The International Ez Zantur Project

Preliminary Report on the 2001 Swiss-Liechtenstein excavations at ez Zantur

by Bernhard Kolb and Daniel Keller

I. Introduction

The 12th and for the time being last excavation campaign on ez Zantur in Petra by the Basel University Department of Archaeology under the patronage of the Swiss-Liechtenstein Foundation for Archaeological Research Abroad (SLFA) took place from 18 August to 17 October 2001. On the excavation site EZ IV, the archaeologist Daniel Keller (excavation assistant) and the archaeology students Alexander Collo, Esau Dozio, Matthias Grawehr and Consuelo Keller worked under the direction of the author. The architect Anne-Cathrine Escher and the draughtswoman Claude Spiess were responsible for keeping the architectural records. The archaeozoological remains were analysed and documented by Jacqueline Studer of the Musée d’Histoire Naturelle de Genève, while Markus Peter of the Römermuseum Augst identified the coins restored by Christine Pugin. In 2001 the small finds were photographed by Regina Hügli.

We should like to thank Dr. Fawwaz al-Khraysheh, Director-General of Jordanian Department of Antiquities and his collaborators Dr. Khaireh ’Amr, Dr. Fawzi Zayadine, Faisal Qudah and Suleiman Farajat for their cooperation and valuable support in the infrastructural field. We are also indebted to Mohammed Abd al-Aziz, curator of the museum in Petra, and the inspectors Hani Falahat, Ahmad Shami and Zuheir Zubi who were appointed to look after our project. We are grateful to the Jordanian Embassy in Berne and the Swiss Embassy in Amman for the administrative support they provided.

A total of 35 workmen from Umm Sahoun and the surrounding villages were employed on the excavation site. The management of the excavation house was again in the hands of Adnan Falahat with the collaboration of Mohammed Salamin and Haroun It. For the provision of the necessary financial support we owe thanks to SLFA (Zurich), the Canton of Basel-Stadt, the University of Basel, Novartis International (Basel) and DEZA (Berne).

The Nabataean mansion on EZ IV: results of the 6th and last excavation campaign

Work with a view to attaining one of the main objectives of the 2001 campaign was commenced on the north side of the site: the search for clues as to how the large building was provided with access and services. Where did the access road run, and the access path to the north of the main entrance? Was the same route followed by the water conduits that fed the two large cisterns under rooms 22 and 27, or did the canal network follow a different plan?

Fig. 1: Schematic plan of the structures on EZ IV (drawing: B. Kolb)
Fig. 1: Schematic plan of the structures on EZ IV (drawing: B. Kolb)

Although the findings made during the 9–week period in squares 89–93/AJ did little to answer these questions, our excavations brought to light other, completely unexpected and spectacular structures.