In order to facilitate the circulation for the excavation activities inside the rock carved room underneath the rocky outcrop in the NE-corner of the complex (cf. below), a square was opened at the emplacement of the N-porticus of the complex (no. 1 on fig. 1; figs. 2–5). On a surface roughly measuring 4.30 m on 6.50 m several walls constructed in a rather careless technique started appearing. They obviously form two rooms (centre and right on figs. 2 and 3) as well as a kind of corridor (left on figs. 2 and 3). This corridor leads to the rock cut room that will be discussed below, a few visible steps indicating that the level of the latter was lower than the one of the former.
The careless building technique by reused stones and the important amount of the so-called Ayyubid-Mamluk pottery, dating to the 11th to 13th centuries AD indicate a Medieval date for these constructions. This, together with the results of previous campaigns cf. Schmid – Barmasse 2006; Schmid 2005: 75f. shows that the complex of the Soldier Tomb was integrally reused during the period of the Crusader presence in Petra, probably as a small fortification On the Soldier’s Tomb complex in the Medieval period see Schmid 2006A. .
As mentioned and as visible on figure 5, a small doorway gives access from the corridor towards the rock cut room underneath the rocky outcrop at the NE-corner of the complex. The rock cut room, measuring 3.6 m by 3.5 m, was excavated down to the bedrock on its western half during the 2006 campaign (no. 2 on fig. 1; figs 6–9).
The actual floor level inside the room, corresponding to the bedrock, is situated at 931.11 m asl, and, therefore, roughly half a meter higher than the porticus and the courtyard, being situated at 930.60 m asl. This means that in antiquity the rock cut room was accessible through steps. It is not impossible that in the Nabataean period the interior of the room was paved with floor slabs, as was the case with the other areas of the complex so far exposed.
Inside this rock cut room this technique would seem all the more appropriate since the bedrock is rather irregular. However, so far no remains of floor slabs were found. In the Roman period a substantial oven or taboun was directly constructed on the bedrock (figs. 6–8). This circular taboun measures about 90 cm in diameter and was built using a soft reddish clay, strengthened by bricks and fragments of transport amphorae.
Around and inside the taboun a big amount of broken pottery was found, as well as some sherds coming from the construction of the taboun itself. This pottery would indicate a date in the Roman period for the construction of the oven. Remarkably is the clear predominance of fragments of transport amphorae and the comparably very small percentage of fine ware pottery. On the base of this evidence it can be suggested that the rock cut room was used as storage and preparing room for the drinks and in later time also the food that was served in the nearby triclinium of the complex.
Since the rock cut room had an access to the lower level of the complex, i. e. the area of the porticus, and, through a natural crack in its roofing, also towards the upper level of the complex, the room must have been an interesting feature during the Medieval period, when aspects of fortification and defense were predominant. Therefore, a secondary opening towards the Medieval rooms discussed above was used as door, with a few steps leading down into the room, since the Medieval level in the porticus area is located at approximately 933.60 m asl. Inside the rock cut room a wall was constructed, dividing its space into two smaller units (fig. 9).