Preliminary Report on the 1997 Swiss-Liechtenstein excavations at ez Zantur

by Bernhard Kolb (with contributions by Daniel Keller and Yvonne Gerber)

I. Introduction

The 8th season of excavations of Basel University in cooperation with the Swiss-Liechtenstein Foundation for Archaeological Research Abroad (SLFA), in Petra lasted from the 17th of August till the 14th of October 1997. The following archaeologists worked under the direction of the author: André Barmasse, Maxime Boillat, Annegret Reber, Yvonne Gerber, Rolf Frank, Daniel Keller, Christoph Schneider and Matthias Grawehr. Jacqueline Studer (Musée d’Histoire Naturelle Genève) analysed the bone material, while Christiane Jacquat (ETH Zürich) and Danièle Martinoli examined the archaeo-botanical evidence. Miss Martinoli received her M. A. from Neuchâtel University (Switzerland) for her study „Étude archéobotanique de macrorestes végétaux d’époques nabatéenne et romaine tardive, ez Zantur, Pétra, Jordanie“.

The restorer Christine Pugin again dealt with the small finds which were drawn by the scientific draughtswoman Irma Haussener and photographically documented by Othmar Jäggi. The attribution of the restored coins was undertaken by our numismatist Markus Peter. The necessary conservation resp. restoration of the structures and wall paintings was undertaken by a team from Intermonument Restauro under the supervision of U. Bellwald.

Hani Falahat, our representative of the Department of Antiquities, was very helpful for the duration of the excavation. Thanks are also due to Prof. Dr. Ghazi Bisheh, Director General of the Department of Antiquities as well as to Suleiman Farajat, head of the Department at Petra, for their support. Our special thanks go to the SLFA (Zürich), Max Geldner Foundation (Basel) and Novartis (Basel) whose generous financial support made the 1997 campaign possible.

On site EZ IV we resumed the exposure of the Nabataean „villa“ with its spectacular inner decoration (figs 1–2). An area of 200 m² could be investigated despite destruction layers of up to 3.5 m.

Fig. 1: ez Zantur. Topographic map with fields of excavation (drawing: B. Kolb)
Fig. 1: ez Zantur. Topographic map with fields of excavation (drawing: B. Kolb)

With the exposure of several rooms along the north-western edge of the terrace and an eastwards extension of the excavation-area we brought the dig in the Nabataean structures on site EZ III to a provisional end (Fig. 11). Consolidation and restoration of the walls and floors will be the main purpose of the 1998 season.