Another week’s come and gone. Happy Memorial Day. We’ve only got about a week of excavation left, with a couple of days of processing artifacts, and then we’re on our way home. It seems, though, that many of the students are already there. Field school sure does weed out the true archaeologists from the hobbyists and others. From the past 6 field schools, only about 5 students out of the average 20-25 each year actually go on to grad school or some kind of employment in an archaeology-related field. The Jordan groups actually seem to be less, maybe 2 or so. The exoticness of Petra and the Middle East becomes the attractor, not the archaeology, so there will always be those who’d rather be tourists than archaeologists. I really don’t care, as long as the work gets done, and done fairly well. However, it still is a “school” with a fairly steep learning curve, so it takes some time to get going.
As for my tomb, we’ve got 4 cists left, and Scott (another crew supervisor) and I will probably have to dig 1 or 2 ourselves, which isn’t bad at all. It’ll probably take us a day and a half to do one compared to the 3-6 it takes the students. Nothing really spectacular has been coming out of the graves—possibly because the families were less wealthy or because of looting. We have found a small crescent bronze medallion (corroded green), lots of potsherds, decomposing fragments of wooden planks, and lots of almonds (for some reason). But I’m more interested in the bones, the analysis of which I’ll probably have to pick up the slack also.
By the way, for those who are interested, our sites are located along the northern slopes and “tributaries” of Wadi Mataha (wadi roughly means a wash or arroyo, the verb mataha means “to draw water from a well”). I don’t have the exact UTM coordinates for my site, but the sites are all pretty much located between 736000-737000 E and 3358600-3358700 N—so a strip about 1km E-W x 100m N-S. Umm Sayhoun (“Mother of Plates”), the Bedouin village, is on a large ridge just to the north of Wadi Mataha, and Wadi Musa, the tourist town, is in the head-valley of the next canyon to the south/southwest that leads down into Petra . I’ve seen some satellite images that clearly showed Umm Sayhoun, but I can’t remember if they were rendered from Google Earth or not. Hope that helps out some of you who were wondering.
Wadi Araba (the Great Rift Valley) that divides Jordan and Israel, just south of the Dead Sea
monastery on Jebel Haroun (Mount of Aaron), the traditional tomb of Aaron
still some green in such a desolate area
The Great Temple, Petra
plaster fresco and missing gold medallion (all of Petra was white & gold)