocks and the plateaus of the Aslah-triclinium-complex are part of the massive and white weathered Disi sandstone of the Lower Ordovicium with the rounded hillocks, typical for the eastern parts of Petra Rababeh 2005: 33–39. . The smoothed surface seems to be dense in material and is of a greyish white colour. Below the hard surface, however, the stone can be quite friable.

In the northern part of the rock Tomb Br. 24 is cut. On the rock face in front of the tomb traces of an architectural structure are still visible. The structure occupied the larger part of the plateau on the Northern Terrace and its construction was facilitated by deep right-angles cut into the rock. In a shallow rocky depression to the west of the plateau a cistern (D. 19) is situated.

The western border of the Aslah-triclinium-complex is formed by several low hillocks with a total of 53 rock-cut pit graves and shaft graves (D. 21). They are orientated towards the path running along the Wadi Musa into the Siq and are clearly visible from the road. It is also possible that they had a relationship with the triclinium-complex. The plateau slopes to the south towards the path, where two aqueducts from the Ain Musa can be seen somewhat higher at the slope.